The UK needs pace and scale to be a global leader

The World Economic Forum's Global Information Technology Report 2015 saw the UK ranked eighth, up one place from 2014

In the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2015, the UK is ranked eighth, up one place from last year in the Networked Readiness Index

The ranking annually assesses the factors, policies and institutions that enable a country to leverage IT and communications for shared prosperity. This assessment is based on an aggregation of 53 individual indicators, including use of social networks and government technology savviness.

Europe dominated the top 10, and the UK’s rise to eighth in the Networked Readiness Index shows that we are moving in the right direction. However, the improvement is not at the pace or scale needed for the economy to take full advantage of the benefits technology has to offer.

It's telling that although the UK came third in use of social networks, it is not in the top 10 tech-savvy governments. The previous government made significant changes to improve this position, including the creation of the Government Digital Service (GDS) as a disrupter and change agent, and the development of the G-Cloud framework, which has provided an effective route to market for small businesses. The recent appointment of GDS chief Mike Bracken as chief data officer should build on the excellent work the government has done on opening up public sector data.

However, the WEF rating shows that the next government must make strides to improve against this measure by using technology to transform public services, increase productivity and secure jobs that help drive an inclusive and secure society. 

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The UK government’s commitment to the concept of government as a platform will, if implemented correctly, help bring the scale and pace needed to transform the delivery of the country's public services. 

TechUK believes the key to this is working closely with the full range of UK-based private sector suppliers – and civil servants agree. A survey of 1,200 civil servants involved in delivering the digital agenda for government found they want more and earlier access to suppliers and a better environment for engaging with the whole of the supply base. 

As the trade association for over 850 innovative digital tech companies, TechUK looks forward to working with the next government to engage its members, large and small, in helping the UK climb the rankings and become the global digital leader.

Julian David (pictured) is chief executive of TechUK, the UK’s technology trade association.

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