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Has the UK government leapfrogged the private sector to become the IT trend setter?

Information Age - Has the UK government leapfrogged the private sector to become the IT trend setter?

Since the credit crisis, one word has defined the UK public sector: austerity. In its attempt to reduce the national deficit, the UK government has cut spending across much of the public sector and directed departments to identify and eliminate areas of waste.

This has been especially evident in the NHS, which has made great strides in changing its operational culture. Waste is being eradicated and efficiency improved.

Information technology is an area that can make a significant contribution to such savings. The Health and Social Care Information Commission (HSCIC), the public sector agency which provides infrastructure platforms and reporting on behalf of the NHS, is delivering open-source replacements for several large mission-critical IT systems. 

This trend is apparent in other government agencies too. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), for example, has replaced its legacy Crisis Hub with an alternative based on open source, delivered using an agile approach. 

This technical innovation has been driven by the government’s support of open-source solutions, agile delivery and cloud-based deployment, leading to cutting-edge and flexible technology platforms, which can be delivered quickly, at a fraction of the cost of commercial alternatives.