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Government Digital Service

Volume 594: debated on Wednesday 25 March 2015

3. What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the work of the Government Digital Service in implementing the digital-by-default programme. (908309)

The Government Digital Service has created the award-winning, world-leading, the single web domain for Government information and services, and 25 major services have been redesigned to make them simpler, clearer and faster to use. That will not only provide savings to the taxpayer but improve delivery for the public, so that it is focused on user need, not Government convenience. In the next Parliament, we will deliver government as a platform, building common services such as a once-for-all payments platform.

The Government Digital Service has been one of the current Government’s unsung success stories, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services and saving the taxpayer money. Will my right hon. Friend, on the occasion of his final Cabinet Office questions, accept my congratulations on the fantastic revolution in public services that he has led over the past five years?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those kind words. There has been a great success with the Government Digital Service, which the Washington Post has hailed, stating that the UK has set

“the gold standard of digital government”.

The Obama Administration and the Australian Government have created their own analogous organisations, explicitly modelled on what we have done.

I do not know what the Minister is eating for breakfast this week, but you do not seem to be able to keep him down, Mr Speaker —I half expect him to announce a U-turn on his intended retirement before the week is out.

Is not the secret success of the Government Digital Service the confidence that it has given Departments to develop solutions in-house with an agility that was simply impossible in the days of lengthy contractual negotiations with large IT companies?

My hon. Friend is completely right. From a time when British government was synonymous with failed IT projects, we have moved to being the world leader in digital government. There is still a huge amount more to do, but I am grateful to him for his support for our work.