Archive for the ‘Government’ Category:

UK government says £10bn saved in 2012/13, including IT savings of £0.5bn

Written on June 4th, 2013 by researchno shouts

The UK Government has released a summary report by the Efficiency and Reform Group claiming some £10 billion savings made by government for the financial year 2012 to 2013. A copy of the summary report is available here (PDF).

The introduction of the IT spend controls and moving government services and transactions onto digital platforms has saved a total of £0.5bn in the period covered by the report. The figures appear to confirm earlier figures suggesting that government has been overcharged for years for basic utility technology goods and services.

Open Standards in Government IT: An Academic Review of the Evidence

Written on August 20th, 2012 by researchno shouts

Bournemouth University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) has produced an independent study on the costs and benefits of introducing an open standards policy for software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT requirements.

Key findings of the review are:

  • Intellectual property rights (as they are applied to software standards) do not provide the right incentives for enabling interoperability.
  • Royalty bearing software standards (FRAND) come with potential restrictions that are difficult to justify.
  • For future IT procurement, the aim must be to encourage the use of royalty free (RF) standards to increase competition.
  • Although open standards offer important benefits, including avoiding lock-in and improving interoperability and competition, careful implementation is required to optimise these benefits.

The full report can be read here and the Bournemouth site is here.


UK Government open standards – the story so far ….

Written on May 10th, 2012 by research2 shouts

Last updated: 22.05.2012 19:00

The UK Government is busy consulting on its proposed policy on the adoption of open standards. The consultation is open to everyone to contribute and will close on 4th June 2012.

It’s interesting how heated the topic of open standards can become – so we thought it might be useful to try to summarise various related online coverage to date. Let us know if we’ve missed anything and we’ll add it to the list that follows. We’ll also refresh this post from time to time to add any additional developments. (Some entries are undated, so we’ve done our best to put them in the right sequence based on their content).


Commons Committee on Government IT – more work remains

Written on January 27th, 2012 by researchno shouts

The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has published an update (PDF) to its earlier report “Government and IT – “a recipe for rip-offs”: Time for a New Approach” (PDF).

The Committee commends the Government for its generally constructive and proactive response, but points out key areas where the Government’s intended course of action will not be sufficient to address “the scale of behavioural and process change required across government” to achieve its own aims of becoming an “intelligent” customer.

On one point in particular, the failure to respond at all to the Committee’s call for an investigation into the charge that the large systems integrators operate in the manner of a cartel, the Committee is particularly critical. Given the evidence cited in the original report, the Committee’s frustration is understandable. Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Committee has called again for an independent investigation into allegations of cartel-like behaviour among the major systems integrators, which itself may prove structural rather than deliberate.  He also indicated that the Committee would return to this specific issue if the matter is not now addressed by the Government.

Overall, the Committee appears favourable towards the Government’s plans to develop its capacity in commercial skills for procuring and managing contracts,  not just technical IT skills, in order to become an ‘intelligent customer’. However, the Committee has concerns that the Government’s plans may not be adequate to cope with the scale of behavioural and process change required across the whole of Government, nor that the new Civil Service champions of ‘agile development’ will have sufficient seniority, expertise or support.

The challenge for the Government now is to successfully execute its strategy to radically improve IT and deliver better for less: moving from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’.

New LSE Report on Total Cost of Ownership of Open Source Software

Written on December 2nd, 2011 by researchno shouts

A new report entitled “Total Cost of Ownership of Open Source Software” (PDF) has been published by the London School of Economics (LSE), with the support of OpenForum Europe.

