Last week the Chancellor outlined his much-awaited Autumn spending review. This contained the usual measures related to individuals but what caught my attention was the significant focus placed on both digital transformation and greater collaboration across government. As Tim Gregory has blogged previously these are both issues we are passionate about at CGI. Here is a brief summary of my key takeaways from the Chancellor’s statement.
- Supporting Digital Transformation: the Chancellor has allocated £1.8 billion for digital technology and transformation and this support must be welcomed. In my view it is critically important that we don’t stop at front-end digitisation, the underlying business processes of government must now be transformed, and data shared, to ensure this investment delivers the best possible results. Full collaboration across Government departments and agencies and with the private sector and SME’s will also be required to achieve the level of transformation the Government aims to achieve whilst realising efficiencies and full citizen engagement.
- Further backing for GDS: As part of the investment in digital, GDS has been awarded £450 million to continue its drive to create “common platforms”. This continues the support for delivering Government as a Platform where common systems are re-used across departments to reduce spend and increase ROI. The ability of departments to work together collaboratively and the ability of GDS to access the widest possible skillset will both be fundamental. We are working to support GDS directly in collaboration with the Home Office where a multi-skilled CGI team will work to scope new digital transformation projects. This type of public private partnership will be essential to deliver change at the required pace.
- Integrating health and social care: The Chancellor included an increase in funding for the Better Care Fund and has lent support to the further integration of health and social care. Integration in this area allows savings to be made whilst improving government’s ability to protect society’s most vulnerable. Silos hinder care and as I blogged for the Civil Service World - Multi-Agency Collaboration should help prevent vulnerable cases from slipping between the gaps. At CGI we are actively committed to working with our public sector clients to unlock the benefits of greater collaboration on a large-scale.
- Protecting policing: It was encouraging to see that core funding for UK policing will remain stable, despite fears of widespread savings. What also interested me were the Chancellor’s comments on the need for closer back-office integration and further innovation in how the service operates. Wearable technologies, mobile working, and body worn cameras all mean officers can be more efficient. For example, our customer North Wales Police is considering issuing wearable devices that measure officer wellbeing in partnership with the region’s ambulance service. Similarly GPS ‘flags’ can alert officers if there is a pending arrest in their area.
Overall, those of us who believe in the ability of new technology and new processes to change how government operates should be supporters of these measures. Government has naturally evolved based on 100 year-old customs, processes and procedures. With this statement we now have the freedom and resources to re-think that for the good of the country.