The Home Office has launched a three year strategy digital, data and technology strategy, focusing on innovation to address technical debt and automating processes.
The Home Office said the new Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Strategy will enable it to become more disciplined in its development and use of technology.
“Removing the complexity of our technical estate will help us become nimbler and more efficient. This means addressing our technical debt, automating processes where possible and reducing duplication,” it said.
The DDaT strategy is based on six principles, Home Office chief digital, data & technology officer, Simon Bourne, said on publication of the strategy.
These are principles are: to converge technologies where possible, create shared technology products, be product-centric over programme-centric, become data-driven to improve our decisions, deliver effectively at scale and embrace innovation.
Bourne said the Home Office must “address several long-standing issues.”
“Like other government departments, we have accrued technical debt over many years which we now need to address because it constrains our efforts to digitise the department.”
He said employees often have been forced to work harder “because they were wrestling with legacy systems and unintuitive processes.”
Digital by design
The Home Office is now looking to become “digital by design”, changing how it operates in the process.
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“This means embracing automation and investing in our cyber capabilities while also becoming more efficient, user-centric and adaptable to changing conditions. We must have a renewed focus on data, making it central to how we strategically and operationally manage the department,” said Bourne.
“This strategy gives clarity to the wider department on the importance of including DDaT in its thinking around policy delivery, while bringing understanding to DDaT staff on how to use their specialist skills to support the wider organisation.”
Bourne added that the strategy will require a joint effort across the department and across government.
Created in in 2016, the strategy says the DDaT organisation “is at an exciting point of evolution”.
“Like many other departments, the Home Office has spent the past decade radically transforming its relationship with large suppliers. We’ve taken back control of the design, build and operational aspects of technology services, wherever appropriate,” said the strategy.
“In many cases, such changes have lowered our costs, increased our use of niche suppliers with deep subject matter expertise, reduced our technical risk and enabled us to be more agile and responsive to evolving business needs.”
Bourne also said the Home Office has been promoting the six principles internally since 2019, and this has resulted “in tremendous progress…particularly in Migration and Borders.”
He cited examples of the digital delivery of the EU Settlement Scheme; the implementation of a points-based immigration system; the creation of an advanced data analytics and risking system; and the rollout of Digital Services at the Border.
“These examples show how fundamental DDaT is to the success of the department and its manifesto commitments. Looking forward, we must now bolster this type of work to make similar strides across the remainder of the Home Office domain.!