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November 6, 2012

Cabinet office unveils plan for government services to be accessible online

The government moves a step closer in its plan to becoming digital.

By Tineka Smith

UK Government

The Government’s plan to save money and make services easier by making them accessible online has been pushed forward with the release of the Government Digital strategy and Digital Efficiency report by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet office.

The Digital Strategy outlines how the government can save up £1.2bn by 2015 by making everyday transactions digital.

"Digital services are much more convenient because they can be accessed whenever you want them," said Maude. "They are also much more efficient, saving taxpayers’ money and the user’s time. Online transactions can be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than face-to-face, and up to 50 times cheaper than by post."

Over 1 billion transactions are handled every year by the government through 650 different services. Many of these services offer no digital options or are underused.

The Government’s strategy wants to make its digital services attractive enough, so accessing them online will be the preferred option for transactions.

"Britain is in a global race and that’s why we need to have modern, efficient, digital-by-default public services that are fit for the 21st century," said Maude.

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"Building world-class government digital services will take time but the publication of this strategy just a fortnight after the launch of gov.uk is an important milestone," he added. " I’d like to pay tribute to the work of civil servants in the Government Digital Service and beyond who have shown how Whitehall can improve and adapt by embracing new ways of working."

All civil service departments will soon be required to have a digital leader on their executive boards.

By the end of 2012, the seven Whitehall departments will point out three important services, with over 100,000 transactions per year, which will receive a digital overhaul.

"This is the first time that the Government has produced a strategy in this way, a truly digital document which reflects our ambitions and signals a clear roadmap for working with departments to help them achieve the goals set out in this strategy," said Mike Bracken, executive director for Government Digital Service.

The publication of the digital strategy follows the launch of GOV.UK last month to make accessing government information clearer and easier.

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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