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https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2022/10/04/a-new-digital-strategy-for-parliament/

A new digital strategy for Parliament

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Digital strategy, Technology
Portrait of David Smith.
David Smith OBE, Chief Information Officer and Managing Director of the Parliamentary Digital Service

Parliament’s previous digital strategy ran from 2016‒2021 and focused on a set of aspirations and principles that underpinned an ambition to provide excellent digital services to a modern Parliament.

During a challenging time, our digital service responded robustly to cyber-attacks and matured through the move to cloud computing, using agile multi-disciplinary teams for delivery and, after experiencing challenges, renewing our website in 2020.

As we catch our breaths and move on from a frenetic and successful response to the pandemic, we’ve developed a new digital strategy that sets our ambitions from 2022 through to 2025.

Context

Left image: broadcasting work taking place in the House of Commons. Right image: clerks and doorkeepers using laptops in the House of Lords Chamber.

Parliament is an ecosystem including multiple organisations and business models. And this new strategy is for everyone working in, and working with, UK Parliament.

It is intended to support Parliament’s key functions of legislating, scrutinising the government, controlling expenditure, and representing the citizen. It’s also designed to support however the parliamentary estate develops in the future and the recent and rapid extension in hybrid ways of working.

We developed the new strategy in partnership with colleagues from the House of Commons, House Lords, and our Transforming Digital Programme, which is a multi-year transformational programme in Parliament. From listening to different perspectives, we came up with the following four priorities:

Priorities for 2022–2025 

  1. Ensure that our digital services are flexible, secure and resilient, in the face of evolving threats  
  2. Keep pace with advances in digital technology to support parliamentary functions and modern working practices, and to engage and empower Members and staff to make the best use of digital 
  3. Make digital more sustainable and scalable by updating our operating models and identifying opportunities to improve ways of working 
  4. Enable Parliament to make best use of its data and information securely 

Making the strategy a reality

We’ve kept these priorities short and succinct, but there’s a lot of work we need to do to achieve them. To help make the strategy a reality for everyone who will use it, we identified six areas of focus.

1. Define, agree and manage enterprise standards for IT and digital

We anticipate a future where Parliament’s digital needs continue to grow, and where the ability for PDS to meet all of these needs is impossible (as is already the case).

Whether it’s the design of technologies for a smarter parliamentary estate, cyber standards to allow for the safe broadcast of parliamentary proceedings, or the outsourcing of bespoke development to support the work of Members of both Houses, we need to develop and introduce a clear set of IT and digital standards.

2. Deliver digitally enabled business transformation to Parliament’s core services

Through the vehicle of our Transforming Digital Programme, we’ll continue to work with specific areas of Parliament to transform and improve the delivery of services.

3. Ensure improvement in data availability, quality, and accessibility

We will continue to support the Houses in improving our approaches to data and information governance and cooperation across Parliament to improve the data quality that underpins our services.

4. Continue to reduce legacy technology

We’ve made great progress in the past year to understand our legacy technology estate, and we now routinely assess and prioritise investment to tackle the areas that present the greatest risk or are major customer pain points.

5. Continue to build digital skills

For Parliament to be able to meet its digital potential, we need to be able to recruit and retain digital talent, in particular specialist skills such as cyber security experts and software engineers. It’s imperative we become more competitive in the market and expose the exciting work we do here at Parliament.

We’re introducing a new skills and capability framework that demonstrates how employees can develop their careers in digital within Parliament and be recognised appropriately for the skills they bring.

6. Improve digital culture and community

Given the culture of Parliament, and the multiple organisation and supplier environment that we operate in, active, respectful, and open collaboration across our communities is essential.

That means greater integration of business and digital roles, and a recognition that having the right behaviours, skills, and relationships when developing digital solutions is fundamental to achieving good outcomes.

Left image: Westminster Hall. Right image: a committee proceeding in the House of Lords.

What's next

This strategy will be reviewed annually—and where appropriate—updated to reflect evolving priorities and progress.

We’ll share more on this blog on the work being done to progress against the different areas of the strategy, as well as more about the Transforming Digital Programme soon.

Read more information about the digital strategy on Parliament’s website.

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