Delivering future public services

Public services are being transformed by digital technology, but much more can be done to fulfil the vast potential and create a connected, digitally enabled UK

By Julian David, chief executive of techUK

The digital revolution is upon us. Technology is enabling social and economic changes for good across the globe. Some industries have accelerated their digital transformation. The retail sector, for example, has invested in big data analytics and automation to provide a highly personalised experience and improve supply chain efficiencies.

The UK has also made strong progress to date in building its Government Digital Service. And with ongoing digital leadership ambitions, the public sector is ready to drive change and create a world-leading civil service in its adoption of innovative technology.

The government is faced with tightened budgets and a growing strain from an ageing population who are increasingly demanding as they consume more digital services. This is an enormous opportunity for the transformation of public services through the smart application of digital technology.

All citizens should be able to access all services at all times and have control over their own information via one login to a single intuitive profile

Government is already wise to the potential of technology. In a first-of-its-kind project in 2015, the DVLA made a seamless transition to abolish the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence and provide all driver information online. This transformed the DVLA, creating significant cost savings and improving services.

Digital transformation does not stand still and the DVLA is continually making iterative improvements to the service, having been reassured by the initial investment in innovation. This constant drive to improve is something that should be replicated across the public sector.

Digital public services

Life would be much simpler if you were reminded of routine medical appointments automatically, or updated on your planning application progress on your smartphone, or informed your passport will soon expire via a personal device.

By 2030, public services could and should be as accessible and as customer friendly as we would expect from our customised, efficient retail experiences.

All citizens should be able to access all services at all times and have control over their own information via one login to a single intuitive profile. Connected services will allow different public services teams to work together remotely. Further to this, autonomous and smarter technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and drones, will enable predictive and pre-emptive services in areas such as emergency services and traffic control.

Working closely with industry and opening up the public sector to harness the best of UK technology will make this digitally enabled world a reality.

Government and industry must work together to ensure that all citizens’ data is securely stored and all systems are safe. In fact, AI and big data analytics can provide the protection, rather than the risk, but we must equip teams with the right skills to use the technology appropriately with security at the heart.

In this new digital era, public services are changing dramatically and the potential improvement in quality of services for UK citizens by 2030 is vast.

techUK’s public sector conference PS2030 2017 is a focus for digital transformation, where civil servants and industry leaders come to together to create the vision and set the course for our digital future.

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