Since diginomica launched in 2013, we have worked hard to grow a large base of public sector readers and to provide them with the best commentary and analysis of how the government – in all its forms – is transforming the relationship between the citizen and the state, through the use of digital technologies.
The story of digital in the public sector is a fascinating one. Obviously it is a story about how new technologies can help reform the state, but more so it is a story of politics, culture and personalities.
We believe that now it is more important than ever to apply scrutiny to those that have taken on the responsibility of leading this transformation.
In the UK ,we are at a critical juncture. The Government Digital Service has just turned five years old, it has new leadership and new priorities, a new digital strategy, and the institutions of Whitehall face huge challenges in realising what is possible.
Whilst the rhetoric on digital is strong from those at the centre of power, it’s not impossible to imagine a situation where the UK government goes back to a time where the only technology news was bad news. We are at risk of going backwards.
Although it may sound faintly ridiculous, we are aware there are many who would like to see a rollback to the ‘good old days.’ Lots of jobs and lots of money were made out of poorly designed and managed public sector IT projects. That’s still true today.
We don’t want that to be the case. We see plenty of good people in government, working hard to change the way that government is run and to transform the relationship between the citizen and the state – with the emphasis placed on the former, rather than the latter. And that’s true across central government, local government, the NHS and all the other related agencies.
It shouldn’t be hard for citizens to deal with government – the public sector has the potential to deliver the same experience as the best internet-based organisations out there. Where citizens are put at the centre of everything that it does.
We want to play a part in this and are claiming ourselves as the ‘go to’ resource for those interested in and working on digital transformation in the public sector. We will promote successes, guide those that need advice, connect people that may benefit from collaborating and criticise the failings wherever possible.
As we fleshed out our thinking and content it made sense for our strong public sector focus to have its own separate and easily identifiable presence as part of the diginomica family.
That’s why today, we launched diginomica/government – a sister site to diginomica that we intend to make a leading voice in the discussion and debate around public sector transformation.
The launch diginomica/government also coincides with the news that we have taken a stake in the Think Digital Partners (TDP) events business. That means we can now bring the online discussions we have into real world conference and networking events.
We believe that now more than ever, a strong public sector resource is needed to hold the government to account on its digital strategy. We won’t get it right all the time, but we will listen when we get it wrong, course correcting along the way.
There are many areas upon which to focus:
- The government has a huge challenge in untangling the lengthy outsourcing deals that have dominated public services in recent years.
- The need to unlock and organise data to create a platform for digital services is imperative, but difficult.
- Attracting talent and retraining existing civil servants is an uphill struggle for Whitehall.
- The question of how central government can bring local government along on the journey remains unanswered.
- Culture and resistance to change are huge barriers to getting this right.
- Modernising procurement and driving adoption of the Digital Marketplace is needed; and the Government-as-a-Platform strategy has lots of potential, but is still in its infancy.
We will be working on all of the above, and more.
If you want to discuss something of interest, please get in touch. You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – I am always happy to talk.
Welcome to diginomica/government.
Image credit - Chris Middleton