Headlines: November 14th, 2012

Making central government services digital by default will deliver up to £1.2 billion worth of savings and make it easier for people to do things like pay their car tax, book driving tests, complete tax returns, or apply for their state pension online.

Government handles over a billion different transactions every year through 650 different services. Many of these transactions do not yet have digital options – they will need to be created. The digital options that do exist are often underutilised – they will need redesigning. The new strategy sets out how government will make digital services so good that they will become the preferred option. The Cabinet Office estimates that it could deliver £1.7 billion a year in savings beyond 2015.

The seven Whitehall departments that handle the majority of central government service transactions will be the first to start redesigning their services. By the end of 2012, each of these departments will identify three significant services, with over 100,000 transactions a year, for digital transformation. Additionally, all new or redesigned transactional services going live after April 2014 from any department will have to meet a new Digital-by-Default service standard.

Digital services are much more convenient than other forms of access because they can be used whenever people want them. They are also much more efficient, saving taxpayers’ money and the user’s time. Online transactions can be 20 times cheaper than by phone, 30 times cheaper than face-to-face, and up to 50 times cheaper than by post.