March 2, 2010
Following on from the UK’s Digital Britain White Paper is the National Plan for Digital Participation announced today. At 61 pages or 121 paragraphs it’s not a quick read but is fairly condensed and over half of it is annexes.
Without delaying for analysis I did a quick search to see if “participation” meant anything to do with “democracy”, having seen a lot of the e-government agenda emphasising the golden age of citizen involvement through the Internet. Fortunately this report does not try and pull that one out of the hat and instead is largely around getting the digitally-disposessed online, with which I can’t argue.
I now look forward to the slightly oddly named Race Online 2012 challenge, which no doubt every local authority will be taking some part in?
July 12, 2009
Two of this month’s reports seem to have diverse opinions, and one in particular, to much that has been reported recently!
The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) when starting its Reboot Britian campaign, reported the results of a survey of a nationally-representative 1092 adults in the UK. The survey report concluded that 95 percent of people questioned are regularly using the web for everyday activities. if this were to be true we only have a digitally excluded minority of 5%, I presume? Their press release was entitled “Post Office queues to become a thing of the past.” The Public Service web site picked up a different focus from the results, the fact that when asked the question “Do you think switching as many public services and facilities as possible online is a good thing?”, 57% replied maybe, 22% said yes and 21% said no – an interesting contrast to the spin from NESTA.
In marked contrast to NESTA wanting to shorten Post Office queues, Computing published a piece about a report from the UK Parliamentary all-party Commons Business and Enterprise Committee which questioned the drive for e-government and accused Whitehall departments of undermining local Post Offices! The MP’s opinion was that the public should be encouraged online but not driven there, again rather in contrast to the government’s own Digital Britain report.
The NESTA report by picking up the public’s own restraint on government services cannot expect government to swallow the massively inflated figure of Internet usage it purports. Citizens have their own elderly or disabled friends and relatives for whom electronic services won’t work currently and so know its too early. Time for mediated services maybe, but purely online – not yet!
June 25, 2009
Having mentioned the interim report, I suppose I’d better cover the final one! Digital Britain is here at last! Unlike the interim one in January 2009 there is a chapter on e-government (well, its called Digital Government) and so is directly appropriate to this blog.
For me the key paragraphs are 15 and 17. The first has a list of criteria for earliest switchover where it is also stated that digital switchover means the ‘primary means of access, rather than one among many’, meaning that digital exclusion is alive and well in Digital Britain – in this instance for high volume, low complexity and efficiency (for the government).
The second states that there is a need to consider whether an online only or multi-channel approach is needed.
I wonder who will decide?
February 9, 2009
My frustration with ‘Digital Britain’ increases! Yet again I have been without stable Internet for approaching three weeks and as anyone who has tried reporting these matters will tell you its all the fault of the user. I’ve plugged and unplugged devices until the back of the sofa’s the cleanest part of the house. I’ve tweaked and tested with all my thirty-odd years of ICT experience to no avail…
I’ve now been permitted a BT engineer’s visit and warned I’ll have to pay if its something inside the house. To be honest, I don’t care anymore. Digital Britain, my a**e!
So if anyone has missed a response from me, its hanging somewhere! At least I’m not into ‘cloud computing’, I could have serious problems. As it is, the house is full of stressful people who can’t get to their instant communications, Google for instant answers or check anything.
This is not emancipation, its frustration out of proportion!