March 2010 Archives
The Chancellor started his statement with the mantra that we are having to cope with the fall-out of a financial crisis that started in America. An alternative view is that the crisis was caused by a global failure of information governance. This started in the overseas operations of the American Banks (based in London) and spread via the delusions of grandeur of the Scottish banks. Those at the top did not understand the risks they were running. Worse, they still do not.
What happens in the brave new electronic world when the chip on your access device (to cash, payment, the railway station - to the country) fails. I reproduce below an exchange over the FIPR Alert system triggered by the experience of a long-standing globe-trotter when a jobsworth at a UK airport could not read the chip on his new biometric passport. The chip on my new Oyster Card is giving similar problems - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't: the queue behind me gets quite angry. I have changed my swiping technique and it seems to work ... but?
The Government plans for us all to have personal web-access to their on-line services inside four years, as described in the Times today are as "ambitious" and cahllenging as they are overdue. If they are serious about socailly inclusive delivery the first step must be to ensure that the "Digital Gateway Offices" have on-line access that is fit for a sub-postmistress to access on behalf of a queue of frail pensioners. The second is to ensure that all involved (including contractors in the supply and support chains) are vetted and subject to personal liabilities for carelessness and indiscretion, let alone active misconduct, that are at least as strong as for those who run a sub-post-office.
Last week leading politicians were competing to agree on the crucial importance of broadband. Meanwhile Guido Fawkes was telling the cream of the blogocracy, at a meeting hosted by the BCS, that his granny would never use broadband and it was more important to use the money available to teach the socially excluded how to read.
On March 1st Earl of Erroll tried to give Ofcom a duty to provide mechanisms for resolving the buck-passing that takes place when there is a fault on your broadband line. He linked his Amendment 9A to the detoriating state of the local loop infrastructure - because unbundling gives Openreach no incentive to do more than the contractual minimum. Who-ever wrote the brief for the non-answer given to the government spokesman to deliver has clearly never had a problem that affects the broadband connection while leaving an adequate voice line.
We have much heart-searching as to what the 2 mbps universal service target means. The "answer" is to redefine it as "reliable, working, access to government's on-line services by 2012" - particularly those of Defra, DWP and HMRC - to be assessed by the NAO. With the Audit Commission assessing the performance of Local Government in parallel.
-- Advertisement --
-- Advertisement --