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Technology


Government’s digital road map creates new opportunities


PHS Data Solutions Managing Director Anthony Pearlgood explains the implications of the Government’s digital revolution


ublic sector organisations are having to rethink how they work in these challenging economic times and this is bringing profound changes in the management of government, the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and the NHS. New technology is transforming the way we are governed. One of the biggest driving factors is the digitisation of Government services, an ongoing transition to ensure that all government transactions can be made online by 2020. The Government’s digitisation programme is helping to boost the expansion of the UK’s document management sector, which generates around £900million of revenue annually and is currently growing at 3.8% a year. Document management, which includes scanning and data capture solutions, enable organisations to capture, process, manage, retrieve and share business critical documents, is expected to continue expanding over the next fi ve years as the UK becomes an increasingly digital society. Enabling millions of users to access more government services online, at times and in ways that suit them, is already reducing the cost to government and saving around £1.7billion per year, as a digital infrastructure made of data not paper is built, introducing common platforms for payments, registers and licence systems. Making frontline services more responsive and accessible will also provide greater access for rural populations, improve quality of life for those with physical infi rmities, and offer options for those whose work and lifestyle demands don’t conform to typical daytime offi ce hours. This building of a state digital highway fi t for the 21st Century is being carried out by the big names in the data industry, but once the core digital network is completed for the Government private sector providers need to embrace


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the concept and offer the right level of service and support. There will be a requirement across government departments to maintain the common platform and provide scanning, physical and digital storage as well as shredding for end of life documents. These services will be outsourced, presenting new opportunities for companies to infl uence how the transition to a digital infrastructure is implemented and to subsequently provide the support needed. Whether it’s confi rming a driving test, paying for


a TV licence or booking a prison visit, it can now be done online as the Government pushes through digitisation of records to meet its target of 2020. The digital revolution is simplifying how the public access government information, with the aim of making everything available in an easy to use online information hub. In a speech at the Digital Leaders conference in 2015, the Minister for the Cabinet Offi ce, Matthew Hancock MP, likened the technology transformation taking place today to “the modern equivalent of the canals and railways that made industrialisation possible”. However, according to the Minister there are around 700 interactions between government and citizen that still have to be digitised. One of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of digital services has been the time-consuming and expensive cost for departments in building the initial underlying infrastructure, also making it interface with other sections of government and consumers. To address this issue the Government is building its


own common set of platforms, core digital “plumbing” which can be used by services across government. By introducing a common payments platform it will integrate services and save a considerable amount of money. It has also established a new department within the Cabinet Offi ce called Government Digital Services. The aim of the organisation is to make digital services and information simpler, clearer and faster. It advises all government departments and is working with the Cabinet Offi ce to ensure that there is a common digital platform. Its priorities are the full digitisation


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