WRITTEN ON September 4th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Identity, We told you so...

The whole business of centrally held health records, summary care records shared without informed consent, detailed care records, secondary uses by all and sundry is far from ideal. Wibbi you could just press a big ol’ button and download your health record, in machine readable format, to put in your personal data store or locally held service?

Oh look – it’s just happened. President Obama has launched a “Blue button” service which lets US veterans download their health record. Here’s a sample of what the record looks like. And there’s a “developer challenge” to get hackers to do cool things for the people who have just got their data back.

Simple. Cool. How long until it happens here? Let’s set a date. Who’s health is it anyway? Who’s data is it anyway?


WRITTEN ON August 24th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Uncategorized

A rational approach to personal-data logistics in education would not simply rely on centrally held databses. It would also build on the individual’s personal portable education record.

Like other services, education needs an online bridge between the individual and the service provider. But to date we’ve only built the organisation’s end of the bridge.

The learner needs to be equipped with this from the first moment they deal with educational organisations in the outside world. It would be unambiguously under the learner’s control. Their parents would use it to appy for school places. It would store educational achievements and qualifications. As the learner grows up and takes responsibility for their own affairs they would take charge of their own digital, personal, portable education record and use it for university and job applications. (more…)

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WRITTEN ON August 8th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Design: Co-creation, Foundation of Trust, Power of Information, Save Time and Money, We told you so...

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. (more…)


WRITTEN ON August 5th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Uncategorized

Tomorrow 6 Aug sees the shutting down of the ill-advised ContactPoint database.

Why was it such a dumb idea? Because you dont need a database of 12m children to focus on the relatively small number of children at real risk. Because you can’t keep the data on a huge database which is accessible to hundreds of thousands of officials secure. Because a database accessible to so many which makes clear that a vulnerable child is linked to sensitive services creates risk. Because it’s unjust to hold the records of children of mere mortals in this system but to “screen” the records of politicians and pop stars. Because consent procedures were unsatisfactory and there was no effective opt-out. Because, as the late Roger Needham used to say, “if you think technology is the solution to your complex human problem then you don’t understand technology and you dont understand your problem either.” (more…)


WRITTEN ON July 25th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Uncategorized

Getting government IT right isn’t my job – it’s John Suffolk’s job. It’s not even my job to opine about it. So now IdealGov has had that terrific burst of activity and energy getting an ideal government IT strategy during the election period * thank you all involved!!* let us chill for a bit. I propose yet another change of tack for this blog.

There’s too much exciting good stuff going on for me to keep abreast of. And I think the blog has covered the bad stuff many many times. So even if there’s new bad stuff happening – or far-from-ideal stuff persisting – there’s not much new to say about it, and perhaps not much point. (more…)


WRITTEN ON July 5th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Design: Co-creation, Wibbipedia/MindtheGap

Hurrah – I like the new Patient Opinion widget:

Sam did some of these for publicexperience. His one let you just type your experience straight in. The PO one just offers recent feedback, with options for filters. Has PO got the other sort I wonder?


WRITTEN ON June 24th, 2010 BY ruthkennedy
STORED IN Across the Board, Design: Co-creation, Design: user-oriented, Foundation of Trust, What do we want?

Following on from Will’s post below, I’m pleased to say that in places (albeit all rather far from the Westminster media hub) people ARE using the burning platform of the current economic situation as a reason to re-think how they go about doing what they do. There are places where a requirement for a shift in both mindset and culture is being made more explicit, leading to a re-think about the nature of leadership, and how you measure success.

One example of this is a project commissioned by Nesta. The Innovation Unit is leading a programme of work pursuing Radical Efficiency (innovation that produces better outcomes at less cost) in 6 localities in England, all focused on early years services. One element of this – very similar to the approach we take in thepublicoffice – is to showcase exemplars of innovative practice, which can inspire people with the art of the possible.

I’m on the urgent lookout for new exemplars of innovation in the way outcomes have been delivered – especially (but not exclusively) in complex social policy areas. CAN YOU HELP? I’m particularly interested in any examples of work you can point me to which illustrate the themes below:

  • Uncover, build and really work with existing community capacity, networks and resources to deliver services
  • Overcome barriers to engagement with existing services (e.g. improving information and awareness, re-branding, tackling fear of judgement and stigma around accessing support)
  • Meet people where they are at – physically relocate services to places where people already are or go regularly and where they feel comfortable
  • Work with new ‘units’ of users – moving from children or traditional family units to really extended units of support (e.g. grandparents, close friends etc)
  • Rethink the role of the professional; create a much more mixed economy of support in the delivery of services, e.g. peer:peer, professional and non professional, formal and informal
  • Create a system with a diverse mix of service providers, formal and informal, private, voluntary and public sector

Suggestions needed ASAP. Prizes definitely on offer for suggestions that we use 🙂


WRITTEN ON June 14th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Design: Co-creation, Ideal Goverment - project

The original “Ideal Government” agenda – quick wins; co-creative service design; foundation of trust – is now happening so thick and fast I’m not even pretending to keep up with it. That’s because Ideal Government stuff is now a fringe hobby topic for me; I’m fully focussed on new ways we can all protect, manage and realise the value of our personal data (with Mydex CIC) and with what this means in terms of opportunities and threats for large organisations (Ctrl-Shift Ltd).

What I’d say on the “ideal government” agenda which we’ve been watching and commenting on here since 2004 is just this: (more…)


WRITTEN ON May 30th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Ideal Goverment - project, Identity, Pertinent Art

In 2008 I made the rash promise that when the benighted ID Scheme was cancelled I would perform a celebratory “Dance of the Intellectual Pygmies”. Well – here it is.

The idea is we can all do it en masse at various celebratory events.

Choreography is by Aliya Saleem, filming, editing and captions by Richard (shortly to be Lord) Allan, music borrowed on a wave of goodwill from the Pet Shop Boys. The whole thing, triggered by a comment in Parliament by David Blunkett, is a tribute to the relentless hard work of many activists especially Phil and Guy at No2ID, Simon and Gus at PI, the JRRT, everyone at FIPR, ORG and beyond and to many of our more enlightened politicians and journalists.


WRITTEN ON May 20th, 2010 BY William Heath
STORED IN Policies, Save Time and Money

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.