UK is 'world leader' in digital by default government services, says Maude

The UK is a "world leader" when it comes to "digital-by-default" for government services, says Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

Share

The UK is a "world leader" when it comes to "digital-by-default" for government services, says Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

Writing jointly in Guardian Online with New Zealand internal affairs minister Chris Tremain, Maude said: "At the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in London in November 2013, New Zealand became the 61st member of a rapidly expanding global movement.

"The OGP is all about making governments more transparent, accountable and responsive to citizens. International co-operation and the exchange of ideas are essential to embedding openness and transparency across the world. In different ways Britain and New Zealand are already world leaders in transparency."

He said: "Britain and New Zealand have a great deal to learn from one another. And we are already partners in the digital revolution that is helping to make open government an everyday reality for citizens.

"There is a huge role for technology in opening up government. The way people consume information and buy goods and services is shifting decisively online – digital is not just another channel, it is the medium of choice for this generation."

Maude added: "When everyone can shop online in the middle of the night or check their bank balance from a mobile phone, citizens rightly expect the state to provide services that are as accessible.

"Whether in Britain or New Zealand, the cornerstone of digital transformation is a user-friendly domain for government information."

Maude said Gov.uk, which went live in October 2012, "exemplifies this approach" to providing services. Gov.uk is now home to all 24 ministerial departments in Britain. He said user visits are around double the level of those to the Directgov and Business Link websites it replaced.

"But there's no room for complacency," said Maude.

"Gov.uk must continue to evolve to meet the demands of users and that's just what it's designed to do".

He said Gov.uk was built for sharing. Most of its code is open source so other countries can use it, rather than having to develop their own.

A similar government site in New Zealand has adapted Gov.uk's basic design elements, saving time, money and resources, Maude said.

He said all large new or redesigned governmental digital transactional services going live in the UK after April next year will have to be digital-by-default.