MPs express concerns about the Digital by Default strategy

09 July 2013

The Science and Technology Committee has today written to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude MP raising a number of concerns about the Government’s Digital by Default strategy – including questions about the potential savings promised by the strategy and its implications for personal data security.

The Committee urges the Government to be clearer about the savings being made as services become Digital by Default, including the costs of designing, or redesigning, online services.

Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Select Committee said:

"A key justification of the Digital by Default strategy is savings to the taxpayer. Yet it is not evident that the Government is even able to measure these savings."

In addition, the Committee is concerned that as public services go online, the Government may not keep up with advances in technology and that inadequacies in Government software may lead to security vulnerabilities. There is a risk that third party suppliers providing identity assurance could pass on their security vulnerabilities.

Andrew Miller MP, said:

"Public trust is absolutely essential. The Government must ensure the integrity and security of data and give people sufficient control over their stored personal information otherwise, the Digital by Default strategy will not succeed. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the strategy."

The Committee considered the recently published draft identity assurance principles and suggests that the Government includes a ninth principle stating that (i) if a dispute arises concerning a citizen’s online dataset, that the citizen should be initially presumed correct; and (ii) if a mistake has been made, the citizen’s data should be instantly corrected.

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