Government issues response to critical Lords’ digital report

The government has issued a detailed response to the recommendations outlined by a report by a House of Lords select committee, which was critical of the government’s digital programme.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills published its ‘Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future’ report in February.

The report made four main recommendations to the government to improve its digital programme, which the published response addresses.

The first recommendation was to develop a ‘Digital Agenda’ to ensure that the UK becomes and maintains its position as a leading digital economy.

In response, the government said: “The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK remains a leading digital economy.

Putting the UK at the forefront of digital transformation is a key priority for this Government, and at its core is the belief that the UK has the knowledge and expertise to thrive and compete internationally.”

Secondly, the report stated that a cabinet member in the Cabinet Office should assume ministerial responsibility for the Digital Agenda.

The government has asserted that a taskforce, chaired by Ed Vaizey and of which Matthew Hancock is a member, “is well-placed to coordinate activity across government to develop a comprehensive digital agenda“.

Thirdly, the report urged that the relevant cabinet minister regularly reviews the progress of the government’s digital agenda and report to parliament annually.

The government has responded to this suggestion: “The Government agrees that it is important to regularly review and evaluate the UK’s progress in achieving its digital objectives.

A report will be provided to Parliament via a Written Ministerial Statement in summer 2016, which will give an update on progress in meeting the Government’s digital commitments.”

Finally, the report invited the government to comment on a draft Digital Agenda formulated by the committee and compare it to the government’s own plan.

The synergies between the Committee’s draft Digital Agenda and government activity already under way are notable.

We are also considering how best the UK can drive the development of digital technologies to realise the full benefits.

The Government is keen to make sure that digital is being embedded at an even more local level.”

Related reading