Government finally publishes its Digital Transformation Strategy

The Cabinet Office has published the long-awaited Government Transformation Strategy, setting out how the government will harness digital technologies, skills and tools to transform public services and put citizens first.

Delivering the keynote speech at the Reform think tank’s annual conference in central London, Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, outlined the government’s commitment to build on the Digital by Default services developed under the previous digital transformation strategy.

Central to this commitment is identity assurance – establishing that the user is who they say they are via GOV.UK Verify. To achieve this, the Government Digital Service will accelerate the roll-out of GOV.UK Verify, aiming to have 25 million Verify users by the end of 2020. Verify pilots with local authorities, banks and the commercial sector are planned.

The strategy also unveiled several new goals for the end of 2020, with the GDS working with departments to achieve them:

  • the appointment of a new Chief Data Officer and a new Data Advisory Board to align efforts to use data across government better and more efficiently
  • the new GDS Digital Academy will provide skills training right across government, training 3,000 a year from 2017 – creating the most digitally skilled Civil Service in the world
  • a fully digital real-time tax system, ending the monotony of the annual tax return
  • making 90% of passport applications online by the end of 2020
  • bringing the 2021 National Census online, aiming for 75% online response (up from 16.7% currently)

Gummer said: “I want to see a revolution in the way we deliver public services – so that people up and down our country feel that government is at their service at every single stage in the journey.

“That is why we are today publishing our Government Transformation Strategy, outlining our commitment to reshape government by ensuring millions of people are able to access online the services they need, whenever they need. We will deliver these changes while driving efficiencies wherever possible, making considerable savings for the taxpayer.

“Only by transforming the relationship between the citizen and the state – so that the latter serves the former – will we deliver the Prime Minister’s commitment to build a country that works for everyone.”

Related reading