There is currently a lot of optimism around the potential of digitalisation to reshape how governments manage their public finances to be more responsive to contemporary challenges and expectations. Much of this optimism is well founded. Digitalisation is already changing how governments administer both taxation and spending, and deliver public services. During the Covid-19 pandemic, governments with good digital public infrastructure were better positioned to design and implement timely fiscal policy responses, from the UK Government’s furlough scheme to Colombia’s ingreso solidario cash transfer programme.
However, digital solutions to improve public spending often fall short of expectations. ‘Big bang’ approaches take a long time to implement, are expensive and produce disappointing results. Governments can find themselves locked into legacy technologies and closed architectures, making them less responsive to the changing needs and expectations of users – both civil servants and citizens. These approaches contrast sharply with emerging approaches to digital government that emphasise a more flexible architecture and agile delivery models that promise greater value for money.
With governments looking to realise the potential of digitalisation amid tight fiscal constraints, this event brings together a range of voices working across different disciplines – public finance, digital and service delivery – to consider questions including:
- How are finance ministries thinking about the evolution of the technology architecture that underpins their financial management systems as well as other digital opportunities?
- What are digital teams doing to bring more data into public spending decision-making processes?
- What broader cultural shifts are required to overcome obstacles to realising the potential of digitalisation to improve public spending?
This event will serve as the launch of a new ODI learning hub on digital public finance, an initiative dedicated to improving learning methods and practices in public finance for the needs of the digital era.
Important information for attendees
The event will take place at: ODI, 203 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ.
To attend the event in person, please email Maisy Phillips at [email protected]
To attend the event online, please click on the 'Register now' link above.
For online attendees, please note that there are separate pages to sign up for the Session 3 breakout sessions (see below). The links to join each breakout session will be published on these pages on the morning of the event.
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Welcome and opening
Is a new digital public financial management paradigm emerging?
Session 1 – The view from the finance ministry
How do finance ministries see their public financial management technology architecture evolving in response to the opportunities of digitalisation?
Coffee / Tea Break
Session 2 – The view from beyond the finance ministry
How is digitalisation changing the roles, responsibilities and relationships of line ministries, local governments and other service providers within the public financial management system?
Session 3 – Breakouts
Breakout 1 – Social Protection
What are the pathways towards digitalisation in social protection and public employment services?
Breakout 2 – Education
How can governments leverage digitalisation to get more data and evidence into public finance decision making processes in the education sector?
Breakout 3 – Data governance
What steps can governments take to make real time data available to policymakers in times of uncertainty?
Coffee / Tea Break
Session 4 – The digital infrastructure for the future of public finance
What are the roles of digital public goods, central digital teams, and agile delivery methods in developing the digital infrastructure for the future of public finance?
Sign up to the session 3 breakout sessions by clicking the links below:
Download the full agenda here.
'Public finance in the digital era' working paper series:
- Is public financial management digitally mature?
- Digital Public Infrastructure, Platforms and Public Finance
- Using real-time indicators for economic decision-making in government: Lessons from the Covid-19 crisis in the UK
- The digitalisation of social protection before and since the onset of Covid-19: opportunities, challenges and lessons
- The use of 'building blocks' to develop digital platforms for education in sub-Saharan Africa – Evidence Library – The EdTech Hub (external)
Head of Capacity Development Strategy Support Team, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund
Director of Digital Government, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
Dr. Yakama Jones
Director of Research and Delivery, Sierra Leone Ministry of Finance
Policy Advisor, a2i Bangladesh
Director, ODI Budget Strengthening Initiative, Uganda
Associate Director, eGov Foundation, India
Deputy Chief of Party, USAID/PS3+ Project, Abt Associates, Tanzania
ODI Senior Research Associate (and former Assistant Director, International Monetary Fund)
Partner for International Development, Public Digital
Partner and Lead Technology Specialist, Public Digital
Chief Director (Data Analysis), Budget Office, South African National Treasury
ODI Senior Research Officer, Equity and Social Policy
ODI Research Associate
Executive Director, Open Contracting Partnership
Education Economist, Fab Inc.
Co-Country Lead (Sierra Leone), OpenDevEd, EdTech Hub
ODI Senior Research Fellow, Equity and Social Policy & Director, EdTech Hub
Dr. Saad Ali Shire
Minister of Finance, Somaliland
Deputy Director, Data Science Automation, Office for National Statistics