Government launches new cross-departmental digital and data strategy
The Government has published a cross-departmental digital and data strategy with the aim of transforming public services and improving efficiency. It includes six ‘missions’ that the government must achieve by 2025, including the adoption by all departments of a common ‘One Login’, and ensuring that all ‘critical’ data assets are available across government through trusted APIs and platforms.
The paper commits to strengthening digital skills “at scale” and expects 90% of senior civil servants to be upskilled on digital and data essentials by the strategy's deadline. It also identifies 75 services that must reach a “great” standard of user experience and efficient processes to reduce running costs.
The roadmap has been launched by the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), the Cabinet Office arm responsible for the digital, data and technology (DDaT) function in government, and has been drafted in collaboration with central government departments. It will be backed by the £8 billion investment announced at the 2021 Spending Review for government digital, data and technology.
Learning from previous mistakes
The new strategy draws on the lessons from the 2021 National Audit Office (NAO) report, which found that senior leaders in government lack the essential knowledge and capabilities needed to effectively implement digital transformation projects. This has led to a “consistent pattern of underperformance” in delivering digital business change and waste of taxpayers' money.
According to government calculations, if successful, the strategy will save the public coffers over £1 billion by moving from paper-based services and processes to digital. It is expected that the rollout of a competitive digital remuneration framework that would reduce the dependency on external consultants will also save government £101 million net per year by the end of 2025.
A Digital and Data Board made up of Permanent Secretaries will monitor and report on the progress of the strategy every six months. CDDO and HM Treasury will chair quarterly business reviews to assess progress and identify barriers using departmental data to track key performance indicators and maturity indicators, including progress against efficiency savings.
“People expect government services to be as good as the best online experiences in the private sector,” said Paul Willmott, Executive Chair at the CDDO. “Rising to meet these expectations will require change on a scale that government has never undertaken before.
“This roadmap is an ambitious statement of intent. It represents a new era of collaboration on digital transformation and marks a step-change in the digital and data agenda. Written collaboratively, it sets out a collective vision underpinned by real, tangible commitments and actions, to be delivered by all government departments.”
Although the roadmap does not apply to local government or the devolved administrations, CDDO and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are engaging with stakeholders in those authorities to ensure there is alignment between the government strategy and their existing plans.