News 21st June 2015

Future of public services reform: Matthew Hancock speech | GOV.UK

by Tim Hughes

Tim is coordinator of the UK Open Government Network.

Last week Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, gave a speech on public service reform that touched on some elements of open government. The text of his full speech is available from GOV.UK.

“Crucial to this is the principle that by listening to user feedback and analysing the data that comes with usage, an early prototype service can be constantly improved.

Public opinion was once like a fine Scotch whisky — sipped and savoured occasionally, through the imperfect medium of public consultations. Now, digital technology means it’s much easier to hold a genuine iterative dialogue with the users of public services.

This sort of data is important when designing services, but it’s a crucial driver of reform too. As TripAdvisor showed the tourism industry, the sunlight of transparency, mass feedback, and the ability to choose your service provider drives up standards and gives customers a better deal. From healthcare, to schools, to crime maps, open data is informing citizens about the choices that they make.

So instead of a target culture we are moving to a data culture, where we use data analysis to guide the service in real-time.

For example, we’ve worked with the Department for Communities and Local Government on their national fire incident reporting system, developing a dashboard that will help non-specialists make sense of the hundreds of thousands of calls fire brigades receive each year, so they can put resources in the right place and take preventative action.

These reforms, through better policy, better delivery, and better data and accountability, are at the heart of the changes we need to see.”

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