PDMS' Chris comments on techUK's #3PointPlan for the UK public sector
Today techUK have unveiled their plans to transform the delivery of public services with their 3 point plan of better engagement, better information and more innovation.
The 3 point plan comes in response to the growing level of public and political concern over the Government's use of digital technology and relationship with the digital marketplace.
The aim of the plan, which has been made independent of Government and was put together by techUK members, is to increase Government's digital knowledge, making them a more informed customer and to broaden the scope for technological innovation within the public sector, supported by the expertise of tech suppliers. The plan also directly addresses the way the Government and tech industry work together, and incorporates the Office of Fair Trading's report into public sector technology and results from an independent investigation showing that government officials want better value through better supplier relationships.
It is now hoped that techUK members will work with Government ministers and officials to begin implementing the plan across all Government departments.
Julian David, chief executive of techUK, said: "This is all about bringing the full power and potential of digital technology into the public sector and improving the lives of ordinary people. As an industry we recognise that we can do better, and we want to help. This plan is designed to do that by improving the way we work with Government, flooding it with expertise and knowledge about digital technology and how the tech industry works. It will make Government a more demanding customer, and give them the ability to test new ideas and innovations safely without the fear of failure.
Now we want to move forward positively with Government and make this plan a reality. The prize is better public services, and a public sector that is able to make crucial savings in an age of austerity. Everyone benefits."
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.
Commenting on the plan, PDMS' Managing Director Chris Gledhill, who was elected to the techUK SME Public Services Board earlier this year said, "I am delighted that the IT industry is stepping up and engaging constructively with the Government in the UK. As an industry we have a lot to contribute to both economic growth in general and to productivity improvements in public administration in particular. Both have a positive impact on the public finances, and any initiative which enhances the contribution our industry can make to innovation in the public sector has my wholehearted support".
To follow the conversation online, tweet @PDMS using the hashtag #3pointplan!
techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow.
More than 850 companies are members of techUK. Collectively they employ more than 500,000 people, about half of all tech sector jobs in the UK. These companies range from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups. The majority of our members are small and medium sized businesses.