The Tory take

July 5, 2009

Published by the Centre for Policy Studies is a view from a Conservative councillor on the present government’s IT policy, particularly in the arena of personal data – It’s ours. The report by Liam Maxwell is a useful read for anybody working in government IT since it may be the approach subsequent to the next election!

For me it has an awful lot of sense, as can be found in earlier posts, I was never quite happy with the ‘deep truth’  that central government wanted us to seek, I never treated it as personal imformation, just a lot of mumbo-jumbo that would never help anybody. It also identifies the limited use being made of electronic government ‘services’.

In fact in terms of evaluating IT projects, one of the issues raised, Cabinet Office has already got its own rottweiler investigating – Stephen Jenner – who I met at ECEG2009, and whose book I bought, which is largely common sense and to save you the fifteen  quid here’s an interview from the CIPFA PinPoint magazine – CipfapinpointJune09 – he’s also looking for people to do a survey for him –ABRMsurveyv1.0eceg

Importantly for this researcher Maxwell does state that “Putting the citizen, and not the government, at the centre of IT design can have startling results.” (P.14)

One place I would argue with the report is on P.16, where it states that ” information acquired for one purpose in the public sector may be used for another entirely different purpose”, if that had been the case the delivery of electronic government would have been much easier and I’d argued with a senior civil servant about that being a barrier some years ago, and nothing eased.

The same applies to Service Oriented Architecture and Cloud Computing, both praised in the book and both being promoted at Cabinet Office, unfortunately the governmental monolith moves slowly and acceptance of these concepts will take time.

Having said that, I welcome a fresh political take on the frequently ignored (by politicos) area of government IT and don’t disagree with any of the conclusions, however implementing them through Whitehall may be a different matter…

Paper in the pipeline

March 7, 2009

The researcher behind the Great E-mancipator has had another conference paper accepted, this time for the European Conference on e-Government in faraway Westminster on 29th and 30th June 2009. Last year it was a paper at the University of Mantua in Italy and I didn’t raise the readies to go, this time its but a couple of hours away, assuming the trains are running! Perhaps I should have cast my net wider to such as the International Conference on e-Government in Boston, USA, this year, but with the state of the pound, everybody is probably rushing to the UK.

The latest paper bears the snappy title: “Developing Measures of E-government Progress Using Action Research”, which describes the iterative process I’m using to survey, blog, survey, blog, interview, ad nauseam, and present my findings as I go along, allowing practitioners to think about them and hopefully employ something of them. I do share the outcomes via this blog, it just means reading it all rather than a snappy twenty minute presentation in a room full of academics with questions at the end. You could, of course, use the comment box below to ask anything related to the hundred-and-something blogs I’ve done now?