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June 1, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 4:54pm

Digital Citizens

How Government has changed tack in its efforts to make us all digital

By Sam

A digital citizen can be defined as someone who interacts with public services using digital platforms.

You deal with the government when taxing your car (DVLA), attending a hospital, paying your taxes, accessing benefits and in a host of other ways. But the objective for government is to build a single view of the citizen to reduce its operating costs and provide better service levels.

This is not always easy. The UK Government has spent the last 20 years seeking ways to digitise its services with everything from the NHS Electronic Patients Records project aka NPfIT, National Programme for IT (abandoned after £12bn was spent) to the integration of the national insurance recording system NIRS, which also failed.

These top down large scale multi-year mega projects are probably a thing of the past or are least not as fashionable as previously. Politicians like to make stock of failed IT projects, there is rarely a political disadvantage in castigating large IT companies.

The UK Government IT spend comes from around 130 central government bodies and the English local authorities.

The UK Government has established G-Cloud, a procurement platform which is design to loosen the hold of the big six systems integrators have on government purse strings. It was set up to open up government contacts to smaller companies.

Today the vogue on the supply side of government is for share services. This means attempting to streamline back end processes onto fewer systems. The desired outcome is a single view of the citizen.

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The quoted statistic is that when someone dies in the UK surviviing relatives must contact over 30 different government departments. By having a single citizen view means citizen data is shared between departments, repeition is reduced and services are made more efficient.

Perhaps the clearest and most high profile project to creating digital citizens is the creation of the Universal Access Obligation.
Back in November 2015 Prime Minister David Cameron will talk about the government’s intention to put access to broadband on a similar footing as other basic services like water and electricity, helping to cement Britain’s position as the most digitised major economy in Europe.

Work is now starting on introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) with the ambition to give people the legal right to request a connection to broadband with speeds of 10 Mbps, no matter where they live.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe."
Fast broadband connectivity is now seen as a key service, essential not only for busy families but also for businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK. The latest data from Ofcom confirms 10 Mbps is the speed needed to meet the demands of today’s typical family and many small business.

The web site Digitalcitizenship.net lists nine elements of digital citizenship.

 

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