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A practical framework for digital public service delivery

Computer Weekly - There is a tension between governments’ need to become more flexible and agile around the needs of the citizen, and the need to exercise the discipline required to consume interoperable building blocks of outcomes, from standard platforms, within an open architecture.

In the UK Government Digital Service there is a focus on developing bespoke in-house open source software within agile teams, in which the broader architectural emphasis on standardising and consuming technology appears to have become marginalised. A short-term pre-occupation with the large-scale bespoking of open-source point solutions appears to have supplanted a longer-term focus on progressive consumption of open standards.

Such a strategic slippage risks replacing the previously distorted market involving private sector bespoking of proprietary technology, with a new, potentially equally distorted market involving public sector bespoking of open source technology. Both outcomes decouple government from the evolving open standards of a global marketplace, consigning it to ownership of a legacy bespoke infrastructure with escalating maintenance costs and upgrades.