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Challenges in implementing digital change


Government plans to transform public services are increasingly led by digitally-enabled business change, and it is essential that public bodies deliver high quality digital services in a time when our way of life is increasingly digital.

But a recent NAO report found that in “25 years of government strategies and countless attempts to deliver digital business change successfully, there is a consistent pattern of underperformance. This underperformance is often the result of decision makers fixing on technology solutions before fundamental aspects of projects and programmes are sufficiently thought through.”

The NAO found that “only a small proportion of senior officials in government have first-hand experience of digital business change”, and that “many of the problems that occur in large digital operational change programmes stem from senior decision-makers’ inability to understand the issues and make the decisions required to implement digital change in an effective way”.

The NAO concluded that current pressures on public finances mean there is an urgent need for those designing and delivering digital business change programmes to learn from past mistakes.

The Committee will question senior officials at the Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service and HMRC on the capacity and capability of senior decision-makers in the public sector to deliver digital business change.

If you have evidence on these questions, please submit it here by 6pm on Monday 20 September 2021.