Government unveils public services to be digitised by 2015
New online services part of government's digital-by-default agenda
The government has announced the first wave of public services to be digitised by 2015. The new digital services are expected to save up to £1.2bn by 2015 and around £1.7bn per annum thereafter.
The "exemplar" services to be digitised, which will be detailed in departmental strategies include some of those provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Home Office, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Ministry of Justice, and the Cabinet Office.
Specifically, HMRC will set up paperless PAYE and business tax services and agent online self-service. At DWP, services to go online will include the carer's allowance and personal independence payment. Universal credit, which is due to start receiving new benefit claimants in October 2013, will be accessible online from its inception. For the Ministry of Justice, services such as the Lasting Power of Attorney will be digitised, while, for the Home Office, CRB checks will move online to allow users to "get Criminal Records Bureau clearance more straightforwardly".
The government is keen to reassure users that all its services will still be available offline, however. The Cabinet Office said, "No-one will be left behind in this digital revolution. The Government wants every single government service to be available to everyone. We are digital by default, but services will remain available to those who can't go online themselves through assisted digital."
According to the Cabinet Office, "every single year, the government handles over a billion different transactions across 650 different services. This announcement is good news for users of public services, for taxpayers, for civil servants and for business. Digital services can be 20 times cheaper than doing the same thing by phone, 30 times compared to post, and 50 versus a face-to-face transaction.
"For members of the public, these changes mean they can access essential services at a time of their choosing, more quickly and at less personal cost."
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said, "Britain is in a global race, and as the world has changed so must the Civil Service. In the past, online services from the Government were woefully worse than those offered by the private sector.
"That's why, as we reform the Civil Service, we are embracing a digital-by-default agenda to deliver the very best for Britain.
"Today we've set out exactly how we will make it easier for people to do things like apply for pensions and car tax online. As a result we will save people time, money and stress - while making the taxpayer savings in excess of a billion pounds and setting Britain up as a world leader.
"Like the best businesses, we will deliver services online whenever possible, to cut costs and put our customers in control. Members of the public will be able to access our information and services when it's convenient to them. It will be these modern, digital-by-default public services - delivered by an exceptional Civil Service - that will give the British people the 21st-century government they deserve."