UK government opens up debate on digital reforms

Global coalition clarifies blueprint for digital engagement and leveraging Internet, mobile and cloud-hosted services.

Digital government under spotlight

Digital government under spotlight

The UK’s first-ever digital forum, held in London, has refined the blueprint for open government through the use of Internet, mobile and cloud platforms.

This London gathering held 9-10 December offered fresh insights into the road-map for digital government. Member countries, including the UK, New Zealand and South Korea clarified the opportunities and roadblocks involving public sector reforms.

Governments struggling to fast-track their digital strategy can take the cue from the more digitally advanced countries. These belong to the D5 Group. Participants include the UK, New Zealand, South Korea, Estonia and Israel. This coalition is actively embracing and investing in digital platforms.

This coalition seeks to clarify how governments worldwide can go digital and tackle the more immediate challenges around leadership, innovation and market competition.

Member countries are understood to be leading on digital innovation and the broader investments in online, mobile and cloud technologies. This decade’s focus is on open government and marketplace reforms.

Investing in digital communications

Current projects leverage and improve investments in digital communications. Initially, these are built around managing emergency services and offering clarity around digital identities and the use of e-signatures to access services.

The London forum was supported by the UK’s most influential digital leader and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. He told participants that his administration was proud to host this “trail-blazing” gathering.

The country’s GOVUK Internet site is a pioneer in the use of digital services, he said. This month's forum offered a dedicated platform to share best-practice projects and across-the-board innovation.

Since 2010 the UK has become the most digitally advanced government in the G7. This has involved launching the award-winning GOV.UK and digitising 25 ‘exemplar’ public services,” Maude said.

The UK government’s long-term agenda is to leverage a “government-as-platform” model. This ensures that by 2020 anyone that wants to go online can do so in an interactive environment.

New Zealand takes the kudos

In the Asia-Pacific region, the New Zealand government’s digital strategy also picked up kudos for innovations around digital engagement. This strategy, outlined in the All-of-Government ICT Strategy and Action Plan, lays the groundwork for open government.

This is led in large part by investments in digital technologies and an ultra-fast broadband network across the country. The NZ initiative leverages government-shared ICT services that involve more than 140 agencies. This cost-sharing program is offering savings of more than $130 million across the NZ public sector.

By 2017, New Zealanders should be able to complete around 70 per cent of the most common government transactions digitally.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Tags identity managementemergency servicesgov.ukdigital governmentCloude-signaturesmobileNZ ICT Strategyinternetfrancis maudeD5 digital members

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