Working to make government more effective


Making a success of digital government

Government could save up to £2 billion by 2020 if it gets better at using technology.

Person accessing internet

Our report, Making a Success of Digital Government, says that after five years of getting more services online, government is hitting a wall. But despite some public services still running on last century’s computers, the real barrier to progress is not technology but the lack of political drive from the top.

Filling your tax return should be as easy as doing online banking. The technology exists. But outdated practices and policies mean that, in the case of many government services, we are still filling in and posting off forms to be manually processed. Taking digital government to the next level – which the report says would satisfy citizens and potentially save billions in the process – requires leadership. Civil servants need to improve their skills, old systems need to be overhauled, and policies need to be updated.

Daniel Thornton, report author, said:

“Tinkering around the edges of digital government has taken us only so far – now we need a fundamental change in the government’s approach. The starting point is recognising that digital is not just for geeks anymore – everyone in government must work to make it a success. There are huge potential savings to be made if the Government gets this right – which makes it all the more disappointing that the PM and Chancellor have not been as explicit about their commitment to digital government as their predecessors.”

May government
Institute for Government

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