Member Article

Major new report urgently recommends digital overhaul of UK Government for a ‘greener’ future

A major new independent report titled ‘Connected Citizens’ from Public Policy Projects (PPP), in partnership with Anderson Strategy, and in collaboration with Huawei, contains urgent recommendations to the UK Government for a broad and ambitious new digital operating model that will help local, regional and central governmental bodies hit connectivity and sustainability targets for a digital green future, and become a digital world-leader.

Placed within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put more pressure on our connectivity capabilities than ever before, and following recent sustainability targets announced by the Government, the report clearly outlines the vital need to create a network of cutting-edge digital infrastructure across the UK.

The ‘Connected Citizens’ report emphasises the need to radically improve digital skills across the nation, by employing a long-term digital skills strategy that specifically centres on reforming the education system at all levels to ensure it is fit for purpose in the digital age.

Furthermore, ‘Connected Citizens’ highlights the need to leverage more power and support to local and regional authorities who which can lead and facilitate connectivity improvements at a devolved level and work collaboratively with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to create the most efficient roll-out possible.

According to the report, the new digital operating model must also mandate greater information and data sharing amongst local authorities, relevant stakeholders and digital operators from the early stages of development, to drive forwards change and make it more streamlined and efficient.

The report also concludes that we should review the powers of Ofcom to ensure that the best provision is being delivered to citizens across the UK, specifically assessing the effectiveness of Universal Service Obligations (USOs). Their model within the Digital Economy Act 2017 should be evaluated and reformed/removed if an alternative model that improves citizen connectivity can be offered.

Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Executive Chair of Public Policy Projects said: “This White Paper is a call to action, setting out five broad recommendations for a new digital operating model in Britain. It identifies some of the challenges we face and seeks to learn from the experience of others as well as ourselves. We should not underestimate the challenge, but nor should we lose sight of the opportunity to reshape our society to meet the demands of the 21st century.”

Justin Anderson, Head of Strategy, Anderson Strategy and co-writer of the report said:“The new digital operating model is a critical foundation to both realise the UK Government’s vision building a ‘Science Super Power’ and supporting its levelling up agenda. In these extremely challenging times for local authorities, it presents a pragmatic approach to use the drivers under their control to improve the welfare and wellbeing of citizens.”

Victor Zhang, Huawei Vice President, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of addressing the challenges of digital connectivity. After 20 years helping UK better connected, Huawei recognises the nation’s depth of technology talent and innovation and the importance of harnessing it to deliver economic and social prosperity for generations to come. Huawei stands ready to support levelling up the country by supporting economic growth and digital skills throughout the nations and regions.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Nick Till .

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