Government urged to step up digital services and close gap on private sector

People calling for improved digital services in healthcare and business advice among other areas.

The government must do more to improve its digital offering to those who use its services, according to a report by EMC.

The paper The Future of Government Digital Services was launched at an roundtable event in London on 22 September.

Panellists on the day included Mike Beaven, former transformation director at GDS; Emma Jones, CEO and founder of Enterprise Nation and Eddie Copeland, head of technology at Policy Exchange. It is based on a poll of more than 600 top business decision makers.

Key findings from the report include the fact that an average of 33 working days are lost due to people working with outdated government services. In a related statistic 65% of users believe government digital services lag behind those offered by the private sector.

Healthcare is the main area in which users want to see more digital services available. More than half (55%) of respondents said they wanted more to be done in the sector. E-prescriptions (49%) top the wishlist. In other areas an online directory showing tax breaks for businesses (50%) and online voting for all elections (48%) also proved popular.

One in four business leaders want more general support when it comes to business advice such as import/export and fundraising. This figure rises to more than 50% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

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EMC public sector CIO James Norman highlighted “an obvious demand for a more digitally focused government”.

“And whilst some progress has been made with Government Digital Services, there is still more that can be done in application transformation,” he continued.

“Businesses need a more efficient way of interacting with government and improving the accessibility of online services is one of them. Creating a digital foundation made of data and not paper will be critical for the business growth in the future.”

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones added that people see “small businesses rapidly embracing digital opportunities” and want the government to do the same.

“What is striking in this recent research is the high demand for more services in business support and this is even higher amongst the younger, digitally-savvy business community,” she said.

“Government voucher programmes should replicate the success of Growth Vouchers, connecting small businesses with the advice and support they need via a simple online process. Looking ahead it will need to be tailored for a time-starved, tech-savvy entrepreneur audience who are calling for smarter services and more personalised updates concerning regulations, tax or advice.”

Further reading: Five ways for the UK to top the innovation league

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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Digital transformation