Save Time and Money – Ideal Government What do we want from Internet-age government? Wouldn't it be better if... Sun, 12 Aug 2012 09:49:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GDS design principles and design-driven public services Wed, 04 Apr 2012 08:43:51 +0000 Like a contented snore from a prolonged snooze, here’s a quick and now rare post to acknowledge the new GDS design principles:

1 Start with needs*
2 Do less
3 Design with data
4 Do the hard work to make it simple
5 Iterate. Then iterate again.
6 Build for inclusion
7 Understand context
8 Build digital services, not websites
9 Be consistent, not uniform
10 Make things open: it makes things better

It’s a great start. For digital services it strikes me as close to ideal; better than we could have thought to ask for. What we would still ask is that the notion of “starting with needs” and “doing less” be extended to policy and public services more universally.

On this basis it makes sense and feels achievable to go 100% digital for that hwich can be digitised. But it’s not just a digital thing. This is the culture we need across the board.

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Maude promises new culture in government IT procurement Thu, 02 Dec 2010 13:19:20 +0000 Government IT procurement has been far from ideal. So this today from Francis Maude looks encouraging

“You will all have experienced procurements that seemed to go on forever, cost millions of pounds and took countless hours of your employees’ time and energy. I know how frustrating this can be and I can promise you here today that we will do things differently…But there will also be things we expect from you. Government will no longer offer the easy margins of the past. We will open up the market to smaller suppliers and mutuals and we will expect you to partner with them as equals, not as sub-ordinates. The days of the mega IT contracts are over, we will need you to rethink the way you approach projects, making them smaller, off the shelf and open source where possible. We will expect you to be transparent in all your dealings with us and for the terms of the contracts we sign with you to be published online.”

Sounds promising…anything we can do to help?

Let’s rethink the logistics of personal data in government #3: Census Thu, 14 Oct 2010 15:09:40 +0000 More or less the first post on IdealGov over six years ago was on Finland’s register-based census. But now, thanks to all sorts of developments not least this week’s Mydex launch, we can see how the UK in 2012 2011 could do better than the Finns a decade earlier.

The non-ideal 2012 [correction: 2011] Census will see Lockheed Martin paid £500m-odd of money we can ill afford to undertake a clunky process of data gathering which will take 2-3 years to complete and feed back.

But if everyone had a personal data store such as Mydex….

….one could simply add to the personal data store the fields needed to complete the Census questionnaire. ONS could invite people to volunteer this information, or could see how far it got compelling it by law with threats of dire consequences. It could poll the information once every ten years if that were good enough for statistical purposes and for planning public services. Or it could poll people’s personal data stores ever 10 months, 10 weeks, 10 hours, 10 minutes, or 10 seconds. Lockheed Martin could go back to making rockets and bombs. We’d save a pile of money. And we’d start to be able to plan public services based on real needs and preferences instead of an out-of-date decennial view.

The immediate question (to anticipate any ONS trolling [amendment: pushback]) is universality. How can you possibly make PDSs universal in the way the census needs to be? Perhaps the answer is: given the huge benefits both to the individual and the state of working with PDSs, how much incentive can we plan for the individual to help this to spread far, wide and fast? Remember the core principle has to be gaining the individual’s trust, so intrusive data gathering and playing fast & loose with the data is ruled out.

But if you want a Big Society fuelled on accurate, up to date data on personal needs, circumstances and preferences this has to be the way to go. The 2012 2011 Census is going to feel about as far from Ideal as procuring a Stealth bomber to run the country’s Neighbourhood Watch Schemes.

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Mydex White Paper on implications of personal data stores for public services Mon, 27 Sep 2010 19:09:06 +0000 Mydex‘ new White Paper out today has a section at the back that sets out the implications of personal data stores such as Mydex for public sector services, identifiers, personalisation and security. The text of that section is below. You can download the whole Mydex White Paper here.

Mydex: A Manifesto for UK Public Services

One area government IT has made progress is with public data, with the “power of information” policy and the portal, which recognises the value of ‘unlocking’ data held by the Government for reuse by added value service providers.

