Cabinet Office publishes government transactional services data

Government Digital Service pulls together list of government transactional services used by citizens to help departments prioritise services and focus efficiency efforts

The government has published a list of government transactional services used by the public, the departments responsible for them, and how many transactions are delivered annually.

By publishing the information, the government hopes the public will be able to see what services the government provides. It also intends that it will help departments and their agencies to prioritise their services to drive efficiency and learn lessons, as Whitehall moves towards making all services ‘digital by default’.

Transactional services provided by the government include road or income tax, and applications for passports, visas, driving licenses, benefits, grants or loans.

Commenting on the publication of the data, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that the release of the information was a major part of the government’s “twin commitments” – to make government more open, and public services cheaper, more efficient and focused on users.

“Making public services digital by default offers huge opportunities for cutting out waste and improving the user experience. The first release of this data sets us on the road to maximising the savings from shifting to digital services,” he said.

The initial list of transactions is based on data currently available. Users are being encouraged to submit feedback to help enhance the accuracy and quality of future releases. Later this year the Cabinet Office will publish an updated list that includes the costs per transaction of the most used services. This data will provide a baseline for ongoing comparison and highlight where efficiency savings are being made.

Speaking about the release of transactional information, Richard Sargeant, director of performance and delivery at the Government Digital Service (GDS), said in a blog post on the GDS website that the overall aim was to make more services digital by default.

“People are voting with their feet – making it clear that they want services to be digital. Government services should be no different. Putting services online, and doing it well, will waste less time, freeing people and businesses to do the important things,” he said.

“It will also stimulate a competitive digital environment, particularly for the thousands of SMEs who can provide world-leading digital services. And finally, it will save a very significant amount of money for taxpayers, and for users.”

As well as the transactions data, the Cabinet Office has also published a beta version of a digital performance framework, which provides step-by-step guidance for departments on how to measure and manage the performance of their transactional services. It covers the use of web analytics, data aggregation and data visualisation.

The new framework is part of wider effort by the Cabinet Office to help Whitehall make better use of data and digital tools when providing public services. The government hopes that this will make services more efficient, better for users, and will help it identify further opportunities to reduce the amount of taxpayers’ money lost through fraud, error and debt.

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