UK government could save £2 billion by shifting to digital services

A new report has shed light on how the UK government could save £2 billion by 2020 as a result of moving its citizens to digital services.

A new report has revealed that the UK government could save £2 billion by 2020 if it took the appropriate actions needed to shift its citizens to digital services and away from outdated technology and legacy contracts.

Independent charity the Institute for Government argued these points in its latest report titled Making a Success of Digital Government, in which it noted how the government has yet to see a significant return when it comes to the savings that could be generated by a transition to digital services. If the UK were to double down on its efforts and make it a priority to move citizens to digital services than the government could save a great deal more than it currently is.

The notion of the government switching to “online only” was brought up in 2011 by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. A year later in 2012, the GDS released a report claiming that £1.3 billion a year could be saved by shifting public facing government services to digital though this would occur as a result of reducing staff.

The government has begun to save by moving to digital, with the House of Commons reducing its publishing costs by £4 million and gov.uk lowering the cost of running its websites by £61 million being two key examples of what could be possible through further adoption of digital transformation.

The report itself noted that we are now at a point where further action is needed to truly see the benefit of digital transformation, saying: “These are mostly small changes. They are a long way from the savings that are needed. Making larger savings will require government organisations to achieve the wider transformation outlined above.

“We have reached a tipping point. If the leadership does not emerge to drive the changes, there is a risk that digital teams will continue to be viewed as website designers, brought in only at the very end of policy design processes.”

The author of the report, Daniel Thornton, highlighted this point even further, saying: Tinkering around the edges of digital government has taken us only so far – now we need a fundamental change in the government's approach.” 

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Anthony currently resides in South Korea where he teaches and experiences Korean technological advances first hand.