Has DirectGov really spent £200m producing websites, Jerry Fishenden, LSE fop, former Microsoft suit, and general man about town, asked last year.
Since Fishenden had asked the question via Twitter of Sir Bonar-Neville Kingdom, the ostensible Data Sharing Czar of Her Majesty's government, we have to wonder whether whether standards might be slipping at the London School of Economics. Or whether, as Sir Bonar has himself remarked, Autumn 2009 was a particularly good season for mushrooms.
Nevertheless, it was this week that Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude pledged an historic review of the government's web site estate. It's historic in the sense that we never had so many websites to scrap before.
We've already seen DirectGov's top brass cleared out. This is but the beginning. To mark the occasion, it would be worthless republishing Tweets written on the matter by Sir Bonar, HM Government's first official Twit. That's why we're doing it here.
His Tweets, it is whispered around the fagging sheds outside the corridors of power, have had civil servants squirming in their seats.
"I have no doubt the £66m spend by the DoH in the last three years on two of its Web Sites is excellent Value for Money.""We will further improve the DoH Web Sites by getting rid of most of them. This will be a great improvement.""The confirmation of DirectGov's central role as government's Web Publishing Platform in the Transform report is uncontentious.""Incidentally, we are rebranding Directgov as "DirectGov" to give it a more comtempory feel.""Now we can recommission these absurdly cheap MySociety Web Sites from proper suppliers like IBM, ATOS and Qinetic.""One could hardly sustain an indigenous IT industry on the unrealistic budgets bandied about by these NGOs. We need serious Web Sites.""I feel we should shut down Google and use DirectGov and a national email service. As I recall CESG developed one...""Clearly we need a Government Search Engine. We could call it google.gov.uk.""The UK's flagship Web Site Direct Gov is still looking for a head of innovation. Please apply by last August.""I have a splendid idea: let's dust down that old promise to put all public services online. It always works!"."We must be seen to be active. Let us launch official versions of things which people are successfully doing already!""We should promote democracy with a web site. We could call it mysociety.gov.uk.""Let's promote the government agenda for mothers with a website, called both netmums.gov.uk and mumsnet.gov.uk, just to be sure.""We must ensure that any feedback about Health Services comes from authorized sources via an approved contractor such as capita.""In light of the irresponsibility of the news media we propose a new Government Newspaper. We plan to call it www.independent.gov.uk."
Sir Bonar has published Tweets in a book, at the launch of which he gave a rather tedious speech you can watch here.