Next we need a comparably radical rethink on personal data. This starts with a return to the role of personal identifiers and intermediaries set out by UK officials a decade ago, and as recently adopted by the Obama Administration. This means:

• assume that access to on-line public services will be through a market or ecosystem of accredited third-party identifiers (issued for example by a range of existing online services, credit bureaux, or banks
• drop the false notion that it’s generally essential to know who people are
• challenge the assumption that personal data is “owned” by service-providing departments to be shared at their convenience
• instead, recognise that the individual is not only the rightful owner, but also the only technically feasible point of integration of exponentially growing volumes of personal data, and therefore the only possible place where “personalisation” can happen
• recognise furthermore that structured, scalable personal data managed by individuals is set to become the source of immense new economic value, and that the individual is a rightful

This change in mindset includes a specific challenge to secret parts of government entrusted with keeping Britain safe. A safe society isn’t the outcome of dysfunctional public services designed to aid surveillance.

Britain has a far better chance of being secure with public services designed to work for individuals and front-line public servants, which respect human rights and dignity. When the data are cleaner, the relatively small number of exceptions stand out more clearly.

On-line identifiers need to work under the user’s control, with minimal disclosure and revealing information only to justified parties. They need to be consistent and convenient (see Kim Cameron’s “Laws of Identity”).

In the short term the UK can copy the US administration: announce that future access to online services will be via third-party identifiers, and then provide for the emergence of a “trust framework” so a range of identifiers are accredited for suitable purposes. Many services can be accessed anonymously, and for many more all that is needed is a consistent user experience. It’s not always necessary to identify people to check their entitlement.

But sometimes individuals will need to invoke stronger identification credentials online: for “Know Your Customer” processes or to meet the most stringent visa requirements for example.

Government IT therefore needs to anticipate a world where individuals are equipped with

• highly evolved personal data stores
• the ability online to invoke strong authentication or verification
(e.g. proof of qualifications, licences, credit, nationality or identity)
• selective disclosure, i.e. the ability to share the minimum necessary in a particular circumstance.

This doesn’t require major new procurement. It means:

• review each main service function to take into account the role
of user-driven records for health, education, welfare, transport, or
other areas such as the Census or the London Olympics
• quickly participate in at least two live prototypes of user-driven
services across multiple organisations supported by independent
online verification services
• where there is benefit, re-engineer the public services (health,
education etc) users can drive new services.

Just as the existing “Power of Information” has created new APIs to allow structured public data out of government systems to create new value, so this “empowered citizen/customers” agenda will see new APIs that allow structured personal data in. This means public services can be driven and personalised by users, and new service packages created for them by third parties.

This “empowered citizen/customers” agenda might even reveal a revised role for the National ID Register as a voluntary service offering online verification as part of a trust framework, for the most demanding cases.

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It’s not about identity. Or privacy. It’s about saving money Tue, 21 Sep 2010 21:17:09 +0000 Does it matter that the Coalition hasn’t published a post-ID-Scheme identity policy yet? I dont think so. It’s no more helpful to obsess about identity than to obsess about privacy. These things are important, but the overriding Coalition priority is to save money.

Happily, the urge to save money will usher in the right identity policy and in turn protect our privacy.

The area to focus on is data logistics. When Alan Mitchell and I browsed through hundreds of complaints about public services recently we observed that very few are about privacy and none at all about problems with identity. But the vast majority point to poor information logistics. The key person – official, professional, or the unhappy individual – just didn’t have the right information at the right time.

This causes irritation, frustration, offence, and vast expense. It’s extremely annoying for individuals not to be able to get hold of information they need, to have the wrong information, or to have to give the same information over and over again. It’s unjust, time-consuming and possibly worse to get the wrong treatment or service because the service cant get the information or has the wrong information.

It’s unnecessarily expensive for public services to attempt to maintain hundreds of different records about the same person (but neither feasible nor desirable to amalgamate them into panoptical mega-records). If you provide services on the back of incomplete and inaccurate data there’s every chance the service will be poor and unnecessarily expensive.

And it’s hard to plan and prioritise if you’re not in touch with your customers and people try as far as possible to withhold data from you. If we built churches using the last census there would be a few Jedi cathedrals lying empty.

If we can fix this (and we think it can be done) then people can get better, more responsive service, restored individual responsibility with a path to empowered self-service. HM Treasury also gets a triple dose of cost savings.

It means restoring control over personal data to the individual and building trust on the side of the individual.

User-controlled digital identifiers within an identity assurance framework are prerequisite, and that is just what Cabinet Office is now quietly proposing. Better privacy is a by-product (and a legal requirement, let’s not forget). But the compelling reason to pursue better data logistics with user-driven services is saving money.

