Is redefinition of Systems Development anything more than a role grab by officials facing the chop?

Karl Flinders posting on the consultation regarding the redefinition of systems development as a “creative industry”, so that it can be taken away from e-Skills (one of the Governments success stories, despite its under-funding) and given to ????, raises serious questions as to the motivation and implications.

The current attempts to hatchet Maria Miller, not just the department she is trying to turn round, raise similar questions. It appears to more than just sour grapes on the part of the Daily Telegraph. Is it because she is actually getting to grips with the fall out from decisions made while Ministers were totally focussed on ensuring, at almost any cost, the success of the Olympic games? Those decisions include, of course, the “mythical” strategy followed by BDUK during the run-up to the Olympics which delayed broadband to businesses in the Prime Ministers own constituency (as well as a hundred others) by years, because BT could not do both. Note that you only have until the 14th June. 

Whatever the future of DCMS, I have more faith in the personal ability of Maria Miller to sort out UK Communications policy, including content regulation, than any likely replacement. Much depends, however, on the choice of Permanent Secretary to replace one of the last of the Blairite appointees and of the officials who will help him reinvigorate delivery. I happen, however, to believe that DCMS should be merged with DECC (a department in similar deep trouble because of policies inherited from the last government) rather than with BIS. I also believe that a woman is more likely than a man to make genuine progress with sorting out the policies needed to help create world class 21st century instructures. But that is my prejudice showing: based on my experience with the Women into IT campaign, in 1988 – 92.

Men make speaches and win unnecessary battles. Women get things done.     

Meanwhile Karl’s article indicates that the mice are playing games. It would be ludicrous were the stakes not so high. Science, technology and engineering skills, including those for systems and communications engineering, are critical to the futue of the UK. They are far too important for the overdue actions that are under way (contracts finally awarded by UKCES on the last day of March!) because bureaucrats whose departments and agencies are in trouble have seen a successful bandwagon to try to hijack.  

Please respond to the e-Skills consultation, (sending a copy to your constituency MP, along with your comments) otherwise you and your children will have to live with the consquences.

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