UK launches Government Digital Service to drive its online future

8 Dec 2011

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Digital champion Martha Lane Fox

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The British Cabinet Office has officially launched the new Government Digital Service (GDS) the group that will put the UK’s digital strategies into effect.

The new GDS will implement a number of strategies that will make the UK one of the leading digital nations in the world, including digital champion Martha Lane Fox’s “digital by default” strategy for government services.

“The government in its wider sense now has a digital home, and it’s from here we can help drive a new generation of digital public services,” the executive director of GDS Mike Bracken said today.

“Cross-government working, for so long an abstract concept, is starting to happen around this digital centre. And we will continue to throw our doors open to suppliers and partners.”

Bracken said a key policy is to have digital experts and public policy experts working in tandem to see new skills take root within the UK government.

“While our objective is the delivery of outstanding digital services which are then iterated quickly based on user need and demand, the delivery frees up huge savings as a result.”

One of the key tasks to accomplish is to simplify UK citizens’ access to Government services. At present, users have to navigate some 400 domains.

The GDS has been at work for a number of months now and one of the results is the creation of alpha.gov.uk, a single government web domain and plans are being drawn up for a shared gov.uk platform.

Minister for Cabinet Office Francis Maude said: “We are determined to offer world-class digital products that meet people’s needs and offer better value for taxpayers’ money – and that is why we have set up the Government Digital Service.

“The GDS will be the centre for digital government in the UK. It will transform the way people access government information by using digital technology to deliver services that put the user first and give them the smartest and most cost-effective service possible.

“I’d like to thank Martha Lane Fox for helping us to kick off our journey to make our services ‘digital by default’ and for her continuing support,” Maude said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com