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Francis Maude praises Government adoption of digital technology

TechUK recently hosted its Public Services 2030 Conference (opens in new tab), where it invited leaders from the public and private sectors to debate the potential technology has to revolutionise public services, specifically looking at four disruptive technologies: Internet of Things, Mobile Internet, Data Analytics and Cloud.

The importance this agenda holds for the Government was reflected by the participation of Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, who delivered the keynote speech at the event. Maude described techUK's conference as a "great opportunity to reflect on what we've done, but also on what needs to be done".

In his speech, the Minister recognised the "significant transition" Government has made in embracing digital in recent years, and, encouragingly, no longer thought that "the words 'Government' and 'IT' induce automatic nightmares with visions of unintelligible contracts and failed projects."

Noting that we are "only at the beginning" of this transition, Maude saw the four technologies at the focus of #techUKPS2030 as having "the potential to revolutionise public services." He believed they would aid the UK Government in its digital transformation, and we couldn't agree more.

The Minister highlighted that the UK had "set about building a more digital government, underpinned by a strong commitment to competition." He reinforced this by giving a clear message to industry: whether companies were "big or small, established or disruptive, if you're providing the right product at the right price, then we'll do business with you." He noted that new initiatives like the G-Cloud framework and the Digital Marketplace have "helped to open up government contracts to a constellation of new suppliers of all sizes and in all places" across the UK.

Moving to the crux of his speech, Maude claimed that the UK Government would be modernising both "the way the Government provides its service to the public and [its] operating model" calling it Government as a Platform (opens in new tab). He claimed that this new approach would "help departments focus on their core business, without having to build every single component of a service from scratch."

He believed that this would be the new way forward for interactions between the Government and citizens, and said that "public services will need to be fully integrated with this platform in order to be viable." The Minister clearly set a precedent for the conference, as this topic surfaced in almost every debate throughout the day.

Bringing his speech to a close, Maude said that "driving down cost in government while improving the standard of services to the public" had been a key priority for the last five years and strongly believed that "digitalisation has been the essential component of this."

This echoes techUK's Three Point Plan (opens in new tab), which calls for better engagement between industry and Government, better use of the public sector's information and more innovation in public services delivery to provide better services at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

The Minister was confident that technology and digital will continue to play a central role in delivering a more accessible and more efficient Government, and, as we heard from techUK CEO (opens in new tab), techUK and its members stand ready to help.

Missed the conference? Check out the agenda (opens in new tab), Storify (opens in new tab), techUK CEO's opening remarks (opens in new tab) and the presentations (opens in new tab) from the day.