For no very clear reason, after a long silence from and on the centre of government, not one but two strategic documents are being developed, broadly covering e-government and the modernisation of public service delivery. Both have strong sponsorship from No 10, and though the emphasis of each is different, there is a clear overlap in their scope.
The first is Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy, which is about promoting a “digitally rich” Britain in the round, including in the provision of public services. It is being led by Matthew Taylor of the No10 Policy Unit, with most of the official input so far having come from DTI. This is being developed very rapidly, with publication intended in the next couple of weeks.
The eGovernment Unit is separately working on what is, effectively, a service delivery strategy for government based on the efficient exploitation of new technologies, under the working title, Modern services, modern citizens. This work is a very early stage, and Ian Watmore’s plan is to develop it over the next few months, with ministerial approval by early autumn, and publication perhaps in November. No 10 has signalled strong support for this one as well.
Some might see a connection (or at least a common cause) with the publication last week of the Conservative Technology Forum’s Digital Action Plan: Placing Britain at the Heart of the Global Information Society. Their website, by the way, has a pleasingly retro late nineties feel – it seems to be entirely frames based, thereby destroying any possibility of linking directly to individual pages. The link above is to the individual frame; if you want to see it in its full glory, you have to start here.