The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revealed plans to recruit a Digital Transformation Unit in a bid to support the government’s digital by default strategy and to remain a leading Foreign Ministry.
In the FCO’s Digital Strategy, which was published last December, it laid out plans to use digital tools to enhance foreign policy formulation and to be a Foreign Office that provides its consular services digitally by default.
The government has said that by adopting a digital by default strategy and overhauling transactions that are carried out every day by the public, making them digital, it could save up to £1.7 billion a year after 2015.
It has even launched a £100 million digital services framework that calls for agile SMEs to deliver customised digital services to the public sector, to support this agenda.
However, concerns have been raised by MPs about the credibility of the savings targets, as well as the inadequacy of the government’s software, which could lead to security problems.
The latest report on the Civil Service Reform plans, which includes the digital by default agenda, also said that a skills gap in government is putting this transformation at risk.
A blog by the FCO’s Digital Transition Leader, Adam Bye, outlined how rapid developments in technology are driving the requirement for a digital team within the department.
“Our mission is promoting UK growth, defending our security and protecting British nationals overseas and the issues we work on are some of the most interesting dealt with by government,” said Bye.
“Our work is being fundamentally impacted by digital. Recent international developments in Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and elsewhere have all seen social media play a major role. Consular crisis response is being enhanced – and sometimes made more complicated – by digital and social media.”
He added: “The Digital Strategy showed how digital tools had already contributed to every aspect of foreign policy work.”
The department is recruiting for the following roles, which it states will at the moment make up a ‘handful’ of people:
• Digital training and upskilling officers – defining and putting in place the new training, guidance and support FCO staff will need to use digital tools in policy and service delivery.
• Digital policy officer – looking more concretely at how the FCO can make use of digital tools to improve foreign policy work across the board.
• Digital proposition/portfolio managers – driving and defining how the FCO will move its services to digital and also helping drive improvements in our internal software and systems.
• Digital support officer to support the Digital Transformation Unit
Those interested in the position have until the 15th July to submit an application.
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