Predictions 2020: public sector

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Trends, technologies, key topics, and issues around the public sector in the UK that will shape up 2020

Matt Howell
         Matt Howell

Over the last 5 years, UK Government has forged a reputation for being innovative in the manner it has embraced Digital and Opensource technologies, but 2019 has been what could only be described as a “turbulent” year for UK government with shifting priorities.

We are entering 2020 with more clarity on the UK’s future direction, an ostensibly new regime, emerging clarity on key priorities, and with new challenges emerging.

Mick Halliday
  Mick Halliday

In a world of constant change, the government will need to be more responsive to change, adapt new and emerging tech, and respond to social challenges and citizen needs as they emerge. To achieve this, the governmental departments will have to break down silos and integrate better.

With the government’s focus on Technology Innovation Strategy as the next step, 2020 will change the market in many ways – here are some key trends to watch out for according to our public sector experts, Matt Howell, Mick Halliday, and Nick James .

Focus on 5G

Nick James
    Nick James

Government has recognised the importance and the role of 5G in improving the nations’ overall digital infrastructure. With the government announcing £40 million is to be invested in 5G testbed and trial projects across the UK industry as part of government plans to improve mobile connectivity, we predict 5G will provide the foundations for enhanced digital public sector services for both citizens and the public sectors own employees, helping improve the overall accessibility of digital services both in static locations but also in a mobile context.

This will accelerate the innovative provision of mobile device-based applications, allowing digital services to be employed in new citizen-facing contexts, but also providing for the innovative use of digital technologies to support government field workers, in areas such as enforcement, policing, health and border security. The enhanced bandwidth available combined with the capabilities available in modern devices will allow the sector to combine positional data, videos, AI and AR (Augmented Reality) in exciting and innovative ways.

Addressing legacy technology

The ability of government to continue to deliver high-quality services in times of change, depends upon its ability to dynamically respond to changing circumstances, legislation, policy and risk. The breadth, scale and nature of the technology that underpins public service delivery both provides enormous opportunities, but equally significant challenges. Addressing these challenges is necessary for more than just helping the government to innovate. It is about managing scale, operational efficiency, and providing the best value for money, while user expectations, technologies, and suppliers’ services are all changing rapidly. Therefore, we predict that 2020 will see greater adoption of cloud computing, making services more scalable with reduced spending on data centres and associated operational costs, combined with improved integration of newer digital services with systems of record to drive automation, efficiency and improved citizen interaction. .

 Intelligent Automation

The intent to create a lean and efficient government regime, combined with the need to embrace new responsibilities and a continued drive to improve citizen services will during 2020 and beyond bring renewed interest in automation using Robotic Process Automation, AI and Big Data Platforms. Dynamic purchasing systems focusing on these areas will be created during 2020 to assist Government in the procurement of such services combined with significant investment in AI and a key focus outlined in the Government Technology Innovation Strategy

A recent Capgemini research paper, Reshaping the future: unlocking Automation’s untapped value,  describes the power of these technologies, the evolving state of the market and how the effective combination of such technologies can yield savings in excess of 17% across most industry sectors  – Key areas of adoption will most likely focus on creation of “bot”-assisted onmi-channel experiences  to provide more seamless integration across digital and call-centre channels, and AI-assisted risk analysis and profiling of interactions – e.g. automating applications and renewals whilst isolating exceptions for human intervention

IoT and sustainability go hand in hand

Several local councils in Britain are harnessing the power of connected things to provide insights into how to shape services and make them more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective. Government initiatives such as the plans to upgrade the UK energy system64 are already underway to help consumers manage their energy supply efficiently. The number of smart meters is predicted to grow to 53m in the UK by 2020. The Scottish Government is seeking suppliers for a dynamic purchasing system for the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. We predict that with a focus on smart metering and smart cities, IoT will go mainstream to help with the government’s agenda of sustainability.


Increasingly, law enforcement is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to augment their officers and agencies. AI is said to be an essential factor in law enforcement because it can assist in many areas as well as enhance efficiency. AI is supporting the Police with crowd control and surveillance, being increasingly used for facial identification, and scanning video footage for anomalies. With the primary goal of law enforcement being to help deter and solve crimes, we predict 2020 will see many ways in which AI can help realise those goals, such as facial recognition, as well as preventing and fighting crime.

5G technology combined with AI and Augmented reality will introduce further innovation in the use of Augmented reality for improving real-time situational awareness and operational coordination and control, as well as improved options for public engagement and evidence gathering.


Meet our experts

Matt HowellMatt Howell Nick JamesNick James