BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has welcomed the publication of the Government’s Digital Strategy.
Phillip Webb, Chair of BCS Government Relations Group, says: “The strategy is a welcome move by government. It has the potential to not only deliver services more economically but also meet the demands of our digital society.
“It is important however, that we ensure that everyone who needs to use the government’s services can do so easily in whatever format they wish. There are still a lot of people who have not used the internet and we need to help them understand the opportunities open to them and also reassure them that they won’t be disadvantaged.”
The Institute also believes that the move to digital by default will intensify the demand for IT skills within government, not just among the professionals in the sector, but among the staff who use technology at the front line.
Phillip adds: “The government needs talented IT professionals to develop and implement high quality online services. They need a firm grasp of what technologies can do, how the public are using them and how it all relates to the demands on a service. It's also highly important that there are skills to manage data security; the amount of data government holds on individuals, much of it sensitive, makes this one of the most important elements of any online service.”
Digital by default is not just about government ambitions: a recent study by Accenture showed that the majority of people questioned said they were likely to use various digital public services, and for most categories more said they were “unsure” than “unlikely”. It reflects the fact that people's expectations of how they obtain public services are going to change, in line with how they interact in other areas of their lives.