Empowering Public Services: Insights from UKGovCamp 2024
Last month, we returned to UKGovCamp, which for those who aren’t in the know is an unconference attended by people who work in and around the public sector, who take a day out of their weekend to meet up and find out how they can improve the digital provision of public services. We were very glad to be able to sponsor this volunteer-run event for the second consecutive year, since it represents the very best of public sector ethos and gives us the opportunity to find out what our customers in government might need from us, and what the people we place into government departments are facing up to in their day-to-day. We went along to support and listen, and of course supplied a lot of people with the almost-legendary Jumar bobble hat to keep them warm on the way home.
Tackling real-world issues
With 500 people in attendance, all with their own specialisms and interests, it was always going to throw up a wide variety of discussions, and the list wasn’t a disappointment. To give you a sense of the sessions that went on during the day, here is a selection
- How can we help people without digital ID access services?
- Sharing successful ways to measure whole services end to end
- What does it mean to make data accessible?
- Fixing digital procurement in the wake of the Horizon scandal
- What are the top 10 things Local Government needs to know about AI?
- How do we ensure that the systems we develop today don’t become legacy problems tomorrow?
To take one as an example, the first session in the list identified that there are around 11 million people in the UK without a valid ID, who are in danger of being excluded from services. Many of the contributors were working on, or had worked on, digital identification as part of a service provision and the variety of experiences was quite broad. This is clearly an area that presents complex problems – how do we measure and protect public services while not preventing people from accessing things they need, sometimes urgently? The ideas and options that surfaced will undoubtedly play into the wider area of policy and solutions.
A vision for service excellence
Listening to the sessions, the thing that shines through above all is the commitment from the people at the event to do more for the service user (and by definition, taxpayer) with the resources they have. There are ongoing challenges around the modernisation of existing services, with government committing to bring at least 50 of the 75 priority services up to a ‘great’ standard by 2025. This requires a commitment to investment and delivery over several years, and for teams to work together in new ways – a good example is the NHS app, which continues to evolve, adding services that are unremarkable in themselves but represent a real leap in terms of managing data and user outcomes when combined in one tool.
As we reflect on the key takeaways and discussions, it's clear that our commitment to supporting the public sector goes hand in hand with the challenges they face. We are inspired by the passion and determination of those working to enhance services for the benefit of service users. And the organisers should be congratulated on producing another excellent event, which will no doubt continue to evolve and grow just as the importance of digital delivery does in public services.
At Jumar, we remain committed to being a reliable partner in this journey of digital transformation. If you have any insights, ideas, or specific needs, or if you simply want to continue the conversation, please contact us.