Election day – 2022!
By Tony Moretta, CEO Digital Jersey
You’re hopefully exercising your democratic rights today and voting for our next States Assembly after weeks of election campaigning. At the risk of instigating groans all round, I’d like to look ahead four years to the next election day. It will come round quicker than any of us anticipate, but could, and should, bring a few changes before then.
We will all be four years wiser (we’d like to think) and technology will have advanced another four years. For the election itself, we’ve had online voter registration this time, so hopefully we can look forward to online voting by 2022, which can only improve voter turnout and wider social engagement. It has also been heartening to see several candidates taking on some of the key tenets of our digital manifesto and appreciating the importance of digital to our economy. I’d like to think that in four years all candidates will be abreast of the importance digital is playing and will increasingly play in our economy and our lives.
One of the areas we’ve seen good support from candidates this time round is our call for a Digital Academy to solve the skills shortage in the island. By 2022 we should have that academy established to support entrepreneurial businesses in the Island so that large tech companies are able to develop and grow here and not relocate outside Jersey in order to get the skilled workforce they need.
Our government will have been through its restructuring by the next election, and will come out the other side a leaner, better managed and more efficient service for all Islanders, with a whole host of improved digital services. There aren’t many of us who wouldn’t like to see online tax returns and the same log-in and password to access all our services.
Another election hot potato this year has been the building of our new hospital. By 2022 we will see the build started, including an outpatients building which will see technology fully integrated into our healthcare with fully connected health records and the use of the latest medical innovation across a wide range of services.
As automation improves the efficiency of our finance industry, it’s essential that we have retraining courses readily available. This will make the most of our local workforce and enable people to move from affected roles to new roles in our thriving fintech sector or in our digital industry. We want to see a reduction in the reliance of importing in skilled labour and see a really excellent core of relevant local talent.
Our Sandbox Jersey proposition, the whole-Island testbed opportunity, will hopefully have seen some more big names following Sony and Honeywell coming here to test cutting-edge technology, sharing their skills, inputting to our economy and benefiting Islanders’ lives.
Finally, it’s taken years to get mobile parking in the Island; this summer we’ll see contactless bank cards working on the buses and if we’re really optimistic, then by the next election we might even have a taxi app!