The UK government has acknowledged the significance of digital technology in public sector reforms with the minister of digital engagement Tom Watson asserting that the government should continue using IT to deliver more productive public services.
While addressing the Cabinet Office’s Tower '09 conference, Mr Watson said that more ‘exciting and innovative’ techniques are required to be developed to enhance the efficiencies of public sector.
Quoting the importance of IT, the minister further went on to say that digital technology facilitated users to access public services in an easier yet effective manner and has eventually helped the government save billions of pounds.
Touting the advantage of IT in delivering public services, Mr Watson notified that the government has already achieved a remarkable £26.5 billion mark in efficiency savings, with the figure would be expected to reach £35 billion by 2011.
The conference also saw the launch of the Transformational Government Annual Report that highlighted the efforts already being carried out by the government to improve delivery of public services.
The report further revealed that millions of users in UK used the internet to access public services every day, with around 13 million car owners renewed their car tax over the web, 2.7 million driving tests were booked using the internet, 15 million users visited the Directgov online portal for guidance and help, and many users filed their tax returns online.
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It is undeniable that the government has achieved some major savings through information technology although the £26.5 billion figure mentioned in the report may be a tad too optimist. Then other projects such as the much maligned NHS IT Project (National Programme for Information Technology), one of the most expensive civilian projects, is set to reach £20 billion. Throw in a couple of other IT projects like national databases and the National ID card and the costs of these endeavours could very well outweigh the savings.