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Report of the Digital Government Review

Appendix A – Process

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Chi Onwurah MP announced Labour’s Digital Government Review in December 2013 [177]. The review was formally launched in March 2014 [178].

Volunteers working under the guidance of a non-partisan advisory board staffed the review. The review called on additional external expertise as deemed appropriate.

The review was set an initial and wide ranging terms of reference by Chi Onwurah MP but otherwise operated independently of the Labour party.

Initial Terms of Reference

Labour’s Digital Government Review will set out clear goals for a digital agenda that will improve services and empower citizens while being efficient and cost effective.
Under the guidance of our Advisory Board and with contributions from a wide range of stakeholders across the country, the review will deliver a framework for transforming digital government together with concrete policy proposals to make digital services work for the many.

Key areas to be explored in the review include:

  • Ways in which technology can empower citizens in their relationship with government
  • People’s awareness, experience, concerns and expectations of how the public and private sector stores and uses information regarding themselves
  • Emerging data and information usage models, particularly in the areas of value creation, consent, trust and privacy
  • Characteristics of the technology requirements of the public and private sector, including how and where those requirements may vary between sectors
  • Differing digital delivery and procurement models and how they are used in both the private and public sector
  • Ways in which digital services can improve quality, reduce costs and support the evolution of public services
  • Technology enablers that can support rapid and cost-effective deployment or change to public services

The review issued a number of calls for evidence to test certain propositions. These propositions and calls for evidence were developed by the review team and advisory board based on the terms of reference; and an initial assessment of key issues, guiding principles and potential solutions. This initial assessment guided much of our work.

All propositions and calls for evidence were published on the review website and communicated out in a number of ways (for example via email, twitter, media and professional associations) [179].

Access and Skills Citizens should have access, and the skills they need, to use government digital services.
Information Rights Citizens should have a right to ensure that information about them held by government is proportionate, fair and accurate; the right to be informed of the uses to which that information is put; and the right to ‘opt out’. Citizens should also have a right to have disproportionate, unfair and inaccurate information about them either corrected or taken down.
Supporting Communities Communities should be encouraged to develop support networks to help one another to develop skills, digital literacy and to use government digital services. NB: no call for evidence went out for this proposition as the responses to other propositions were felt to cover the theme in sufficient detail.
Citizen Needs First The design and production of government digital services should put the interests, abilities and needs of citizens first.
People-Powered The development of government digital services will follow a co-production model and be governed by a set of principles designed to ensure that citizen’s interests are respected and that services are people-powered.
Continuous Innovation Embedding a culture of continuous innovation in how government digital services are delivered to citizens offers the potential to dramatically improve the range and quality of services on offer, while also enabling significant reductions in the cost of providing services.
Digital Framework A framework for Digital Government should provide a direction to transform costly legacy applications; unite individual initiatives to develop government digital services making it easier for citizens to discover and use the services they need, while streamlining the delivery of government digital services, maximising re-use and cutting costs to support the zero-based spending review.
Digital Procurement Procurement for government digital services needs to change to support value for money and innovation through a healthy competitive market that enables new suppliers to enter the public sector market while reducing costs and aligning with Government’s wider procurement policies.
Skills and Culture The move towards Digital Government requires a culture change and skills refresh at all layers of government.

The review team identified and actively engaged various stakeholder groups when drafting calls for evidence, when circulating calls for evidence, analysing results and forming recommendations. The following table lists the stakeholder groups along with the number of formal submissions received from each group.

Stakeholder Group


Number of Formal Submissions

Individual Citizens This category and count includes both formal submissions in response to the calls for evidence and responses to two online surveys. 2176
Civil Society Organisations Groups that campaign on behalf of citizens: for example privacy or consumer rights groups. 5
Community Infrastructure Groups that form part of the mixed economy that deliver local and community services. 8
Think Tanks Think tanks are bodies of experts that provide advice, ideas and advocacy on specific problems. 3
Academics University professors and post-graduate students. 4
Professional Bodies and Specialists Organisations that represent specific professions 17
Large Companies Large companies that may or may not supply the public sector. 15
Small Companies Small companies that may or may not supply the private sector. 10
Trade Unions Trade unions representing public sector workers 3

Where permission was received all submissions were published on the digital government review website for others to use as they wish.

Some people and organisations helped the review team to organize events on specific subjects: innovation, procurement for small businesses, open data, digital government in 2020, smart cities, digital families, the needs of people attending Citizens Advice Bureaus. No events had an entry fee, no events had limits on type of attendance. All were open to everybody who could make the event.

Following the events a group of volunteers synthesised both the event minutes and the formal responses to the calls for evidence by stakeholder group. This was an important step to minimise bias in the process, it reduces the chance of a group with the most time dominating the process.

The review team also performed their own research to find evidence or information that was not highlighted by these steps. For example more detailed investigation took place into digital inclusion, local government and smart cities.

The review team then worked with the advisory board to produce the report and recommendations.
Our thanks go to those who helped organize and host events, or who submitted their thoughts, ideas and effort
in other ways.


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