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Thursday 8 May 2008

Drat, drat, and double drat!

Public Sector Forums has a gem in coverage of 'Directgov - A Vision of the Future' (coming soon to a multiplex near you)from a presentation given by Directgov and Businesslink to the Government's 'Civil Service Live' conference in London very recently on their 'Vision for 2011'.

The un-deleted speaker notes for Slide 11 suggest neither Directgov and Businesslink, currently anyway, appear certain about how they should respond to this opportunity/threat (the increasingly decentralised information 'mash-up' that the Web is evolving into) – and nor do they seem particularly well prepared.

"Should we be throwing government information into the mixer?", state the speaker notes. "What would the implications of that be? Would the inevitable loss of control be worth the increased exposure we might gain for our messages?"

"Any step down this road would mean we'd have to operate in very different ways from now", states the notes. "Moving away from the static delivery of information on government-controlled websites and towards something much looser, much more fluid and responsive to immediate need. This is our challenge going forward…"

Bloody web ... mucking up our nicely laid out plans ...


  1. Nice catch. This is something far bigger than just website audiences - this strikes right to the heart of how politics runs in the 21st Century. Yes, interconnectivity may help us access central stats and services more easily. But this is *inter*connectivity. A grid, not a hierarchy.

    The question is not "how do we make governance into e-governance?", but "where does traditional governance sit in a world where we can all publish advice?"

    As a result, government information is "handy", but not necessary. What "we" - citizens - do is more important than what "we" know. Organisation is more practical, more useful, and more engaging than knowledge - stats, advice, observations.

    I think we're routing around government already, although it takes privately-funded initiatives to do it, and the result is not necessarily any prettier. In fact, nobody's really in control any more.

  2. I think it's a bit more complicated than that.

    There is a place for 'official' information because intermediaries can represent information for their own ends - I'm mainly thinking of commercial ones but also think about lobbies, or who is most online.

    This isn't in directgov or businesslink's planning - as evidenced in the PSF info - and although I'm criticisng them here I don't think that the vision I'm understanding from your comment does necessarily benefit people. These two websites should deal with the mundane of net marketing outside their 'walled gardens', never mind the bigger picture.