Russell Poole, director of public sector at EMC UK&I, analyses the Spending Review 2013 to unveil what this really means for the public sector:
First, a commitment to drive out waste and inefficiency across the public sector. Never before have digital transformation and improved data analytics been so clearly fundamental to the success of the Government’s spending programme up to and beyond 2015. For example, today the Chancellor announced:
- £130 million of efficiency savings from HMRC in 2015-16 through improved productivity and further digital transformation
- £100 million of savings in 2015-16 through reduced bureaucracy and improved digital working across police forces and the criminal justice system
- £800 million of savings from accelerating progress towards using digital technology as its principal channel for doing business (digital by default) and adopting new commercial models for service delivery
- Sharing data to improve outcomes for the public and provide better value for money by investing £350 million of capital funding to improve integration locally, including IT funding to facilitate secure sharing of patient data between the NHS and local authorities
- Setting up a centre of excellence to reduce the complexity of sharing data between education services, including improved benchmarking data on schools’ spending to help all schools to be as efficient as the most efficient
The government must continue to push for additional potential efficiencies and innovation that will cut public sector spending for the long-term, such as maintaining momentum in adopting g-cloud services, driving adoption of the infrastructure for agile, innovative technology across central and local government and building a Data Capability Strategy based on targets for efficiency gain and job creation.
Second, we welcome further support for shared services across departments and local/central government capabilities. The localisation agenda continues and more autonomy – and more pressure to achieve cost-saving objectives – is being devolved to local government. Given the role of technology in driving efficiency and transformation in local services, a great deal of best-practice sharing is necessary to ensure that every council doesn’t reinvent the wheel in an effort to deliver core operational or citizen services. At the same time, guidance on security is necessary to ensure the ongoing protection of citizen services and data from malicious attack.
Third, the opportunity for technology to drive innovation and further efficiency savings in the military was highlighted. The safeguarding of Britain’s military capability was a particular point of contention, with budgets remaining at £24 billion and a major commitment to the investment in cyber warfare and strengthening Britain’s capability in this area – a point we actively encourage as threats, both physical and digital, continue to diversify and endanger our future. We believe big data – or in military parlance, technology to support the ‘Detection, Processing and Dissemination’ (DPD) of vast amounts of military data – surveillance, signaling, telemetry and beyond – will be core to defining the next generation of British armed forces and we’re working with the Royal United Services Institute to help them investigate this potential in full for the MoD.
Fourth, NHS spending saw a real term rise of 0.1% to over £110bn in 2014/15. In real terms this will mean continued constraints and challenges as the NHS grapples with an aging population, a rise in chronic disease, and flat science & research spending supporting healthcare innovation. To deliver against the growing needs for health provision a paradigm shift is needed in the way we deliver healthcare. Core to this will be the transition to a predictive health model, where we pre-empt illness through the use of techniques like sensor-based medical telemetry, population stratification as a precursor to personalised medicine, and the translation of genomic research into improved outcomes. Chronic disease will represent up to 70% of NHS funding and we need to find a way to manage a broader transformation here, rather than aiming for iterative improvements within a disease management paradigm that is fundamentally limited. Developing new commissioning and care delivery arrangements with a focus on outcomes and underpinned by the power of real-time analytics, will make a significant contribution to this element of the agenda.
With Britain spending far beyond its means we are a way from achieving the Chancellor’s ambitious goals for reform, growth and fairness; but there is both a will and a way; and we believe that the core of some of the most significant paradigm shifts we’ll see drive savings lie in transformative technologies that don’t just make government services more efficient, but fundamentally transform how they are delivered.