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Survey finds 30% of people let down by public-sector tech during pandemic

ThoughtWorks research highlights problems around remote schooling, local government and GP services

While the coronavirus pandemic has led to people relying increasingly on technology, research from ThoughtWorks shows that 30% have had trouble using public-sector technology during the lockdown.

The tech company’s research found that those aged between 18 and 30 experienced the most problems, with 48% in that age group saying public-sector technology during the lockdown had not worked well.

David Howell, portfolio director, public sector at ThoughtWorks, said the lockdown had “accelerated people’s daily use of technology to power their lives”.

“In some instances, it has shaped every aspect of their life, bringing the future of 2030 forward to today,” he said. “In turn, this has shaped people’s expectations for the level of personalised and tech-enabled services they now expect. The bar has been raised and it is now up to every business and organisation to meet this.”

The survey revealed issues in accessing public-sector technology across the board. Some 14% of the people surveyed said they struggled to access local government information online, while 13% had problems contacting their GP using technology and 11% struggled with remote schooling for their children.

“We know from our research that appreciation for public services has soared since the outbreak of the coronavirus, with many valuing services more now than before,” said Howell.

“However, this level of appreciation is also coupled with people now believing that more investment is required as expectations rise. What is notable from the research is that those with the highest demands and biggest frustrations are tomorrow’s generation.”

Government departments have launched 69 services on the Gov.uk website during the pandemic, with a further 46 on track to be delivered. The NHS has also increased its use of technology, both for staff and public-facing services, such as virtual GP consultations, remote monitoring technology and outpatient video appointments.

Many local councils have also built apps for public services and volunteering during the lockdown.

Read more about public-sector technology during the pandemic

  • NHSX is seeking suppliers to help scale up remote monitoring across the health service in England, particularly for Covid-19 patients, and will go out to tender shortly.
  • During the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, government departments have launched 69 online customer facing services on Gov.uk, with another 46 on track to be delivered.
  • UK government unveils framework to stop the spread of coronavirus, but contact-tracing launch date not revealed.

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