The report is a pragmatic and rational contribution to the debate – and timely, with the need for governments to massively reduce public spending without impacting critical public services. Despite the need for all organisations to understand where and why their limited budgets are spent, the report notes, perhaps surprisingly, that “not many organisations maintain a data set that can estimate TCO with much reliability or offer robust comparative evidence.” (p4)

The report presents a variety of evidence broadly supportive of open source including:

  • “when people with experience apply their judgement to the question of TCO many are clear that cost advantages – cost saving and cost avoidance – are achievable [with open source software], and case studies support this contention. (p5)
  • softer benefits of open source adoption are also widely appreciated – those of flexibility, openness, ability to tweak and customize, and support for open standards and open data – altogether a more open and accessible software environment. This broader vision is where the enduring benefits and associated cost reductions are often seen to come from.(p5)
  • adoption and development of open source can support the sharing of both expertise and expense between government bodies, for example among local authorities facing very similar needs.(p5)

It also notes some of the challenges, including:

  • Open source adopters do note that they needed to hire experts and look for support to meet their organisation’s ambitions including for control of code and configuration, and taking more direct control of their infrastructure to allow agile innovative responses to changing needs.(p5)
  • Pragmatism needs to guide open source adoption and not ideology.(p6)
  • Migrating to open source is more likely to be successful if it is done when there is a real and present need for change or a new approach, rather than simply on the basis of finding open source attractive on infrastructure cost arguments.(p6)

Importantly, it found that many believe that “if open source is to become an accepted and substantial part of information systems activity within the public sector then it needs government-level policies to sustain the change including an overhaul of procurement processes and practices.” (p5) And in the context of current government policy to strengthen the IT profession, “adoption of open source can be part of building a more agile organisation able to innovate and respond to change. It can also be part of (re)building in-house expertise and regaining control.” (p6)

Not only do organisations need to start adopting systematic TCO models in their current operations. They also need to be factoring in the costs of exit to current and future purchasing decisions at the time solutions are being evaluated. Later complexity and expenditure in migrating away from solutions, and the extent of lock-in to a particular product or supplier, are part of the life-cycle costs of acquisition – not something to be loaded onto a subsequent product or supplier. This is why the UK government’s recent initiatives around the use of open standards is of particular significance.

Unfortunately absent from the report are the more macro economic TCO issues that arise for governments. For example, the very different economic impacts that expenditure placed with companies who select to pay their business taxes in a country other than the one in which the procurement takes place. So, for example, £20m expended with a supplier by the government in the UK takes on a very different economic impact, and macro TCO footprint, if that £20m exits the country without any return to the exchequer or other UK businesses, when compared to £20m spent with a UK headquartered business paying UK-based business taxes.

Whilst European law understandably insists on a level and non-discriminatory playing field, taking account of these wider economic factors in assessing TCO for governments is likely to become increasingly important as governments seek to stimulate their domestic economies and boost economic growth. This new report from the LSE should help to open up broader discussion about the most appropriate TCO models for organisations and governments to use. At present, it appears we remain some distance from establishing generally accepted TCO models at both micro, and macro, economic levels.

UK’s IT Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP)

Written on October 22nd, 2011 by researchno shouts

The Cabinet Office has published the Government’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for its earlier ICT Strategy. It aims to deliver better public services for less. The intention is to re-use and share ICT assets; to improve productivity and efficiency; and to reduce waste and the likelihood of project failure.

The SIP is available here.

the future of Government IT

Written on July 28th, 2011 by researchone shout

Government information technology (IT) is under relentless scrutiny and reform. Barely a month seems to pass at the moment when either another organisation issues a report on the topic, or the Cabinet Office announces a new initiative or appointment.

Recently, for example, we’ve had the National Audit Office‘s “Information and Communications Technology in Government Landscape Review” and the Institute for Government‘s “System Error: fixing the flaws in Government IT“. And the Cabinet Office has hardly been idle either, announcing initiatives ranging from the opening up of public services, to the appointment of a new Director of ICT Futures and the saving of over £1bn on procurement.

In June, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published their short report Information and Communications Technology in Government. It took the view that

ICT is not well enough embedded in departments’ business, and as a result not enough reform programmes have had ICT at the core. Problems have arisen where expectations for systems are too grand and the proposals from suppliers are unrealistic. Projects have been too big, too long, too ambitious and out of date by the time the ICT is implemented

This misalignment between the business of government, the effective design and operation of public services, and the use of IT was also a common theme in evidence provided during the more recent Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) review of Government IT, whose report – “Government and IT. ‘A recipe for rip-offs’: Time for a new approach” – is published today.

