Top 10 tips for public sector digital development

Government deputy chief technology officer Magnus Falk outlines what government organisations should be doing to improve digital services.

This list was presented by Falk at the Public Sector ICT conference in London today.

Falk said: “The list is important and will drive your future as well as developing the things and services you need for the service to run.”

  1. Start with user needs
    Falk: “Ensure systems and information processes are designed around needs of service users. User research is a real job. It is easy to pretend you are doing it but it is important to do it properly. Some questions can only be answered as you go through and watch how users interact with services as you develop them.”
  2. Separate your applications from the desktop
    Falk: “Applications should be designed to make no assumption about device, supplier, or brower. Make sure your old estate doesn’t bind you into a desktop. Separate it now.”
  3. One solution for official data
    Falk: “There is now a common approach to securing official info. There is no special technology. It is a handling indication, and allows cloud storage. Security says ‘yes’”
  4. Virtualise your estate
    Falk: “Regard buying computer storage like electricity. Consider cloud before anything else.”
  5. Get out of the data centre business
    Falk: “The scale required to run cost effective data centres is beyond the largest government departments, let alone the smaller units. All the problems you can imaging have been solved.”
  6. Bring key skills in house
    Falk: “Buying and commissioning needs informed buyers with technical experience. You shouldn’t outsource strategic decision making. If it doesn’t exit, develop  or recruit people.”
  7. Open standards, markets, source, data.
    Falk: “Be open in all you do. Make it a condition of new spend.”
  8. As platforms become available, use them
    Falk: “We have councils in the pipeline for gov.verify. Our technology is yours to use.”
  9. Use any new build to drive segmentation
    “Decide what is specific to your needs and what is generic. Separate data from processing. Be suspicious of suppliers who won’t do a contract shorter than three years. If it is good after 12 months it is in everyone’s interest to extend it.”
  10. Reward reuse
    “To develop something which has already been done is a waste of money. Celebrate these leaders.”

Do you agree with this list? How many of these has your council implemented? Let us know in the comments section below:

Colin Marrs

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