Ground breaking progress has been made in the approach to digital government over the last four years, which the next government must build upon to bring greater scale and pace to the process of public service transformation. On 13 October 2014, we launched our Three Point Plan, which we believe can help transform public services to meet the needs of citizens.
The Plan, developed by techUK members comprised of both large and small tech suppliers, is designed to bring more industry expertise and knowledge into Government and make it a more demanding customer. It also sets out how the industry will work with Government to help ministers and officials experiment and innovate more successfully with technology.
The plan has three points:
1. Better engagement, to support civil servants earlier in the process and help develop policy with technical expertise. techUK members are committing resource to engage much earlier in the process, ensuring officials develop policy with a proper understanding of what technology can do. Previously many in the industry felt they were waiting to be invited to tender for a scheme that might have been designed better.
2. Better information, providing standardised, transparent reporting. This will overcome the problems of wildly varying reporting requirements on public sector contracts, which had the effect of making one scheme impossible to compare with another. The industry will agree a standardised data and evaluation scheme, allowing Government to pick and choose suppliers more effectively.
3. More innovation, giving civil servants the opportunity to experiment and explore solutions in a risk-free environment. techUK's 'innovation den' model will be used to provide a test platform for new projects, and is designed to overcome the problem of public sector innovation being strangled by the fear of failure. techUK will develop a 'techmap' of suppliers, ensuring Government is aware of all the options available to them.
The Plan was developed to address the recommendations from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)'s report into public sector technology, which highlighted the need for a more effective relationship between the public sector and tech suppliers of all sizes. The OFT's findings were supported by our own survey of 1,200 civil servants who called for more contact with suppliers through the life cycle of a project.
Since the launch, companies of all sizes have been voicing their support for our Plan. Below is a selection of some of the blogs written by our members:
- The CEO of Manchester-based SME Informed Solutions says that our Plan offers a straightforward, compelling and clear approach to transforming the way the tech industry engages with the public sector.
- The UK and Ireland CEO of Fujistu posted a blog supporting the plan, saying that the answer to developing more efficient public services is to foster collaboration between Government and industry.
- The Managing Director of PDMS, an SME headquartered in the Isle of Man, said in a blog that he was delighted to see the IT industry step up and engage constructively with Government.
- The Managing Director of Birmingham-based SME Probrand supported the Three Point Plan by saying that it can play a vital role in delivering better public services and at a lower cost.
- Dave Worsell, CEO of GovDelivery EU, wrote a guest blog where he highlights the difference the Three Point Plan will make sure SMEs.
So far this year, techUK has hosted market engagement sessions for the MOD, Defra, FCO, DWP, HMRC as well as many other departments. We are also delighted to see the Crown Commercial Service recognising the importance of the effective engagement and the role techUK plays in facilitating that with the market to ensure the public sector is taking advantage of the very best our industry has to offer.
The challenge for the civil service and industry will be to ensure the next Government continues to work closely with the industry. As we set out in our manifesto Securing our Digital Future: the techUK manifesto for Growth and Jobs 2015-2020, the next Government must engage better with the fastest growing sector of the economy and demonstrate leadership through creating market conditions that enable companies of all sizes to thrive through clear procurement policy.