Francis Maude: ‘We’ve gone from being crap at digital to becoming a world leader’

By Sooraj Shah
10 Dec 2013 View Comments
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Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has claimed that the UK has gone from being poor at all things digital to becoming a world leader.

Maude was speaking at the Cabinet Office today to update the media on the government's digital strategy which was published a year ago.

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"Gov.uk is now setting the standard for other governments. It is open source and New Zealand's government has taken over the source code from GOV.UK," he said.

Maude added that the US government's launch of Obamacare online was further proof that the UK had been successful with its digital project.

"Obamacare launched to universal criticism and a lot of the commentary said ‘why didn't they do what the British government is doing - the Government Digital Service (GDS) approach' - they did it the old fashioned way," he said.

"We've gone from being a byword, being crap at this stuff to becoming recognised as a world leader. It is not over yet though, there is a lot more to do," Maude added.

The minister said that progress across all of government on its digital strategy was "not consistent" but that people should not expect it to be.

He said that one of the issues early on in the strategy was the GDS's credibility.

"They'd go around Whitehall and would say ‘this could be done for a tenth of the cost' - we were accustomed to being told it is too good to be true, but we now see we can do things for staggeringly less than people expect, and therefore they have a higher level of credibility," he stated.

Aside from progress with GDS and GOV.UK, the ‘one year on' report also says that the government has made an impact by transforming 25 services across government. Currently there is one service with live elements (the Student Loans Company), 15 in beta and six in alpha.

Two new actions will be added to the strategy: working further on digital inclusion and exploring ways to syndicate information and transactions so third-party organisations can create new services and better information access for their own users.

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