The government has announced plans to create 'government-as-a-platform' in a bid to transform the way technology is used to deliver public services.
Francis Maude (pictured), who recently announced plans to step down as Cabinet Office minister for cyber security and G-Cloud, launched the initiative at Sprint 15, attended by V3.
Maude outlined the government's wish to use digital technology to contribute to £10bn of efficiency savings between 2017 and 2018.
"One of the ways we will do this is by creating cross-government platforms for services that every department and agency can use," he said.
"Before the last election, we were wasting money because departments thought they were unique and distinctive and convinced themselves that only the most expensive bespoke systems would do.
"But it's nonsense. Numerous other services across government could, and should, share common platforms.
Maude said that three prototypes for cross-departmental platforms will be launched early in the next parliament. The first trial will launch a common payments platform, followed by a common system for appointment bookings and messaging.
The overall aim of government-as-a-platform is to create common components, such as a single payment system, which can be assembled when creating new public services.
The government will also make the APIs for these platforms available so that they can be incorporated into other services delivered online.
The goal is to cut down on costs as the public sector can avoid creating bespoke services in silos which require departments to rebuild numerous different systems multiple times.
Maude cited the idea of being able to pay council tax and resident parking charges through the same system as an example of government-as-a-platform being used to ease lives for citizens and reduce systems and costs for the public sector.
"If we can do all of this at scale we can dramatically improve public services and deliver them at a fraction of the current cost," he added.
The government touts the Gov.uk website as an example of a single publishing platform that brought 300 websites into one, saving taxpayers £60m a year.
Other examples include the Digital Marketplace which has created a single platform for the public sector to buy cloud and IT services.
Cutting costs forms a major part of the government's creation of platform-based services, but it also champions the creation of public services that focus on delivering results for citizens and not just the government.
Much of this has, and will, involve easing the access and transparency of public services through the use of digital technology.
Maude cited the online application for carers' allowances as an example of this approach in action.
The minister also outlined plans for the government to open up the secure interfaces of its digital services to allow third-party service providers to integrate with public sector services.
Maude noted that the government will need to tap into 13,000 miles of unused publically-owned digital infrastructure across the UK to achieve this digital transformation.
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