Government hasn’t kept pace with advances in technology. Only 13% of major government software projects succeed, and the successful and failed ones alike cost 5–10 times more than they should. When these projects fail, so too do the public policy initiatives that depend on them—unemployment insurance, DMVs, healthcare exchanges, paid family & medical leave, etc.—leaving behind the millions of Americans who rely on those programs.
We are knitting together collections of intergovernmental agencies based on common needs to help them cooperatively procure, develop, and maintain the software that they all depend on. This will prevent 56 states, territories, and DC from buying 56 versions of near-identical, overpriced software, and instead allows them to procure high-quality, fair-priced software just once, and share it among themselves.
We hold monthly meetings of software cooperatives, both existing and aspirational. Join our mailing list if you’d like to be invited to future meetings.
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Bills are making their way through both the U.S. and Canadian legislatures to make it easier for sub-national governments to access their federal governments’ existing digital services.
The Government of Canada, in an omnibus budget bill, has included language enabling the Canadian Digital Service to provide its digital platform services like GC Notify, GC Articles, and GC Forms not just to other federal departments as they do now, but to provincial, territorial, indigenous, and local governments throughout Canada, fulfilling a commitment the current government made in its 2022 budget. Likewise, a bill in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support will, if passed, enable federal agencies — like GSA’s Technology Transformation Service (TTS), home of login.gov, cloud.gov, search.gov, Federalist, and other valuable services — to make their technology services available to state, local, tribal, and territorial (“SLTT”) governments.
The U.S. bill’s language explains the reason for the legislation: “Congress must not allow agencies at various levels of government to operate in completely independent silos, especially when Federal benefits and programs are being administered at the State, local, territorial, and Tribal levels, which, in doing so, requires far greater taxpayer resources to be spent developing and maintaining systems, programs, projects, and other services that can be better delivered and managed cooperatively between jurisdictions.”
These bills are more important than they might sound. The Beeck Center’s Aaron Snow explains how we got here and why it matters.