Their inquiry also found that only a few departments have CIOs on their boards, raising questions, in an age of “digital by default“, about where and how civil service management teams obtain their understanding of, and insight into, the effective use of information systems and their integration into their business plans. The PASC report found that

the Government needs to possess the necessary skills and knowledge in-house, to manage suppliers and understand the potential IT has to transform the services it delivers. Currently the outsourcing of the government’s IT service means that many civil service staff, along with their knowledge, skills, networks and infrastructure has been transferred to suppliers. The Government needs to rebuild this capacity urgently.

Importantly, they also emphasised that IT should not be regarded as somehow separate from public services (as something that happens “over there”, conducted only by a technical elite), but rather that:

Knowledge about how modern information systems and technology can be used to improve public services should not be restricted to the IT profession – this knowledge is essential to the work of all senior civil servants responsible for designing and delivering policy. The Government should explore how departmental boards and senior officials can best benefit from professional training and support in technology policy. A systematic programme to improve these skills across the senior civil service would also help support the Government’s aim of ensuring public services become “digital by default” by improving the integration of technology and policy throughout the policy-making process.

The issue of the cultural changes needed to help drive a more successful use of IT in Government was touched upon during the oral evidence with the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP (Q.483+), where the Minister stated

I am always a bit sceptical about trying to achieve cultural change. I think the thing to do is try to change behaviour and, out of changed behaviour, a different culture emerges… you do not achieve cultural change by trying to change the culture; you achieve it by changing behaviours, and the culture change follows from the behaviour change

The key action now is for Government to distil these numerous reviews, reports and recommendations into a short, actionable plan that can deliver  successful outcomes. This will start with a determined effort to improve its baseline data – as the PASC report observes:

The Government’s own information about its IT is woefully inadequate. This lack of data means that governments have failed to benchmark the price it pays for IT goods and services; this data must be collected centrally to allow the Government to obtain the best possible price from the market.

Importantly it also calls for:

All IT procurement contracts [to] be published in full to ensure transparency and restore trust. This would allow external experts to challenge current practices and identify ways services could be delivered differently as well as more economically.

And, with the majority of major IT expenditure committed within existing contracts, the report says that Government should use such information and transparency to help:

… challenge and hold to account current providers, and … renegotiate, disaggregate and re-compete existing contracts where it becomes clear that more cost effective delivery mechanisms are available.

The Committee raise disturbing issues aired during their inquiry, ranging from claims of a “cartel” made during oral evidence to an over-reliance on an “oligopoly” of large suppliers. Addressing this apparent distortion of an effective, open marketplace in the supply and provision of IT services in the public sector forms another key recommendation in the PASC report, namely the need to:

Widen … the supplier base. The Government must expand its supplier base by promoting fair and open competition and engaging with innovative SMEs. To widen the supplier base the Government needs to reduce the size of its contracts and greatly simplify the procurement process. It must also adopt common standards and ensure that systems interoperate to eliminate over-reliance on a small group of suppliers, and commoditise where possible. Most importantly, departments need the capacity to deal directly with a wider range of suppliers, especially SMEs.

The Committee also request an independent investigation into allegations made during its inquiry:

The Government should urgently commission an independent, external investigation to determine whether there is substance to these serious allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and collusion. The Government should also provide a trusted and independent escalation route to enable SMEs confidentially to raise allegations of malpractice.

These various reports, and the ongoing Cabinet Office commitment to reform, suggest that Government IT still has a major period of significant change ahead. If suppliers thought the recent round of negotiations aimed at securing cost efficiencies and savings were the end game, they will need to think again. The direction of travel is clear: what remains less clear at present are the mechanisms to be used to drive the necessary outcomes. Whether for example the Government will adopt measures to prioritise small firms to give them guaranteed amounts of work until the market becomes more balanced. And how the behavioural and cultural changes will be incentivised and delivered.

With several major policy programmes in development, such as Universal Credits and Real Time Information, there is a clear opportunity for the Government to apply the lessons learned and recommendations made across recent reports and inquiries – and to deliver policy outcomes that show the real potential of IT in helping improve the quality and efficiency of our public services.

