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Very interesting opinion piece by Rachel Sylvester in The Times on 30th July 2013 describing the Government Digital Service (GDS) strategy and objectives.

Francis Maude, the minister responsible, is supporting Mike Bracken, heading the service, and Stephen Kelly, COO, who are leading by example in reducing costs, errors and red tape in the public sector rather than just saying the words. Sylvester states that last year £500 million of savings were announced which is predicted to rise to £1.2 billion by 2015. As an example of cost savings they state that the average cost of a digital transaction is 20 times lower than using the phone, 30 times lower than the post an 50 time lower than face-to-face meetings.

I know how much easier it is for me to renew my car tax online rather than having to fill in forms and take pieces of paper to prove insurance and MOT to a Post Office. Many government departments are looking to move more transactions online to address required budget cuts and reduce waste. That can only be good news for tax payers! If private organisations follow this lead then it will also be good news for us as consumers.

A key part of this strategy is the ID Assurance Program and midata which PAOGA has been contributing to for some time. It is critical that we can assure individuals that their personal information can be protected online ‘under their control, with their consent, for their benefit’ and that organisations, public and private, can protect their confidentiality. It takes time to earn TRUST but the right structures are being developed now with this as the objective.

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