GDS bids for Treasury cash to extend GaaP

The Government Digital Service is preparing a business case for consideration by the Treasury to develop further platforms and registers which could be used across government, it has announced.

In a blog posting yesterday, GDS deputy director Felicity Singleton outlined four workstreams the unit is working on to develop the concept of “government as a platform” (GaaP).

She said that GDS would reveal the initial prototypes over coming weeks, but would bid for cash from the Treasury to expand the programme.

“Before you start doing a piece of work, it makes sense to get the preparation done right,” she said. “That’s what this work is all about: preparation. We’re laying the groundwork for government as a platform, making sure we have an excellent understanding of what’s needed, where, and to what extent.”

The four streams of the GaaP work are:

Common Technology Services – GDS has been working with departments “to understand how to give civil servants modern, flexible technology that helps them collaborate and do their jobs more efficiently – but at a much lower cost than before”.

Platforms and standards – GDS has started work on prototype platforms and registers that could be re-used across government. “We’re learning by doing, and writing a business case for Treasury that will help us expand this work much further,” Singleton said.

Agency transformation – GDS is working with government agencies to better use digital technology to reduce duplicated effort and build better services.

Department transformation – GDS says it is finding out how it can make the structure of government even more invisible to users. Singleton said: “When a task requires the user to deal with several different departments, how can we break down those invisible barriers and make the whole thing easier? How can we make things better for users and for the teams running the services?”

Within each workstream, there are several project teams working on different prototypes, which will showcase their projects in coming weeks, she promised.

In March, the government’s deputy chief technology officer Magnus Falk revealed that early work had been taking place on the GaaP programme.

He said: “The success of and other platforms gives us a hint that we can go deeper and faster,” he said. “Digital transformation can be increased through GaaP. Proving the value and the reality is the work in process”

At the time, some voices raised worries that central government was not talking to local government in the design of the new platforms.

Colin Marrs

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