The Labour Party has revealed its emerging themes for a more "digital government" in the wake of a community consultation.
Chi Onwurah, shadow Cabinet Office minister and Labour MP for Newcastle Central, blogged this week that the government's IT procurement reforms have been insufficient, with the review receiving a wide range of submissions on possible improvements.
"The third big theme is IT procurement. We have received submissions on everything from supporting innovative SME solutions through the standardisation of interfaces and commodity software to civil service procurement skills," Onwurah wrote.
"Last year's National Audit Office report showed that spend is still concentrated on a small number of very big companies."
One notable failure, she said, was the delivery of the much-trumpeted Universal Credit scheme aimed at simplifying and streamlining welfare, enabling greater cost reduction. And there hadn't been sufficient transparency either, Onwurah (pictured) added.
"The acknowledged centre of excellence for Agile development, GDS, regularly halts contracts over £100m in order to ensure much-needed scrutiny," she wrote.
"Despite the bickering and bluster, the top reasons for IT project failure in the public sector remain a lack of leadership and ownership and we need to ensure the next government learns from that."
The next of three main themes Onwurah outlined touches on data privacy. The UK needed to do more to ensure that data is handled properly across the public and private sectors, pointing to healthcare and taxation as an example.
"Particularly the safe, secure, accountable and legitimate sharing of data," Onwurah wrote. "They [government] were heavily criticised for their handling of health data in the care.data project but then went on to make the same mistakes with HMRC data-sharing."
Labour's Ed Miliband has said people should "own" their own data, she added, although the advisory board still needs to consider exactly what that should mean in practice for a truly "digital government".
"I am working with my colleagues in Shadow Business Information and Skills (BIS), Health and other departments to consider what it means more broadly," Onwurah wrote.
The third main theme was digital inclusion. Onwurah claimed that welfare recipients had been "sanctioned" if they couldn't search for jobs online – which she saw as a function of digital exclusion.
"We need to recognise the cost-saving potential of digital while also understanding that its transformative potential will only be realised if everyone is empowered to take advantage of it, with no one left behind," Onwurah wrote.
Labour's digital government consultation closed on 12 June and there was a "late surge of responses", including 17 from professional bodies and specialists, 15 from telcos and SIs, eight from small technology providers, two from start-ups, eight from local authorities and "organisations vital to community infrastructure" such as the Post Office and the Carnegie Trust, three from think tanks, five from academics, and three from trade unions.
That was in addition to submissions from other organisations, lobby groups, small businesses and the survey response.
"These will all be made public, except where there is a specific request not to," Onwurah promised.
Submissions will now be summarised and presented to the digital advisory board, which will consider policy proposals to be worked into a report due out at the next Labour Party conference.
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