We await the Government’s official response to the new PASC report with interest.

10 years on, where next for open source and open standards in UK Government?

Written on March 14th, 2011 by research4 shouts

10 years on, will the UK government’s latest policy pronouncement on open source and open standards prove any more successful than earlier attempts?

The Cabinet Office publication of a procurement policy note on open standards for government IT requirements is the latest in a long line of policy requirements concerning both open standards and open source.

In 2001, the Cabinet Office commissioned a study on open source and open standards, “Analysis of the Impact of OpenSource Software”.  With hindsight, the report seems optimistic:

“Within five years, 50% of the volume of the software infrastructure market could be taken by OSS”.

Elsewhere, it was more cautious:

“[we] recommend against any preference for OSS on the desktop, but also recommend that this issue be reassessed by the end of 2002, by which time early trials of the use of OSS desktops may have generated sufficient evidence to warrant a reassessment”

The report also recognised the dangers of lock-in and over-dependence on proprietary standards from dominant suppliers:

“This report argues that many of the Government’s risks that arise from over-dependence on proprietary free protocols and data formats for interoperability can be controlled by the selective use of open data standards.”


“This report concludes that OSS has shown that access to software’s source code is a major enabler of flexibility, and hence reduces legacy problems considerably. The report recommends that the Government obtain full rights to bespoke software that it procures – this includes any customisation of off-the-shelf software packages.”

In 2002, the government published its first open source policy. Its key policy commitments were:

  • UK Government will consider OSS solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements. Contracts will be awarded on a value for money basis.
  • UK Government will only use products for interoperability that support open standards and specifications in all future IT developments.
  • UK Government will seek to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services.
  • UK Government will consider obtaining full rights to bespoke software code or customisations of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software it procures wherever this achieves best value for money.
  • UK Government will explore further the possibilities of using OSS as the default exploitation route for Government funded R&D software.

The Cabinet Office also established its e-Government Interoperability Framework (eGIF) to help work with suppliers, academia and industry to agree the open standards that should be used in all government procurements. That regime developed as far as including an accreditation regime to ensure open standards expertise and competence both in the IT industry and amongst individual practitioners.

In 2004, “OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE Use within UK Government” was published. It reiterated government policy as follows:

  • UK Government will consider OSS solutions alongside proprietary ones in IT procurements. Contracts will be awarded on a value for money basis.
  • UK Government will only use products for interoperability that support open standards and specifications in all future IT developments.
  • UK Government will seek to avoid lock-in to proprietary IT products and services.
  • UK Government will consider obtaining full rights to bespoke software code or customisations of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software it procures wherever this achieves best value for money.
  • Publicly funded R&D projects which aim to produce software outputs shall specify a proposed software exploitation route at the start of the project. At the completion of the project, the software shall be exploited either commercially or within an academic community or as OSS.

After an early burst of enthusiasm, as the Cabinet Office replaced the Office of the e-Envoy with the new office of the CIO, the emphasis on open source and open standards seems to have waned. After this time, eGIF appears to have become largely dormant with no updates to its open standards since 2005; and there is little if any evidence that the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) ensured any level of compliance with the procurement mandates set out by the policy. It was thus largely a paper policy with little substance.

It was not until 2009 that Tom Watson MP (then Minister for Digital Engagement), revisited and re-energised the policy. “Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use:  Government Action Plan” was, as the name suggests, intended to ensure that what had long been government policy on paper was given new impetus. Its key objectives were to:

  • ensure that the Government adopts open standards and uses these to communicate with the citizens and businesses that have adopted open source solutions
  • ensure that open source solutions are considered properly and, where they deliver best value for money (taking into account other advantages, such as re-use and flexibility) are selected for Government business solutions.
  • strengthen the skills, experience and capabilities within Government and in its suppliers to use open source to greatest advantage.
  • embed an „open source‟ culture of sharing, re-use and collaborative development across Government and its suppliers, building on the re-use policies and processes already agreed within the CIO Council, and in doing so seek to stimulate innovation, reduce cost and risk,  and improve speed to market.
  • ensure that there are no procedural barriers to the adoption of open source products within government, paying particular regard to the different business models and supply chain relationships involved.
  • ensure that systems integrators and proprietary software suppliers demonstrate the same flexibility and ability to re-use their solutions and products as is inherent in open source.

