Welsh government told to ‘be brave’ on digital
Governments across Wales have been told to make bold decisions and lead by example in order to make the most of digital in a report from digital services provider Atos.
Atos report sets out goals for Wales - Photo credit: PA
Digital Vision for Wales, published today, said that Wales has the fastest growing digital economy in Britain outside of London, with around 10% more digital businesses this year compared with 2015.
Wales’ IT sector is predicted to contribute around £1.5 billion to the economy over the next five years, Atos said, setting out the ways in which the government should look to take advantage of technological advances.
“The digital revolution has the power to change lives and strengthen our society, but won’t be fully effective if it is constrained by ‘old-world’ technologies, approaches and ideas,” said public sector digital consultant David Jones.
“This is a job for both the executive and elected leaders across local Government – digital might feel uncomfortable, but they need to be brave and look up from the day-to-day in order to drive change.”
The report, which is a collection of essays, case studies and analysis, said that the Welsh government must use digital to help it reform public services in a time of budget constraints.
Mark Donovan, a client executive for Wales at Atos, said that the Welsh government must “lead by example” by designing coherent strategies on digital services, establishing shared service models, adopting ‘cloud-first’ policies and incentivising the development of digital skills.
Donovan’s advice for local government, meanwhile, was to focus on the citizen as a customer, ensuring that services are designed with them in mind and that the benefits are visible or measurable to citizens.
Councils should also look to increase their collaboration, keep up-to-date on technological advances and “be brave” in embracing those technologies.
Jones’ section of the report focused on leadership, again calling for public service decision-makers to make bold decisions.
“That bravery may involve embarking on a yearlong leadership development programme that includes building a new digital team,” he said. “Or it may be to halt progress on an internal IT project and find other organisations to collaborate with around what you have in common: the needs of the citizens you serve.”
The report also looked at how government could ensure that it creates an environment where people gain the necessary skills to thrive in a digital world. This includes developing learning support for children and students and working with industry to develop digital inclusion projects.
There are also specific areas of development in Wales that will help it achieve these aims, the report said, highlighting the plan to develop an ‘Internet Coast’ along the Swansea Bay.
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