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Government calls on industry to develop UK digital strategy

The government turns to the public and industry for ideas on how to push forward the UK’s digital transformation

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey has asked members of the public and industry to share ideas on how to push forward the UK’s digital strategy.

The government hopes to implement a new digital strategy for the next five years which will ensure the UK is at the forefront of digital technology in government, the economy and day-to-day life.

Vaizey encouraged ideas on how to shape the UK’s digital landscape to ensure it stays ahead of the curve in the digital age and to “show the rest of the world how it’s done”.

“Every part of the UK economy and our lives has been digitised – from how we shop and entertain ourselves to the way we travel to work and manage our health. This digital fever exploded from the cluster in east London and has spread to every part of the country, making the UK a truly tech nation,” said Vaizey.

“But we need to work hard to make sure we continue to take advantage of the benefits digital transformation has to offer. Come 2020, the UK landscape will undoubtedly have changed to be firmly in the digital age.”

Vaizey outlined four key areas of focus to ensure the digital agenda is successful, including unlocking digital growth so businesses benefit more from the transformation government is driving, making day-to-day life easier through digital and building on the foundations in place.

To ensure businesses can make the most of the UK’s digital economy, Vaizey suggested implementing more flexibility to ensure innovators from other countries can contribute to digital transformation in the UK.

Vaizey highlighted the Digital Single Market in Europe, a model which proposes to eradicate barriers between nations to make digital products and services more readily available across the European Union (EU), could inject economic growth of €415bn across Europe.

“I want the UK to be the default place entrepreneurs want to start digital business over any other tech hub in the world, scaling up to be global brands,” said Vaizey.

“From fintech to the sharing economy, we’ve already done so much to make sure our regulations keep pace with technology, but simply updating regulations is not enough.”

Continued government transformation was also highlighted as important for the continued growth of digital in the UK, and although digital services such as Gov.uk and Gov.uk Verify have changed the way the government provides citizens with services, more can be done to make interaction with government simpler.

To transform day-to-day life, Vaizey highlighted areas such as schools and the NHS as being a priority for using digital technologies to provide a better service. He asked for ideas on how schools and universities can benefit from similar technologies and what systems can contribute to the joined up healthcare needed to give NHS staff an easier time.

“As a government we are transforming the relationship between the citizen and the state, making public services – such as renewing your driving licence or paying your tax bill – simpler, clearer and faster,” said cabinet office minister Matthew Hancock.

“The potential for transformation driven by digital is vast and we are reforming public services to take advantage of state-of-the-art technologies – not just now, but including innovations to come. We will continually find opportunities to deliver better public services and to keep the UK contributing as a global digital leader.”

Public and industry have until 19 January 2016 to send their ideas on how government can use digital to transform the economy and society. The government aims to set the new digital agenda in early 2016.

Read more about digital government

  • The Government Digital Service (GDS) adds five authentication providers to the Gov.uk Verify identity and access management scheme.
  • Ahead of the spending review, the Department of Health has asked the government for between £3bn and £5bn to support the deployment of technology in the NHS.

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