Experts meet at Treasury to discuss UK digital strategy

“What would government be like if we felt about it the same way we feel about our iPhones?”

A special briefing was held this week at the Treasury where digital experts got together to discuss developments in the UK government’s digital strategy.

American attendees Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) and Jennifer Pahlka (Code for America) were full of praise for the UK’s Government Digital Service – O’ Reilly said that what set the organisation apart was its focus on the user: “The customer is not the government, it is the citizen. This is the revolution we are seeing here – this strategy is the new bible for government systems.”

After the meeting he tweeted that GDS’s action plans and designs are“the most significant since Apple’s“.

Pahlka said that Code for America – an organisation working to enhance citizen-government relationship – would adopt GDS design principles exactly as they are and also put forth the question: “What would government be like if we felt about it the same way we feel about our iPhones?”

Other attendees included executive director GDS, Mike Bracken; government COO, Stephen Kelly; deputy government CIO, Liam Maxwell, and Rohan Silva, senior policy officer to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Maxwell showed his phone to the meeting, on the back of which were the words “What is the user need?” which he says should be the principle behind all public services while Bracken said that his team was “no longer talking about” digital by default but had “gone and done it”, with the successful delivery of

Silva said he believes it is possible for the government to take £10 billion out of public sector IT spending in the years ahead, whilst also improving digital services for citizens.

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