Hancock signals shake-up of regulations for digital age

Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock has appealed for reforming public servants who are “encumbered by regulatory barriers” to speak out so that government can update “the regulatory rule book”.

Speaking at the Institute for Government on Monday, Hancock reiterated the importance of technology in public service reform, saying : “We can use technology to completely redesign how we serve citizens, delivering services that are cheaper, faster, more accessible and more secure.”

In response, an audience member related how her team had been forced to “generously interpret” its own regulations in order build a new digital portal for appeals.

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She asked Hancock for “a digital reform act that says wherever something is required to be sent by first class post […] there can be a blanket reinterpretation to enable imaginative organisations like ours to get on with the job”.

Hancock acknowledged that since many regulations had not been not designed for a digital world, government would need to “go through the regulatory rule book updating it”.

“Let the message go out wide and clear,” he said, “I want to hear from people who are driving this sort of change and are encumbered by regulatory barriers, so that we can look at changing those regulations to modernise them.”

Colin Marrs

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