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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Sep 8, 2023

Digitalization in the UK

Digitalization is an integral component of realizing a nations’ sustainable development agenda. In the United Kingdom, the government has launched a digital strategy that it sees as vital to achieving its ambitious priorities of decarbonizing its economy to net zero by 2050, as well as the equal spread of opportunities across the country.

In 2022, the UK government launched “Transforming for a Digital Future” that sets out the government’s plan for “a transformed, more efficient digital government that provides better outcomes for everyone.”

Under this plan, the UK government has set out six missions. First, it aims to transform public services, improving at least 50 of the government’s top 75 services to a great standard by 2025.

Second, the One Log-in for Government will roll-out a single sign-on identity program across government so that citizens would not need to repeatedly give their information for every government service they access.

Third, is the better use of data to enable more efficient and effective policies and services.

Fourth, is for government to use modern technology that is efficient, secure, and sustainable.

Fifth, is having the right digital skills to build systems and services, making sure that government can attract, train, and retain digitally skilled people. 

Lastly, ensuring the government’s ability to support modern and efficient digital products and services, unlocking the potential of digital transformation.

Moreover, in the UK’s overall digital strategy, the country aims to be “the best place in the world to start and grow a technology business.” The strategy focuses on six key areas: digital foundations; ideas and intellectual property; digital skills;financing digital growth; spreading prosperity and levelling up; and, enhancing the UK’s place in the world.

The overall digital plan includes a number of key actions and targets, such as: by 2025, they would have achieved at least 85 percent coverage nationwide of gigabit broadband through the Project Gigabit program, and would have expanded mobile network coverage to 95 percent of the UK through the Shared Rural Network.

It also aims to increase R&D investment to £20 billion a year by 2024/2025; provide £315 million of funding to support sustainable transitions in industry, including in the data center sector; support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing £1.6 billion of investment funds; strengthening the digital education pipeline, and developing advanced and lifelong digital skills, among many other specific actions.

When I met with UK Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils, we discussed possible areas where our two nations can work together, such as strengthening cybersecurity, interoperability of cyber systems, cybersecurity capacity-building, programmatic support on cybersecurity, satellite communications, and Government Cloud and Big Data.

The Philippines and the UK have a long history of cooperation and more than 70 years of bilateral relations. They have been our partner in many areas of development, and now we hope to further strengthen this partnership in the area of digitalization.

We have a lot to learn from UK’s experience, and furthering our digital cooperation with them can definitely help the Philippines in our efforts to aggressively pursue our digital trans-formation initiatives.

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