Government IT needs overhaul to prevent widening disconnect with general public

Government figures are risking a disconnect with the general public when it comes to IT projects by undertaking extravagant projects over and above functional ones.

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Cambridge Business School’s Mark Thompson, a former advisor to George Osborne on IT reform, told an event previewing the launch of the Digital Manifesto that every time a government department indulges itself there’s a risk of the public becoming disillusioned, according to Cloud Pro.

The Digital Manifesto is a being jointly written by the Policy Exchange think tank and EMC to try to identify the gaps in government IT plans and give suggestions for future projects with the results set to be published on 4 June.

EMC UK MD James Petter said that good progress has been made in the way the government is using technology but “we’re not moving fast enough.” The government has become too focused on cutting costs that the vast potential technology can bring has been overlooked and this means the government is “barely scratching the surface of what’s possible in data analytics.”

“We can roll out applications, not in three-to-five years but in three-to-five weeks or even days. How are we going to deliver that agility in government?” Petter added.

Thompson thinks that the government must be careful when it comes to agility and that the “current emphasis on being agile and less about digital” has meant that departments will be building their own projects thus leading to frivolous spending.

Labour’s Peter Wells, who leads the opposition's Digital Government Review, meanwhile, points out that “most citizen interaction is in local government,” and that too much discussion is centred on what Whitehall is doing when it comes to IT projects.

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The proof will be in the pudding when the Digital Manifesto is released and with Thompson as a key advisor it’s likely the “luxurious” IT projects will become a thing of the past.