Public Sector: Year in Review 2010

We take a look back at the major public sector events to have their impact on tech in the past 12 months.

We will have to wait and see the outcome in 2011 but the Digital Economy Act will not be staying on the legislature without a fight.

General Election 2010

In amidst the above battle, the 2010 general election took place and no-one knew what the outcome would be.

It was dubbed the "digital election" by many, with online campaigns by the parties, Twitter polls, websites and social networks playing more of a part more than ever let's face it, Twitter hadn't even been launched at the time of the last election and Facebook had only been active for a year.

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Along with the key battle grounds of health and education, technology was increasingly becoming part of the manifestos.

The Labour Party would focus on the work it had done so far on Digital Britain or bringing Martha Lane Fox in to help the unconnected get online, whilst the Conservatives vowed for faster internet speeds and the Liberal Democrats fought the filesharing laws.

When it came down to it though, the public didn't get one set of policies over the other and the May election ended in a hung parliament. After five days of back room discussions and dealings, a coalition government between the first place Tories and third place Lib Dems came about.

The Digital Economy Act was still in place, Martha Lane Fox still had her job and the open data website was still in full swing. But, whoever won the election, the cuts were coming and we had to wait until October to find out where.

Here comes the cuts

It wasn't just the technology industry that had its eyes and ears glued to the announcements on 20 October this year during the spending review.

When Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, took to the lectern, everyone took a deep breath and crossed their fingers they wouldn't be the ones hit by the blistering cuts.

However, the technology and science industries seemed to fare pretty well, all things considered, and even got some extra funding thrown their way.

Firstly, the Government pledged an extra 900 million to fight both tax evasion and fraud by using new technologies and signing "better IT contracts" to tackle the activity.

Secondly, an extra 530 million was confirmed to come from the BBC in order to fund the rollout of broadband across the UK.

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Finally, although not a boost, the budget for science was frozen at 4.6 billion a year, with the Chancellor claiming the investment was "vital to our future success."

So, although the personal lives of many and the work lives of others were set to be affected by the multi-billion pound cuts, the IT and science sectors escaped relatively unharmed.

A tough 2010

Public sector IT has had a very busy year. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, the recession is still lingering on and a new cut-happy Government has undoubtedly meant contracts have taken a hit.

However, new efficiencies and new savings will lead to new innovations and, looking forward, 2011 is set to be an exciting, if not testing, year.

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