Publication Digital Machinery of government 24 June, 2021

Government after COVID: a digitally enabled civil service

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This event-write up brings together ideas generated at Reform and Fujitsu’s policy roundtable Government after COVID: a digitally enabled civil service. It is a high-level summary of the key themes raised none-of-which are attributable to either speaker or any attendee.

The discussion was introduced by Paul Willmott, the newly appointed Chair of the Central Digital and Data Office, and Anwen Owen, Head of UK Public Sector and Vice President of Fujitsu.

Just like businesses and individuals across the country, the pandemic dramatically altered how government works. Overnight, civil servants had to maintain public services, develop policy, and support ministers from their living rooms and home offices. This is likely to continue at least some of the time, creating both opportunities and challenges post-pandemic.  

How technology is used to support this move will therefore be essential to its success. From ensuring security in an age of increasing cyber threats, to enabling collaboration, a digitally mature public sector will be needed. From the ministerial to the departmental level, this will require strong leadership and capabilities, long-term planning, and ambition right across government.

As we emerge from COVID-19 this roundtable was therefore the opportune moment to discuss the changes that have been implemented, and how digital transformation can be driven forward without the background of a pandemic.

Reform and Fujitsu would like to extend its thanks to attendees and speakers for making this document possible.