The Government has released the Commission of Audit Report six months after it was first announced, and no doubt many of the 86 recommendations will cause a significant amount of debate and discussion over the coming months.
Encouragingly, at least some of these recommendations have spotted an opportunity for government departments to completely overhaul the way they manage and share data – and cloud computing is being put at the forefront.
Two of the recommendations in the report have focused on digital innovation. Number 62 suggests governments should boost the number of electronic services, as these are “often preferred by citizens, businesses and other government customers”.
Appropriately, the report describes eservices as “more convenient and generally cheaper, and more accurate”.
It also recommends consolidating e-government services through the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer.
Meanwhile, cloud computing has been given significant emphasis. Recommendation 63 notes cloud is reducing costs by allowing data share among users, and says adoption should increase by introducing a mandatory “cloud first” policy for all low-risk data.
The benefits of cloud computing in both government and business are undeniable, and allowing low-risk data to be held in the cloud would certainly provide efficiencies across huge government departments, (although risks would also need to be considered).
These recommendations are a reflection of what’s happening in the private sector. But the emphasis on cloud computing is merely the catalyst – the important factor here is the ability for information to be shared across any channel possible.
Research has already shown employees being able to share information reduces time spent on other activities such as redundant emailing and long-winded discussions.
Being able to access universal data is a similar approach. Not only will a connected government provide efficiencies within the public service – it will make for a happy constituency.