So concludes the RSA’s Technology in a Cold Climate Report, stating that, “Central government must dramatically improve its use of technology if it is to cut the public sector deficit”.
Given the forthcoming general election and the re-examination of budgets that will happen as a matter of course – who ever wins – the report suggests ways that technology might help the continuing delivery of services across the UK with less money in the pot.
Examples of how government can do this are given as:
* delivering more public services online to reduce costs and environmental impact
* learning from low-cost websites built by both third sector organisations and private companies
* using well-designed platforms to harness the knowledge and experience of large populations to democratically improve service provision.
The report is critical of procurement processes and also of the implementation of technology and innovative ideas:
“The UK considers itself an advanced-knowledge economy, but although it has some excellent innovation policies and mechanisms, it does not seem to have implemented these well, leading to lower levels of R&D investment and a poor record of exploiting knowledge to full advantage.
We suggest that the UK’s position is critically assessed, and that innovation policies are more proactively evaluated throughout their lifetime.”
In addition, the report calls on ministers to ensure that “everyone across the UK will benefit from the next generation of high-speed broadband as a platform for future growth and innovation”.
For anyone interested in economics, public policy, technology and innovation this is worth reading.