COMMONS

Digital Government inquiry launched

25 July 2018

The Government Digital Service (GDS) was set up in 2011 to help deliver the then Government’s policy of ‘Digital by default’ in the provision of public services. It has supported 25 ‘exemplar’ service-delivery projects, including registering to vote, Land Registry, Carers Allowance applications, tax self-assessment and passport renewal.

The Government published its ‘Digital Transformation Strategy’ in February 2017, focusing on how digital technology can improve and redesign services as well as the internal workings of departments. It is working towards 25 million people having a GOV.UK Verify account by 2020 and 90% of passport applications being made online by 2020.

The previous Committee’s 2016 ‘Big Data Dilemma’ Report looked at the Government’s progress on ‘open data’ data-sharing initiatives and concluded that “there is more to do to breakdown departmental data silos, to bring data together in order to further improve public services”.

A June 2017 Report from the Institute for Government, Improving the management of digital government, stated that “the spread of new digital services for the public has been slower than planned” and that a cyber-attack that hit the NHS showed “the fragility of some of the systems being used in the public sector”.

In March 2018, the Prime Minister announced that the data policy and governance functions of the Government Digital Service (GDS) would transfer from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), effective from 1 April.

Terms of reference

The Committee is undertaking an inquiry into Digital Government, and would welcome written evidence by Friday 28 September that addresses the following issues:

  • The progress of Government digital services, the areas where further development is particularly needed, and how well the UK compares with other countries.
  • How well Government digital services are protected from cyber attacks.
  • How well the Government Digital Service (GDS) has helped spread the use of digital services across Government, including promoting the use of new technologies and uses of data.
  • The digital skills capacity in Government departments and agencies, to be able to deliver effective digital services to the public and businesses.
  • How well the Government and its agencies deploy their datasets to maximise their value for money, effectiveness and delivery of digital services.
  • The extent to which Government datasets are made available to private-sector and academic service developers, and how well its ‘open data’ arrangements are operating.
  • The implications and opportunities for GDS arising from Brexit, including areas where the nature of digital services may have to change.
  • The implications for GDS following the move of its data policy and governance functions from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Submitting written evidence

Submit written evidence via our inquiry page.

Each submission should:

a) be in Word format with as little use of logos as possible.
b) have numbered paragraphs.
c) include a declaration of interests.

Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

Submissions need not address every aspect of the terms of reference and should be no longer than 3,000 words.

The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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