I recently read the Policy Exchange document on ‘Remaking government for the digital age’. There are a number of interesting points in the document and I’d definitely recommend reading it if you are working in IT in Public Sector, in the UK or even further afield.

One of the guiding principles in the report is the use (exclusively) of digital channels for services which do not need a face to face meeting with the citizen. Our CaaS solution enables government departments to take a step in the right direction here. Government organisations can use it to automate and digitise the processing of Cases they receive from citizens, whether they are received through digital channels or through more traditional channels. The solution will eliminate the movement of paper with Government and enable a move towards a full Digital Strategy.
There are in the document a few nuggets of information and opinion:
– In 2013 the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the Crown Prosecution Service prints more than 1 millions sheets of paper every day. Now I don’t know what all these sheets are but can imagine a significant number will be court listings and case information.
– In the production of the report a survey was conducted whereby only 54% of respondents said they were efficient at using technology for collaboration. I wonder what this percentage would be if the repsondents got to choose the way they collaborate and not to be constrained by technology and security imposed on them?
– It raises an interesting concept whereby services could be developed by Private Companies and then sold to citizens, but only where that service is ‘meeting a previously underserved need’. I wonder how many citizens would be prepared for a service which is not currently available but will make out interaction with the government easier….consider in the UK doing Self Assesment on an app where the majority of the information is prefilled based on information taken from our banks or employers? Now I am not saying this is not going to be easy but the opportunities are there. Should the government be providing these already?
– One of the recommendations is ‘Eliminate paper for all interactions within and between government departments’. To be honest there really is no excuse for a lot of these and I completely agree this is an obvious area to target.
It is positive that the UK Government are taking steps to address some of these areas, it will be interesting to see how things progress. The Technology community are all willing to help make a difference but I don’t think the technology will be challenge but more the ability to embrace the level of change which this would take at the pace which it is required.