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Everyone in the New Zealand public sector is talking about ‘going digital’ these days. Depending on your perspective, this can sound very intimidating or completely sensible. But what is the reality of government moving in this direction?

A recent report, The digital skills gap in government (PDF 702KB), by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO), has some insights to share on this:

  • “Digital” is more than just technology, websites, internet — it requires radical, flexible operating models, designed around users and data; with a much lower cost base.
  • UK digital skills gap across all industries exacerbates the government’s situation, even before considering demands of transformation.
  • There is a risk of unsustainable cost reduction or service deterioration if government is unable to deliver transformation to any significant degree over next 5 years.
  • Major transformation programmes are underway in most departments, with some digital service successes. But the focus to date has been mainly on the “front end”.
  • The change required is complex. The civil service needs to secure different skills and capabilities.

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