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Databases can’t fix society. But society can fix the databases Sun, 08 Aug 2010 20:47:33 +0000 The closure of ContactPoint and the onset of the Databankendämmerung is – let’s say it again – cause for celebration. It’s also cause for congratulation to those who campaigned long and hard, with negligeable resources, against the brick wall of prevailing wisdom to get rid of it.

That’s not to say the underlying problems ContactPoint was meant to help with – caused by poorly co-ordinated and overstretched childrens’ services – have gone away; they haven’t.

The question of how technology best supports front line professionals, without disproportionate and unwarranted intrusion remains unanswered. It’s part of the scope of the Munro review, which provides first feeback in September, and a final report in April 2011. I suspect we’re in good hands here. I’d hazard a guess that Dr Munro will focus relentlessly on the crucial matter of protection of the relatively small number of children at real risk, and not attempt to boil the ocean of the welfare, diet, propensity to obesity and general wellbeing and conformance to social norms of every child. And I also bet that the role she recommends for ICT in helping child-protection professionals will be conformant to data protection and human rights law in a way that ContactPoint was not.

The Databankendämmerung must spread, just as we must escape the limitations of the Accentureweltanschauung. There are other ill-advised and intrusive central databases on which we should call time: eCaf; NHS SCR; the NHS Detailed Care Record; NHS Secondary Uses Service; long term comms data retention generally and the Intercept Modernisation Programme in particular. Kind friends won’t let me forget that I’ve promised to do a special celebration to mark the end of the Benighted ID Scheme and its lavish quantities of nugatory PA consulting.

The LibDems always opposed the “Database State”. The Tories were quick to spot that the last administration had taken a wrong turn and were politically vulnerable. But when Labour Ministers stopped listening exclusively to Cheltenham and Whitehall and resumed listening to the outside world (about eight weeks before the last election) they too quickly came to their senses as well.

It’s best not to see this in political terms, because really it’s a question of information logistics. Remember Troubleshooter? If John Harvey-Jones could revisit us and contemplate the dozens, hundreds of databases which public and private organisations run each trying to scrape, grab and update their versions of us, and then looked at the average householder spending a week and a half updating the different customer service systems of every entity we ever have to deal with (through episodes from moving house to losing a wallet) recording and sharing the same data over and over again, filling out endless forms with different callcentres and web sites and usernames and passwords, ….he would just laugh his vast laugh, wouldn’t he? And as he laughed he’d start to calculate the waste and loss of value, and huge tears would roll down his generous cheeks.

The Database State is an issue of civil liberties, justice and equality, of course. But there more than that: it’s been clear for a good year that the country heading for bankruptcy. It has been clear for a decade we need radical reform of public services. It has been clear ever since people started chipping in their ideas to IdealGov that the role of technology in this radical reform is about user participation, about quick wins and creating a foundation of trust.

The radical money-saving reforms have to be based on accurate personal data. They have to be built with tech systems that work. They have to draw on people’s supportive, active participation.

Some databases are valid and unobjectionable of course: DVLA, TV licensing, the electoral roll. Many public-sector databases can be fixed. The point about the Databankendämmerung isn’t that all databases are evil. It’s that the state can’t fix society’s complex human problems with giant databases.

Weirdly enough, however, the opposite will turn out to be true. Even the worthwhile databases are still plagued with errors, omissions and duplications, They need our help. Databases can’t fix society. But, given the tools, society can start to fix the databases. That’s a much more promising way forward.

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from the Coalition Programme for Government Thu, 20 May 2010 14:07:38 +0000 As well as the good stuff on civil liberties noted below, the governing coalition’s Progamme for Government (pdf download) has this on government IT procurement:

We will take steps to open up government procurement and reduce costs; and we will publish government ICT contracts online.
We will create a level playing field for opensource software and will enable large ICT projects to be split into smaller components.
We will require full, online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over £25,000.
We will create a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis.
We will require all councils to publish meeting minutes and local service and performance data.
We will require all councils to publish items of spending above £500, and to publish contracts and tender documents in full.
We will ensure that all data published by public bodies is published in an open and standardised format, so that it can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties.

It’s an important read with some enlightened ideas in a realistic tone which acknowledges the real diffrences on important topics such as Trident.

