Labour manifesto puts digital at heart of government reform

Digital technology should play a key part in transforming the system of government, according to the Labour Party’s 2015 general election manifesto, released yesterday.

The document said that, if elected, the party  would implement the proposals outlined in the party’s separate zero-based review, aimed at identifying savings which can be made from the public sector.

An interim document released as part of that review last month suggested that £8.6m a year would be saved if just 25% of councils migrated their websites to the platform.

Yesterday’s manifesto said: “We will further develop digital government to enable better communication, more collaboration, and sharing of data between services. It will make services and transactions more efficient and simpler for people to use.

“To create a more connected society we will support making digital government more inclusive, transparent and accountable.”

In addition, it said that citizens would be able to give feedback on services quickly and simply, “making sure their voices are heard, stimulating improvement and saving on the costs of service failure”.

A future Labour government would also back the principle of “open data by default”, releasing public sector performance data wherever possible, the manifesto said.

The manifesto concluded: “We will use digital technology to create a more responsive, devolved, and less costly system of government.

Julian David, chief executive of ICT supplier representative body TechUK, said: “The world is being transformed by tech and any successful vision of the UK’s future must have the smart use of digital technology at its core.

“We are pleased that the Labour Manifesto recognises the need to build on the UK’s strengths and the sector will welcome the focus on raising productivity, using digital technology to reform public services, continued investment in communications infrastructure, a commitment to long-term science funding, and proper democratic oversight of investigative powers.”

Colin Marrs

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