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Minister celebrates innovative thinking at Tower 09 conference

Minister for Digital Engagement Tom Watson today told the Cabinet Office’s Tower ’09 conference that it was crucial for the government to embrace digital technology in order to keep delivering the best public services.

Tom Watson's speech
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The Minister was among the high-profile speakers at the second annual public sector reform event, which also saw the launch of the Transformational Government Annual Report.

Tom Watson MP said:

“This Government has achieved so much by using technology to drive the reform of public services, with increased effciency and more freedom for people to shape services around their lives rather than government convenience. We have already achieved £26.5 billion of efficiency savings – and will save a further £35 billion by 2011.

“For that reform to continue we have to learn from each other and come up with exciting and innovative ways to transform the way we deliver services in this country. Our priority is to make sure public services are high-quality, accessible and robust enough to meet increasing demand in this economic downturn.”

The minister said driving forward public sector reform would help Britain emerge from  the global downturn faster and stronger and would lay the foundations for a more prosperous future.

The Transformational Government Annual Report, published today, highlights the innovative work already being carried out across government to improve public services.

Savings including £50 million at the Department for Work and Pensions, with a total of £100million expected by the end of 2008/09 - all key to helping the country through the economic downturn.

The report also showed that millions of people are already accessing services every day. Around 13 million motorists renewed their car tax online, 10 people a second filed their tax returns on the internet, 2.7 million driving tests were booked online and more than 15 million people visited uk every month for help and guidance.

The Health Service now handles over 300 million consultations every year and the Department for Work and Pensions delivers £121 billion of payments each year to over 190 countries.

Held at the Tower Hotel in East London, this year’s conference brought together 350 public sector officials including senior managers and frontline staff to discuss public sector engagement and public service reform.

It focused on how the government can use digital technology to even greater effect in the design and delivery of public services, how best to engage with people and businesses and how to encourage innovation across government.

Speakers included Richard Allan, Government Affairs Director, Europe, Cisco and Chair of the Power of Information Taskforce, Steph Gray, Head of Digital Engagement at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), Lord Davies of Abersoch the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Summers, Chairman of Companies House and Chris Wormald, Director of Public Service Reform at the Cabinet Office.

There were also workshops run by Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and the Digital Policy Team from the Central Office of Information (COI)

Notes to editors

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