Both the head of the government's digital agenda and Whitehall's chief procurement officer have been recognised for their achievements in transforming public services as part of the New Years Honours list.
Mike Bracken, executive director of the Government's Digital Service (GDS), has been awarded a CBE for “services to Digital Public Services”, whilst chief procurement officer Bill Crothers has been recognised with a CB for “services to government efficiency and commercial capability”.
Both have played critical roles in government reform over the past two years, which has aimed to both overhaul procurement strategy to squeeze out the oligopoly of suppliers and introduce a more diverse mix of companies providing public services, as well as digitise transactions across Whitehall to cut out costs and improve the user experience.
The government launched its Digital Strategy in 2012, tasking departments with a digital by default policy and promised to digitise some of the public sector’s largest transactional services in a bid to save £1.7 billion a year after 2015.
Some £840 million has been saved with strategic suppliers between 2012-2013 thanks to the reforms.
In a personal blog Bracken wrote that while the CBE is a “lovely recognition”, it is “of course, largely symbolic”. He said he will be accepting it on behalf of other civil servants.
“Public services are delivered by over 400,000 colleagues in the Civil Service, the vast majority working in front-line services under challenging conditions,” said Bracken.
“In an era of public sector austerity they should take the plaudits. Introducing digital transformation to public services is a huge but necessary challenge at any time.”
He added: “Given the current demand for Government digital services from users and business in the UK, and over 15 years of disinvestment in developing digital skills in the Civil Service, it’s little wonder that this challenge feels existential on occasion.”
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