In November 2017 the UK Government announced the launch of its Govtech Catalyst Scheme underpinned by a £20 million fund. Govtech, the name which is given to the innovations by SMEs and start-ups to enable governments to increase efficiency and allows the public sector to harness new technologies, is gaining momentum as it passes from an emergent state to gaining globalised status. “From a ‘one stop shop’ for all online government services to a single portal for all public transport, or open budgets, Govtech is a promising field that can help towards improving public service delivery and innovation,” says Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake.
Hard Accountability for Govtech Providers
Govtech suppliers are currently being procured by numerous areas within the public sector for example in the area of transport, Citymapper solutions use the power of mobile and open transport data to help humans survive and master cities. So how are outsourced providers held accountable under the traditional reform values initially set up by the Government Digital Service in 2011?
The GDS have deeply ingrained values for reform including openness, accountability, saving public money and prioritising “user needs”, however, the corporate sector have to balance these values with meeting the needs of their investors and shareholders while ultimately increasing profit in their businesses. While this mantra is not at the heart of most technology companies, there is mounting public pressure for both suppliers to act more accountable in their public sector partnerships and for the governments to enforce this transparency.
The Future of GovTech- Where it is and where is it going?
Research conducted by Public.io “forecasts that the UK GovTech Market will reach £20 billion by 2025: This will be fuelled by a renewal of large IT contracts, a shift towards procurement from SMEs, investment into emerging technologies applied to public needs, and by the rise of companies whose products enhance not only the lives of the individual but also have impacts which more generally permeate society.” The full report can be accessed here. With a global market potential estimated at $500 billion dollars, Govtech has even been predicted to potentially worth more than Fintech.
Driving the Government Mission with Data
With theuniverse increasing and widening into all areas within government, in particular as an essential tool to harness deeper insight from citizens to improve service delivery and consequently policy-making, it also enables the government to not only make the best decision but the right one.
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