U.S.-U.K. Digital Government Partnership
We are building on a long history of innovation and collaboration on digital technologies with the United Kingdom. The President and Prime Minister Cameron just announced a commitment to strengthen and expand the ongoing digital partnership between our two countries. Both countries have made real progress in working to improve how our governments use digital services to better serve citizens and businesses, and to build a stronger digital economy. We will expand our already existing collaborations in these areas as well as continue to support open data and open government initiatives for our own countries as well as for all countries.
U.S.-U.K. innovation and collaboration on digital technology dates back to WWII, when both countries were in need of extraordinary amounts of mathematical computation capacity. Teams from both countries did the seminal work that created modern digital computing. Breakthrough work included the United Kingdom's Bletchley Park code breakers, the ENIAC ballistics calculation advances in the United States, and many other groundbreaking programs in both countries.
The U.S. and U.K. have also been ongoing innovators of open government and open data; from very early releases and collaborations on weather and mapping data to full data portals now hosted at the United Kingdom's data.gov.uk, and data.gov in the United States, which host hundreds of thousands of government data sets released to the public. And for decades, United States and United Kingdom innovators have been at the forefront of including children in learning computer coding - from early work at Dartmouth to MIT Media Lab's Seymour Papert's seminal work on Logo in the 1970s and 80s, to the UK's BBC Micro from Acorn, a computer designed with an emphasis on education created during those same early years.
The next stage of the U.S.-U.K. partnership will focus on three core efforts:
- First, transforming how government delivers digital services to better meet the needs of citizens.
- Second, continuing to lead on global open government efforts through the Open Government Partnership, which enhances government transparency and public access to government data.
- And finally, increasing our nation's technological capabilities by training the next generation of digital experts and expanding the reach of high quality Internet access.
Both countries have already stepped up their efforts in this area, learning from each other's best practices. In 2011, the United Kingdom created the Government Digital Service (GDS), a centralized group of digital experts who have vastly improved citizen experiences when using government digital services. This team has worked to make public services digital by default, simpler, less costly, and faster to use.
In the United States, we recently launched the U.S. Digital Service, a small group of highly skilled tech experts who are working with agencies to improve their citizen-facing digital services and hire their own embedded team of highly skilled digital service leaders. In addition, GSA, the home of USA.gov, Data.gov and many other Federal websites, has built its own digital service team named 18F which is working with more than a dozen agencies to help them deliver on their missions digitally in a design-centric, agile, open, and data-driven way.
Together, our two countries can continue to be leaders in all of these arenas. We look forward to further collaboration, which now also includes sharing code through the best-practice of open source. Next up, Mikey Dickerson, and members of his U.S. Digital Service team, alongside other innovators across the U.S. government, will head to the United Kingdom in coming months to continue the teamwork with the U.K. GDS. Meanwhile, it has been a pleasure to host the United Kingdom leadership and some of the digital team here in the United States this week.
Shaun Donovan is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Megan Smith is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
To read the additional background information about the U.S.-U.K. Digital Government Partnership please klick here.