Government must improve the way it uses tech

Oliver Dowden has stressed that the government must improve the way it uses technology, to make sure people get the best possible services online.

Speaking at the Sprint 19 conference in central London, the Cabinet Office Minister said the Government Digital Service (GDS) must go further and faster to bring forward technological advances in its services, arguing that improved online services would free up civil servants’ time and save taxpayer’s money, allowing investments to be made in hospitals, schools and the police.

He also set out an ambition to drive a new wave of digital transformation, in which online services are integrated and data and digital identity are used to proactively help the public - for example by prompting those claiming childcare online to look at information for parents on support in the early years.

Dowden said: “I remember when GDS was created. I remember the excitement, the pace, the revolutionary spirit centred around making things better for users - and we must always challenge ourselves to continue breaking new ground. I want to know that in five years’ time, my successors will still be invited around the world to talk about the work you’re doing now - so the challenge is to keep moving forward.”

During his speech at the Southbank Centre, Dowden also announced that he was creating a powerful new Chief Digital Information Officer role, to lead the government’s digital transformation.