This morning Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude published the digital strategy, and I wanted to explain why and how it was developed.
An increasingly digital nation
The publication of the Government Digital Strategy fulfils a commitment made in the Civil Service Reform Plan (CSRP) announced in June. As the CSRP described, the UK is increasingly a digital nation, one in which people expect high quality, effective digital services.
Currently, too many central government services offer a poor user experience, which leads to low rates of successful completion. To improve quality, those services need to be simpler, clearer and faster, and the Civil Service needs to have the right digital skills embedded at every level to do that.
The digital strategy sets out how this will be achieved.
Drafting the strategy
Since June, the 18 Digital Leaders from across Whitehall departments have been working together to draft the Strategy. It's not a GDS document; it's a government-wide strategy. We just held the pen.
The strategy went through multiple iterations, setting out with a shared vision for digital by default ("digital services so straightforward and convenient people prefer to use them"), moving on to a shared high-level narrative and then to a full strategy document. The Digital Leaders network signed off the strategy at the end of September, followed by Ministers giving their feedback and then granting approval for publication.
The strategy contains 14 actions which we have tried to ensure are meaningful and measurable. We recognise that departments are often more different than they are alike, so their departmental digital strategies - due for publication in December - will set out how they will each deliver the actions in light of their own users and services.
We'll be blogging more about different aspects of the strategy over the next few days. In the meantime, please have a read of the strategy and tell us what you think, either in the comments below, or via @gdsteam.
Creating and agreeing a collective strategy is hard work, but everyone's contributions have been challenging and constructive throughout. I'd like to thank all the Digital Leaders and their teams for their support. The strategy includes videos of Antonia Romeo from MoJ, and Ian Trenholm from DEFRA, while Phil Pavitt will be sharing some of HMRC's exciting digital vision on this blog in the near future.
Finally, thanks to the Digital Advisory Board for their wise words of advice, and to the fantastic team at GDS who supported this work.