It closes with the sobering reminder:

The deficit reduction programme takesprecedence over any of the other measures in this agreement, and the speed of implementation of any measures that have a cost to the public finances will depend on decisions to be made in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Cheers Edgar.

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ONS: where next for the Census? Sat, 27 Feb 2010 20:03:22 +0000 I dont get this.

The 2011 Census will adopt a similar processing strategy to that used in the 2001 Census.

But this is a £500m deal. And it’s 10 years on. Shouldn’t things have changed more than this?

The Times reported

The ONS has already formed a working group to investigate alternatives to the census. It will present it recommendations to the government after the 2011 survey.

“We’ve started thinking, ‘Okay, what comes beyond 2011?’” said Peter Benton, deputy director of the census at the ONS. “We’ve set up a programme to look at our need for information and the different ways we could meet that need in future.”

What do we do here? Does a bankrupt country want to spend £500m a time on a C19th process? How many Jedi will get recorded, as public trust in government data handling plummets?

But we need the data as much as ever; we need to build and improve the consistent data set, and we probably need more data now and in future rather than less. We need a census for the #PBAge.

ONS says it’s going to look at the sort of stuff that Finland has been doing for a decade. But have they looked at where the future is headed with VRM and volunteered personal information? What chance their supplier Lockheed Martin has been offering “thought leadership” on techniques that would slash the cost of the process (do they care if it were way more effedctive, and privacy-friendly?)

Perhaps when ONS feel sufficiently on top of the 2011 census, they’ll take a moment to look at this sort of stuff.

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Tories announce £1m competition for large-scale crowdsourcing platform Wed, 30 Dec 2009 12:06:16 +0000 Cripes. HM’s Loyal Opposition has announced – if elected – a £1m prize for an online platform for large-scale crowdsourcing.

This almost comes onto the radar of big IT suppliers. It’s massive for smart little NGOs; it would have funded about a decade of early MySociety work.

I got it in an email (extract below). There’s probably a URL but I dont have it yet. This was announced by my local MP Jeremy Hunt. They’d take the cash from the Cabinet Office budget.

This is going to be fun!

Hi there – hope you’ve all had a merry and relaxing Christmas.

I just wanted to flag up the £1 million competition that we have
announced today for anyone who can develop an online platform that
enables us to tap into the wisdom of crowds to resolve difficult
policy challenges. In government, we will use this platform to publish
all Green Papers, and open up the entire policy making process to the
public. See briefing note below for more details.

This really is the most radical crowdsourcing announcement ever made
by a UK political party – not only in terms of our commitment to
opening up the policy making process, but also because of our use of a
Longitude/Netflix style prize.

We’d be really grateful if you were able to flag up this announcement,
and the press release below, to your contacts in the IT media. After
all, we want lots of people to enter this competition and develop
online collaborative platforms – so publicity is obviously crucial!

All the best

Hunt: Solving problems together – harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds

The Conservatives are today announcing a competition, with a £1million
prize, for the best new technology platform that helps people come
together to solve the problems that matter to them – whether that’s
tackling government waste, designing a local planning strategy,
finding the best school or avoiding roadworks.

This online platform will then be used by a future Conservative
government to throw open the policy making process to the public, and
harness the wisdom of the crowd so that the public can collaborate to
improve government policy. For example, a Conservative government
would publish all government Green Papers on this platform, so that
everyone can have their say on government policies, and feed in their
ideas to make them better.

This is in addition to our existing radical commitment to introduce a
Public Reading Stage for legislation so that the public can comment on
draft bills, and highlight drafting errors or potential improvements.

Launching the competition, Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“Conservatives believe that the collective wisdom of the British
people is much greater than that of a bunch of politicians or
so-called experts. And new technology now allows us to harness that
wisdom like never before. So at this time of year, when families and
friends are getting together, we’re announcing a new idea to help the
British people get together to help solve the problems that matter to

“There are currently no technological platforms that enable in-depth
online collaboration on the scale required by Government – this prize
is a good and cost-effective way of getting one.

“Too often policy has been ill thought through with disastrous
consequences. When formulating and implementing policy why should we
not listen to the hundreds of thousands of experts out there?”


For further information please call Ramesh Chhabra on 07738 935 187

Notes to Editors.

