WRITTEN ON December 28th, 2009 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Ideal government IT strategy, Political engagement, We told you so..., What do we want?

Britain’s ideal government IT strategy (#idealgits) first needs a plain top-level statement of the role of technology in the context of the society we’re trying to become. We’re going to try to set this out here.

It has to address the big issues directly and succinctly.

This means it has to support the overriding economic and commercial needs of the country, and the big social agenda: war, peace, climate change, poverty.

It needs to be medium-term, and to establish key principles and objectives that will hold good for a decade. Detailed, operational planning that sits below it that provides the detail of how to deliver those objectives.

An ideal government IT strategy doesn’t do the politician thing of claiming Britain is going to lead the world. e-Government isn’t a new Empire, and CCTV isn’t the Royal Navy.

Instead it cheerfully takes the best ideas available around the world. Consitutionally we want to be as smart as Holland. We want ourpublic sevants to be as at ease with FoI as Scandinavians. We want the customer service ethic of Canada, the web savvy of the US or Australia.

This means taking the ideas of people like Clay Shirkey, Tim O’Reilly, Kim Cameron, Stefan Brands, Doc Searls. We’re already working with our own Tim Berners-Lee and Marth Lane-Fox who are doing great work. We’re bringing in more Tom Steinberg and Ed Mayo, and we need more Paul Hodgkin and the perspective of exemplary young CIOs like James Cronin and Mike Bracken.

Economically it has to work at three levels:
– we’ve proven to ourselves in the last decade IT and consulting can be a bottomless sink for taxpayers’ money. We need to spend very shrewdly and effectively on IT
– Notwithstanding, the opportunity to cut administration costs is 10 times larger than the opportunity to cut IT spend.
– The savings opportunity if we streamline or reinvent public services is 10 times as large again.

This means if our IT strategy enables NHS 2.0, or welfare 2.0, or education 2.0 the opportunity for savings is two orders of magnitude larger than what we spend on IT in Whitehall today. But that does not mean we’re going to propose spending more on IT to achieve that. We don’t think it’s necessary. More to the point, in the present climate, spending more simply won’t wash.

Then our ideal government IT strategy reviews and fuses these, and expresses it in a uniquely British way. There’s no shoutey smugness, no groupthink or doublethink. The odd cartoon or joke is fine. It will form an exemplary part of the new “courteous and mutually respectful dialogue” (#CMRD).

4 Responses to “#Idealgits: how we need to do section one”

William Heath wrote on December 28th, 2009 10:44 am :

K says:

1. Focus on quality at least as much as cost reduction, because it’s a driver of growth.

2. to the NHS etc list: add Democracy 2.0

Carl wrote on December 28th, 2009 11:57 am :

Many top level managers need to recognise that the expertise required to make this 2.0 revolution work lies within the community, with the public. Also can we add partnership 2.0 to the list, less silos more collaborative work?

William Heath wrote on December 28th, 2009 12:07 pm :

Yes! Completely agree. Partnership 2.0: participation and co-creation.We’re all in this together, as we’ve said for years and George Osborne has now started saying.

the Centre for Technology Policy Research | CTPR wrote on January 1st, 2010 10:47 am :

[…] and IT. To help make it more relevant, more responsive and more effective. As William Heath has blogged on Ideal Government, “There’s no shoutey smugness, no groupthink or doublethink.” We just want to help ensure we […]