Letter from Francis Maude in reply to Martha Lane Fox regarding her report on digital services.
23 November 2010
Thank you for your letter of 14 October setting out your proposals for the future of Directgov. I applaud the clarity of your proposals given the complexity of the subject. I am minded to accept your proposals in full but will need to consult with colleagues before I can reach a final decision.
By way of immediate action, I have asked my officials to get on with some of your specific proposals, including:
- Recruiting an Executive Director of Digital and Information in the Cabinet Office to bring together existing teams working in this area;
- Simplifying the governance of Directgov and ensuring that it has sufficient authority to act as the ‘customer champion with teeth’ to improve the user experience of digital public services;
- Producing a clear timetable for migrating all of government’s transactional services to Directgov;
- Working with departments on a timetable for the opening up of Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) as part of finalising the departmental spending settlement process;
- Asking Directgov and Business Link to create a plan for much closer working and sharing of resources, including the issues for customers and government that would need to be addressed if they were to converge into a single domain.
I agree in principle with your proposal that over time government should move to a single domain based on agile shared web services. However, as your report makes clear, this will be challenging for government and I will need to consult colleagues before we make a final decision about how to proceed. To take these and other cross government issues forward, I intend to set up a new Ministerial Working Group on Digital reporting to the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee.
I would be very grateful if you would continue to play an active advisory role to government on taking these proposals forward, including through participation on the new Ministerial Working Group and the Efficiency and Reform Board.