Digital Efficiency Report

"Moving to digital by default could save the government £1.7bn to £1.8bn every year"

The size of the prize from bringing transactional services offered by central government online is considerable. On the basis of historic data looking at the savings already achieved by existing digital services over offline alternatives, this report estimates that between £1.7 billion and£1.8 billion could be realised as total annual savings to the government and service users. The savings made from greater digitisation of transactions, including their back-end processes, can be achieved whilst maintaining and ultimately improving service quality.
The Digital Efficiency Report is part of a process that began with theApril 2012 Budget Statement. This committed the government to delivering online services that will go live only if the responsible minister can demonstrate that they themselves can use the service from 2014. In support of this, both cross-government and individual departmental digital strategies must be published by the end of 2012, setting out how new and redesigned services will meet this goal.
This report provides important supporting evidence for these documents, outlining the financial benefits of going digital to departments and the government as a whole. These figures, alongside other analyses, will ultimately help guide departmental strategies for 2013/14. The other benefits of going digital, including greater empowerment of the public and employability benefits, are more fully explained in the Government Digital Strategy.
Savings are likely to come from four key areas; the reduced staff time involved in processing digital transactions compared to offline alternatives; estates and accommodation; postage, packaging and materials; and the costs of supporting IT systems. They will not be made evenly across departments. Some departments are responsible for more services - and more individual transactions - than others. Some have digitised their services more comprehensively to date. Some of these savings may already have been accounted for in departments’ plans. And some services will require a greater investment of time, effort and money to fully realise the benefits of digitisation.
It is important to be clear that these figures do not account for the level of investment that may be needed to create or redesign digital services. The transitional costs of digitising services are not trivial. But the government’s new approach to procuring and embedding digital skills across departments, as set out in the Government Digital Strategy, should mean that the public sector will now be better able to take more control over the management of its online services.
Building world-class government digital services will take time. The savings potential from digital transactions will not be realised immediately, but digital has the potential to make a real impact during this Parliament. This report estimates that approximately £1.2 billion of savings could be created during the current spending review period.
This report focuses on the savings potential of digital based on robust historic data. What it does not fully account for is the government’s new approach to digital. This could dramatically increase both the extent of savings, and the speed at which they can be realised. More digital skills across government, greater use of small and medium enterprise suppliers and the removal of the legislative blockers that impair digital service delivery will lead to even greater potential for digital transactions to save the public money and improve their user experience.

Source and Report:
http://publications.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/digital/efficiency/#executive-summary--

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