And 10 years on, January this year has seen the publication of the latest note on open source and open standards in procurement.

There are few published government sources that demonstrate the success of this decade of policies and therefore whether open standards and open source adoption has been successful. Anecdotal evidence from suppliers, small and large alike, suggests that little if anything of significance has changed over the last decade.

Throughout the last 10 years there has been a persistent fault line between government policy aspiration and its implementation. The years between around 2005 and 2009 also seem to have seen a notable absence of focus on key policy areas, such as  open standards and open source. The new procurement policy note repeats earlier positive aspirations about open source and open standards. Presumably this time it will need to be enforced through OGC procurement notices and in terms of compliance at contract level. So that its impact can be independently verified, details should be published online about the number of procurements complying with the policy, and measuring the penetration of proprietary versus open systems and solutions.

Policy pronouncements alone clearly count for nothing if they are not enforced or monitored. The real test will be to measure the progress and impact of the latest policy commitments over the next few years. Key to this will be to see what mechanisms the Cabinet Office puts into place to ensure compliance. Past efforts have failed. Now let’s see if the lessons have been learned and the government can finally ensure long-standing policy commitments can move beyond mere paper words.

Summary of key open source and open standards documents:

Groundhog Day: 15 years of e-Government

Written on March 2nd, 2011 by jerry6 shouts

It’s 15 years since the Rt Hon Michael Heseltine MP – then Deputy Prime Minister – launched Government Direct. It was the first ambitious attempt to use IT to modernise the UK’s public services (unless you know better – in which case, details gratefully received). The baton passed shortly later to Tony Blair MP, the Labour Prime Minister, who aimed to put all public services online by 2005. The baton now, of course, rests with David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

To mark these 15 years of dreams and ambitions, we thought we’d start bringing together and publishing a range of government strategy and policy documents. One thing this list makes clear: there’s never been any lack of political aspirations for IT. Groundhog Day like, the same ideas are repeated constantly throughout the 15 years, yet little headway seems to be made. The elusive vision seems to be as far away on the horizon as it was back in 1996.

Today, we’re launching some of the documents that we’ve mined from open source locations, although associates continue to rummage around the online National Archives, old Cabinet Office sites, down the back of rusting filing cabinets and under Whitehall pub tables. But for now, here we go …

Government Direct – which aimed to “provide better and more efficient services to businesses and to citizens; improve the efficiency and openness of government administration; and secure substantial cost savings for the taxpayer“.

Electronic Government – the View from the Queue – providing comprehensive research into potential take-up of on-line government services

1999 was a busy year on the e-Government front, as the various documents below reveal.

Portal Feasibility Study – which examined the feasibility of developing “Government Portals as potential, single, integrated means of access to Government information and services. This will allow information from different sources within Government to be brought together at one point, allowing the creation of new “joined-up” services with a standardised presentation.
Electronic Service Delivery of Government Services – Progress Report – “This report examines key dealings reported by each central department on behalf of itself and its agencies, summarises progress to date on achieving the Prime Minister’s target, forecasts how far departments will have progressed by the target date of October 2002 and estimates the likely take-up of the electronic versions of dealings by the citizen and business.
Modernising Government – “A commitment to ensure that public services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week …. a clear commitment for people to be able to notify different parts of government of details such as a change of address simply and electronically in one transaction … all dealings with government being deliverable electronically by 2008. – “The Government’s aim, set out in the 1998 Competitiveness White Paper, is to “make the UK the best environment in the world for e-commerce”. This report provides the culmination of a six-month study by the Cabinet Office’s Performance & Innovation Unit. It responds to a commission from the Prime Minister to identify the strategy necessary to achieve that goal.” There was also an appendix. So for completeness … e-commerce appendices
Professional Policy Making for the 21st CenturyThe Modernising Government White Paper promises changes to policy making to ensure that policies are strategic, outcome focused, joined up (if necessary), inclusive, flexible, innovative and robust. This report is the culmination of work on policy making carried out by the Cabinet Office to follow up publication of the White Paper” and to make these changes happen.

