March 28, 2010
A week in politics can be a long time and the once commencing 22nd March 2010 was no exception! Tuesday saw the PM’s speech about the semantic web and Mygov. Wednesday brought the budget with the cuts to jobs and spending afforded by the various efficiency savings. Thursday brought the Total Place report being published by the Treasury. Friday produced the updated Smarter Government report, announcing the demise of NI14, which came from the CLG.
So, apart from coming from different bits of Whitehall, what can we glean in common from these four? Not very much? Perhaps that’s a clue? Whilst the CLG have had to drop NI14 when it had barely started, the most hotly challenged and debated performance indicator on record, Total Place demonstrates that efficiencies, in this time and place, are less about channel shift and more about channel focus, along with being more about understanding citizen behaviour than recording how bad government services are at not doing what they expected.
What about the DGPSU (the Digital Public Services Unit!)? How will this differ from the previous incarnations (including Office of the E-Envoy and the E-Government Unit)? The E-Government Unit became the largest unit within the Cabinet Office. Will the DGPSU follow suite? Will this aid or contest the Government ICT Strategy’s aim to centralise at least a good chunk of government IT management?
I suspect we will have to wait and see, but at least this time I gather there is a local government presence there at the moment – let’s see if anyone listens…
December 8, 2009
On the same day, 7th December 2009, that Gordon Brown launched “Putting the frontline first: smarter government“, another report discretely appeared “Installing new drivers: How to improve government’s use of IT” from the Institute for Government, where the Prime minister was launching the first-named report. It is written by Michael Hallsworth, Gareth Nellis and Mike Brass.
My own academic research has had to delve into the history of government department and ministry responsibilities for IT, but this report looks at it from a slightly different angle, as to how the resulting collegiate control of government IT has resulted in a lack of overall control and the resulting high cost.
It’s probably no coincidence that this has appeared just before the probable launch of the Government IT Strategy which is available in an “early” draft courtesy of the Conservative Party on their make it better website.
It appears to argue, not for direct centralisation of government IT but to give the centre greater control and at least some power to prevent some of the abuse of gateway reviews evidenced by recent disasters.
One interesting fact (p.19) – the Cabinet Office is only directly responsible for only 0.068 per cent of total government spending on IT, which they’ve pulled in from John Suffolk’s blog!
One interesting statement (p.21) “Ministers frequently do not pay sufficient attention to the IT dimensions of policy announcements” – a bit like councillors!
December 7, 2009
Hot off the press from the Cabinet Office comes a pre-budget website. I’ve not absorbed the material but a lot of what has been suggested by all parties seems to have made its way into these plans. At first view it doesn’t appear to be the most accessible website I’ve seen, but I’m sure others can check that. Happy reading!
Visit the website Putting the frontline first or in PDF – putting the frontline first (PDF, 555K)