Editorial

New report urges digital overhaul of UK Government

UK needs new digital operating model to help local, regional and central governmental bodies hit connectivity and sustainability targets, claims report

Posted 21 January 2021 by

A new white paper is urging the UK Government to adopt a new digital operating model to help local, regional and central governmental bodies hit connectivity and sustainability targets.

The report, titled ‘Connected Citizens’, comes from Public Policy Projects (PPP), in partnership with Anderson Strategy, and in collaboration with Huawei. It notes that the combination of COVID-19 putting pressure on connectivity capabilities and the recent sustainability targets announced by the Government, highlight “the vital need to create a network of cutting-edge digital infrastructure across the UK.”

“The new digital operating model is a critical foundation to both realise the UK Government’s vision building a ‘Science Super Power’ and supporting its levelling up agenda,” said Justin Anderson, head of strategy, Anderson Strategy and co-writer of the report.

“In these extremely challenging times for local authorities, it presents a pragmatic approach to use the drivers under their control to improve the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.” 

The report advocates employing a long-term strategy that centres on reforming the education system at all levels.

It also highlights the need to leverage more power and support to local and regional authorities who “which can lead and facilitate connectivity improvements at a devolved level and work collaboratively with DCMS to create the most efficient roll-out possible.”

It says the new digital operating model must also mandate greater information and data sharing amongst local authorities, relevant stakeholders and digital operators from the early stages of development, to drive forwards change and make it more streamlined and efficient.

Digital Economy Act 2017

It also urges a review Ofcom’s powers to ensure that the best provision is being delivered to citizens across the UK, specifically assessing the effectiveness of Universal Service Obligations (USOs). It says their model within the Digital Economy Act 2017 should be evaluated and reformed/removed if an alternative model that improves citizen connectivity can be offered.

“This white paper is a call to action, setting out five broad recommendations for a new digital operating model in Britain,” said Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, executive chair of public policy projects.

“It identifies some of the challenges we face and seeks to learn from the experience of others as well as ourselves. We should not underestimate the challenge, but nor should we lose sight of the opportunity to reshape our society to meet the demands of the 21st century.”