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400 days to transform government

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital strategy, GOV.UK, Transformation

Stephen Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for Government, writes about SPRINT 13.

Sprint 13

Last week I was delighted to participate in SPRINT 13 the cross government digital event organized by GDS. It was great to see so many colleagues from all over the civil service enthused about our ambitious digital agenda. We have 400 days to deliver a radical transformation of government, to implement the government digital strategy and to deliver on the ambitions of the Civil Service Reform Plan.

At SPRINT 13 it was rewarding to see where departments are on their journey and to hear our digital leaders talk about the need to deliver with 'audacious speed'. This is not a phrase one might have expected to hear from an official in the past but it’s indicative of the changes that are taking place right across the civil service.

This message is not going unnoticed, and SPRINT 13 received plenty of positive media coverage including this interview by Charles Arthur, the Guardian's technology editor, with Minister Francis Maude. You can read all media coverage here.

SPRINT 13 was full of inspirational presentations and talks and this short video preview will give you a bit of insight into the event. We will be tweeting out links from @GDSteam as we release further content in the coming week.

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  1. Comment by Dave Coakley posted on

    If the problem is with how we (the Civil Service) develop IT/apps, Francis Maude's desire to outsource our IT implementation to a wider range of companies who can do it cheaper and better, makes sense.

    "We retendered the hosting for a small part of government recently, and the incumbent systems integrator bid £4m, while a UK SME [small/medium-sized enterprise] bid £60,000. That's a 98.5% saving. That's massive." - Francis Maude

  2. Comment by Richard Wyatt-Haines posted on

    Your 'GDS Projects' page says:
    "Innovation blog
    The Innovation team delivers fast, agile solutions to user and business needs in partnership with SMEs. The team helps departments ask a different question to focus on maximising user benefit, minimising cost, maximising success, and minimising time to delivery."

    I have tried to offer our services because we hit those aspirations - fast, agile, SME, user benefit, minimising time to delivery and we are an incredibly low cost provider because we have innovated to be able to do so.

    The response was a rapid 'We meet precisely this requirement in-house, so have no need'. This seems counter to what you say and reveals a mindset that is counter to the promise and a lack of enquiry. (Request #98541)

    I have tried to explain but to little effect. What can I do to enable you to see the potential, and question why you should be doing what we do in-house (if you really are)?

    Thank you

    Richard Wyatt-Haines

    • Replies to Richard Wyatt-Haines>

      Comment by nettienwilliams posted on

      Thank you for your enquiry. We currently meet the bulk of our short video production needs through our in-house team, but are always pleased to hear of innovators in this area.

      • Replies to nettienwilliams>

        Comment by Richard Wyatt-Haines posted on

        Thanks Nettie and I hope that we can work together in the future.

  3. Comment by David Hill posted on

    The problem with government implemented projects is that they invariably fall down at some point within the system that they develop, either before launch or after an ad hoc introduction based upon a wing and a prayer. I have noticed this for years and where the problem appears to reside in the fact that the civil servants always know best without recourse to those outside the system and who usually through more innovative thinking have the solutions to prevent the failings of government installations happening. More ‘freelancers’ like Berners-Lee and others used to be. Therefore I would as a primary recommendation advise government to get on-board more 'independent' experts (not establishment picked so-called independent experts) outside the box. For the history of S&T has shown that the more independent minds bear down onto a problem or new provision, the more chance of success it has. Indeed great global breakthroughs have usually emanated from such thinking. Unfortunately what I have seen with the present 'elitist' system that government adhere too without exception, failure is just a common event and where these habitual faults costs the taxpayer tens of billions in some cases as history has shown again. Therefore let’s start thinking differently for a change and introduce a pluralistic system where more 'free' minds can have their input and say before we commit vast inputs of capital investment. Common sense really but where government again have apparently little of this highly valued intellectual commodity.

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation

  4. Comment by alexstobart (@alexstobart) posted on

    Hello Sprint 2013 team

    This week I received my renewal reminder to get a tax disc

    The way it is folded into the brown envelope, means that the Reference Number you need, is neatly bisected and obscured by the fold. This makes it hard to read, and makes it more difficult for the user as you have to unfold the letter, rather than seeing the reference straightaway.

    It would be of benefit if you worked with citizens, service designers and others to make the new processes even more user-centred and friendly.

    Personally I would prefer to have the option to pay the road tax when I renew the vehicle's insurance as it would perhaps save time.

    Thank you

  5. Comment by Going digital by default | Shelter blog posted on

    [...] gathered last week at Sprint 13 to discuss the digital transformation of Government. They have 400 days to deliver a radical change, including implementation of the Government Digital Strategy. The aim [...]

  6. Comment by Adrian Munn posted on

    It's certainly something that Monochrome would be happy to explore. I think GDS is a great initiative and if it enables Government to engage with SME's who can demonstrate a real return on investment through working directly with Government departments to help reduce the costs of developing applications and tools that really do improve customer experiences and get the job done then this is a great initiative.

  7. Comment by John Andrews posted on

    Good stuff, but will it enable a taxpayer to communicate with HMRC by e-mail or appeal against a DWP decision electronically. In 400 days time I look forward to doing that would be "radical".