Their model grew out of massive failure in parliamentary scrutiny, so you're on a good roll here. Basically, they have an amazing parliamentary report from, I think, 2011, called “Government and IT—'a recipe for rip-offs'”. They pretty much investigated the scandalous awarding of contracts to a small number of massive IT firms, which led to huge failures, including a massive failure of their effort to create a universal benefit system. That's really worth checking out.
From that failure.... At the time, there was a coalition government that was interested in improving public services, led by David Cameron. You saw huge investment and a lot of ministerial leadership to recruit tech talent and to evaluate the rules that make it hard to do good tech work in government.
The recipe is pretty clear. I hope we don't have to have a massive failure to get there, but I increasingly fear that we do.
It's a similar story in the U.S. The reason they moved ahead on a lot of tech reforms was that Obama's health care initiative failed on the first day because the website didn't work. This led to the creation of presidential innovation fellows and the U.S. Digital Service. Now, under the Biden administration, there's significant investment in reducing administrative burden and improving services.
We haven't seen that same kind of activity here in Canada. We have been more at the level of strategies, visions and some tech talent hiring, but we need some significant hard rules, I think. We also need to streamline some of the existing rules, so that public servants trying to do good work are enabled to do that good work.