Digital Government Assignment 3

The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) was founded with the intention of "championing a digital culture." As of 2012, GDS achieved substantial financial success by streamlining information technology system procurement and establishing a government web presence under GOV.UK. This success was attributed in part to improved internal procedures, such as building a foundation of non-governmental digital skills/hiring and adopting a user-centered design framework for GDS products. Mike Bracken, Executive Director for Digital, and Tom Loosemore, his deputy, sought to explore "government as a platform" after launching GDS. This goal necessitated the development of open data technologies as well as the provision of cross-departmental services.

UK Government Digital Service: Moving Beyond a Website 

Although GDS had initial outcomes that moved the UK Government forward in terms of adapting the government to the digital era, Bracken and Loosemore saw these innovations as simply the beginning of a vision to give a "new approach to digital delivery of public services in the UK" that would make the UK government much more streamlined, efficient, and user-centered. [3] The main objective of this memo is to determine, through the use of a maturity model, what are the necessary steps that the UK Government should follow to move forward in the development of a platform-based government in the UK. 

Criteria

  • Impact: The selected options would need to have the biggest impact in terms of moving forward the  GDS’s mission and vision of achieving a “digitally-native civil service focused on user needs and delivery”
  • Diversification: Recommendations should tackle different problems across the various areas of the maturity model.
  • Feasibility: The recommendations should be feasible in terms of political support, budgetary considerations and technical capacity. 

Recommendations

Political environment objective: Majority of senior executives across the organization understand the importance of strategic digital transformation

1. The GDS needs to ensure that most senior executives understand why the strategic digital transformation is vital, as through this they will incorporate a digital-oriented mindset in their day to day activities. Some ways that this could be achieved is through a strong communications government-wide campaign, and training workshops to familiarize senior executives with the digital transition

Institutional capacity objective: Digital services has some carrot-and-stick incentives to encourage buy-in to standards

2. To ensure that different departments adopt new technological processes, the UK government will need to apply penalties/rewards in order to influence behavior and incentivise innovation across its different branches. Some examples to achieve that departments leave behind their obsolete IT and paper and pen processes could be increased funding for departments that adopt and develop digital processes

Skills and hiring objective: Relationships with private sector and higher-education partners allow easy transition into government digital service

3. The GDS needs to have a pipeline of talent to implement their digical strategy and to innovate inside the government. The maturity model indicates this can be achieved through partnerships with universities and the private sector, so a good step forward is to reach out to major technology companies to establish mutually benefitial relationships to be able to attract their talent into the GDS operations. 

User-centered design objective: UX testing is a government-wide expectation for rollout of new services

4. User-centered design is one of the most important principles when transitioning to a digital-based government. A way to ensure this is to create a testing lab/branch inside the government whose usage is mandatory for all the government departments before rolling out new services. To have an institutionalized testing orientation would be a major achievement and a big step to transition into a government as a platform. 

 

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