Automate the State: health and social care

by John O'Connell, Chief Executive

Tomorrow, we're launching the next paper in our series on introducing more automation in the public sector.

A lot of our work at the TPA focuses on fighting for lower taxes. But the flip side of the coin is securing better services. With the tax burden at a near 50 year high, we campaign both to get taxes down, and to get people more for their money.

We recently refreshed our mission statement at the TPA, to accommodate for the exciting new developments in technology that we think could be used to deliver savings for taxpayers - but also, crucially, vastly improve public service delivery, and allow staff in the public sector to carry our their jobs without facing stacks of unnecessary paperwork.

The independent vision the TPA has means that we can move with the times. Our research team have infinitely more ideas than our small team can roll out, but we decided this was one campaign we had to prioritise.

It spoke directly to our values in relation to public services:

  • British people pay for, and deserve, world-leading public services
  • We should respect those public servants who are talented, hard-working and dignified
  • Wasting taxpayers' money is short-sighted, unacceptable and immoral
  • Public services should be efficient, value for money, highly automated, transparent, reliable and modern

Embracing technology is crucial to ensure those propositions are met. And the Department of Health is particularly important in this regard - because it would mean more lives saved. It's been encouraging to see the current Secretary of State, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, embrace a technology-led improvement in the NHS, so that the system itself can harness the talent and hard work of many doctors and nurses working within it. To be sure, the NHS can be improved - but within its budget, more can be spent on new tech to deliver greater returns on outputs in the future.

Politicians from all parties should embrace coming technological changes so that public service delivery - not just in healthcare - can keep up with the standards taxpayers expect and, after all, pay for.

That's something we recognised when we launched this independent campaign in June 2018, and something we will continually call for as it progresses.