GDS: UK seen as a digital government leader

Service’s Deputy Director tells Think Digital Government 2017 that the world continues to look to Whitehall for clues about what to do next when it comes to e-gov

Posted 13 February 2017 by Gary Flood

When it comes to e-government, Britain is more than holding its own – and is in fact seen as a “global leader in online service delivery, digital inclusion, the use of open data, interoperability, cross-departmental digital working and transparency”.

That was the somewhat reassuring message to Think Digital Government 2017 last Friday from someone who should know – the Deputy Director for Standards Assurance at the government’s main digital pressure group in Whitehall, the Government Digital Service (GDS), Olivia Neal.

Neal explained that on a range of international metrics, by bodies including the UN, the country’s achievements around digital government are genuinely seen as best practice.

“19 different countries have sent representatives to see us at GDS in the past year to learn from what we’re doing and replicating it in their own jurisdictions,” she said.

That’s included digital public sector leaders from nations including Australia, South Korea and Singapore, she added.

Much if the interest centres on the government’s secure payments framework, Verify, she added – “a world, not just a UK, first”, she claimed, and which “will be a key part of UK digital transformation” going forward.

GDS’s famous 18 principles for delivering great digital public services have also attracted great international interest, she said, with very similar guidelines emerging in the US and Canada.

The cumulative £1.8bn of public sector IT sold through the cloud in the shape of The Digital Marketplace is also seen as a big win for the country by its global peers, in her view

Neal also reminded the Think Digital Government audience to make a close study of the just-published GDS Digital Strategy, now styled as a ‘Transformation’ one.

At 93 pages, it’s quite a document, she admitted – but still “Important to everyone working in – and who wants to work with – government in the next few years,” she pointed out.