Conservatives Win: Where Next Digital Government?

The Conservatives have landed a surprise win in the UK general election. Big losers, apart from the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats, are the opinion polling firms such as YouGov, that had predicted a so-called hung parliament. Right up to the day of polling, the pollsters, many of whom use Internet panels to test the public mood, had been predicting a result “too close to call”.

However, in the event, the Conservatives have won an overall majority – a result that few commentators or pollsters had predicted.

Meanwhile the BBC’s exit poll, that asked voters, as they left the polling stations, how they had voted, proved much more accurate. The exit poll indicated a huge drop in public support for the Liberal Democrats. The reaction of Liberal Democrat peer, Paddy Ashdown, was to offer to “eat his hat” if the exit poll was accurate. It proved to be highly accurate.

Indeed the exit poll understated the extent of Conservative gains. The Conservatives have, in fact, won an overall majority rather than merely the biggest number of seats predicted by the exit poll.

The Consequences for digital government policy will be more of the same – but without the involvement of the Liberal Democrats as coalition partners.  The Conservatives have indicated in their manifesto that they want more IT procurement to be channeled through the so-called G-Cloud: the procurement framework that allows even relatively small ISVs and service providers to get their solutions to departments and local authorities relatively easily with limited tendering fuss. The previous target was 25% of procurement. The new target will be around 1/3 of all procurement.

The Government Digital Service has also been creating so-called Government-as-a-Platform initiatives – reusable component technologies that can be used across departments and already pass muster in terms of user experience and security. Expect more of these types of initiatives.

However, as indicated in a previous post, there remains much work to be done in terms of addressing technology delivery for headline policy and transformational change initiatives. Leader of the pack in this regard is Universal Credit. The system roll-out remains problematic, to say the least. The incoming government has its work cut out.

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About the Author

Jeffrey Peel
Editor, Citizen20Series and MD, Quadriga Consulting.I am responsible for all site content and have overall responsibility for site editorial, as well as site membership.