Less e-paper!

June 28, 2011

Within the new Singaporean eGov2015 masterplan is an interesting concept that I hope will catch on elsewhere – “the government will continue to streamline the number of transactions, reduce the steps required to complete them, and where possible, eliminate such transactions altogether”. Imagine that, eliminating an unnecessary transaction! How many of those must we all face?

At the same Egov Global Exchange conference Steve Bittinger, Gartner’s research director for government research, is reported to have identied the commoditization of IT infrastructure and services, and seamless socialization and collaboration, as being among the current key trends impacting the public sector and that with movement toward shared services and the cloud, government IT departments will also face changes, forecasting that within four years about half of government shared services and centralization initiatives will be supplemented by public or community clouds, resulting in job reductions for infrastructure and operational services of 20 percent. This is something accepted and trying to be planned for in the Socitm ‘Planting the Flag‘ strategy for the UK. What we must concentrate on is improving services during these massive changes.


How to

June 5, 2011

My thanks go to Rachel Flagg the Co-Chair, Federal Web Managers Council in the USA who posted on the W3C e-government Interest Group about Howto.gov.

HowTo.gov is managed by the U.S. General Services Administration and the Federal Web Managers Council. It has evolved from WebContent.gov (a site focused on managing US Government websites), and offers resources to help American government agencies manage not just websites, but ALL customer contact channels.

I’d posted, in response to the same question that Rachel was answering, the recent report from Socitm that focused on the good work at Councils like Surrey and Kirklees in the UK. Unfortunately,  Better served: customer access, efficiency and channel shift, isn’t free although I suspect anybody with enough nous will be able to find presentations from the above named councils on the WWW. The other alternative is to pay, or borrow a copy from a Socitm member!

We’re finally starting to see that channel shift can only be arrived at by managing all channels.

Channel manoeuvres

May 15, 2011

There are two two very recent publications that focus on service channel management in the UK public sector. One from Deloitte is publicly available – Choosing Fewer Channels, the other from Socitm* is available only to subscribers, but in fact is a 20 page compilation of their two other recent reports, Better Served and Better Connected 2011. Interestingly Deloitte are supporting the Local CIO Council*, which was set up through Socitm, and their report does mention Surrey CC as an exemplar, which is also done in the Socitm one. However, the Deloitte report largely focuses upon those processes in central government, but still manages to project some relevance for the whole of the public sector.

Socitm is now targeting the management of customer channels being brought together, which may be a cultural change too far for some councils. My personal belief is that while this can be desirable, it is not a pre-requisite for successful multi-channel delivery. What is necessary is the comparative measurement and subsequent improvement of all citizen-facing channels. The Deloitte report does no go as far as pushing for this, but by default has to be a requirement of their proposals.

Two proposals in the Deloitte report that come over strongly are from page 10 where it states:

“Put user centric design at the heart of any move online so that the service is built from the customer’s perspective to be intuitive and quick to use”, along with “invest effort in building consensus around transactions that cut across bodies, and particularly those that transect Local and Central Government, where political and social barriers to cooperation have historically been a barrier to transformation”.

Now I wonder if either of those were taken account in the development of the recently launched www.alpha.gov.uk?

*Interest declared, I’m a member of both.

More evidence to PASC

March 27, 2011

There is a further session of the House of Commons PASC hearing from Tuesday 22 March at 10.33am available for viewing, following the one reported earlier. On this occasion those appearing are :

  1. Mark Adams-Wright, Chief Information Officer, Suffolk County Council, David Wilde, Chief Information Officer, Westminster City Council, and Martin Ferguson, Head of Policy, Society of Information Technology Management
  2. Joe Harley, Director General and Chief Information Officer, and Malcolm Whitehouse, Group Applications Director, Department for Work and Pensions, Phil Pavitt, Director General and Chief Information Officer, and Mark Holden, Director Programmes and Projects IMS, HMRC

Unfortunately the video recording is missing the first ten minutes of the session, when Martin Ferguson covered a lot of ground about how we do things well in local public services. This will appear shortly in the transcript.

In addition, Martin admits when asked,  that local government has not been directly involved in the new government ICT strategy, although the local CIO Council was invited by the then Government CIO, John Suffolk, to prepare its own approach, which we are doing as was highlighted recently.

The interviews provide some idea of what is going on at Suffolk and Westminster councils in IT and service delivery terms, whilst a final message from David Wilde “Don’t look to IT to make government work better, it won’t. It can enable it”, strengthens the approach being taken in the routemap being drawn up.

Routemap to 2015

March 9, 2011

Whilst we all await the central government ICT strategy, Socitm is consulting on the draft ‘Routemap for Local Public Services reform – enabled by ICT‘, which we are now in the final stages of creating. This practical, ‘pan-local’ routemap to local public service reform enabled by ICT needs key stakeholders and anyone with an interest in local public services to refine the thinking and finalize it. There are questions throughout the document and Socitm are interested in both answers which address these questions and comments which address any part of the document (or somebody else’s comments).

Let’s try and answer the question ‘what will local government ICT look like in five years time?’ without too much cynicism or irony!