Government yet to fully embrace digital

The IoD has called on the government to focus on creating an environment for innovation

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has called on the government to focus on creating an environment for innovation rather than delivering specific technologies to take full advantage of digital transformation.

The IoD report entitled ‘Digital government and the productivity puzzle’, said the government needs to do more to open “itself up to digital transformation” including taking advantage of innovation and technologies that already exist in the private sector.

A survey of IoD members, which provided the basis for the report, found that 77% of those surveyed thought government is “poorly equipped to take advantage of technological advances and automation”.

The report said: “This was underscored by the fact the majority of respondents felt online payments, banking, and data entry provided by the private sector were better than the government’s own digital services,”

It said that although government digital services have improved, they are still not up to scratch compared with those in the private sector.

Despite the Government Digital Service (GDS) having made huge inroads in digital transformation, momentum has slowed down.

The survey results echo the National Audit Office report, published in 2017, which said GDS needs to have a clearer role as its accountabilities remain unclear.

The report said: “The government does not itself need to be an innovator or developer of technologies, but instead needs to create the environment in which technologies and processes that have been honed in the private sector can be adapted to deliver better services.”

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