Public Services > Central Government

UK and Canada to cooperate on digital government

Matteo Natalucci Published 15 October 2017

The UK and Canadian Governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining each nation’s ambitions for digital government


The UK and Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which the two countries agree to work together towards four shared goals in the digital government space.

The MoU signed between President of Canada’s Treasury Board Scott Brison and UK Digital Minister Matt Hancock represents a commitment on the part of each country. The two countries said they agree:

  • to provide better digital public services
  • to ensure that we support everyone in using digital public services
  • to promote economic growth
  • to use open standards for government information, data and software

Hancock said:”Over the past six years the UK has developed a model for digital government transformation that is recognised as among the best in the world”.

Hancock added, “This Memorandum of Understanding reflects the UK and Canada’s shared ambition to make sure that digital innovation continues to underpin the delivery of our public services”.

Brison said, “It’s a pleasure to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with the UK’s Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock. This MOU commits us to working together to deliver improved government services to those we serve, and to do so in an open,transparent manner. I’m excited about the potential of what we can do.”

In July, Brison launched Canada’s own Government Digital Service: the Canadian Digital Service (CDS).  It follows the Canadian province of Ontario announcing the launch of the alpha of its Digital Service standard earlier in the month.

The Canadian public sector’s push towards more digital government comes on the back of the creation of similar GDS-like organisations in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.

In a  blog post  on the CDS website, Brison said, “Canadians deserve government services that are easy to access and to use. They expect their government to be focused on service to citizens. In the connected world of the 21st century, good service means digital delivery, whether you are ordering take-out, rearranging your mortgage, managing your prescriptions – or accessing government programs and services.

“The Government of Canada has an opportunity—and a responsibility—to deliver world-class services to Canadians. This will require disruption as we make the switch, both technically and culturally, to agile digital delivery models. To accelerate these efforts, I am excited to announce the launch of the Canadian Digital Service (CDS) to modernise the way the Government of Canada designs and delivers digital services.

Ontario’s digital team is looking for comments ahead of a beta planned between October this year and March 2018, and then a live standard available from Spring next year.

In a  blog  published on Medium, the Ontario Digital Service (ODS) detailed its work towards creating the digital service standard, including learning lessons from other countries and “jurisdictions”, and testing prototypes with public servants across the province.



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