The Office of Government Commerce has appealed against an order by the Information Tribunal that it must publish official documents that assess the justification for the government's identity card scheme. Meanwhile, speculation over Prime-Minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown's support for the programme has been see-sawing for lack …
Discouraged from making "Truthful Submissions"!!!!????
"The OGC refuses to publish Gateway Reviews on the grounds that their disclosure would discourage their contributors from making truthful submissions to the process."
Feel free to speculate, but I can't imagine what kind of "truthful submission" you could make to the government, regarding ID cards, which could possible be discouraged by the probability of it being made public. (And I speak as one who has made such submissions)
Only politically revealing (of their true motives) or illegal comments could fall into such a category. All the more reason why we should be entitled to see them.
Lets put it the other way around, what would discourage someone from making untruthful submissions? Perhaps the likelihood of their being exposed to public scrutiny.
the truth is that it also covers ID cards for alien and we shouldn't know about them in case we panic ( by throwing bricks through windows and grabbing TVs obviously, that's what always happens in mass hysteria)
it blantantly states in there that the ID cards are a waste of time against terrorism and would only serve of use to collect, correction, harvest, information of us.
Anyway it's against my human rights to force me to have this surely :-)
Gateways and publication
The premise of Gateways is that they remain secret, in order to encourage people to be truthful about the real state of a project. Everyone participating in a Gateway understands this.
As a result, most Gateway reports will contain negative material, disagreements about the project, etc. etc. The sort of things that the media would have a field day with.
If Gateways were regularly made public, the process would become politicized. Participants would simply give the departmental line, or would severely moderate what they say, thus rendering the whole point of Gateways - which is to catch problems early - meaningless.
We should have better public auditing of big-spending government projects - but neutering Gateways isn't the way to do it. They serve a different function.
So who's thinking the OGC is trying to stall for time while they figure out a way to have a Red Ken style shredding day so they won't have to reveal what are likely to be extremely damning documents?
Probability (or better, certainty) of public disclosure would probably do wonders for cutting the amount of dishonesty, backhanders for friends and sloppiness in government procurement.
Hasn't anyone told them: 'If you're innocent, then you've nothing to fear' ?
Why shouldn't the public be aware of the internal problems with the ID cards. Perhaps if the government was completely open about these things, the media wouldn't be able to "have a field day" with the small bits of information that leaks out. If we, as the tax paying public can actually see how our money is spending rather than having to fight our representatives to let us do so, we might all get on better or at least have a better understanding of situations like this.
Either way, the government is intentionally trying to hide the scheme from the public. They refused to have proper public oversight during the original bills in parliament.
What use are Gateways anyway ?
Given the dismal rate of success of UK Government IT projects, it seems that either the Gateways are not of any use, or they are kept secret so as to deliberately ignore any negative comments.
In either case, public scrutiny would certainly change the process for the better, especially since real bad issues could be pointed out by competent people that are neutral as far as office politics are concerned.
Finally, I don't see why it is a bad thing for the press to have a field day with issues concerning a project. If the project is not good, it doesn't deserve to be put into action. If it is good, there will be nothing to have a field day with.
Seems fair to me.
Given how much effort the government is putting into hiding the internal workings of the damn thing already, it doesn't exactly fill you with confidence about the system's openness and accountability once it's up and running does it? A sinister project made more sinister by the whiff of unjustified secrecy. This government's atitude of "we're going to do it whether it works or not, because it fits our dogma" is rapidly starting to get old, and they've turned this lifelong labour voter into somebody who is itching to storm the Bastille. "Just gimme a gun..."
"We all suffer crime, the poorest and most vulnerable most of all, it is the duty of the government to protect them. But we can make choices in spending too. And instead of wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on compulsory ID cards as the Tory Right demand, let that money provide thousands of extra police officers on the beat in our local communities."
This good sense and impressive grasp of reality was of course shown by one Mister Tony Blair, Member of the Opposition, 1995.
Gateway Data Might Reveal Dissent
...is the essential point of the anon poster who commented:
"The premise of Gateways is that they remain secret, in order to encourage people to be truthful about the real state of a project."
This highlights one of the major failings of the elective dictatorship and its way of doing business. All it seeks is the semblance of a bare majority so that it can look like a "democratic" process. In fact what we ought to be doing is find the policy which attracts least dissent. That ensures maximum support. But you can only begin to address dissent if you invite and publicise it - not hide and bury it.
This, of course, mandates a political revolution but we can dive into that some other time. In the meantime, we don't have to accept their puerile message management just for the sake of preventing the embarrassment of those who will profit either financially or politically from their diseased policy making process