Another active year on the policy and report front, busy working out how to make all the moving parts fit together….

e-Government Strategy – “Information Technology is a powerful enabler but the starting point should always be to identify what the customer wants and then look to how we use IT to achieve this. The public sector must embrace new ways of thinking, new ways of doing business, new alliances and new technology. This is vital in order to give people the services they want, when they want them and with the minimum cost and bureaucracy. Electronic access to government services will become increasingly important to citizens and by 2005 we plan to have all of our services available in this way.
Authentication Framework – “This paper is concerned with the authentication of citizens and businesses seeking to access government services electronically. It applies in circumstances where government needs to have trust in the identity of those it is dealing with to ensure that there is no breach of privacy or confidentiality, or other harm. The Framework provides for those cases where anonymous or psuedonymous access is also acceptable.
Change of Address Demonstrator – “This document describes the approach taken [to] developing the Change of Address Demonstration Portal demonstrator, for the Central Information Technology Unit of the Cabinet Office.
CITU Portal Demonstrator Lessons Learned – does what it says on the tin, and sets out some lessons learned from the portal demonstrator to future government plans
e-Government Services for the 21st Century – “This report sets out a radical and compelling direction for government electronic services. Services will be joined up, delivered through a range of channels, and backed up by advice and support. Service delivery will be opened to the private and voluntary sectors, so that there will be a mixed economy of electronic delivery. Competition between providers will stimulate innovation and drive up service quality.
Market Research on the Change of Address Demonstrator – “This document reports the findings from two half-day workshops conducted by Market & Opinion Research International (MORI) on behalf of the Central Information Technology Unit of the Cabinet Office. The aim of the project was to test reactions to a proposed government portal for notifying various government departments of a change of address, using on-line technology.
Modernising Government 1st Annual Report – “Good government need not be big government. Rather, it is about working together in ways that haven’t happened before. Central government working in partnership with town halls, unions and the private and voluntary sectors to deliver the best possible services. It is not about dogma, it’s about what works. This applies to joined-up government too.”
Modernising Government: Security – “The scope of this document includes functional security requirements appropriate for the delivery of services by, and on behalf of, government. It is applicable to those systems responsible for the delivery of services to citizens and businesses … These security requirements are also applicable to the delivery of government services by third party organisations. The security requirements expressed in this framework document represent a call for general alignment with best e-commerce practice, to which government believes it must itself conform.
Modernising Government: Privacy and Data Sharing – “The Modernising Government White Paper committed Government to ‘address concerns about privacy’ and to ‘provide a proper and lawful basis for data sharing where this is desirable, for example in the interest of improved service or fraud reduction.’ Data sharing is at the heart of the Modernising Government project. Citizens want ‘joined-up government’ because it can benefit them as service-users and as taxpayers, and joined-up government requires joined-up information. On the other hand, there is public wariness of the sharing of personal data.
Successful IT – Modernising Government in Action – “Information technology …. offers opportunities to deliver services faster, more effectively and in innovative ways. The e-government Strategy, published in April, sets out our commitment to using IT to deliver services in new ways. We want to focus on the needs of the citizen rather than those of Government departments. However, harnessing the power of IT is not always easy. The tasks involved are very complex and fraught with risk. Government has already successfully implemented a range of complex projects. However, we still need to improve performance and avoid the mistakes of the past. This report aims to produce that improvement. It sets out a package of measures to help us deliver effective modernisation through IT. Putting them into practice will require commitment across Government, as well as from our private sector partners …. the recommendations in this report will enable us to put our modernising vision into practice. They are a vital part of turning our strategy into real improvements in public services.
UK Online Annual Report – “The UK has the capability to be a global leader in [the] new knowledge economy, bringing wealth and new opportunity for all of us. That is why the Government, industry, the voluntary sector, trades unions and consumer groups have come together to deliver UK online: a major initiative to ensure that everyone in the UK who wants it will have access to the Internet, and to make the UK one of the world‟s leading knowledge economies. This – the first in a series of annual UK online reports – sets out our plans for making it happen. Both by acting now, and by laying out a detailed strategy for the future.
Wiring it Up: Whitehall’s Management of Cross-cutting Policies and Services – “The report sets out a comprehensive package of measures to improve and modernise the way we handle cross-cutting issues. It looks at the role of leadership; improving the way policy is formulated and implemented; the need for new skills; budgetary arrangements, and the role of external audit and scrutiny. In particular, it highlights the importance of putting in place the right structure of accountability and incentives for cross-cutting working. These measures form a blue-print for action.

