The Cabinet Office has revealed "concern" over whether the public sector's IT is up to the job of supporting more transparency, from responses to last year's open data consultation. The consultation, which closed in October, drew more than 400 responses from industry, government and other interested parties. The Cabinet Office …
Gov department for the wellbeing of Quamgo's
Said "this may hurt HPSercoFujitsuEDSAltiris pork barrel so we'll have to diss it". from his winter carribean island retreat paid for by the aforementioned companies.
Gov saving money and using only a few value for money providers? heavens, cant let that happen
...are government departments really not up to the job, or are the lobby groups just winning?
The public supported open standards when asked, but MS, IBM et al manage to crush that ideal.
I get the sneaky suspicion the same is happening here.
Missed a bit
The government departments might be up for the job, but they are saying that it's the rest of the public sector that might have trouble. Central Gov can muster more cash to throw at it while a local authority would probably struggle (no probably about it a large number would definately struggle but have no choice).
I think they'll find
that if they open just the datasets then the Open Source developer community will likely do many of the queries/mashups for them.
Or are they saying they haven't got any boxes capable of the actual workload? I bet Google would loan them a containerful of optimised data-munching servers at a fair price and even promise not to suck at the info out of it.
It does seem to be the Will rather than the Way that's lacking...
Did anyone ask why government departments need to collect and store so much data in the first place?
To try and to fail
... is better than to not try at all.
The main government driver for almost everything (apart from personal gain: political or financial) is CYA. Therefore it's not important whether a programme succeeds or fails - if it's timed properly, that will be the next incumbent's problem - but to be seen to be doing something. To show that there is action being taken. That there is a policy.
So it is with this one, too. Who cares if it won't work or costs too much? Most government IT projects don't work, so the only issue is to manage expectations: downwards. As to cost -no big deal! The money's going to be spent on something, somewhere and whatever it's spent on probably won't deliver what was intended, anyway.
Engineering to fail is a art
Given the history of Govermental projects in IT and the fact nobody can name a succeful project unless they actualy worked on it. One can't help but fail that this is a somewhat shortsighted mentality and the approach is along the lines of underpant gnomes - release data, ????, Magic applications.
Now given that we all read about alot of failed projects and TAX and benifit system being one and remarkably enough systems that other countries have as well though all biased to there own rule sets in process. Why don't they release a good set of `TEST DATA` and what is needed and seed of some open source projects to do this processing. You could even wrap this up into the education system. This gives real world projects for people to intereact and learn from as well as eventualy give us some solid applications that are adaptable world-wide. Be nice to right the tax laws in a form of XML configuration file that enables it to handle any TAX laws that might come out.
Only sensitive issues is the data and thats why all largescale projects that have such data have a pile of test data (usualy morphed from real-data with the usual hand-crafted gotch'a and extreeme's, but still not real data). The govermental paid IT bod's can then remove the bod down aspects and help/work on true project managment.
Having data is all great, but people sometimes need direction , whilst others do not. All very well dumping a load of data, but some form of wish list would not go amiss and if some of those wish lists are managed in that you have online contact and feedback, then it can only go alot better.
Remember, you can lead a coder to data, but you have no idea you even wanted a swing across it.
XML Tax rules
I think your idea of the tax rules being described using XML is great. However, I could see it falling down next time that the tax rules change. Tax rules seem to change at whim, becoming exponentially complex and seem to change for 1 of 2 reasons.
The first is that some people are obeying the tax rules that allow them to pay the "correct" amount of tax by the way they organise things to take advantage of the rules (R&D credits, subsidiaries and Jaccuzis as business expenses). This upsets some people who complain about loopholes, and then change the rules, making them increasingly more complex.
The second reason is some lobbying that some sector needs tax breaks. The problem is that the tax break will be something like "but only 1% tax for companies that were formed on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, have orange in their logo and who's principle shareholder is a contributor to our party". These rules may be very difficult to describe in XML. (however, they will lead to more tax avoidance, and hence to multiple changes under category 1).
I'd use the joke icon, but sadly it isn't.
That's a mis-leading title
Unless, of course, the government's strategy really *is* for it to cost too much and not work.
It would explain a lot, I suppose.
No shit sherlock...
There's a very good reason that "we" IS/IT professional in Government have reservations: it's a clusterf*ck waiting to happen that we, as professionals, cannot recommend to our organisations due to the increadible risk and sky high cost (both money, time, and the ditto lack of same on the business critical projects that will have to get bumped in order to do this nonsense).
There's a very good reason that the big consultancies will say it's possible and bid like pigs at a trough: it's a clusterf*ck waiting to happen that means they'll be rolling in change control gravy for a decade before the Auditors pull the plug... and then criticise the commisioning Gov Officials (us) for the mess.
It's a lose lose situation - Please, please, won't someone think of the taxpayers...