Digital investment is expected to be at the forefront of driving sustainable change across government, with new research revealing that 41% of Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) leaders across central government see it as their department’s main strategy for achieving Net Zero.
A further 35% stated that improving data collection and analysis is an integral part of their strategy; 38% mention workplace energy-saving practices as a key approach.
This comes as the UK Government's digital and data roadmap states as part of its Net Zero plan that: “It will require a step change in the rate of new technologies and processes being developed and deployed."
It's clear that technology-based transformation and sustainability targets are intertwined in government policy.
"Investment in digital is a big driver for us," said Ian Benson of the Disclosure and Barring Service. “We are trying to increase the effectiveness of our services, but timeliness and maintaining the integrity and quality of service is the driver - not measuring carbon targets. That might become a benefit, but it wouldn’t be a primary driver for investing in technology.”
Benson adds: “Achieving Net Zero buys time to find a viable alternative to an existing service. If it does counteract some of the damage that we have done to the environment, then great. But I think it’s more likely that it’s going to become a way of buying time rather than anything else. The real benefit will be a better quality of government service.”
Steps are being taken to further embed greener practices into government IT and technology codes of conduct. Defra’s Chris Howes highlights the progress being made: "We’ve created a ‘greener government’ ICT digital services strategy, for example, which gets sustainability into the technology code of practice. But if we look at the level of capability in the technology function across government there’s still a lot more to do.”