UK Transformational Government - Enabled by Technology
The Government has published 'Transformational Government - Enabled by Technology', a strategy for transforming public services using technology. The strategy sets out how effective use of technology designed around citizens' and businesses' needs can make a real difference to people's daily lives. It is not simply about the internet, but is a far more profound approach that goes to the heart of public services delivery.

The approach has been developed and agreed by the Chief Information Officer Council who actually implement the majority of public sector technology systems.

The world is changing around us at an incredible pace due to remarkable technological change.

This process can either overwhelm us, or make our lives better and our country stronger. What we can't do is pretend it is not happening.

Government has to respond to keep up with the hopes and aspirations of citizens and business, to remain efficient and trustworthy.

That is why I asked for a strategy on how we can use technology to transform government services.

I am delighted that the Chief Information Officers' Council and the Service Transformation Board have produced such a bold strategy.

The future of public services has to use technology to give citizens choice, with personalised services designed around their needs not the needs of the provider.

Within the public services we have to use technology to join up and share services rather than duplicate them. It is a simple fact that we are stronger and more effective when we work together than apart. It is also self evident that we will only be able to deliver the full benefits to customers that these new systems offer through using technology to integrate the process of government at the centre.

But most of all we have to have the right people with the right professional skills to plan, deliver and manage technology based change.

This strategy has the potential for real transformation of public services.

What delights me most though is that this strategy has come from the ground up. It shows that there is a real appetite for change and modernisation within the public services themselves.

This strategy has my full support and I am going to do all I can to help make it happen.

Rt Hon Tony Blair MP

Beyond e-government: UK launches an IT Strategy for transformational government.

OVUM. Eric Woods

The UK government launched its new IT strategy on Wednesday in a document entitled 'Transformational Government: Enabled by Technology'. While the strategy addresses specific issues facing the UK public sector, it also highlights important trends that are relevant to other countries as well. At its heart are three core themes - the need for a new generation of technology-enabled, citizen-focused services, the need for greater professionalisation of public sector IT, and the value of shared services.

Comment: The document is not so much an IT strategy as a manifesto for the changes needed if the public sector is to harness effectively the potential of technology. As such it is an impressive review of the challenges and demands facing the public sector as it struggles to deliver a modernisation agenda that is increasingly technology-dependent.

The focus on a new generation of citizen-focused services, and the need for a transformational agenda, reflects a general recognition that the push to on-line services has delivered limited benefits to citizens. The next stage in e-government requires a more radical re-engineering of public services and the structures of government.

The emphasis on professionalisation is perhaps a more UK-specific issue - and aims to addresses long-standing concerns over the UK's ability to manage large-scale public sector ICT projects. As ICT becomes central to an ever-wider range of public services, continued failure to address this issue is not an option. It is also in-line with broader changes to civil service culture that will see much more demand for those with specific skills and professional experience rather than generalists. Improvements in the management of supplier relationships also come under the professionalisation theme.

However, it is the emphasis placed on shared services that may be the most significant element of the strategy for both the supplier community and to public sector workers. The aim is to transform corporate services such as HR and finance from a series of siloed applications into a limited number of standardised processes supporting a wide range of organisations and departments through shared service centres. The shared services programme has the potential to deliver significant efficiency savings but it is also a major re-engineering challenge in its own right; one that will require fundamental changes in the way government works.

The overall success and value of the strategy, however, will depend on all three elements been given equal and sufficient support across government. New levels of service will be necessary to gain public approval - but they can only be delivered efficiently and effectively if the engine of government (including its ICT capability) is itself modernised.

Prime Minister's webcast.
Windows Media [AV file 1 minute 27 seconds]

Foreword by the Prime Minister