Majority of civil servants don’t understand GaaP, survey says

Despite the £450m in the spending review to help develop Government as a Platform (GaaP), 74% of civil servants are either unaware of the term or don’t fully understand it, according to Northgate Public Services’ new report Mind the GaaP.

Surveying some 2,100 civil servants, many with an IT background, the survey reveals the difficulties and opportunities arising from the drive to create shared platforms for similar services across Government.

The Northgate report revealed 43% of civil servants haven’t even heard of GaaP while 31% don’t fully understand it. However, it also revealed that those who do understand it, support the vision.

The report revealed that by far the biggest gains in the digital transformation agenda were seen to be in automating more services (58%), as opposed to reducing the costs of technology (9%) or implementing new policy priorities (8%).

Sue Holloway, director of services strategy at Northgate Public Services, said: “The biggest danger to the success of Government as a Platform isn’t technical at all, but rather a lack of understanding. This is mirrored by a lack of confidence in implementation, with only 7% of respondents believing their organisation will achieve its digital goals. Those kinds of figures can only shackle ambitions and limit success.

“While the lack of understanding is worrying, there are powerful grace notes to the report. Those who do understand GaaP tend to be far more evangelical about the benefits, and they’re not confined to IT departments.”

“The solution may lie in creating more digital champions, and developing an effective awareness campaign. I’d urge those with questions to do their research on the benefits of GaaP, because it has the potential to deliver dramatic efficiency gains to the whole of government.”

The GaaP strategy aims to create common, shared technology platform services that will help to build redesigned digital services to be used across government, such as Pay, Notify and Verify – the latter of which went live in May 2016.

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