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Government delays digital strategy

The digital strategy, originally due in autumn 2020, is likely to be published at some point in 2021, and the government is ‘continuing to consider the best timeframe for delivering the strategy’

The government has delayed publishing its digital strategy, which sets out how to drive a technology-led economic recovery post-Covid-19.

The strategy was touted by digital secretary Oliver Dowden in June 2020 as a way to ensure growth and productivity after the pandemic, and was originally due to be published in autumn 2020.

However, the government never produced the strategy, and there is no set date for delivery.

Answering a written Parliamentary question, Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) digital and culture minister Caroline Dinenage said it is likely to be published sometime in 2021.  

“We are continuing to consider the best timeframe for delivering the strategy, in light of the broader national context including the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said. “We are currently working towards publishing in 2021.” 

The strategy aims to set out how to build a highly skilled digital workforce across the country, help people to adjust to a digital-led economy, help businesses become digital and enable people to move into the tech sector. 

Dinenage said that the government is “committed to driving growth in the digital sector and wider economy, and to ensuring that we maximise the benefits of a digital-led economic recovery”.

“We will ensure that the digital strategy supports these objectives, both in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and into the future,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to both an increase and improvements in the use of data, and Dowden previously said there is a desire in government to have the “spirit of innovation and the urgency to change” to be a positive takeaway from the pandemic.

However, Computer Weekly reported in October 2020 that the government’s coronavirus data has not been perfect.

In early October 2020, it came to light that a technical glitch led to 15,841 positive results between 25 September and 2 October 2020 not being included in reported coronavirus cases. Public Health England says the fault was caused by a data file exceeding its maximum file transfer size.

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