Ministerial foreword

The term “digital” has many meanings in today’s society. It’s not just about the computers, tools and technologies that are changing all parts of our lives; it’s far bigger than that. It’s about taking a new approach.

Digital change has accelerated in recent years and now offers us a range of new tools for solving old or novel problems. In essence, digital offers the potential to make our experience of the world better: enhancing people’s lives, strengthening the delivery of public services and the work of government, as well as helping businesses to adapt to the future.

I previously chaired an expert panel for the Welsh Government to look at how we could harness the power of digital to improve public services. Our System Reboot report put it like this:

digital change isn’t just about technology, it’s about a change of culture. It’s about being open. It’s about using data to solve problems. Instead of designing services from the viewpoint of what organisations think a citizen needs, a digital approach involves designing services that meet the needs of the end user

The purpose of this Digital Strategy for Wales is to take a look ahead and set out a national vision for jointly adopting a digital approach across Wales. I want to ensure people in Wales experience modern and efficient public services supported by good, ethical, use of data. I want to stimulate innovation in our economy and support businesses to develop the resilience they need to succeed. I want to provide the people of Wales with the confidence they need to engage in their communities and in modern society. I want learners of all ages to have the knowledge, experience and skills to benefit from an increasingly digital and changing economy.

The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the importance of digital in delivering modern services at pace. We have seen digital acting as a major catalyst in adapting to the challenges we have faced. We need to continue with this agile and responsive mind set as the norm and not the exception.

Over the past couple of years we’ve made huge strides in developing the ecosystem for this transformation to happen. We’ve launched and invested in the Centre for Digital Public Services. We’ve appointed new Chief Digital Officers for Local Government and Welsh Government, with one to follow for Health. My Ministerial colleagues and I have invested significantly in Digital Health (£75 million), our Hwb EdTech programme (£92 million over the last two financial years and £15 million this year), Digital Infrastructure (£26 million), digital support for business (£2 million), the Centre for Digital Public Services (£4.9 million) and Digital Inclusion (£2 million).

Let’s keep this momentum going, improving our skills and safeguarding Welsh jobs.

I am passionate about digital, about making life better for the people of Wales and supporting the resilience of Welsh business so that collectively we thrive as a nation. We have come a long way but there is certainly a lot more do be done. This strategy and its accompanying delivery plan is just the start.

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport

Further details can be found via the link