The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), a group that campaigns to support UK digital startups, has called upon government to give smaller tech businesses a better chance.
Ahead of next year’s General Election, Coadec has published its Startup Manifesto, claiming it intends to influence the debate surrounding a digital government and the way in which it would work with SMEs.
According to the group, the document outlines 24 steps, which, if taken, could allow the UK to become a world leader on digital innovation.
The manifesto says that it should be government policy to support disruptive innovation, creating an environment where people and businesses can adapt.
It draws attention to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes’ comments that the “disruptive force of technology” is a good thing that must be embraced.
“The next Prime Minister should publicly articulate a similar position on disruptive innovation,” claims Startup Manifesto.
“It should be government policy to support disruptive innovation, making clear that the role of the state is to encourage innovation and competition, with the minimum red tape needed,” it adds.
A large portion of the Coadec document focuses on “using digital government to unlock innovation.”
It claims the way Whitehall can achieve this is by making it easier for digital startups to sell to government and commit to keeping and expanding the Government Digital Service (GDS).
The manifesto draws upon the idea that procurement frameworks such as G-Cloud are “difficult and time consuming.”
It says that this creates a barrier for the “burgeoning digital technology sector” and that Coadec doubts the government will hit its target to do 25% of its business with SMEs as a result of this.
“The next government should meet the 25% target and raise the level of ambition with a more challenging target,” claims the organisation.
“The government should also simplify the process for startups to list their services on the CloudStore, including holding workshop to explain the process,” it adds.
Coadec claims that GDS is one of the most effective parts of the civil service and sets an example to the rest of the world when it comes to doing digital in the public sector.
“[It has] successfully taken government departments with them on the journey to a more digital government, with the exemplar services proving how digital can make life better both for Departments and more importantly, for citizens and users,” it says.
Going forward, the group recommends that GDS develops specialist teams focused on specific issues, such as a Health Digital Service that focuses on the NHS.