As this report has shown, citizens are demanding greater digital access to Government, in
line with the connectivity that is everywhere, and plays an increasingly important role in
their daily lives. Through a number of initiatives, like PSN (Public Sector Network) and the
Civil Service Reform Plan, Government has made great strides over the past few years in
enhancing connectivity within the public sector itself, and the digital delivery of services
More needs to be done though before Government can truly claim to be ‘Digital by
Default’ – allowing citizens to access the service of their choice via the device of their
choice, at the time and place of their choice. With each step we take on this ‘Digital by
Default’ journey, the more we can increase efficiency and effectiveness of service
delivery, provide better experience for citizens, and create a more innovative Government
and society, the better.
Two important, and interrelated barriers that as a nation we need to overcome to reach
Government’s ‘Digital by Default’ goal are full digital inclusion and even greater
availability of the Internet.
Investing in this, is something that Vodafone is committed to, and is helping make a
reality through the mobile network. Schemes such as ROSS (Rural Open Sure Signal)
– where we’re bringing 3G connectivity to 112 rural areas – are helping eliminate mobile
‘not-spots’ and enable communities to connect to, and benefit from, digital services.
We’re also working closely with Government on a number of initiatives to support the roll
out mobile internet, so that as much of the country as possible can take advantage of
the benefits this enhanced connectivity provides.
Beyond the connectivity, Vodafone is playing an active role in educating the public
about the benefits of smartphones and working with the Government on its digital
A further area to enhance is the mobility of public sector employees. From our
experience in working with numerous public sector organisations, giving frontline staff a
mobile device that can securely access systems and information while in the field
enables them to work more efficiently. It frees them from paperwork and administration
duplication to spend more time with citizens and deliver a better service. Citizens
increasingly expect the public sector frontline workers they interact with (police,
community health workers, for example) to have access to all of the information they
need from wherever they are, just as they do in their everyday lives. As citizens become
more ‘hyper-connected’, why shouldn’t the people that serve and support them be
hyper -connected too?
Through an approach we call ‘Better Ways of Working’, based on how we’ve transformed
our own business processes, Vodafone is helping organisations understand the potential
benefits of greater operational mobility, and lay out the steps to get there. This might
include One Net Enterprise Cloud, a fixed line and mobile convergence solution that
means people can get real-time access to the information they need to do their job from
wherever they may be. One organisation taking advantage of Better Ways of Working is
Norfolk City Council.
Finally, we are looking into more future oriented aspects of Connected Nation. One such
example is digital identity, which is a critical enabler for pervasive m-Government. And
we’re already developing M2M (machine-to-machine) solutions to help in the delivery
of public services. Whilst currently at the early stages of implementation, M2M holds
great promise to drive insight and efficiency across many Government departments and
agencies – the ability to connect everything. M2M can provide remote monitoring
capabilities that enable more efficient management of environmental resources, such
as energy. Moreover, it can cost effectively provide real time information in areas such
as traffic management, public transport and parking services (among others) to enable
‘smarter’ cities. With over 20 years’ experience in the area, Vodafone is uniquely placed
to help Government harness the full potential of M2M technologies.
Government will have to continue its development of digital services in order to keep
up with the rapid pace of change of technology, and the accompanying enhanced
expectations of citizens. With our expertise in connectivity, whether that’s connecting
people, technology, buildings or ‘things’, and our vast experience in working alongside
the public sector, Vodafone is ready to partner with Government to bring the ‘Digital by
Default’ vision to reality.
We look forward to taking the next steps on the journey together.