Party outlines 82 ways to make Britain digital leader.
Labour Digital has outlined 82 recommendations to make Britain a world leader in tech, including open APIs for half of all government transactions and ‘Programmers Passports’ for skilled non-EU programmers.
The party’s digital arm, a grassroots network of 300 digital professionals, has also backed the Government Digital Service (GDS), established by the Coalition to help Whitehall go digital, recommending it to be expanded into a Local GDS (LGDS) that would transform local public services.
The recommendations are contained within Labour Digital’s publication, Number One in Digital, released this morning ahead of its official launch later today as part of the main party conference.
While Labour Digital describes it as a "wish list" rather than official policy, it hopes the recommendations will become policy "in due course".
Jon Cruddas MP wrote in the manifesto’s introduction: "Our priority is to make the UK the number one country in the digital revolution.
"We will tackle concentrations of power, and make sure people have the skills and the abilities to take advantage of the internet. Labour in partnerships with business and workers, will build the new economy of the coming decade.
"And the digital economy demands a new approach to government. Government will be about giving people more control over their lives. We will use the internet to distribute control and to push power out to the people who know best how to use it."
The report wants to speed up digital transformation among local authorities, by using the GDS as a blueprint for an LGDS.
It says: "The LGDS would be based on the GDS model but take the form of a coordinated coalition, empowering local bodies to assess, debate and commission digital projects, with support from the Local Government Association (LGA), SOLACE and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)."
Echoing a recent TechUK roundtable on open data, Labour sees it as essential to a new digital Britain.
The report read: "The collection and use of data lies at the heart of the digital revolution. Ensuring that data is open and its collection is transparent is a key first step in realising its potential whilst sustaining a progressive balance of power between citizens and government, and offering economic opportunities to both."
Labour Digital believes that requiring public sector bodies to audit and declare all non-personal datasets they hold and scheduling what data will be released when would enable businesses to plan investment in services built around such data.
Labour Digital recommends the party makes Britain a more inviting destination for foreign skilled tech workers, citing stats showing a drops of 8% and 20% in non-EU nationals taking STEM courses at UK universities for undergraduate and postgraduate courses respectively between 2010 and 2013.
It woudl remedy this with one-year ‘Programmers’ Passports’ that help talented immigrants find businesses to work for.
The full list of recommendations can be found here.