Presenting the evidence

March 13, 2011

If you wish to see Professor Helen Margetts, Oxford Internet Institute, Dr Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr Edgar Whitley, London School of Economics Professor Nigel Shadbolt, University of Southampton, and Sir Ian Magee, Institute for Government giving evidence to the UK HoC Public Administration Committee on 8th March 2011 it’s available online.

Amongst the criticisms levelled at government IT is that there is little competition in the UK. Prof Margetts does admit that the private sector is good at covering it up, however it is stated that if  Sainsburys’ managed its IT systems like government they would have gone bust a long time ago.

It’s a two hour recording, but with the question and answer process, it’s quite revealing how little politicians are actually aware of how technology is developed and linked into policy making, or maybe they’re playing ‘devil’s advocates’. The evidence itself is largely based upon the recent Institute for Government report entitled ‘System error’.


Semantic web

January 5, 2011

For all those out there wondering about how e-government and the semantic web join up, I can offer an additional resource.

A chapter in a new book has been kindly made available by Southampton University as an e-print. The chapter is written by government advisor on open government and e-government Nigel Shadbolt, along with Kieron O’Hara, Manuel Salvadores and Harith Alani.

As an example, the book picks upon openlylocal.com and bizarrely my own council just before it had published its spending data in October 2010.  However, the chapter’s conclusion is important since it says :

“the technical issues are not intractable, even if managerial and political problems require a great deal of will and skill to solve. And as will be seen in the next section it is possible to launch national initiatives where the costs are dramatically smaller than those associated with traditional large-scale IT projects, in part because the main effort is in persuading the government to publish data in SW formats that support rapid reuse and exploitation outside government.”

This does not allow for the expected large-scale redundancies in government back-offices and the effect that will have on providing IT resources to actually deliver the goods, especially as, more importantly (from my local government view) it states a few paragraphs earlier:

“any central e-government application has to obtain the required information from heterogeneous local sources, and motivating such municipalities to cooperate requires a deep and sympathetic identification of their requirements and constraints, and some transfer of resources downward (e.g., for provision of new methodologies and tools).”

I suspect this is essential reading for anyone wishing to keep on top of the way government ICT might progress in 2011, especially in the UK.


New blogger on the street

July 29, 2009

As a member of the Local CIO Council I know John Suffolk, Her Majesty’s Government’s Chief Information Officer and the person responsible for the existence of the Local CIO Council. However, it took Public Sector Forums to advise me of his new blog. As I should have already written, I’d met and spoken to John in July at ECEG 2009 before he’d opened the second day with a presentation about the future of e-government. In the blog John develops upon the presentation he gave, along with the goings on at the CIO Council.

It also informs me of what I’d missed at the last CIO meeting, since being ‘down south’ for the conference I needed to get back to work and couldn’t attend. It was apparently regaled by  Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt assisting thoughts on the way forward for government IT and e-government, so I look forward to the next meeting of the council, along with the up and coming entries on John’s blog.

A single criticism, as if I’d dare, but where are the mentions of multi-channel operation, citizens, metrics – those little things that have been swept under the e-government carpet for the last ten years?

I’ve added it to my blogroll, anyway!