Central resource

September 12, 2012

In a report from the Audit Scotland, who are usually a well informed and rational bunch, there is a proposal for a central resource to get over project issues in Scottish central government systems development. The report “Managing ICT contracts: An audit of three public sector programmes” (PDF, 25 pages, 856 Kb + other options) looked at three programmes and found issues with their management, along with the Gateway system also used by the English government. The report stresses the need to ensure the implementation of the opportunities from the McClelland Report (reported here in March 2012 under “Scotland the Brave“) and the resultant action plan. One of the programmes has been cancelled at significant cost, a further contract has been given a years notice, so there are obviously issues and although the public bodies claim benefits they are unable to quantify them – how many more times will money be wasted without proper benefits realization and effective programme management being used?

In general the Auditor General advises “The Scottish Government needs to address these weaknesses and strengthen its strategic oversight of ICT investment to ensure the public sector delivers programmes that improve public services and provide value for money.”


Digital participation in Scotland

January 11, 2012

My thanks go to James Gilmour for informing the various e-democracy groups of the release of two reports recording “Digital Participation in Scotland”. There is the “A Review of the Evidence” (39 pages) and the lesser read of “A Review of the Evidence – Research Findings” (4 pages).

A key conclusion of the report is that “internet non-use is not related to infrastructure or to having the right “materials” as the majority of non-users are yet to pass the first barrier of recognising the benefits and need for the internet. The review concludes that actions should be focusing attention on “older people, those of low incomes, those who are not working and those with low levels of educational qualification”. This may provide some further guidance to those working with Race Online 2012 to increase the education around the benefits of being online. It also states that “The Carnegie UK Trust is proposing to carry out research in 2012 to explore in greater depth the reasons why some people may not take up digital technology; and highlight effective interventions which have been successful in encouraging and supporting more people to get online”, which may further assist the educational work.

Whilst this is not a reason to stop developing online government services, it does mean that multiple channels will have to continue until mediated provision (which has its own cost) or 100% shift is enabled by increased participation.

The reports produced a very healthy debate on UKIE-EDem and DW-X,not just in the UK and Scotland but across the world, which I hope to summarise in due course since there were some very interesting points made by the people who know!

Scots wae hae

June 15, 2010

Less of a Robert Burns rant than a tribute to our colleagues in Scotland who have developed a united front on citizen satisfaction. OK, they still insist on calling those that public services deal with “customers”, but at least they’re focused in on their satisfaction, as I’ve reported before on satisfaction in June 2008 and later in November 2008.

On the 9th June the Improvement Service with Customer Focus Scotland and the Local Authorities Research & Intelligence Association launched the  Customer Service Measurement Tool at COSLA in Edinburgh. The event was reported on in The Scotsman newspaper the following day.

I can’t say much more since the Community of Practice at IDeA is restricted to Scottish public bodies, which is fair enough, but it apparently will help to:

  • Measure customer satisfaction in a consistent, robust and comparable way
  • Target resources where improvements are needed
  • Support intelligent benchmarking
  • Provide robust and credible evidence to scrutiny bodies
  • Save time and money on developing your own survey solution
  • This is done using:

    • Full questionnaire: 22 scaled questions & 1 open-ended question
    • Abbreviated questionnaire: 12 scaled questions & 3 open-ended questions
    • Delivery; Timeliness; Information; Professionalism; Staff Attitude; Satisfaction

    A bit over complex for my tastes but all the same –

    Well done Scotland.