back to article Gov 'skunkworks' to develop e-petitions system

The government "skunkworks" team is aiming to develop an e-petitions system over the next few weeks as the first of its initial round projects. Mark O'Neill, leader of the informal team of IT developers based in the Cabinet Office, said the government has made this a priority and it is aiming to deliver the system by mid-July …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    E-petitions are the way of the future

    No longer will the government have to pay some police man standing on the doorstep at No. 10 to be photographed receiving them or an have an anonymous secretary shred petitions in the basement over many hours. Now they can get rid of them with the single press of a delete key without anyone else actually seeing it.

    Efficiency in government. Isn't that what they promised in the last (and every) election?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Efficiency in government?

      Surely for efficiency, they would just put back the old e-petition system which allowed people to voice their opinion and would then automatically bulk send them all an email saying "NO" at the end. All they have to do is switch it back on.

      As an additional function, it could add their name to the list of potential terrorists.

      1. perlcat

        You guys work too hard.

        Just route to /dev/null from the start.

        Remember the gov't motto -- "When people appear to need help, appear to help them."

  2. Chris Ashworth

    Dear God

    Given what a total hash of agile that most corporates make, I dread to think what government will do.

  3. Graham Marsden

    So what was wrong...

    ... with the previous Petition Number 10 system?

    Well, apart from the fact that, of course, it was totally ignored, with people getting responses that were either "we can't do anything about this" or "thank you for your comments, now fuck off, plebs"...

    But why are they spending money developing a new system at all?

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: So what was wrong...

      The proof of the pudding is in the eating - this project is probably being used to validate that they can produce quality projects from their skunkworks team.

      Personally, I'm not so sure, although I do heartily approve of using small teams of directly hired developers, rather than continuing to outsource crap like this.

    2. Asgard

      @"But why are they spending money developing a new system at all"

      Because it makes it look like they are listening to us and trying to do something about listening to us, when really they don't want to do what people want, because they want to do what they want. Its why they got into power in the first place. The power is for them. But they know if it looks like they are refusing to listen to us, then we wouldn't want to vote them into that job. So they seek to lie and deceive us into believing they are listening to us ... and it works ... the deception has worked for generations, regardless of which political party they are from.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already available

    For those interested, here is the address:

    Before you come back saying "hey, it doesn't work", well, that's the point.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "In addition, the skunkworks is developing a set of principles on which to base its future work"

    Here's one - KISS.

    For (quite a simple little site once you strip away all the pages of self-praise) they managed to use Django, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, and god knows what else. And they comment, "If we’d continued for longer and expanded the scope of what we were building it’s quite likely that list would have grown."

    Yes, there must be some other buzzword tech they could have assed around with. Maybe the list might even have grown to include a CMS so that the site is maintainable by people who don't happen to work on the Silicon Roundabout.

    Booinggg! "Time for bed", said Zebedee.

    1. Rob
      Thumb Down


      ... glad some common sense is still out there.

      Why has no one else seen this as a waste of tax money. I thought this government wanted to kill the gravy train. These developers look like they are laughing all the way to the bank whilst having a similiar sounding word at the same time at our expense.

  6. batfastad


    Hang on... wasn't there an existing e-petitions system at that was shut down on pretty much the same day this government was established?

  7. Graham Bartlett


    At last we have a government department where you can expect that if you poke around for a while, you'll get an unfriendly reception and a nasty smell. Oh wait...

  8. Jon Thompson 2

    What is this UK "skunkworks" thing?

    And where is it?

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      Perfect name for a Gov dept.

      Skunk, as in shitty smell!

      Works, as in place full of smoke and hot air!

  9. web_bod

    "What happens when you sit a small team of people in a room in South London for 14 weeks and ask them to create something? If it’s these people, it would be!" - what a pile of back slapping 2.0 gob shites.

  10. Robert E A Harvey


    Here we are 20 years into the internut, and someone has got to skunk a simple voting system? Ye glods.

    I propose a petition system involving crowds of villagers, flaming brands, pitchforks, and a one-rope-per-lamppost technique.

    That'd get their attention, and would not need any fancy web technology.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Interesting stratgey. *curious* choice of project

    Given the fact the last administration totally *ignored* them anyway.

    *Tempted* to go with Fanbois or Windows user icon, but for now I'll just go with


  12. davenewman

    Just buy the Scottish e-petition system

    Developed at the Teledemocracy centre at Napier Edinburgh University.

    Why do the same again, when the team could try something new, like collaborative bill writing based on Aldo de Moor's GRASS.

  13. T J

    agile methodology

    Well, that about takes that idea out before its even off the ground. They are going to have enourmous fun sticking little notes all over the walls, annoying the shit out of one another by 'pairing' when trying to program, shuffling all the erroneous code off to one side, delivering a piece of shyte early or an approximation of the target late (very late), and then there is the joyous fun of Planning Poker.

    Agile: A Methodology For Ensuring High Staff Turnover.

  14. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    When is a Quango not a Quango?

    When it's not set up by the oposition.

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    It's good everyone here understands the "skunkworks" reference.

    Otherwise people *might* get the idea of a *huge* government sponsored greenhouse.with 24/7 lighting and a big bailing machine in the corner.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019