e-Government Strategy on Registration and Authentication – “The e-government registration and authentication framework policy and guidelines document is one of a series developed as part of the Government’s commitment, in the modernising government white paper, to developing a corporate IT strategy for government … this document builds on the e-government security policy that sets out the e-government security requirements. It specifically addresses those security requirements related to the provision of registration and authentication services to support access to e-government services. This version of the document incorporates comments received after a public consultation on an earlier draft.
UKonline – the Broadband Future – “An action plan to facilitate roll-out of higher bandwidth and broadband services
Wiring It Up Progress Report – “… this document reports progress in putting the right frameworks in place to drive forward joined-up working [across Whitehall]

Open Source Software Policy – “It is now considered necessary to have a more explicit policy on the use of OSS within UK Government and this document details that policy.
Privacy and data-sharing – the way forward for public services – “… there is great potential to make better use of personal information to deliver benefits to individuals and to society, including through increased data-sharing. But these benefits will only be realised if people trust the way that public services handle their personal data. The Government strongly supports the twin objectives … of encouraging better use of personal data to deliver improved public services and safeguarding personal privacy.
Registration and Authentication V3 – an updated version.

Measuring the Expected Benefits of e-Government – “E-government has the potential to improve greatly the delivery of public services, making them easier to access, more convenient to use, more responsive, more transparent and so on. It also has the potential to free up resources in the public sector by delivering services more efficiently … It is important to develop a thorough business case for any major investment decision; it is not sufficient to justify action solely on the basis that it is needed to meet a target. At a minimum, a thorough business case should prove that the preferred approach is the most cost effective way of delivering against target (e.g. minimises lifecycle costs, maximises cost avoidance and other benefits). e-Government should bring real benefits – increased efficiency and, in some cases, increased revenue. Business cases need to look creatively at the options of meeting targets and delivering these benefits.
Policy framework for a mixed economy in the supply of e-government services – “The purpose of the consultation is to allow stakeholders in the public, private and voluntary sector, as well as citizens and businesses to comment on the vision for the involvement of private and voluntary sector intermediaries in the delivery of electronic government services

Improving IT procurement – “The successful delivery of IT-enabled projects is essential to the effective functioning of government and has a direct bearing on departments’ abilities to deliver improved public services. This report presents the results of a value for money examination of the work of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in recent years to help departments improve their procurement of IT-enabled projects. The history of such procurements has not been good, with repeated incidences of overspends, delays, performance shortfalls and abandonment at major cost … the concerns raised in Gateway Reviews have remained broadly the same since their introduction in 2001, and unless there is growing evidence that these weaknesses are being addressed their recurrence will reduce confidence in the ability of OGC and departments to bring about a step change in the performance of projects
The three E’s: efficient, effective and electronic – the memo circulated by Ian Watmore on his appointment as CIO in 2004 …. “Better public services demand that the citizen be put at the centre of affairs – and that the services they receive are citizen-centred, rather than provider-centred. Citizen-centred Government is hard because the structure of Government is not naturally organised by citizens.

Transformational Government Strategy – “… The future of public services has to use technology to give citizens choice, with personalised services designed around their needs not the needs of the provider … we will only be able to deliver the full benefits to customers [sic] that these new systems offer through using technology to integrate the process of government at the centre.

