Martha Lane Fox calls for radical public service reform

Written by Colin Marrs on 3 February 2016 in News

The government’s former digital tsar Martha Lane Fox has called for a ‘reinvention’ of public services for the digital age.

Lane Fox, who stepped down from her role as UK digital champion in 2013, is now chair of digital inclusion campaign Dot Everyone.

In the organisation’s response to culture minister Ed Vaizey’s consultation on the UK digital strategy, she said that the government needs to fund radical reform.

She said: “There is much excellent work being led by GDS on transforming digital public services.  

“But we need also to be even bolder than this and begin to design services for the near future.  

“What should a hospital or schools look like in 2025 if we were to design them around people’s needs rather than the needs of consultants or teachers or those of government departments?”

Related content

John Manzoni: ‘Government ‘requires hundreds of digital specialists’
Business Anywhere: The ultimate guide to flexible working

Vaizey recently called on people and businesses to email him with their recommendations for the UK’s Digital Strategy.

In Dot Everyone’s response, Lane Fox also said that the UK should have a goal of being the world’s leading network economy by 2025.

She also called for a new digital skills fund to support citizens with low or no digital skills, citing people who have recently lost jobs in steel towns such as Redcar and Port Talbot.

She said: “It is a national disgrace that more than 12 million adults in the UK lack basic digital skills, with almost half of these people of working age.  There is an overwhelming business case for investment.”

In addition, Lane Fox continued, the UK Government should set a goal for half of tech sector jobs to be occupied by women by 2025, with an interim target of 30% by 2020.  The figure currently stands at 17%.

She said: “This gender imbalance affects us all. We have a national digital skills crisis. There are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the technology sector, forecast to rise to 1m by 2020. If we do not understand why and try to rectify it we are missing out on half of the talent pool. 

Share this page



Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.


Submitted on 3 February, 2016 - 19:04
It must feel like trying to shine a bright light into a black box - nothing seems to happen. Digital Transformation is not just a nice wish, it is an economic necessity, and there are people out there treating it like an open purse, to be dipped into everytime someone wants a 99!. It has to change and change now. There needs to be a 'movement', and that may well have to come from unfunded circles (as is so often the case). Get rid of the dead wood in the public sector, and focus attention on who has actually made things work - and work well. Listen, observe, understand the needs (not the nerds) and change.

Related Articles

Ministers slammed over failures to respond to consultations
10 August 2022

Labour claims Conservatives are operating as a ‘zombie government’ as 15 online feedback-gathering exercises have been left dormant since 2019 election

Customer support contractors at DBS set to strike
9 August 2022

Workers delivering webchat and telephone service via outsourced deal vote for six-day walkout

Local authorities and their suppliers must connect the digitally excluded
1 August 2022

Various vulnerable groups are among those at risk of lacking the connectivity or skills to engage with public services, according to Graham Cutting of Cantium

Arch reformer Maude kicks off probe of government efficiency
29 July 2022

Former Cabinet Office minister begins review of civil service effectiveness

Related Sponsored Articles

Fuelling the UK’s digital economy
12 July 2022

Ed Stainton, Director of Major Government at BT, on accelerating initiatives to drive growth through responsible, inclusive, and sustainable technology