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Paperless government could save billions – Policy Exchange

Government could save £70bn by 2020 if it moved to paperless services and cut civil service jobs, a new report suggests.

The remaining staff would have higher levels of IT skills, Policy Exchange says in its new ‘Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger’ report, which calls for all government services to be moved online unless face-to-face interaction is essential.

This could speed up processes, meet customer demand and deliver huge cost savings.

The report recommends Government to issue and accept electronic proofs, make electronic purchasing based on open standards the default, and incorporate digital and data skills explicitly into the Civil Service competency framework.

Increased interchange could allow more senior staff to have recent external experience, a LinkedIn for Government could make it easier to see who’s who, and more central government teams should be allowed to spin out in partnership with high-tech start ups.

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office said: “This report recognises considerable progress and remarkable potential. We estimate shifting government transactions to digital channels can save £1.2bn by 2015. This will deliver better value for hardworking families and better public services designed around users' needs. In future all Government services will be fast, convenient, agile and digital by default.”

Elaine Drummond, head of public sector at SAS UK, said: “By eliminating paper and embracing digital, the government stands to make more than just stationery savings. And taking a more intelligent approach to how it is managing and sharing data internally – both within and between departments – would enable it to create a more efficient experience for its citizens.”

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