As a former consultant, I’m always somewhat sceptical of the ‘by doing X, Government could save £ billions’ type of pronouncements.* But, much of the underlying analysis in Policy Exchange’s new Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger report on digital government will strike a chord with those familiar with this territory, and these are arguments worth making again. Government has made huge steps in moving the digital agenda forward, but as the report clearly shows, there’s still a long way to go. The paper complements many of the challenges we discovered in accessing data on government in our new Whitehall Monitor 2013 report. It notes that in the US, President Obama has issued an executive order making data that is open and machine-readable the default for government – as our report shows, the UK lags some way behind our American counterparts on this front. Like us, Policy Exchange also stress that this information must be useful to decision makers – highlighting in their report the benefits of better management information, open pricing information and better evidence to support policy-making. On the policy-making evidence, they even have an intriguing suggestion that there should be Accounting-Officer style responsibilities to ensure that data or evidence […]

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