Thursday, 16 May 2013

In With The New - 21st century government

In London today for the Eduserv Symposium: In With The New. An interesting agenda, based on delivering customer centric services in a "digital by default" era. None of the speakers are from the HE sector which makes it double interesting. I'll try and blog the key points, but as usual, they may be in note form and you may have to fill in the missing bits yourself.

Opening session is David Cotterill from the Cabinet Office. Formerly from DWP I've blogged about seeing David talk before about Ideas Street, which was the catalyst for us purchasing Ideascale.

Today David is talking about 21st Century Government, the way the public sector is using technology to deliver services. He works in the Government Digital Service, which is very exciting.

Old model for technology in government, multi year sourcing contracts with a limited number of suppliers. Inadequate competition, smaller innovative suppliers locked out. Bad for users, bad for taxpayer, bad for growth.
Outsourced IT to one or more large suppliers. IT treated as not particularly important, "noncore" so could be outsourced.

Can't bundle IT up, need to break it down. Mission iT services and digital public services - these are unique services to meet customer needs. Concentrate on these. Back office ERP, and infrastructure are more commodity, can be swopped in and out. Use open standards so can swop to different providers and ensure decent competition. Unbundling the legacy big contracts. Effects are starting to be felt with big savings being realised.

What is 21st century government? Will involve things like Simpler, clearer,faster. Build a platform and then build services on top. Eg licence applications, e-petitions. Make it easier for people to do the things they need to do.

They've developed an IPad app for PM to use to run the country:-)

Key part of digital strategy is to look at the big services that citizens most often require from government and change them so they are digital by default. Digital teams being created to change the way services are delivered.

Need multidisciplinary teams - developers, designers, product and service managers, policy, comms etc. Must start with user needs.
Can't build websites with tools designed for building bridges. Previously, long requirement gathering process, very detailed spec, develop. 2 yrs later show it to users. Users don't like it!

Now, more discovery work up front on what user needs, produce alpha, test with users then either throw away and produce another alpha or go to beta. This method is cheaper, and faster and meets users needs better.

They have a dashboard for all services for GDS. Also a Government service design manual. Eg before go live a minister must be able to complete a transaction on your service. Also Cabinet Office standards hub, this is open and people can contribute. Definitely worth a look.

So, in summary, can build services that meet user needs and create big savings if you use open standards, open platforms, put user needs first and use agile, fast development.

Great talk from David, as usual.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Dave Eyre said...

Presumably the IPad App for the PM is for sale. And if not why not? Everything else is!!

Dave Eyre said...

Presumably the IPad App for the PM is for sale. And if not why not? Everything else is!!

Fergus Conolly said...

One of the criticisms of Athenian Democracy (or direct government) was it's lack of scalability. I wonder if with modern internet technology we will be able to vote directly on single policies and bills? Seems more desirable than the current vested interests we see in party politics. (Though I'm not suggesting we get rid of elected representatives)

Dave Berry said...

Jerry Fishenden blogged on the same topic this week: