Week in government tech: NAO shines a light on DPW’s Universal Credit programme; UK’s best local government website named

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The Department for Work and Pensions will have to write off £34 million in IT assets, totalling 17% of the assets developed for its Universal Credit programme, according to a National Audit Office report, which found that the department failed to meet some of its rollout targets. NAO found the assets developed so far aren't able to scale appropriately and the report suggest the DWP may have to pivot away from some of its early digital-by-default goals. The report suggests, however, that the project's real problem lies not with its technology, but with its management and governance. The programme is now in the middle of a 12-week project reset initiative.

Digital by default:

Public sector organisations are eager to embrace digital channels to cut costs -- but David Worsell argues that the key to a successful "channel shift" isn't new channels, but a shift in thinking about resources and priorities. New channels need to quickly attract substantial audiences to justify their development. He offers 8 key steps to engaging your audience and get your new channel off the ground.

The London School of Economics and Political Science, Ofcom, the non-profit Tinder Foundation and other groups are working together to study the causes of "digital exclusion" -- as 16 million people over the age of 15 in the UK lack basic digital skills. The groups will meet at the Social Digital Research Symposium to lay the groundwork for a number of reports due out next year.

Government tech on the move:

The country's best local government public sector website belongs to the London borough of Hounslow for the second year in a row, according to the Sitemorse Index. Hounslow's site earned a score of 9.3 out of 10, while the Cornwall Council's site scored 8.7 to come in second and The Scottish Border Council earned an 8.5, coming in third place.

Street names and numbers in the London Borough of Enfield are getting an overhaul, bringing them in line with national standards and making them compliant with the digitised local address dataset.

Transforming your organization:

New technology is often hailed as the cure for whatever ails an organisation, but as Dave Coplin notes in Business Reimagined, technology is only ever part of the solution. Changing an organisations culture and workflows are essential to making any change stick -- as Andrew O’Connell notes in this piece on alleviating the flood of e-mail within an organisation. Excessive e-mail isn't just annoying, he argues -- it can have real effects on the bottom lines as well.


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