In the bureaucratic age, decisions in government, business and other
organisations were typically made by a small, closed group of experts.
In the post-bureaucratic age, new technologies enable us to reject
this top-down approach to decision-making. These new technologies
allow us to harness the wisdom of the crowd, take advantage of the
power of mass collaboration and make use of the information and ideas
dispersed amongst large groups of people. Evidence from around the
world has shown that this post-bureaucratic approach can result in
more efficient and effective decision-making and problem solving than
relying on small groups of experts.

Harnessing the wisdom of the crowd in this way is a fundamentally
Conservative approach, based on the insight that using dispersed
information, such as that contained within a market, often leads to
better outcomes than centralised and closed systems. The Conservative
Party has already used crowd sourcing to develop new policies, for
example through our ‘Stand Up Speak Up’ initiative. To make sure that
we make best use of this approach, a Conservative government will
offer an unprecedented £1 million prize for any individual or team
that develops a platform that enables large groups of people to come
together online to solve common problems and develop new policies.

Harnessing the wisdom of crowds – case studies


Innocentive is a website used by leading companies such as Proctor and
Gamble and charities such as the Rockefeller Foundation, to tap into
the wisdom of the crowd and get answers to otherwise intractable
research problems. There are over 160,000 scientists and other experts
in the Innocentive network, and they are incentivised to take part
through cash prizes for solving problems.

Improvng the Netflix algorithm

Netflix, a US-based DVD rental company, wanted to improve the
algorithm it uses to recommend films to users. Instead of hiring a
research team itself, it threw open its dataset, and offered a $1m
prize for anyone who could improve its algorithm by 10% or more. This
approach yielded a solution far more cheaply and quickly than relying
on an internal team of researchers.


Peer-to-Patent uses the wisdom of the crowd to improve the patent
process, and has been trialled by the US Patent Office. Under this
approach, patent applications are posted online, so that instead of
relying on a small group of bureaucrats, anyone in the world can check
whether the application is valid. This approach seems to be much
faster and more efficient than the traditional closed approach to
appraising patent applications.

Solving maths problems

In January 2009, Timothy Gowers, professor of mathematics at Cambridge
University and a holder of the Fields Medal, posted a hitherto
intractable maths challenge on his blog, and invited readers from
across the world to collaborate and solve the problem. The resulting
comment thread spanned hundreds of thousands of words and drew in
dozens of contributors. Six weeks later, the theorem was proved.

Harnessing the wisdom of crowds – 10 potential applications

Here are ten ideas to get the ball rolling: ten problems (ranging from
the serious to the somewhat seasonal) that we think could better be
solved by the collective wisdom of the British people than by a bunch
of experts sitting round a table. But the whole point of our
competition is to stimulate discussion about the different problems
that we can solve together if we had an easy to use online platform
for collaboration…so here are some of the possibilities:

1.    Identifying and rooting out wasteful government spending.

2.    Designing credit card bills that anyone can understand.

3.    Finding a safe place to park your bike.

4.    Rating the quality of schools and hospitals, to help other
people make informed choices.

5.   Making government information – for example on how to fill in
your tax return or set up a new business – clear, simple and useful.

6.   Creating new technology that blocks all spam emails.

7.    Locating current and planned road works, and working out a route
that avoids them.

8. Deciding how National Lottery good causes money should be spent.

9.   Picking the England squad for the 2010 World Cup.

10.   Designing a strategic plan for your community or city.

Harnessing the wisdom of crowds in policy making

In the post-bureaucratic age, opening up the policy making process can
help us to design better policy and transfer more control to
individuals and communities. The Conservative Party is committed to
harnessing the wisdom of crowds in a number of ways:

-         We will introduce a Public Reading Stage for legislation, so
that the public can help to spot errors in legislation, and feed in
their comments during the legislative


-         We will set government data free, enabling the public to
collaborate and develop new social and commercial applications.

-         We are publishing online, and in real time, the expense
claims of our Shadow Cabinet, enabling full and instant scrutiny.

-         We have published online a leaked version of the
Government’s IT strategy, so that people can post their suggestions on
how to develop a better set of policies.

A Conservative government would seek to make extensive use of this
approach. However, there are currently no technological platforms that
enable in-depth online collaboration on the scale required by

We are today announcing that a Conservative government will offer a £1
million prize for any individual or team that develops an online
platform that enables large scale collaboration and meets the
specifications that we will be publishing alongside the official
opening of the competition following the election. This platform will
then be used by a future Conservative government to throw open the
policy making process to the public, and harness the wisdom of the
crowd. For example, a Conservative government will publish all
government Green Papers on this innovative and open platform. The
source code of the platform will be made openly available, so that it
can be used by local councils, social enterprises and other
organisations free of charge.

