Government makes digital transformation a priority for the Public Service in 2020

27th December, 2019

Government has set out plans for prioritising digital transformation within the Public Service in 2020.  Minister Donohoe brought a memorandum to Government on Tuesday 17th of December setting out the current state of digital across the Public Service and plans to accelerate the use of digital to modernise and streamline how public services are accessed and administered in 2020 and beyond.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘While there has been much progress in recent years in the provision of public services in a cost effective and convenient manner, we must now elevate our focus on digitisation within each public body.  We need to leverage digital to further streamline and automate processes, join up Government and reduce the burden on people and businesses accessing these services, and importantly free up resources to deliver services in a more impactful way in line with our citizens’ expectations’.

Each Government Department has nominated a board member to act as a Digital Leader representing their Department and sector. These leaders, collectively forming the Digital Leaders’ Group, are responsible for driving the transformation of their respective business processes and public services using digital means.  The Digital Leaders’ Group will report on progress over the coming year and years as to how each Department and sector are leveraging the potential of digital to streamline their operations and delivery of services.

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Patrick O’Donovan, added: ‘We are investing heavily in the digital infrastructure of the State – from the National Broadband Plan to MyGovID, ROS,, Government Cloud and the upcoming Digital Postbox service.  We are asking all public bodies to double down on their efforts on digital and to look to leverage this shared digital infrastructure while doing so.  Much has been done to provide access to services online, now we must accelerate this work with a focus on increasing the use of online services by creating more streamlined, joined up, intuitive digital experiences. The Digital Leaders’ Group will drive this and the Government’s Digital Agenda at board level across Departments ensuring this work remains an ongoing priority’.

Government has set out a Digital Agenda for the Public Service, providing public bodies with clear objectives to work towards.  This agenda includes:

  • ·         Ensuring the most used services are used digitally as opposed to simply being available online;
  • Ensuring all digital services have the same look and feel, are understandable and easy to use, and use available infrastructure as building blocks – e.g. MyGovID, Digital Postbox, ROS Digital Certificate, Eircode, Government Cloud and Data Centres;
  • Ensuring all services are developed in line with best practice, e.g. transformational, user-driven, mobile-centric, and accessible by all.

Over the course of 2020, Departments will work through a list of priority digital projects, such as the adoption of the Digital Postbox service; the drive to consolidate and simplify access to Government services through; the first phase release of a citizen health portal; and the digitisation of the electoral register, to name a few.  Work will also be undertaken to hold a public consultation to help shape the future digital policies and priorities for Government, exploring, for example, the expansion of the use of Government digital infrastructure outside of the context of Government.  Furthermore, the Government plans to build upon its successful GovTech engagement in 2019 with further exploration of innovative digital opportunities by partnering with industry, and in particular the start-up and SME sector.

The Digital Leaders’ Group and the digital transformation plans will be co-ordinated and overseen by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, a division within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Notes to the Editor:

Digital Postbox: The Minister of State with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan TD, announced earlier in the year plans to deliver a new eGovernment service, known as the Government Digital Postbox solution, which will provide new choices for people around the receipt of Government letters.

The Digital Postbox will give people the opportunity to receive their post from Government digitally in a secure electronic mailbox. The service will provide safe, secure and convenient access to important government letters, simply by going online using the device of their choice. The Postbox service will be delivered as a single shared platform available for all public bodies to communicate with individuals.  It is expected to go live early in 2020, at which time public bodies will start integrating with the service.

GovTech: The Future Jobs Ireland (FJI) 2019 annual report sets out core ambitions for each of the pillars within FJI. One of the ambitions of Pillar 1 – Embracing Innovation and Technological Change – is to “convene a major GovTech Summit to explore the opportunities that GovTech could bring to the Irish economy and set out an Action Plan for moving forward.” This event took place in June 2019 and a resultant report – “Cruinniú GovTech Report” was subsequently published in November 2019 –