The UK’s digital strategy – promoting the UK as the best place to grow a digital business

On 1 March 2017, the Government published its refreshed UK digital strategy. This outlines the seven main aims and initiatives designed to keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution post-Brexit.

Key strategies

1. Building world-class digital infrastructure for the UK by:
  • continuing work to complete the roll-out of 4G and superfast broadband by 2020;
  • implementing a ‘universal service obligation’, giving every individual, business and public premise across the country the right to request an affordable, high-speed broadband connection;
  • investing over £1 billion to accelerate the development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure, including full fibre and 5G;
  • ensuring adverts for broadband accurately reflect the speeds and technology actually on offer for the majority of customers;
  • rolling out free Wi-Fi on trains, and in more public places.
2. Giving everyone access to the digital skills they need by:
  • ensuring adults in England who lack core digital skills will not have to pay to access the basic digital skills training they need;
  • establishing a new ‘digital skills partnership’, working together with partners who are passionate about making a difference and who share our ambitions to tackle the digital skills gap;
  • delivering coding in the national curriculum, from Key Stage One onwards;
  • supporting the National Citizen Service (NCS) in piloting new ways to include digital skills and careers in NCS programmes.
3. Making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business by:
  • working with independent regulators to encourage innovation-friendly regulation;
  • investing an additional £4.7 billion by 2020-21 in R&D funding;
  • reviewing how we can create the conditions for the artificial intelligence industry;
  • working to establish a network of ‘UK tech hubs’ in five developing countries.
4. Helping every British business become a digital business
  • The Government in the 2016 Autumn Statement announced £13 million funding to create a private sector-led ‘productivity council’.
5. Making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online by:
  • supporting the National Cyber Security Centre to provide a single point of contact for companies;
  • introducing a new approach of Active Cyber Defence using the skills, knowledge and technical expertise of Government Communications Headquarters working with the country’s internet service providers to provide a new level of protection for British cyberspace;
  • running a national after-school cyber programme, as well as apprenticeships, and adult retraining;
  • continuing to support companies to roll-out family-friendly filters to all broadband customers and introduce age verification controls.
6. Maintaining the UK government as a world leader in serving its citizens online by:
  • continuing to develop single cross-government platform services, including by working towards 25 million GOV.UK Verify users by 2020 and adopting new services onto the government’s GOV.UK Pay and GOV.UK Notify platforms;
  • building on the ‘Government as a Platform’ concept, ensuring people make greater reuse of platforms and components across government;
  • continuing to move towards common technology, consuming commodity hardware or cloud-based software instead of building something that is needlessly government specific;
  • continuing to work across government and the public sector to improve the efficiency of public services.
7. Unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use by:
  • taking the actions needed to make the UK a world-leading data-driven economy;
  • implementing the General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018.
Looking ahead

While there is not a lot that is new in the strategy, bringing it all together has highlighted a number of areas organisations should focus on:
  • increased regulation has become a strategic imperative and is considered key to improving confidence in the use of data in the UK economy and making the UK a safest place to live and work online. Organisations should be under no doubt they should be preparing for the May 2018 GDPR deadline and taking cyber security seriously;
  • innovation and investment are seen as key to making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business. This strategic intent suggest an environment ripe with opportunity for firms that invest in the use of technology;
  • skills, especially digital and cyber security skills, are seen as being key in driving the success of the digital strategy. Investing in developing these skills throughout your organisation could enable you to better take advantage of significant opportunities in this area.
We will focus on these specific areas of interest in future communications.

If you would like to discuss the implications of the strategy on your organisation, please contact a member of our team.

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