Service transformation: A better service for citizens and businesses, a better deal for the taxpayer – “… social, demographic and technological changes continue apace and there are increasing challenges to keep up with the best in the private sector. Differences between the public and private sector are likely to grow over the next decade unless public sector service delivery is further transformed … if the public service is not transformed then we can anticipate much less effective and more expensive delivery and more citizens put off by the indifference to their needs … Other governments faced with [these] issues have decided to impose structural change to deliver better public services, such as building new departments for citizen and business facing services … progress in other countries [should be] kept under review and used to test the progress of our transformation. If we show signs of lagging behind then these structural change alternatives need reconsideration.
Transformational Government Annual Report – the first report looking at progress with the implementation of the Transformational Government agenda

Transformational Government Annual Report – the second report looking at progress with Transformational Government

Data Handling Procedures in Government: Final Report – “Effective use of information is absolutely central to the challenges facing the Government today – whether in improving health, tackling child poverty, or protecting the public from crime and terrorism. Those in public service need to keep that information secure, in order to build public confidence. This is essential to underpin greater data sharing to deliver personalised services and make us more effective. Following the high profile loss of data by HM Revenue and Customs, the Prime Minister asked … Departments and security experts to examine and improve data handling in Government. This has involved intensive work across Departments and with their delivery bodies, which is summarised in this report.
Review of information security at HM Revenue and Customs Final report – “The report is split into two distinct parts: The first part, entitled “The Investigation” provides a narrative of how the Child Benefit CDs were lost and a commentary on the causes of the loss. The second part, entitled “The Wider Review” is more forward-looking and contains … recommendations on how to improve information security at HMRC.
Transformational Government Annual Report Part 1 – another annual update to progress being made with Transformational Government, this year in three sections of which this is part 1 …
Transformational Government Annual Report Part 2 – … and this is part 2 called, er, part 1 …
Transformational Government Annual Report Part 3 – … and this is part 3 called, of course, part 2

Data Centre Strategy Overview – a presentation on “Data Centre Strategy, G Cloud and the Apps Store. Mobilisation ‘Strawman’
Government ICT Strategy: Smarter, cheaper, greener – “…a refreshed ICT Strategy for Government, building on previous policy announcements to deliver a high-quality ICT infrastructure … Delivery will increasingly be through partnerships between the public, private and third sectors, and this strategy focuses on providing the greater interoperability necessary to underpin this model
Smarter Government – “We live in an age of expanding opportunity in which rapid technological advances are transforming the world at a speed and scale not witnessed since the industrial revolution. This allows us to give citizens what they now demand: public services responsive to their needs and driven by them. At the same time it provides us with the means to deliver public services in a way that maintains their quality but brings down their cost. This will be essential to help meet our commitment to halve the public deficit within four years
Open Source, Open Standards and Re-Use Government Action Plan – “…we consider that the time is now right to build on our record of fairness and achievement and to take further positive action to ensure that Open Source products are fully and fairly considered throughout government IT; to ensure that we specify our requirements and publish our data in terms of Open Standards; and that we seek the same degree of flexibility in our commercial relationships with proprietary software suppliers as are inherent in the open source world

Conservative Technology Manifesto – and as a reminder of what was promised by one of the coalition partners before the 2010 general election … “This Conservative Technology Manifesto outlines the most ambitious technology agenda ever proposed by a British political party, and will provide a boost to British business and help create highly paid new jobs across the country. Our plans will give Britain the fastest high speed broadband network in Europe, helping to create 600,000 additional jobs. We will make the British government the most technology-friendly in the world, and meet our ambition that the next generation of Googles, Microsofts and Facebooks are British companies
Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan – with details of planned initiatives, including those related to IT, with actions and timescales

… what next? What is clear from the list above is that the last thing required is yet another document setting out what IT could do for public services. That point has been well and truly made. Repeatedly. Politicians of all parties have known what is possible for 15 years or more. What has been lacking is a significant level of successful delivery, practical implementation.

What is needed now is not yet more words, but a short, sharp strategy and a lean operational plan to deliver it. Such an approach may finally break us out of Groundhog Day and into a new dawn, where these long-held, cross-party policy aspirations are finally delivered.

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