Remaking government for the digital age

Tuesday, 3 September 2013, 12:56.

On 2nd September the Policy Exchange published their report “Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger: Remaking government for the digital age”opens in new window.

The report considers the big changes that will be needed for Government to make the most of the opportunities presented by technology, data and the internet. Together, they estimate that these recommendations could save £70bn over five years.

Some of the recommendations make interesting reading in relation to projects we have recently been responsible for delivering.

Firstly Policy Exchange recommends that Government should eliminate paper for interactions within and between departments and reduce reliance on email as well. We have recently developed and launched a new legislation publishing service (Validation, Submission and Registration) on behalf of The National Archives that significantly streamlines and joins-up the processes needed to place legislation onto the statute book and into the public domain. This new system removes manual, email and offline practices and replaces these with an end-to-end solution that captures the data required to register and publish legislation and associated documents, and provides a mechanism to track where the item is in the publishing process. Not only is the whole process more efficient but it also enables greater visibility and provenance.

The report recommends that Government should start issuing electronic proofs instead of paper certificates. The new platform that we have developed for The Gazette, launching later this month, enables information to be permanently and transparently recorded, using digital signatures to ensure authenticity. The platform will be used to support legal processes such as probate and insolvency and will be available for use to record digital proof of other information such as licenses and to record other important public information electronically.

The new platform for The Gazette is built on an open RESTful API which enables the use and re-use of the data. All data published through the API will be available in both human readable and machine readable formats, helping to address another Policy Exchange recommendation that Government should open up all non-personal public sector data. Our OpenUp® platformopens in new window supports the enrichment and transformation of data to make it more re-usable by third party developers.

These initiatives demonstrate that the opportunities outlined in the Public Exchange report are already being implemented by forward-looking organisations such as The National Archives. We’re looking forward to working with other Government organisations to realise the benefits that digitising processes and opening up data can bring.