UK Government Announces First Wave Of New Digital Services

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Coalition pushing on with ‘Digital by Default’ strategy as 18 departments announce plans for new projects

Various UK government departments have today published plans for digital-led projects, designed to transform the way state services are delivered.

In total, 18 central departments have announced new programs, which the Cabinet Office believes will save taxpayers up to £1.2 billion by 2015.

“In the past, online services from the Government were woefully worse than those offered by the private sector,” said Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office.

“Today we’ve set out exactly how we will make it easier for people to do things like apply for pensions and car tax online. As a result we will save people time, money and stress – while making the taxpayer savings in excess of a billion pounds and setting Britain up as a world leader.”

UK government going digital

HMRC has announced the creation of a completely new unit – the HMRC Digital Service – which will be running a digital service to allow PAYE taxpayers to report changes that affect their tax codes, rather than having to telephone or write. It will also deliver an online-only tax return service for the first time.

Defra is creating a platform for farmland information, helping farmers meet European legislation and manage millions of transactions. The platform will replace 40 schemes delivered through 4 delivery bodies, each struggling with their own legacy IT systems.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has committed to making seven services digital by default, including student loans.

The Intellectual Property Office within BIS is planning to open an online service that will allow businesses and individuals to  “register, track and manage patents and trade-marks and designs more swiftly and straightforwardly”.

“It will take some time to digest these strategies, and in government we have much work to do to build capacity, attract the right skills and suppliers and remove some of the existing process obstacles,” said Tom Loosemore, of the Government Digital Service, in a blog post.

“But for the first time, government now has a collective ambition level which befits the expectations of our users in a digital age.”

You can find the complete list of government digital strategies announced today here.

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