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https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2021/04/06/the-next-steps-for-digital-data-and-technology-in-government/

The next steps for digital, data and technology in government

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Alex Chisholm, Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office, blogged about our appointments to the senior leadership of the DDaT (Digital, Data and Technology) profession in January of this year.

Since we started our respective roles in February, we have done a lot of listening to our teams, other government departments, and other important stakeholders. What we’ve identified is that we all have considerable ambitions for digital products, platforms and services, and for the government DDaT function.

The lessons we learned from coronavirus (COVID-19) have shown us that now, more than ever, digital must be front and centre of government’s priorities to meet user needs and this is the perfect time for us to accelerate the digital transformation of public services across the whole of government.

What we’ve been less clear about previously though is that there are 2 quite distinct challenges and opportunities that we need to support:

  • leading the cross-government community of DDaT professionals and putting the strategy, standards and assurance mechanisms in place to deliver transformation at scale
  • building, supporting and iterating digital products, platforms and services that can be built once and used across government

From today, the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) will lead the DDaT function. This is the next step for DDaT in government, allowing us to go further and faster by strengthening our collective leadership.

The CDDO will lead the DDaT function across departments, setting the strategy for DDaT in collaboration with leaders across government. It will have ambitious goals that get to the heart of digital and technology transformation, and will improve user access and experience of government services and harness the power of data.

Monitoring and assessing the health of the delivery of the government’s major digital and data programmes will be fundamental to CDDO as will tackling big problems like how we engineer for availability, resilience and interoperability, how we embed agile ways of working across departments supported by digital and technology funding models, sourcing strategies and procurement.

Meanwhile, GDS steps into its new role as the centre of the government’s digital transformation of products, platforms and services. The emerging strategy, alongside a clear mandate to address the challenges the government faces, is to deliver the next stage of modernisation by developing our digital products and infrastructure.

We’ll build on our small pilot to create a GOV.UK Account and our work on digital identity, working towards providing the kind of personalised, seamless and intuitive online service and information users should expect from government. We also want to build on the successes of GOV.UK Notify and GOV.UK Pay to identify the new common problems that departments face, fixing the basics to give better experiences to our users.

Over the upcoming months, both GDS and CDDO are moving forward with the next phase of digital delivery and transformation. This is essential to the modernisation and reform of government and you’ll be hearing more from both of us on what that looks like in practice.

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8 comments

  1. Comment by Tim Brooks posted on

    Services should be human by default supported with digital where it works to give value to service users. This is(DBD) expensive nonsense.

    Reply
  2. Comment by John Mortimer posted on

    Thank you for your information about Julia Lopez. The examples she gives are a very small part of highly transactional services that used Digital. She makes no mention of the actual work on the ground - that was achieved by people getting together to sort out problems and act.
    Unfortunately Julia Lopez fails to provide actual evidence, and seems to repeat the mantra that is helps us, and allow us to collaborate.
    It is not about data, or single sign-on. Speeches like that simply reinforce the distance between citizens actual needs, and politicians standing up and deciding that their idea is the one to go with is what has happened over the last few decades with disastrous results.
    Universal Credit, the NHS single record IT project and the Fire & Rescue Control centres have all taught us that lesson that we must learn before we proceed with transforming services.
    If she truly means person centred services, then lets get on and do it. The public sector has a myriad of person centred prototypes that have been tried and tested over the past two decades. We need to learn from those, and realise that dealing with citizens issues is primarily around dealing with complexity - something Digital does not really do.

    Reply
    • Replies to John Mortimer>

      Comment by GDS team posted on

      Hi John,

      We appreciate you taking the time to reply again, and will pass on your feedback.

      Thanks,
      The GDS team

      Reply
  3. Comment by James Cattell posted on

    Is DDaT a community, profession or function, please?

    Reply
  4. Comment by John Mortimer posted on

    "The lessons we learned from coronavirus (COVID-19) have shown us that now, more than ever, digital must be front and centre of government’s priorities to meet user needs and this is the perfect time for us to accelerate the digital transformation of public services across the whole of government."

    The learning from the response to COVID, is that Digital had a marginal and small impact when considering all the impacts of the support to people and communities in need. Perhaps the greatest learning was the value in local voluntary groups, and the way that local authorities got into action through responding to demands.
    The key was putting people together with people to solve problems. Digital had a very small part to play in it.
    Muvh of the public sector deals with complexity, and the best way to deal with complexity, it via people.
    Beware making the mistake that because Digital works well for highly transactional services, that is can be expanded to cover all services. We learned this from the disaster that is Universal Credit.
    Understand complexity, and use systems thinking as a foundation to the design, that would be a great start.

    Reply
    • Replies to John Mortimer>

      Comment by GDS team posted on

      Hi John,

      We appreciate the time you've taken to respond. Julia Lopez MP spoke about the challenges of COVID - the pandemic has put a spotlight on the power and potential of digital and data to inform, empower and serve our citizens and it has also underlined the need for reform to ensure government services are digital by default, more personalised and more efficient. You can read all the details on GOV.UK.

      Thanks,
      The GDS team

      Reply

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