Insights for Organisations

8 Biggest Public Sector Technology Trends in 2023

Paul Brown
15.09.23

More and more people are engaging with the government online every day, whether it’s to establish a business, renew their driver’s licence, or obtain entitlements such as Universal Credit.

In the 2021 Spending Review, the UK government has committed to investing an additional £8 billion in digital, data, and technology transformation by 2025. This is a step in the right direction as it will enable outdated and inefficient legacy systems to be replaced, delivering better services and greater value for taxpayers.

Preliminary reports predict the following savings:

However, this investment must be driven by a robust digital strategy that can transform the way we access public services.

But what are the top emerging tech trends in the public sector that pundits are predicting?

8 Biggest trends in public sector technology

Here are some of the most transformative public sector technology solutions in 2023:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Data privacy, security, and ethics
  3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
  4. 5G deployment
  5. Blockchain technology
  6. Internet of Things (IoT)
  7. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  8. Sustainable technology

As society becomes more digitised, the pressure for the public sector to modernise and meet evolving expectations continues to grow. Digital transformation is becoming increasingly popular among public sector bodies as they quickly realise the benefits. They are adopting technologies like AI, IoT, cloud computing, and big data to improve service delivery, increase accessibility, and optimise operational efficiency. For example, digital transformation makes government services more accessible to a broader range of people. Online portals, mobile apps, and digital platforms allow citizens to access government information and services from anywhere at any time.

Here’s more on the digital transformation trends for businesses.

Digital literacy

With a surge in technology usage, public sector staff must be digitally literate. High-level digital literacy not only ensures that personnel can comfortably use digital technologies but also that they can identify potential cybersecurity threats, understand data privacy norms, and contribute to digital transformation initiatives. Many public sector organisations are investing in in-depth digital literacy programmes, such as the Civil Service’s digital skills imperative that aims to equip all staff with the tools and knowledge for a digital future.

Digital literacy is a must in today’s age! Here are the six essential digital skills you need for a modern career.

1. Cloud computing

The public sector is embracing cloud computing to enhance agility, scalability, and resilience in their operations. Cloud allows for seamless data storage and retrieval, supporting remote work, and enabling efficient application deployment. This shift is proven beneficial in managing large datasets, enhancing service delivery, and improving collaboration among departments. Read more about the Government Cloud First policy and cloud guide for more information.

If you’re planning a cloud migration, here’s the top cloud computing trends to watch out for.

2. Data privacy, security, and ethics

Robust security measures are needed to protect the bulk of sensitive data in the public sector. Organisations are amping their data security infrastructure in response to growing cyber threats. Compliance with data protection laws, such as the GDPR, is also a critical focus, ensuring ethical and secure handling of citizens’ personal data. The UK Government is taking a pioneering role in promoting ethical data handling through the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI). The CDEI conducts both quantitative and qualitative assessments of data processes, addressing ethical challenges in areas like AI and social media regulation, as well as policing algorithms and data bias.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)

AI and ML are revolutionising the public sector by automating tasks, improving decision-making, and enabling predictive analysis. For instance, AI is used in healthcare for early diagnosis, freeing up doctors’ time spent doing admin tasks, and automating the referral process. Similarly, ML is used in transportation for traffic prediction, and both AI and ML technologies in the defence sector for threat detection.

Find out how to use AI to supercharge your digital transformation strategies.

4. 5G deployment

5G technology brings about a transformative impact on various aspects of public services and urban development. Its high-speed connectivity facilitates near-instantaneous data transfer and low-latency communications, improving the efficiency of public sector organisations. In the realm of smart cities, 5G infrastructure enables interconnected devices and sensors to collect and transmit real-time data, optimising traffic management, energy consumption, waste management, and public safety. Emergency services benefit from 5G through enhanced capabilities like real-time video streaming for assessment and rapid access to critical data.

In addition to these advancements, 5G contributes to improved public transportation by enabling real-time vehicle tracking, route optimisation, and providing passengers with up-to-date information. Furthermore, in the realm of education, 5G bridges the digital divide by providing high-quality internet access for remote learning, ensuring equitable educational opportunities, a particularly crucial development during the COVID-19 pandemic especially.

5. Blockchain technology

Blockchain, initially known for its role in finance and cryptocurrency, is finding applications in public services. Notably, the UK’s Food Standard Agency (FSA) conducted a successful pilot in 2018, tracking meat distribution in a cattle slaughterhouse using blockchain. This marked the first use of distributed ledger technology for food sector compliance monitoring.

Now, other government bodies, such as HM Land Registry and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), have also explored blockchain’s potential, for example improving land registration, identity management, and making benefits payments more efficient.

6. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT (Internet of Things) is driving a profound transformation in public sector technology, making waves in both urban life and governance. In smart cities, IoT applications like adaptive street lighting and optimised waste management enhance urban living while reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. Public safety benefits from surveillance systems and predictive analytics, enabling quicker disaster responses and law enforcement capabilities

Not to mention, IoT empowers resource management by monitoring water quality, optimising agriculture, and improving healthcare through remote patient monitoring. And again, much like 5G, IoT provides real-time data and insights to enhance service delivery, optimising traffic flow and public transportation, providing accurate schedules, and improving emergency response.

7. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Public sector organisations are increasingly turning to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline their operations. RPA’s ability to automate routine and repetitive tasks, such as data entry and document verification, offers several advantages. By delegating these mundane responsibilities to software robots, employees can redirect their efforts towards strategic and customer-centric functions. This not only boosts productivity but also minimises the likelihood of errors, enhancing the overall quality of services provided to the public.

RPA’s capacity to handle high-volume, rule-based tasks at a rapid pace makes it a valuable tool for public sector bodies seeking to optimise resource allocation and improve operational efficiency, ultimately leading to better outcomes for both employees and citizens. RPA can be used to process things like citizen queries, validate application data, and verify IDs – the list goes on.

Read more about how RPA is changing the world as we know it.

8. Sustainable technology

The public sector’s growing commitment to environmental sustainability is a crucial step in mitigating ecological impacts and contributing to a more eco-conscious future. One significant aspect of this shift involves the adoption of energy-efficient technologies. Public buildings, transportation systems, and infrastructure are being designed and retrofitted to minimise energy consumption, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower operational costs.

Furthermore, public sector organisations are increasingly investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower. By harnessing clean and sustainable energy, they not only reduce their carbon footprint but also achieve long-term cost savings as renewable energy becomes more economically viable.

As mentioned above, smart cities are another integral component of the public sector’s sustainability efforts, using IoT and 5G to create sustainable cities that offer a higher quality of life for residents while minimising environmental impact.

Read more to understand the environmental impact of digitalisation.

In conclusion, the dynamic landscape of public sector technology is reshaping the way governments operate, interact with citizens, and provide essential services. However, the successful continuous realisation of these technological advancements relies on a robust digital infrastructure, government support, and, perhaps most crucially, a skilled and digitally literate workforce.

Are you looking for highly-skilled technical professionals to transform your public sector organisation? We have over a decade of experience sourcing and training top talent. Check out the FDM Consultant services to find out how we can help take your business to the next level.