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Government introduces new team to improve civil servants' use of tech

The Government Digital Service (GDS (opens in new tab)) has introduced a Common Technology Services (CTS) team to help government departments make better use of technology.

According GDS, the technology used by civil servants should help them achieve more and when it doesn't, it is frustrating.

It is introducing CTS as a response to findings that the technology used across government is often outdated and doesn't meet the needs of those who use it.

The goal is to make the Civil Service more productive and flexible by ensuring technology is a tool rather than a barrier.

"CTS helps government Departments provide their staff with better value technology, technology that helps meet user needs, makes cross-government collaboration easier and costs less," claimed Magnus Falk (opens in new tab), the government's deputy chief technology officer (CTO).

"We call some technology 'common' because it is as familiar at home as it is at work. It's technology like mobile and desktop devices, and the productivity software you use, like email and single sign-on services.

"It is also the way you connect, like wi-fi, and the servers and data centres that make these possible," he added.

Working Closely With Departments

The CTS team claims it is working with Departments to assess user needs, identify what is common and how design can be done once. It is also examining how contracts can be unpicked in order to allow for steady improvement.

The organisation has said that savings will be possible from common designs and products, reusable services, cheaper cloud solutions, pricing that takes advantage of the scale of government, shorter and flexible contracts and competitive supplier rates due to SME market access.

"Our early designs and products are being tested against user needs and security essentials, and we are already iterating them," claimed Falk.

"We are working with Departments and suppliers. We are helping departments deploy and operate reusable services, avoiding getting locked into long-term contracts with specific suppliers or technologies," he added.

CTS is now trying to identify its initial projects and is building teams for Departmental engagement, commercial, technical and delivery.