Public Services > Central Government

Departments publish digital strategies

David Bicknell Published 21 December 2012

23 major services will become digital by default by March 2015


Government departments have duly published their digital strategies in a co-ordinated move as part of the Government Digital Strategy which sets out how the government will become 'digital by default'.

By 'digital by default', the government means providing digital services that are "so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so whilst those who can't are not excluded."

The government believes that by moving services from offline to digital channels, it will save between £1.7 and £1.8 billion a year.

As part of the digital strategy, the government has promised that it will:

- Improve departmental digital leadership

Departmental executive boards will include an active digital leader. Transactional services handling over 100,000 transactions each year will be redesigned, operated and improved by a skilled, experienced and empowered Service Manager.

- Develop digital capability throughout the Civil Service

All departments will ensure that they have the right levels of digital capability in-house, including specialist skills. Cabinet Office will support improved digital capability across departments.

- Redesign transactional services to meet a new digital by default service standard

All departments will undertake end-to-end service redesign of all transactional services with over 100,000 transactions each year, and all new or redesigned transactional services going live after April 2014 will have to meet a new digital by default service standard. 23 major services will become digital by default by March 2015.

In its digital strategy, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said that if it successfully transforms its services to be digital by default, it can earn a reputation for offering high-quality, responsive, convenient and up-to-date services.

"This will, in turn, support HMRC's three core objectives of maximising revenue, minimising costs and improving the customer experience. HMRC believes that around £160m-£220m a year could be saved in telephone and post costs if an additional 29m transactions were moved online."

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) said in its strategy that "people increasingly expect to be able to access services digitally at a time which suits them - and expect those services to be easier to use than the non-digital equivalent.

"While some DWP users are not yet online, nearly four-fifths of future Universal Credit claimants are already available online, but many of these digital services are not intuitive or responsive enough to user needs. This can drive unnecessary contact through other, more expensive channels if people are unable to complete a process online.

"Increasing the scope and usage of digital services offers huge potential benefits for users, for our staff and the taxpayer. But these benefits will only be realised if more people choose digital, and they will only do so if we offer high quality services."





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