One of the notable survivors of the May General Election is Martha Lane Fox. All parties seem to listen to her every word and she can reach parts of Government that are inaccessible to mere mortals. In addition to championing digital inclusion, she should be thanked for publishing recommendations for DirectGov and “how efficiencies can best be realised through the online delivery of public services.” There are lots of good recommendations, but from previous experience one seems highly counter-cultural, standards:
“The CEO for Digital should also have the controls and powers to direct set and enforce standards across government departments in areas such as:
- Technical standards: including APIs, data models and security;
- Content standards: including format, taxonomy, meta-tagging and rules for syndication partners;
- Design standards: including usability, accessibility and look and feel
- Process standards: including content creation, content review processes, SLA and partner processes;
- Customer standards: including feedback, consultation, insight, analytics, segmentation and registration.”
Don’t think this is self-evident, because the Standards body in central government was demolished at least five years ago. What a backward step. There’s still a whiff of a moribund e-GIF panel, but the last document was published in 2005.
Local government manfully struggles on (with one man) in the form of LeGSB, but with very little practical support. LeGSB can only look at a miniscule sub-set of standards requirements.
How come it needs a personality to remind the Government about the absolute need for standards. Quality is Free is celebrating its 25th anniversary and nothing has changed from “Make a commitment to a standard, communicate it, recognize performance, and then recycle.”
Please Martha, sort them out.