Quarkside

17/11/2011

Political traction for standards

Filed under: Governance,Standards — lenand @ 10:50 am
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Good news stories don’t attract much interest, but there is one unfolding about standards in the public sector.  The Local Government e-Standards Body (LeGSB) has obtained funding for this year from a number of central government departments.  Perhaps Martha Lane Fox’s message has filtered through the political process.

There’s a portfolio of about ten projects.  Some are having a significant impact in the way that central government can and should interoperate with local government ICT.

Quarkside’s main interest is the developing generic model for all public sector service interactions.  The guiding principle is that common language and understanding will enable reuse of data, services and solutions – reducing the resources required to share data more effectively between the Government and other public sector agencies.  It’s all about interoperability between systems.  However, the project cannot be accused of using accessible language in its title, “Upper Ontology for Operational Service Delivery“.  

The highest level for standards is the International Standards Organisation (ISO).  As it happens, ISO 18876 is the International Standard that establishes an architecture, a methodology, and other specifications for integrating industrial data for exchange, access, and sharing.

It supports:

  • data sharing and data integration;
  • specification of mappings between models;
  • and data transformation.

LeGSB is not in the market for creating standards – only for helping organisations to grab the benefits that are on the table.  Perhaps ISO 18876 will find its place in helping to arbitrate in some complex areas of interoperability, eg it provides a logical basis for Identity Management not requiring a Unique Identifier (UID).

30/11/2010

No excuses, LAs and NHS must talk

Filed under: Local Government,Technology — lenand @ 3:30 am
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A good news story for a change. Simple connectivity between local authorities and the NHS has been needed for years.  I recall having to spend 15 months with the agreements and protocols to join 2 servers one foot apart in a server rack.

Joe Harley (DWP) and Christine Connelly (DH) have jointly published a letter encouraging local authorities to connecting to the NHS N3 network via their existing GCSX connection.    They explain that it is now possible for local authorities to access NHS Spine without the need to install a separate N3 connection.  The reverse is also true; NHS organisations can access local authority data via their existing N3 connections.

Everything these days come at a price, however.  The N3 Interconnect Service is an additional service charge to the GCSX service.  Expect to pay £5,760 for 10Mb.  There’s also value in sharing the service between LA partners: £7,200 for 4 local authorities (£1,800 each) then £1500 per additional local authority using the same aggregation route.

Now that the connectivity should no longer a barrier, we should revitalise the attempt at building information sharing partnerships and utilising systems interoperability standards, such as ISO 18876.   Exchange of data between Health and Social Services has long been the call of Enquiries into Victoria Climbié and Baby Peter.  One key excuse for non-cooperation has been removed.

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