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Conference on next Government Digital Strategy

04-05-2015 News UK

What should the next government Digital Strategy for 2016-2020 focus on? What objectives should the government define to ensure better and more effective digital services to citizens and businesses in the coming years? These were the central questions to be discussed at the conference 'Digital visions for the public in 2020'.

The conference which took place on 27th April was organized by the Agency for Digitisation and DI ITEK (the IT branch of Confederation of Danish Industry) in cooperation with a number of ministries, Local Government Denmark, and Danish Regions. The aim was to collect input for further work on the next Government Digital Strategy which should be finalised by the end of 2015.

More than 250 highly engaged participants from business, NGOs, government agencies, research institutions, etc. discussed smarter e-government and digital welfare.

Goals and visions
Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Mr Morten Østergaard, opened the day by setting the bar high: "We must be extraordinarily ambitious when, with the next strategy, we set the direction for the public sector in the digital environment. And it is imperative that we do not jeopardise along the way the trust of the citizens in the public sector" he said.

According to the Minister, the public sector parties (i.e. central, regional and local governments) behind the next strategy must:
  • set clear and joint goals across the public sector on digitisation for citizens and businesses,
  • support growth in the digital business and in industry at large, and
  • constantly improve the digital service to make digital solutions is the natural first choice.
Digitisation requires new skills
Anders Hvid, CEO of DareDisrupt, talked about the challenges and opportunities of the rapidly accelerating technological innovation faced by society today and tomorrow and presented his vision of leaps of development up until 2020.

SVP of Customer Relations in Danske Bank, Claus Bunkenborg, talked about gains and potentials of digitising customer service. He stressed that the transition towards digital service provision challenges culture and leadership in organisations as well as the skills of employees.

An effective and efficient data-driven public sector

Data and data sharing in the public sector was a theme that was very prominent in the debate at the conference. Should public authorities to a wider extent than today share relevant data on citizens and businesses to make service better and more focused? And, can current legislation adequately support increased data sharing?

Three themes recurred in several of the workshops:
  • challenges and opportunities of new types of data
  • public sector handling of citizens’ and businesses’ data, and
  • ways to better utilise data in the public sector.
New types of data challenge the way the public sector works today. When, for instance, public agencies get data about user behavior in digital self-service solutions it gives rise to expectations that the data be used to improve the digital self-service solutions and enhance the user experience in the digital channels.

At the same time citizens and businesses are increasingly self-monitoring using a variety of new devises and solutions, thus creating their own data. This could be health data that the individual will want - and might expect - to share with, for example, the general practitioner or the hospital. Are public sector agencies and institutions at all able to receive and use the data that users themselves collect?

Participants also discussed the interests of citizens in relation to authorities sharing data on citizens. One theme was ownership of data that citizens and businesses provide to public authorities and whether or not explicit consent should be required for authorities to be able to exchange data, for example, between a hospital and health professionals in the municipality.

Finally, there were discussions about how data can be used - internally as decision support for the authorities to make the public sector more effective and service-oriented, and externally in the form of open data as a source of innovation, collaboration, and growth.

Input to the next Digital Strategy
Ten workshops hosted lively debates on topics such as shared public IT infrastructure, welfare technology, data sharing between authorities, data-driven growth, and strategic management of the public digitisation effort.

The Agency for Digitisation and DI ITEK will compile and process the many inputs from the workshops and the compilation of inputs will be presented to the Steering Committee for the Government Digital Strategy to help shape the development of the next strategy.