Government gives update on digital and data strategy

CDDO shares progress on cross-government key data, digital and identity projects

Posted 7 February 2023 by Christine Horton

The Central Digital and Data Office(CDDO) has issued an update on the progress of its cross-government digital and data strategy for 2022-25 since its launch in June 2022.

The government says its digital strategy, entitled Transforming for a Digital Future, aims to streamline existing services to eliminate manual processing, strengthen digital capabilities, better equip civil servants to use data, and replace cumbersome and costly legacy technology with modern infrastructure. This includes systems used for key public services.

It has now announced several ‘key milestones’ in its efforts.

Transforming public services

The CDDO said it has created a single definition for what a ‘great’ government service looks like and baselined many of the Top 75 services against it.

In a new blog, CDDO chief executive Megan Lee Devlin, wrote: “We’re currently refreshing the Top 75 service list to reflect government’s highest priorities and have built a Transformation Leaders Group of business leaders to oversee delivery and share best practice. We’re working to embed single service owners, better performance data culture and increase the prevalence of cross-functional teams.”

In the Home Office, it is bringing policy, operations and DDaT skills together to design and deliver policy outcomes through its Digital Pathway initiative. At the Department for Education, it is embedding digital, data and technology leads and their service teams into all policy teams. Elsewhere, the CDDO is building a ‘digital readiness check’ to ensure that new legislation can be implemented through digital means.

GOV.UK One Login

It also described the Government Digital Service (GDS)’ GOV.UK One Login as progressing. In parallel, the GDS team is working with departments to agree high-level plans for the onboarding of all central government services between now and April 2025.

Data for decision making

The CDDO said it has been developing the first components of a Data Marketplace, including a prototype cross-government data catalogue. This, it said, improves the discoverability of its data, enabling civil servants to understand what data exists that meets their business and service needs.

Alongside this, the Chief Data Officer Council has been shaping a common data ownership model which sets out the core responsibilities and roles to support consistent data governance.

The department said its API Catalogue, which helps users find and access data exchanges, also continues to grow, with registered APIs increasing by 15 percent in the last six months. It has also developed a Data Maturity Assessment which helps departments understand their capability, effectiveness and readiness to use data, and helps identify areas for improvement.

‘Efficient, secure and sustainable technology’

CDDO has worked with colleagues across the Chief Technology Officers network to identify the opportunities for its technology reuse programme, ‘buy once, use many’.

“We’ve rolled out a single Microsoft 365 blueprint to improve interoperability and collaboration across departments, and are partnering with the Grants Management function to create a cross-government approach to grants management,” wrote Devlin.

“We’ve launched a legacy IT risk framework that is enabling us to identify and assess the highest risk legacy systems across government and ensure funding is prioritised accordingly – including the £2.6 billion allocated at the last Spending Review.”

Additionally, through the Chief Technology Officer Council, it said it has begun to more capture the benefits of emerging technology with quarterly Innovation Days in partnership with external organisations “at the frontier of new technologies.”

Meanwhile work on its Mobile App Strategy has just begun, in partnership with GDS. 

Digital skills

The CDDO said the DDaT profession grew by 12 percent between April and October 2022, with almost 2,200 people who have joined government or retrained from another profession.

“We’ve widened the roll out of our pay framework to departments, with 28 departments now onboarded, ensuring we can pay more competitive salaries for scarce technical skills,” wrote Devlin. “We’ve also trained hundreds of senior government executives on Digital, Data and Technology Essentials, both through central programmes and department-specific ones, such as HMRC’s Spotlight on Digital Learning and the MoJ’s Innovation Month.”

Unlocking digital transformation

Elsewhere, the CDDO said it has begun addressing some of the systemic barriers to digital transformation. This includes working with HM Treasury on updates to budgeting guidance to help make it simpler for teams to manage their allocations including the way they account for spend on key services such as cloud. It is also partnering with the Commercial function to develop new guidance on managing investment in cloud.