GCloud doing sensible things, but needs tweaking

Filed under: Local Government,Standards,Technology — lenand @ 11:56 am
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A recent Cabinet Office presentation of the GCloud to SOCITM London had some good news, and some things to do better.

Good:  There are lots more suppliers and the offerings are much simpler, and less costly to purchase.  They are preparing the terms and conditions for the next round and consulting on changes that make sense.  Suppliers in the audience pressed there need for longer contracts; even two years is not enough for the more complex requirements of information sharing in local government.

Must do better:  The presentation did not mention standards.  The messages from LeGSB are not getting through. Virtually the whole audience thought there was room for suppliers to say which interoperability standards they would use. It is the only way to develop multi-agency services from bottom-up.

Will we see the resurgence of the e-GIF and LGIP (Local Government Integration Practice)?

Will we advance as far as India?

Will Liam Maxwell’s targets for Open Standards be met?


For Standards, follow India

Filed under: Policy,Standards — lenand @ 3:03 am
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UK Public Sector Information Governance standards may as well not exist.  They do exist in pockets, such as the NHS and SIF, but not across government departments.  Compare this with India.  Their vision may sound strange:

“Make all Government services accessible to the Common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man

But at least they have a vision produced by their Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.  What is the equivalent in the UK?  Quarkside was unable to find one.  Yes there is a web site with a few random archived documents dating from way back.  For example, “The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) mandates the adoption of XML and the development of XML schemas as the cornerstone of the government interoperability and integration strategy.”  has one document dated 15th May 2001.  Is this really still valid and part of the coalition policy?

This peek into standards was triggered by Bryan Glick who compared India’s approach to Open Standards with the EU and UK.  I could not even trace the EU documents.  How do we expect to compete with emerging economies with large numbers of educated systems developers?  They seem to be following best practice – which we developed a generation ago.   Some rightly argue that standards may stultify innovation, but when it comes to high volume information sharing applications they are critical to success.    The old, boring, approaches must get back on the Government CIO’s agenda.

It is all well and good for ministers to promote moving all transactions on-line, but their officials must tell them that our standards infrastructure is woefully inadequate and not fit for interoperability purposes.  We risk being demoted to the second division by teams that are investing in first class skills and competencies.

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