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Digital delivery post-Brexit

Dr Mark Thompson, in speech to the National Digital Conference, calls for new digital efficiencies in Britain as functions are repatriated from the European Union.

digital delivery post Brexit

The UK government has some digital opportunities for greater efficiency and improved service to taxpayers when Britain repatriates many functions currently performed by the European Union after Brexit, Dr Mark Thompson of Cambridge Judge Business School said today (22 June 2017) in his opening address as chair of the National Digital Conference 2017.

Dr Mark Thompson

Dr Mark Thompson

“We could be missing a real trick here: instead of reconstituting some of these functions many times over, we could just create them once digitally,” Mark told the conference in London attended by 250 people involved in digital issues affecting government.

In the last quarter before the recent General Election, the UK government released three strategy papers relating to these issues: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, the Cabinet Office’s Government Transformation Strategy, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports’ Digital Strategy – all of which envisage a more digitally enabled economy and government in a post-Brexit world.

This flurry of reports indicates increasing awareness that government needs to mature its digital capability, and yet each presents a slightly different focus and response – so we continue to lack a common idea of what digital transformation of public services really looks like, says Mark.

Among Mark’s suggestions for digital innovation after Britain exits the EU:

  • Avoid duplication of functions such as licensing, monitoring and regulatory activities, by building them once in the cloud.
  • Invest in “govtech” ventures capable of exporting UK public sector digital expertise globally.
  • As legislative and regulatory reform starts to bite, “get it right first time”: invest in senior executive education for policymakers and departmental heads around how digital business models can offer sustainable public service reform for a “post-bureaucratic” 21st Century.

“Implementing Brexit will place a huge burden on the state. We have a real opportunity to use digital thinking so that we end up with a less, rather than more, complex and expensive public service model”, Mark said in his address.