While leading institutions such as the Gates Foundation, Google and
Netflix have successfully made use of procurement prizes, this £1
million prize will be the largest prize ever offered by a British
government in the modern era. The prize will be funded from within the
Cabinet Office budget.

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Time to say what we want from government IT Fri, 18 Dec 2009 10:54:19 +0000 It’s time to say what we want from government IT.

Let’s do this together. Let’s say “wouldn’t it be better if” about how tech affects transparency, costs and the quality of public services and how they affect our lives.

@ntouk and I have long since been fed up with what one senior Whitehall official yesterday called “this £trillion attempt to drag us into 1983”. Many of us have had a go at the draft government IT strategy on the Opposition’s makeITbetter site. Officials across Whitehall are now furiously revising it, so let’s hope the final published version is better.

Meanwhile we can speak freely. We can look to the realities of the wider world, and we don’t have to pretend that everything to date has been fine. Now it’s time to find our voice and say what we want.

The Centre for Technology Policy Research and IdealGov are launching a six-week competition, which everyone wins. Everyone who contributes is invited to a party. And everyone can, like, bring stuff (as we did to mypublicservices).

Practicalities. Please add any comments of suggestions about the process to this post. The final crowd-sourced “White paper of Wibbi” will be created on an open wiki here. Please feel free to register and edit, or to add comments at the end.

Party: IdealGov and CTPR are chipping in £1000 to the launch party to which everyone who has contributed is invited. There will be prizes including signed photos of our very own tech mandarin Sir Bonar Neville-Kingdom.

Political engagement:An Opposition front bench team has already agreed to listen attentively to our results. We have also extended invitations to Labour and LibDem leaderships and to officials to attend the party or have the results presented. [UPDATE: Big news: still on day one and we’ve now also heard back that this will get presented to a LibDem front bench team and to the people drafting the Labour manifesto. This is subject to the project attracting enough substantial input of quality. So this is now definitely an opportunity to put good ideas in front of all three main UK parties. We’re also up for inviting SNP, Plaid & Greens to launch party. Everyone needs a good government IT policy.]]

This initiative is formally adopting the principles of #CMRD, the “courteous and mutually respectful dialogue” called for last week by Michael Wills and first practised at an Intellect/Identity and Passport Service event this week.

Above all, we need to state in plain lay terms the role of contempory technology in future public services should be. Specifically, our work will need to cover off the main headings:

– governance of public-sector IT
– technical architecture which supports the real-world intention
– procurement of technology and tech-based services
– design that works for front line staff and users
– basis for participative public services
– public data
– personal data
– trust, dignity & legality under human rights & DP law
– political engagement, openness and trust in the political process
– and above all saving vast, vast amounts of money.

This is not a time to splash out. The country’s broke. So first we need to spend less on IT, existing contracts notwithstanding. But then it’s two orders of magnitude more important that our IT plans support far more efficient public services.

Suggesting we deploy hundreds of PA consultants (or Deloitte or whoever) to mooch around filling out timesheets and expense claims for absurd day rates is not going to get you invited to the party. But any suggestion that draws the best expertise available into the gift economy (and by no means are all consultants nitwits) is most welcome.

This project is not a platform for venting anger at wrong headedness or past mediocrity (whoops! did I just do it? Old habits…) Take that frustration but use it to say what you want in the spirit of the #CMRD. Please bring your beliefs, principles, and passion, but the IdealGov and CTPR moderators will give short shrift to anything actionable or which reeks of partisan preconceptions. Scepticism is justified, but cynicism not.

We may need a “babies and bathwater” section to set out for controversial systems such as CfH or the ID Scheme what must go but what also should be retained. We should give praise where due, eg for Power of Information work. And our suggestions must be practical enough to keep the lights on, ie to keep essential services running uninterrupted while new and better plans emerge.

Contributions from all stakeholders are welcome: officials, industry, front line staff, anyone who speaks from personal experience of public services. Pertinent Art is always welcome, because it can speak to our condition so powerfully.

We last did this in 2004, remember. Now its time to do it again.

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