Although it may seem counterintuitive for a business model that involves making source code freely available for redistribution and modification, open source is everywhere. The history of how it arrived here: a belle-epoque of collaboration buoyed by serious investment from juggernauts like Amazon, Google and Facebook has been covered before. Less attention has been drawn to how integral open source has been to the thriving innovation currently transforming the UK public sector
Innovation in the public sector
In the last decade or so, the UK public sector has accelerated through a sea change of tech-driven modernisation under the banner of digital transformation. A report released last week revealed that mobiles and tablets now account for the majority of internet traffic to GOV.UK services.
Mobile access has been non-negotiable for most modern businesses for a number of years. Yet the figure truly crystallises the progress made in a segment not known for being on the pulse of tech trends, and one often satirised for lagging remarkably behind wider industry. Last July, in a dish seemingly readymade for farce-hungry twitter trolls, the Government’s new Digital Secretary was revealed to have not tweeted since 2015.
To say that Government ministers are overflowing with enthusiasm for solutions that improve the speed, efficiency and quality of their services would be to put it mildly. The fervour is best exemplified by the new UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, who since taking on the role has embarked on a PR stroke evangelical mission to eulogise how AI and other technologies can transform the NHS once and for all.
Apart from more conventional measures like ditching fax machines, Hancock has promised to scrap hand-written prescriptions and is a proud member of GP at Hand, Babylon AI’s controversial digital GP service.