Every year, central and local government serve citizens and businesses through one and a half billion transactions.
For the first time, we’ve collected together a list of these transactional services provided by the government, to help departments and agencies systematically measure and improve their performance.
Richard Sargeant, Director of Performance and Delivery explains the opportunities in data driven delivery.
My name is Richard Sargeant and I joined GDS because I’ve long had a passion for making government work better. Outside Government I’ve worked at Google, and I’ve also been a trustee for an innovative young charity. I’ve seen what an enormous difference digital technology can make to service delivery and I want to see that revolution in the public sector too.
Tools to do the job
Today we’ve released a tool to explore over 1000 transactional services provided by central and local government, together with the number of those transactions successfully completed each year.
This is the first time we’ve brought this information together in one place. This means we can now see the sheer breadth of services the government provides.
Transactional services include pretty much every interaction you might have with the government, from booking driving tests and filing tax returns to setting up a company and applying for a fishing rod licence: everything which involves sharing information, requesting services, buying goods, asking for permission, or paying money.
Information is power
As well as bringing this information into the open, we see this release as an important step in helping the government more effectively measure the performance of public services, and also to prioritise and categorise those services. For example, it is interesting to note that of the 650 central government services, the top 10% of services account for 97% of the total volume of transactions. Or that over half of the services involve requesting permission to do something or providing information to the government.
The ultimate aim of all this, of course, is to identify opportunities to make more services digital by default. People are voting with their feet – making it clear that they want services to be digital. Government services should be no different. Putting services online, and doing it well, will waste less time, freeing people and businesses to do the important things. It will also stimulate a competitive digital environment, particularly for the thousands of SMEs who can provide world-leading digital services. And finally, it will save a very significant amount of money for taxpayers, and for users.
This is an early, ‘Alpha’ release: we’re still developing the data and its presentation so there are areas which are not yet complete. For example, machine readable CSV files are available, but there is currently no API. Similarly, in some places there will be gaps in the data, or errors that we’d like to correct in a future release. So please tell us what you think. Is it interesting? Is it useful? How could we make it a more valuable resource? The address for feedback is firstname.lastname@example.org, or do leave a comment below.
GDS Performance Framework
Alongside the transactions data, we’ve released a beta version of the GDS Performance Framework to iterate the Alpha version we launched last month. Thanks to everyone who sent us feedback on the previous release.
Improvements in this version include:
- more examples and case studies
- extended further reading list
- a worked example based on experiences developing GOV.UK
As ever, we’re interested in your thoughts either via email or through the comments box below.