Skip to main content
Take Up or Talk Down?

I am a little confused by the report that the Office of The e-Envoy (OeE) is to create ‘another’ single access point for Online services.

When I was first involved in the OeE when there were fourteen people crammed into 70 Whitehall, the revolution was to be driven by a single portal, you know, the one that they spend millions advertising on the sides of taxis, ‘UK Offline’. Now however, the eGov monitor reports “The Online Government Store will bring together the various e-services scattered across department websites into a central hub or 'one-stop shop, where citizens could pay their income tax, buy a TV licence or apply for a passport”.



Not so long ago, one of my friends in Government commented:

“In the UK, as in most other countries, less than 1% of the population use government websites on a regular basis. It is hard to move from offering a "service online" to witnessing a "service used" For the most part, people are not even trying to find services online in many cases. That for me, means we've failed the neighbour test, meaning that until the service is so good that your neighbour will lean over and tell you what they found using a government website, high usage will remain elusive”

It seems then that any decision to find a second ‘universal’ portal has something to do with driving take-up, which is still mediocre even after the London taxi campaign. Britain is not alone in struggling to encourage acceptance of on-line Government. When I spoke with Detlef Eckert, now with Microsoft, who was responsible for the information society initiative within the European Commission, he remarked, that if over half the population of Europe have not attempted to access a government service over the Internet, we need to understand the many complex reasons behind the problem.

So, at more taxpayer’s expense, Government is trying once again, with yet another Website, with another memorable name, The Online Government Store, when we already have the UK Online citizen portal and the UK’s flagship IT project, the Government Gateway, both of which have been eGovernment services.

Is this a great idea which should be recognised for its value in driving acceptance of online government among the population or yet another example of public money being wasted in a desperate attempt at self-justification? You decide.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…