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Modernising finance technology for the public good

The UK Government Finance Function’s Tim Wheelhouse discusses technology priorities, opportunities and pain-points driving efforts to put finance at the heart of public sector decision making.

In a climate of global economic uncertainty and the tightening of public spending, pressure on the UK public sector to be more efficient and demonstrate greater value for money is only growing in urgency.

At a time of rapid digitalisation, this presents something of a Catch 22: in order to deliver on these goals, the civil service must leverage emerging cloud technology and grow its data capabilities. Greater digitalisation, in turn, often requires significant investment in new platforms, solutions and the replacing of legacy infrastructure.

The UK Government Finance Function sits at the heart of this dichotomy, bringing together a range of departments and disciplines in its efforts to “put finance at the heart of decision making”. Tech Monitor’s Greg Noone met with the body’s head of finance data and technology, Tim Wheelhouse, to discuss how strategic priorities are driving tech selection; growing operational capabilities through the usage of new analytical tools; establishing collaboration and consensus across various interest groups; and picking metrics for measuring value and ROI at a time of increasingly squeezed public budgets. 

What is the process for identifying and selecting new solutions? How is “value” defined? Are the right skillsets in place to pursue rapid digitalisation? And to what extent must responses and technologies address not only the issues of today, but also empower finance to leverage emerging digital possibilities?

“Finance in a digital world means having the modern technology capabilities in government so we can make decisions at the right point with the right data at the right time,” says Wheelhouse. “We’re not only managing money today, but also for tomorrow and going into the future. We need to have the analytics capabilities and systems available to improve public outcomes across a massive range of government services.”

Watch the interview in full below.

Homepage image: Vladislav Zolotov/iStock

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