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What now for Ed Vaizey’s Digital Strategy?

We’ve been trying to track down a publication date for the government’s Digital Strategy and now the Institute for Government has graded its future as “uncertain”.

The document was supposed to outline the government’s plans for the digital economy and our vital digital infrastructure, as well as spelling out what’s coming next for the Government Digital Service. But we’re still in the dark.

The Institute for Government believes it was ready “several months before the referendum”, however it didn’t materialise ahead of the vote and its contents has no doubt been thrown into question by the outcome that.

So what now?

“A new Digital Strategy was expected to be published shortly and now needs to be re-written,” teckUK‘s CEO Julian David told NS Tech.

“The government should publish the existing strategy now as a draft and seek inputs from business about how it can be made fit for purpose for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“The UK has one chance to get this right,” he added. “The approach must be strategic and comprehensive, looking at the whole of the UK’s tech ecosystem.

“It will fail if it is a collection of headline-grabbing gimmicks.”

Rachel Neaman, director of campus for Doteveryone, echoed the need for greater collaboration: “In the post-referendum world, as we start the hard work of disentangling 40 years of history, it is more important than ever that we unite behind an ambitious vision for a digital UK that allows us to leap ahead together and not to stagnate divided.

“That means we also need to co-create with our citizens the public services and infrastructure they want and need.”

But it’s not clear how easy that’ll be post-Brexit as we face an even greater skills crisis, warns Baroness Sally Morgan, a member of the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Lords and chair of the Digital Skills Select Committee.

“Brexit puts up in lights what we already knew: the UK has a serious digital skills gap and no proper strategy for dealing with the large and growing shortfall,” she told us.

“We need to upskill at every level and bitty initiatives won’t deliver what is needed. And our dependency on importing the skills we need to grow the economy is now in jeopardy.”

Everything appears to be on hold right now as both main parties scrap it out after the referendum. We’ll keep you posted on the Digital Strategy as and when we know more.