June 2010 Archives

The US National Identity strategy: Ask the People

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I have just received a note from FIPR on the US Department of Homeland Security consultation on a "National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace". This is a long overdue approach to the problem of persuading average americans that they should trust those who wish to link them to electronic identities and digital footprints. Meanwhile the cancellation of ID cards has removed but one fallen tree from the jungle of ID initatives in the UK. Will the current moratorium and review lead to a cull of those which are not fit for purpose and a sharing of those which are. If so, how will that process take place, under what governance?

Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make use a computer system

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I am currently laid up with one of those summer bouts of man-flu. Drifting in and out of consciousness and feeling I must try to keep up with my e-mails lest I am to be hopelessly behind when I surface. However, one result is that I am even less tolerant than usual of the foibles of all those systems that are "as user friendly as a cornered rat". I have blogged ad nauseam in the past about the failure of each generation of IT professionals to learn from its predecessors. In a few weeks we will learn whether it really is "the only profession that has passed from adolescence to senility without passing through maturity". 

Fostering co-opetition in delivering more for less

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Roger Marshall, sometime President of SOCITM, until recently CIO for the Corporation of London and now "neutral" industry Chair of the Information Society Alliance Public Service Delivery Group has just written a strong comment piece for Computer Weekly on how to turn crisis into opportunity. The good news is that scale of the challenge has brought about a new spirit of co-operation among those believe in the traditional values of public service. But those who wish to shorten the moratorium need support from a critical mass of suppliers who wish to be in business next year, competing to make money from delivering value for money over time, 


The timetable for the Public Sector Revolution

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If you have not already done so, take a look at the "Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan". This is the timetable for the hundred days to change the heart of Government. OGC moved from Treasury to to Cabinet Office last week. The expected pace of change can be seen from the deadlines for reviewing the exit processes for civil servants. The generosity, or otherwise, of these will help determine the scale and nature of change: a rush for the exit and devil take the hindmost, a rear-guard action worthy of the British Army at its most creative (not just stubborn) or a rebirth of creative thinking in what was once the best educated and worst-trained administrative elite in the modern world.

Cutting the cost of cutting by turning crisis into opportunity

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Some suppliers to the public sector are laying-off staff because they fear that even agreed cost-cutting projects will have to be retendered under new rules after the moratorium. Others have decimated government relations and account management teams in expectation of delay of years before business begins to flow again after the last governments end-of-an-era splurge committed budgets for the foreseeable future. Both reactions are short-sighted. Those who wish to survive the hard times ahead would do much better to help expedite transition to good practice in rapid procurement for that which gives rapid payback - perhaps in in line with the Dutch, German and Scandinavian interpretation of the EU "rules". The other way of slashing procurement time and cost is to follow private sector best practice for complex services - and build third party alternative dispute resolution processes into the simpler contracts - as opposed to trying to predict the unforeseen (and often unforeseeable).


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