Tag Archives: government as a platform

Mind the GaaP: Government as a Platform

Despite the £450 million in the spending review to help develop Government as a Platform (GaaP), 74% of civil servants are either unaware of the term or don’t fully understand it, according to Northgate Public Services’ new report ‘Mind the GaaP’.

Surveying some 2,100 civil servants, many with an IT background, the survey reveals the difficulties and opportunities arising from the drive to create shared platforms for similar services across Government.

Sue Holloway, Director of Services Strategy at Northgate Public Services, said:

“The biggest danger to the success of Government as a Platform isn’t technical at all, but rather a lack of understanding. This is mirrored by a lack of confidence in implementation, with only 7% of respondents believing their organisation will achieve its digital goals. Those kinds of figures can only shackle ambitions and limit success.

“While the lack of understanding is worrying, there are powerful grace notes to the report. Those who do understand GaaP tend to be far more evangelical about the benefits, and they’re not confined to IT departments.”

The report revealed that by far the biggest gains in the digital transformation agenda were seen to be in automating more services (58%), as opposed to reducing the costs of technology (9%) or implementing new policy priorities (8%).

Sue Holloway added: “The solution may lie in creating more digital champions, and developing an effective awareness campaign. I’d urge those with questions to do their research on the benefits of GaaP, because it has the potential to deliver dramatic efficiency gains to the whole of government.”

“Managing the impact of digital strategies on the workplace is also going to be essential.

“Feedback reveals a growing unease among employees – they are feeling potentially threatened because they don’t know how digital will affect their jobs. Worryingly, there’s a belief that their needs aren’t a priority in this debate.”  

Mind the GaaP: research report

What civil servants think about government as a platform and digital transformation 

The last Spending Review heralded a digital revolution, with £450m set aside to help develop Government as a Platform, or GaaP for short.

The concept is simple. Where departments are doing the same things, why not do them in the same way? It would make government services easier to use and cheaper to run. 

GOV.UK came first followed by the identity service ‘Verify’, but how far and how fast can GaaP transform government? 

We asked Dods Research to take a snapshot of how civil servants felt about digital transformation. 

Download the report 

Read Sue Holloway's thoughts on putting people first. 

The survey was carried out by Dods Research during February 2016 and was completed by 2,101 respondents.



Digital changes everything, but do we know how?

Sue Holloway, Director of Services Strategy

Technology is making huge improvements to our working lives, but judging by the 2,000+ responses to our survey the journey feels bumpier for some civil servants than others.

Bitter experience with government IT hiccups is behind some of the concern, but for me the biggest worry was that many don’t feel they’re on the journey at all. There was a real unease about the impact of new technologies and a feeling that the ‘user needs’ mantra had passed them by.

It might be why 74% of respondents said they didn’t understand Government as a Platform, a major programme that will overhaul how government works as well as the kit it uses. Directly or indirectly it will change people’s working lives – it’s sort of the point – but what we don’t know yet is how.

If you take your eye off the people affected by a change you won’t achieve the outcome you want, whatever type of change it is. You have to understand the immediate impacts and at least attempt to predict others, getting strategies in place to mitigate any unwanted effects.

Keeping people engaged works wonders, and this came through in the survey, with the work of the digital champions highly valued.  

Digital disruption is all the rage, but government is not a machine; it’s a collection of individuals and teams that won’t work tomorrow like they do today. That’s always personal. And remembering that will help government to smooth out the bumps and get greater value from the change.

Download our Mind the Gaap report