8 January 2018

Technology has a significant part to play in solving the UK’s productivity puzzle, but if it is to be used effectively the Government must take a different approach, a new report argues.

In the view of the Institute of Directors (IoD), the way forward is for the Government to embrace advances made in the private sector without attempting to replicate everything from scratch.

Instead, the considerable buying power of the public sector should be used, the IoD report suggests, to set the right atmosphere for innovation, working with the best technology providers, whether they are large companies or SMEs.

The IoD’s argument is based on two surveys, in which 77% of some 900 business leaders said that they think the public sector is poorly equipped to take advantage of changes brought about by technological advances and automation.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (61%) believe that government digital services are worse than those run by private sector, while a similar proportion (60%) said that not enough use is made of private sector expertise in the area.

The report calls for the Government to open itself up to digital transformation and to see the private sector as an essential partner.

“Raising the UK’s productivity is the driving force behind the Government’s economic policy, so they should be looking for opportunities to work with the private sector to improve their digital offering,” IoD Director General Stephen Martin said.

Doing so, he added, could make life easier for small firms in particular, freeing time for them to spend improving their businesses.

The report “Digital government and the productivity puzzle: The case for partnership between the public and private sectors” can be found at http://bit.ly/2Cgz0UL.