A national discussion including conversations with unions is needed in order to effectively implement digital efficiency into public services, Mark Thompson, University Senior Lecturer in Information Services at Cambridge Judge Business School, told the Times Science & Business Summit, part of the Cheltenham Science Festival.
As with Uber in transport and Spotify in music, the internet allows governments to establish direct new relationships with citizens – consumers of public services – underpinned by the power of data. As a result, traditional intermediaries can be bypassed, saving time and money, Thompson said at the event on 8 June 2016.
A proper discussion with unions on these issues would be helpful because public services, in common with all organisations, need to start coming to terms with the impact organising digitally will have on back office administration and traditional organisational silos. As the public starts to demand that precious tax revenue is spent on public services rather than public administration, pressure on unions to respond to these changes will only increase. For unions, says Thompson, the question is “what form should progressive social organisation take in a digital age?”
“Digital transformation requires significant culture change, as well as new talent,” he said. “It is as much about relationship and service management as about technology.”