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Government will tackle barriers to sharing and linking data, says Cabinet Office minister Hancock

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock highlights transparency, open data and disruptive technology as key to delivering better public services for less expenditure

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock has promised to tackle barriers to sharing and linking data in government and said technology can improve public services while cutting costs. 

“Technology is disruptive, so we will harness its energies. Data is power, so we will democratise our data. The old model of government has failed, so we will build a new one,” he said in a speech at the Institute for Government this week.

“As we go into this Parliament, and approach the spending review that underpins it, we will need to harness creativity and ingenuity in running public services, harnessing the very best of modern techniques and technology.”

Computer Weekly reported last week that the Government Digital Service (GDS) will publish plans on its strategy by Christmas 2015. The government has also re-iterated its commitment to its government as a platform (GaaP) strategy.

GaaP aims to move from a focus on transactions to platforms, which can be used across government departments instead of duplicating work.

“The more people there are to do the work, the more work gets created. It’s why bureaucracies, unchecked, usually get bigger,” Hancock said.

“By contrast, when you build a digital platform, you can build it once. With minor tweaks it can be used and re-used in the 17 departments, the 494 government agencies, the 433 local councils and even other governments around the world.”

Hancock highlighted the need to use technology to tackle bureaucracy across government and use transparency to gain the trust of the public. The government has opened up 20,000 datasets so far, which are published on data.gov.uk, which Hancock called a “digital glasnost”.

The government recently hosted a Job Hack event in an attempt to solve the youth unemployment problem through the use of open government datasets. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is also working to publish anonymised datasets on earnings cross-referenced with university records. 

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