Digital transformation of government has begun

The coalition wants to set a standard for digital delivery of public services that other governments around the world will aspire to.

That's what Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told the audience at Sprint 13, a government digital showcase event that took place in Westminster. He said progress is being made because the public sector is finally learning lessons from the private sector.

"For too long, the public sector lagged behind the private sector when it came to exploiting the opportunities of a Digital Age. Money was pumped into government IT - but this investment failed to deliver more efficient, user-friendly services," said Maude.

"Government IT developed a reputation for big, costly failures," he added, before insisting that the way the public sector uses IT to provide services is changing for the better and that the rest of the world will want to follow in the UK's footsteps.

"We are not where we need to be yet, but we will be. We are opening up to new technologies, innovative ideas and diverse business models for delivering better services for less money.

"Eventually, we are aiming to set a worldwide standard for digital delivery that other governments around the world will aspire to," said Maude.

"That's our challenge - it will be difficult but it will be worth it. And I want to urge everyone working in government to get on board - be radical, pioneering and ambitious - as we build a digital revolution within Whitehall," he added.

The government has vowed to introduce a "digital by default" standard for public services by April 2014, which will see online transactions replace those that are currently done over the phone or in person. In doing so, the government forecasts savings of between £1.7bn and £1.8bn per year.

However, the move towards digital services comes at a price, with jobs being lost as administrative and customer-facing roles are cut.

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