Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Discovery: the UK is not a Scandinavian country

Those were heady days, 16 months ago, "Who sets the gauge rules the world". Ruling the world seemed a possibility for the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Sprint 14: 29 January 2014


"You've improved people's lives". That was taken at face value once. But now we need to know which people? How much have their lives been improved? In what way have they been improved? And has GDS really saved billions?

GDS may believe that "we've achieved so much". But, 31 May 2016, we read that the EU disagrees:
The 2016 Digital Economy and Society Index shows the UK down one place from the 15th place it achieved last year.

While the UK is the top-ranked for its open data policies, it fell short in other areas – particularly pre-filled forms on government websites.
And, 26 May 2016, we read that the Labour Party disagrees:
It is also two years since the Cabinet Office published their Digital Inclusion Strategy, setting April 2016 deadlines which have passed without fanfare or indeed any update whatsoever. One of these targets was to reduce the number of people lacking digital capability by 25%. I await their progress report, but in the meantime figures from other sources don’t fill me with hope.

Go ON UK’s Digital Exclusion Heatmap, created with the London School of Economics and the BBC in late 2015, shows that 23% of people in the UK do not possess basic digital skills.
And, 24 May 2016, it turns out that IBM disagree, too:
A wave of digital transformation has undoubtedly swept over Europe in the last decade and none have embraced this digital change at a greater rate than our Nordic cousins. While the Scandinavian countries are currently the most advanced in terms of realising a truly mature model of effective eGovernment, Great Britain is still at the 'enablement' stage of the journey.
"Still at the enablement stage" (ouch!)? Or "we've achieved so much"? Which is it?

That's a poser for Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service. Should he maybe hire some Scandinavian digital transformation people? Harder question for him, should he maybe acknowledge that we Brits don't see government the same way the Scandinavians do?



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