The age of opportunity: Sparta Global CEO talks digital and driving public sector innovation
The digital age is the age of opportunity. With the help of technology, businesses are continuing to transform their processes and provide customers with the best user experiences. When it comes to where individuals choose to shop, bank and invest their money – they are increasingly likely to prefer the providers that meet their expectations and regularly innovate to improve.
When it comes to utilising public services and interacting with government – citizens do not have the same luxury of selection. It is the duty of public sector organisations to serve with excellence. In his foreword for the Government Technology Innovation Strategy policy paper, Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, described governmental excellence as being “reliant on innovation and the judicious implementation of new technologies.” But how is the government exploring emerging technologies and why is it important?
Put simply, public sector innovation involves creating, developing and implementing practical ideas that achieve a public benefit. There is an outdated notion that people and processes are behind the times in the public sector and that the government struggles to keep pace with the contemporary progression of the private sector.
In reality, public agencies around the world are constantly displaying new ways of organising social security or healthcare and developing online portals, smart cards, public health programmes and imaginative incentives to cut carbon emissions – among a host of other innovations.
As a provider of technology services to a number of government departments, we have first-hand experience of this. Our Spartans have played an integral role in helping to drive high-profile applications and projects in the increasingly innovative public sector.
Finding fresh thinking
The Home Office is on a journey to reshape its Digital, Data and Technology workforce – including its large Quality Assurance and Testing [QAT] function. To drive this transformation, the Home Office needed to increase its permanent civil servant capability and lower its dependence on supplier resources, contingent labour and managed services. By addressing its talent attraction, retention and team diversity – the Home Office hoped to achieve significant cost-savings, drive internal capabilities and deliver more exemplary digital services for the public.
However, digitising government departments starts with two major considerations: deploying the core capabilities for engaging citizens and businesses [such as particular services and processes] and the organisational innovators that support those capabilities [such as the technical talent].
Sparta Global had been engaged with the Home Office’s Quality Assurance and Testing [QAT] function since 2017. QAT defines a cohort of requirements on a bi-annual basis and we deliver Spartans with the most relevant skills to the projects in need of resourcing.
There are now Spartans working in Test Engineer & Test Analyst roles, and Spartans working in DevOps and Data Engineering positions, working across a range of disciplines, programmes and portfolios, including: Border Force, Visas & Immigration, Passport Office, Crime & Policing, DDaT and Biometrics.
At the cutting edge
With the support of our Spartans and a digital first approach - the Home Office has successfully driven innovation in the public sector and established a reputation as a government department at the cutting edge of technology. By introducing critical automation projects [such as digitising Visa and Immigration portfolios] working on implementing digital systems to streamline citizen communications and leading forums to upskill legacy staff – the Home Office is levelling the innovative playing field against privately-held organisations.