The Government's Digital Strategy Whitepaper was issued on March 1st, detailing the actions planned.
The Digital Strategy applies the framework of the Industrial Strategy to the digital economy with the aim of creating a world-leading digital economy.
- It is a seven-pillar strategy focusing on key areas such as connectivity, skills and the data economy.
- Government commits to implementing the General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018.
- A new Secretary of State-led forum for government and the tech community will be established to spark growth in the digital economy.
- Government will establish a new Business Connectivity Forum to address broadband infrastructure.
- Government will work with independent regulators to encourage innovation-friendly regulation.
strategy has seven pillars:
- Connectivity: building
world-class digital infrastructure for the UK
and inclusion: Giving everyone access to the digital skills they
digital sectors: making the UK the best place to start and grow a
wider economy: helping every British business become a digital
- Cyberspace: making the UK
the safest place in the world to live and work online
government: maintaining the UK government as a world leader in
serving its citizens online
data economy: unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and
improving public confidence in its use.
- By 2020, the volume of
global internet traffic is expected to be 95 times that of 2005. The Digital
strategy aims to ensure that the UK’s digital infrastructure can support this
rapid increase in traffic, providing coverage with sufficient capacity to
ensure data can flow at the volume, speed and reliability required to meet
- Recognises that fast speed and reliable connectivity is vital to business. Government is determined to close
the gap with residential properties and drive up the quality and reliability of
coverage for businesses. This means ensuring that businesses are at the forefront
of future broadband roll-out, including full fibre.
Aim to establish a new
Business Connectivity Forum, chaired by the Department for
Culture, Media and Sport that will bring together business organisations, local
authorities and communications providers to develop specific solutions to the
issues faced by businesses.
Skills & Inclusion
- Commitment that
everyone be able to use these digital services so they can reap the financial,
health and social benefits they offer.
- Plans to undertake
a feasibility study this year on the viability of using outcome commissioning
frameworks, such as payment by results or social impact bonds, to tackle
- Commitment to invest £1.1 million through the NHS on projects to
support digital inclusion.
There is a desire for
the UK to be the best place to start and grow a digital business.
- To create the right
conditions for this growth, the Government
will work with independent regulators to encourage innovation-friendly regulation.
- States a commitment to create a Secretary of State-led forum for government and the tech community to
work together to spark growth in the digital economy - through innovation
and the adoption of digital in the wider economy.
- Highlights the work of
Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the
University of Southampton, and Jerome Pesenti, Chief Executive of
BenevolentTech, who will undertake a review of how we can create the
conditions for the artificial intelligence industry to thrive
and grow in the UK.
The Wider Economy
Government will aid British businesses in adopting digital technologies as a means of strengthening the economy.
- Recommitment to Autumn
Statement 2016 which announced £13 million funding to create a private
sector-led Productivity Council.
The Council will drive engagement to improve productivity across the economy.
Desire to ensure a
safe and secure cyberspace, which is an essential requirement for an inclusive,
prosperous digital economy.
- Government will
support the National Cyber Security Centre to provide a single point of contact
for companies, particularly those that form part of Britain’s ‘critical
- To ensure a pipeline of cyber
skills Government will run a national after-school programme for the most
talented students, cyber as well as apprenticeships, and adult retraining.
- Digital Strategy
references the Government Transformation Strategy published on 9 February 2017
sets out our intention to serve the citizens and businesses of the UK with a
better, more coherent experience when using government services online.
- Emphasises a need to
harness the potential of digital to radically improve the efficiency of public
services so as to provide a better service to citizens and service users at a
- Data will benefit the
UK economy by up to £241 billion between 2015 and 2020.
- Government will work
with organisations such as the Open Data Institute to create an environment to open up customers’ data
across more sectors through the use of APIs (Application
Programming Interfaces), within a way that builds public trust.
- Highlights that the
stability of data transfer is important for many sectors and therefore the UK will implement the General Data
Protection Regulation by May 2018. This will ensure a shared and higher
standard of protection for consumers and their data across Europe and beyond.
Radio 4 Interview today (March 2nd 2017) with Charlotte Holloway
(Head of Policy, Tech UK): What will the UK tech industry look like
Tech UK members are worried. She spoke of a
‘triple hit’ on UK tech companies:
Increasing demand for workers, increased
uncertainty around international (EU and non-EEA) staff, and a skills shortage
in the UK digital economy. In short, there is a gap between the number of
workers we have, and the number of workers/types of skills we need.
She stressed the point that in order to be a
global hub for tech, the UK has to be a global hub for talent. Shortages on a
number of fronts in this regard are already costing the economy £2 billion a year. Industry is ready and willing to work with
government in order to maintain our openness to talent, and laid out
announcements today to support Government in achieving that.
Tech UK is encouraged by the Government’s
position on retaining global talent, as Charlotte deems the key to success in
recent years has been the availability of entrepreneurs, skilled workers and
university researchers coming in from abroad.
A few options on the table, including:
- a special tech visa for after Brexit
- setting up tech hubs around the world e.g. UK-Israel tech hub model
What tech companies really need is
concrete reassurance and detail on what will come next. Charlotte finished by
saying the UK tech industry is fundamentally interconnected with other markets
– and must continue to build links with others. Fortunately, the initial detail
on proposals like international tech hubs look like a strong signal of intent
If you would like more information, please contact the IPM on 020 3848 0444.