GDS Needs to Re-Equip to Support Digital Transformation

A report by the Institute for Government (IfG) has estimated that the government could save up to £2bn in energy efficient savings by creating better digital services.  

The report criticised the lack of a central digital strategy from the Government Digital Strategy (GDS).

The report said: “We found that GDS has played an important role in bringing new digital capability into government. But, in the absence of a new digital strategy, its role is unclear. GDS needs to re-equip itself to support a government that now has rapidly developing digital capability, and high ambitions for change.,”

The IfG report highlights the transformative power of creating easy to use digital services, but said there is a lack of clear leadership and commitment from the top.

As the government starts to make changes in certain areas such as HM Revenue and Customs’ tax credit service, it now needs to move from “small changes to transformation” according to the report.

It also said:“The leadership of these changes will have to come from the very top of government, not the top of IT departments. At present, that leadership is not in place. GDS is under new management, and it will take some time to solidify their approach to cross-government digital change,”

The IfG said that as government ministers are “distracted by the challenges of preparing for Brexit” without clear leadership, we risk that “digital teams will continue to be viewed as website designers, brought in only at the very end of policy design processes”.

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