In 2017, the UK public sector will put increasing emphasis on transformation – both civil service reform and innovation in public service delivery. However, it will need a smart approach. Budgetary pressures and an uncertain political and economic environment, mean that Government will have little money available to throw at complex and costly ‘machinery of government’ changes or to push through policies that are unpopular with departments, agencies or other public sector organisations.
As such, TechMarketView’s 2017 theme, Unlocking the Intelligence is apt. Improving the way public sector organisations work with one another, including bettering the flow and use of data between departments, agencies and other public sector bodies will be key.
This is what we expect in 2017:
· Emphasis on the ‘transformation’ in digital transformation. We still await the UK Government’s revised Digital Strategy. There have been numerous leaks regarding what the strategy might look like. But, one of the most telling signs is that the word “transformation” has crept into the title – it will now be the UK Government Digital Transformation Strategy. In our view, this will herald a welcome change of emphasis in 2017 and beyond. It will also require the Cabinet Office to take a much stronger lead.
· Government Digital Service (GDS) taking a supporting role. In the past few years it has felt like GDS has been driving reform. While that will no longer be the case, digitisation will be crucial to the Government’s transformation agenda, and the need for GDS to take a supporting and enabling role will remain. Most importantly, a more holistic approach will be required to gain the trust of citizens in digital services and allow for more effective and efficient use of data.
· Acceptance that one size doesn’t fit all. Trying to fit square pegs in round holes has been a recipe for disaster for the UK public sector. Pushing a ‘one size fits all’ approach, whether for procurement models or devolution arrangements, has been a recipe for failure. This in turn slows transformational progress. We see 2017 as the year when a less prescriptive approach characterises UK Government’s decisions and actions.
· Connected workplace moves up the agenda. The property rationalisation agenda is ramping up, shining a bigger light on the need for collaboration. Public sector organisations will be prompted to take a fresh look at IT and communications and the connected workplace, with the aim of improving decision making and gaining better access to data and analytical insight.
· Devolution… but not as we’ve known it. Devolution is still a political priority. But some of the emphasis is changing. While the reform of public services will be important, there will far greater emphasis on support of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the revival of major regional cities. This will prompt greater investment in infrastructure, energy and transport – all relevant to the smart cities agenda.
· Expanding gap between digital leaders and laggards. Data sharing issues, budgetary pressures and digital skills shortages will mean adoption of digital technologies continues to be patchy. Progress will be accelerated where digital transformation supports more commercially-driven activities or where it is seen to clearly support Government policy. With limited resources, technology will be used to make citizens feel more in control, more informed and more valued – all in support of Theresa May’s ‘shared society’.
We’ll be publishing our regular Predictions Compendium report early next week, which will include extended versions of all of our analysts’ predictions. This report will be exclusively available to TechMarketView subscrption service clients. If you would like further information, please contact our Client Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Georgina O'Toole at '07:30'
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