How can technology work more effectively for citizens?

From medical imaging devices vital during pregnancy and birth, to data management programmes in use by local authorities, technology underpins the services people experience at every stage of their day-to-day lives.

To enhance these experiences, it’s important for both the public and private sectors to come together to develop fresh and innovative solutions that tackle the challenges presented by fast paced change and transforming needs.

2017 was a tipping point for technology

At Canon’s eighth annual Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons, Parliamentarians, representatives from Government departments and senior representatives from the private sector came together to discuss the big challenges faced when it comes to technology.

>See also: Can AI technology create a safer community for citizens?

Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, spoke at the event and utilised his tech expertise to shed light on how the Government is working to address these issues and share how he sees public/ private partnerships changing in the future.

Warman explained how 2017 had been a real tipping point for technology, particularly due to the extraordinary growth in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning. People can no longer stick their heads in the sand regarding technology and the Government highlights plans to build a country fit for the future in its Industrial Strategy.

Nick Pickles, director of Policy and Government Affairs at Twitter UK and Israel, also spoke at the event, considering how a platform as big as Twitter responds to these challenges and how it is playing an increasing role in public and private services. Examples included the London Metropolitan Police’s Twitter account which has reduced administrative burdens and increased citizen satisfaction, allowing people to talk to the police through direct messages and share real time video footage of crimes.

>See also: Technology dominates Autumn Budget as key to UK’s growth

Pickles also referenced a town in Spain where every public service is now communicating via the platform – if citizens want to get hold of a public authority then they tweet. This provides transparency for all, as well as immediate notification of emergencies and other urgent announcements.

Looking to the future

Digital will continue to have a key role when it comes to public services and Warman highlighted that while the Government has a ‘digital department’, technology flows throughout all areas, having a key role in health, transport and education.

The possibilities for how technology can improve public service delivery are endless. Already, much of our interaction with public institutions is digital; whether that’s contacting the council, emailing your child’s teacher or making a charitable donation.

>See also: A citizen centric digital city

But it isn’t just individual experiences that change through this process, it’s having to look together at the new issues – sometimes challenges, sometimes opportunities – that arise as a result. These include cyber security and protecting our personal information, as many will recall last year’s high profile cyber attacks such as WannaCry and Petya which saw severe consequences for those affected.

Technology today has a critical role in the delivery of services for citizens; to face these evolving challenges head on. Public and private sectors must continue to communicate and collaborate if they are to realise the opportunities technology provides and deliver the support that people demand.


Sourced by Bob Pickles, director of Government and Corporate Affairs, Canon UK

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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