Government is only as good as the advice it gets. In the case of IT, most of its advice comes from supplier lobbyists, with virtually no input from users. Traditionally, politicians have happily introduced legislation in blissful ignorance of the real impact or cost to corporate UK.
This one-sided anachronism is beginning to change. Civil servants, politicians, advisers and others who make up the machinery of government are now looking seriously at ways in which they can take on board the user voice.
The catalyst was e-commerce - particularly last year's E-commerce Bill debacle where several government departments fought their corners with all the guile and cunning of the best Yes Minister episodes.
User power - not supplier influence - saved UK plc's e-commerce competitiveness and marked the waning of IT suppliers' spin monopoly. Several major corporations calmly whispered that they were pulling e-commerce operations out of the UK. This ultimately persuaded the Government to stop playing Canute over Internet-based e-commerce.
Don't underestimate the impact of last year. The Government and its advisers now actively appreciate the value of user input to policy. Now is the time for users and user groups to collaborate to exploit this new climate and ensure that the user voice is not only heard but routinely acted upon.