Labour's vision for government transformation

With a commitment to leveraging digital technologies, decentralising power, and ensuring efficient use of resources - and a 25 per cent lead in the polls - Labour's plans for operational and service transformation are of interest to central and local government DDaT executives - as well as those who partner them.

Labour's vision for government transformation


2024 Labour Party ManifestoThe Labour Party's manifesto sets out an ambitious blueprint for "mission-driven" government, focused on long-term strategies to drive economic growth, enhance public service delivery, and empower local authorities.

Reading between the lines, the big beneficiaries would be HMRC, CDDO, ONS, combined authorities, and smaller multi-disciplinary teams of specialist digital consultants.

The losers are set to be the big consultancies, as they once more fall within the cross-hairs of "efficiency savings". These efficiency savings are a lot easier to find in your manifesto than deliver in practice - as the Conservatives have had similar (thwarted) ambitions in the past, and actually have exactly the same ambition in their own manifesto.

Transforming digital services & public engagement

Labour’s plans includes five key missions to rebuild Britain:

  1. Kickstarting economic growth
  2. Making Britain a clean energy superpower
  3. Taking back the streets by reducing serious crime
  4. Breaking down barriers to opportunity through education reform
  5. Building an NHS fit for the future

These will be the five lenses through which initially all programmes will be viewed and prioritised.

Central to these missions is the integration of new technologies to improve efficiency, security, and service delivery across the public sector.

The manifesto states, "Digitisation can improve efficiency and enable information sharing, integration, and personalisation of services."

Labour's approach is to meet the expectations of citizens who "increasingly expect a 'digital first' approach."

Harnessing data for public good

The manifesto highlights the importance of data in driving innovation and public service efficiency: "We will create a National Data Library to bring together existing research programmes and help deliver data-driven public services, whilst maintaining strong safeguards and ensuring all of the public benefit."

This is an idea first proposed by UK think tank Onward - creating a secure platform of anonymised data from the public services. 

According to Tufts University, the UK's current data reservoir ranks as the world's third-largest. However, this data frequently falls short in meeting the quality standards required for effective AI use, as it tends to be inconsistent, outdated, challenging to locate, or inaccessible. A National Data Library would seek to enhance the value of our information assets.

Labour's manifesto further emphasises the need for robust data management to support the development of the AI sector and the removal of planning barriers for new data centres.

Driving efficiency & operational transformation

Having committed to current spending plans, and gone on record to deny plans to increase tax for "working people", Labour shares the same constraints as the Conservatives when it comes to funding new programmes - and therefore a similar commitment public service modernisation to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The manifesto outlines plans to "halve consultancy spend, which is projected to free up £745 million."

Labour plans to modernise HMRC by increasing registration and reporting requirements, strengthening HMRC’s powers, and investing in new technology. £855 million will be invested in HMRC to enhance operational efficiency and reduce tax avoidance.

This approach will help "close the tax gap and ensure everyone pays their fair share."

Empowering local authorities & enhancing collaboration

Labour aims to deepen devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities and extend these powers to more areas - such as transport, education, housing and employment - ensuring local governance is equipped with the tools and resources necessary for growth.

Labour commits to "transfer power out of Westminster, and into our communities, with landmark devolution legislation to take back control."

This approach includes creating "Local Growth Plans that cover towns and cities across the country," aligning local initiatives with national industrial strategy.

Additionally, Labour plans to "review the governance arrangements for Combined Authorities to unblock decision making" and provide "greater flexibility with integrated settlements for Mayoral Combined Authorities that can show exemplary management of public money."

Labour’s manifesto also addresses the financial challenges faced by local governments, promising to "give councils multi-year funding settlements and end wasteful competitive bidding."

This approach is aimed at providing greater stability and enabling better public service delivery at the local level.

Born on the 4th July?

These initiatives, while only sketched out in a manifesto focused on a broader audience than government digital and data professionals, represent a clear direction of travel - and something for us to reflect upon as we wait to see the dust settle on the 5th July.

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