A new report says there should be more central coordination of the use of IT in government. Shaping Up: A Whitehall for the Future, published by the centrist think tank the Institute of Government, suggests a central department – most likely through the Cabinet Office – could play a crucial facilitating and coordinating role in …
"can seriously raise the transaction costs of joining up"
What does this mean - in English - please?
Can "transaction costs" (?) be jokingly raised?
How about just designing simple systems that do the specified job, at the specified cost and on time? If, later, integration is a requirement and experience shows the real problems derived from lack of it cannot be solved any other way then consider the best way forward.
The proposal for more meddling by the ignorant numpties is really just a plea for more consultancy pounds to fix problems of inappropriate original specification and design.
But, hey, what do I know?
Not that simple
"How about just designing simple systems that do the specified job[?]"
Mainly because the job is horrifically complicated. Try designing a simple system to manage the records of very patient in the NHS or calculate and pay the correct amount of benefit for every person in the UK eligble or manage the logistics of the British Armed Forces.
The scale of most government projects is massive and the requirements change more rapidly than the development cycle. The real issue is to simplify the specifications by simplifying legislation and what governement does, but that would not suit Nu Labour.
Well, THERE'S your problem ...
"A new report says there should be more central coordination of the use of IT in government."
IT is about making systems work as smoothly as possible, so the local userbase doesn't get in the way of coffee breaks (in general, there are exceptions).
Government is, globally, about individuals advancing their careers, regardless of what hoi polloi is experiencing at the local level.
The two are really an anathema to each other ... If anyone can marry them in a way that works in the real world, they will have the ultimate "killer ap".
 for varying values of "local" and "user" ...
 It's "hoi polloi", not "the hoi polloi". Look it up. Pet peeve.
Oh yea, because we need people like that advising governbent on how we should be told to live. Well meaning incompentent student types mostly from what I've seen. Take a look at DEMOS for example.... god help us all....
always looking for a bigger pot to piss in.
What goes around comes around
Funny that. This suggestion of central control of IT could mean a resurrection of CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency). This had variously been part of HMSO, Cabinet Office and Treasury in its history. It provided a central point through which all government IT projects and services were monitored / advised / reviewed / etc.
It had to be disappeared in a reorganisation following the creation of OGC. At the time industry was not very happy with losing this central point of contact in all matters IT - but it was considered better to devolve responsibility to departments. Once, Michael Hesletine said that when a function removed and it was still necessary then Government would have to (re)invent it - hence I am amused to see the calls for a function which existed only 10 years ago. Truly what goes around comes around.
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