Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed the government is aiming to integrate the technology used by the UK’s blue light services part of its “smarter state” vision.
Speaking ahead of the launch of a Spending Review, the PM claims that reform, devolution and efficiency are the three key principles in his reform of the public sector.
“Take our emergency services. Right now we have a situation where in most towns, the Police, fire and ambulance services all have different premises, back offices, IT policies and systems, and procurement policies – despite all their work being closely related,” claimed Cameron.
“I can announce today that we will introduce reforms that will enable the Police, fire and ambulance services to work more closely together to save money and improve their effectiveness.
“In areas with local support we will enable Police and Crime Commissioners to take on control of the fire and rescue services, including in London where that power will be vested in the Mayor,” he added.
According to the PM, Hampshire is one area which has “shown the way forward” because blue light services in the county have brought functions together to save millions of pounds a year.
Cameron also announced that he wants Whitehall to “go much further in making government digital” in a bid to not only improve services, but save money at the same time.
He referred to the Government Digital Service (GDS) as “one of the great unsung triumphs of the last Parliament” and praised it for launching the online register to vote and tax paying systems – however, he still sees some way to go.
“Part of the issue is our mentality. When a business uses technology to deliver more for less, it’s regarded as a good thing. But when government does it, it’s too often just badged as cuts,” the PM claimed.
“It’s as though good business is somehow bad government. This attitude has to change,” he added.
Besides thinking more like a business and using technology and digital to its advantage, the government will also be attempting reform of social services and child protection and devolving more power to various local authorities as it looks to ambitiously reduce public spending by £20bn over the next four years.
“If we embrace reform, break-up monopolies, take on vested interests, we won’t just balance the books, we will lay the foundation for the most radical and most progressive government of our recent history,” Cameron claimed.