back to article Never mind bungled Universal Credit rollout, Maude wants UK to be 'most digital' gov by 2015

Just one day after Francis Maude labelled the bungled deployment of Universal Credit - the all-in-one replacement for the benefits system - as "lamentable", the Cabinet Office Minister has been trumpeting that the UK could be "the most digital government" in the G8 by next year. Maude made the claim on Thursday when his office …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'

    Can someone give a convincing reason why there's a need for this?

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: 'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'

      > Can someone give a convincing reason why there's a need for this?

      Think of it as Strava for cars


      KOM M4 J21 160mph

    2. dervheid

      Re: 'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'

      Why, because once they do that, along with 'simplifying' the way you'll access on line scumvernment, they'll be well on the way to creating an ID card system by the back door without the sheeple realisng it's been done.

      "Welcome to Police State UK (England & Wales).* Papers please, citizen"

      * We Scots will have fucked off and left you to it...

      1. The last doughnut

        Re: 'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'

        In your dreams, haggis boy

        1. dervheid

          Re: 'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'



      2. Gnomalarta

        Re: 'announced plans to put Brits' driving records online.'

        Goodness, yet another good reason for not driving!

    3. David Pollard

      Can someone give a ... reason

      Because there will be less paperwork when on-the-spot fines are issued for such things as a failed brake light or having one wheel on the edge of a bus lane etc..

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Can someone give a ... reason

        So giving them a faster throughput to your cash, its a bit like the fine version of contactless cards, making it faster and easier to line their pockets.

    4. Bob Vistakin

      Lest we forget

      During the great corruption exposure of 2010 it emerged that Multimillionaire Francis Maude claimed for a second London home, to, err, make life easier for MP's living away from London, which was "yards from his first".

      He topped that with his noble attempt at creating mass panic on the roads of Britain with his helpful advice on how to deal with the fuel shortage, forever earning him the nickname "Jerrycan".

      Now, what has this shining model of credibility been saying again?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Most digital government"

    Already achieved, since most of them seem dedicated to giving the finger to the general public.

    And that's before the ones that do it to annoying experts, like Gove (journalist) dismissing the work of much of the Cambridge history department for being "left-wing", on a charge of knowing more about the causes of WW1 than he does.

  3. ukgnome

    Why oh why oh why

    Don't the government put out a survey asking us lot, the great IT crowd about what is and what isn't a great idea for a .Gov IT project.

    Everyone from drone to sys admin can get involved to tell these barmy bureaucrats just what the pitfalls will be. I would happily give 30 mins to a survey if it saved the image of IT workers.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Why oh why oh why

      You'd need to pay for the lunch and then if course hinting at a membership on the board of your company in a few years would be completely inappropriate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why oh why oh why

      Everyone from drone to sys admin ... I think you just answered your own question.

    3. taxman

      Re: Why oh why oh why

      Wake up at the back there! Where do you think all the GDS staff have come from who 'advise' Mr M of what he should say should be 'digitised' and are pushing/supporting this bizarre IDA idea. They are all from the 'great IT crowd'.

      But as the report says, they are only now understanding the size of work involved and slippage of 6 -8 months on delivery is now common place - from the IT crowd, not the old fuddy duddy Civil Servants.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why oh why oh why

        Us IT types at GDS have to work to fairly strict Agile methods where time for a specific task is pre-allocated and monitored to ensure that your site is delivered within the (often fuddy duddy) guidelines you types provide us with.

        Your so-called 'slippages' are not at all 'commonplace' as you put it, in fact most project development are now delivered ahead of schedule. The issue still remains that while we can deliver the product to you, it then takes you fuddy duddy types another 10 years to decide what content to put into it. GDS are now way past the "you can have any technology you like just so long as its Wordpress or Drupal". Some of us even do things in Django now :)

  4. Crisp Silver badge

    After the General Election

    I'm hoping to see record lows of Labour, Liberal and Tory MP's in office.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: After the General Election

      Well I for one, who is one of these types who always votes, will not consider any of the big 3 parties. My current thinking is to vote Green. I can't say I agree with their energy policy, but life's full of compromises anyway.

      My sincere hope is we get no majority party at the next election AND no way for any two parties to achieve a majority. Maybe then we'll see some consensus politics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: After the General Election

        "My sincere hope is we get no majority party at the next election AND no way for any two parties to achieve a majority. Maybe then we'll see some consensus politics."

        If there's no clear majority I'll be hoping more for complete ideologically motivated paralysis rather than consensus politics. If our 'elected representatives' can't make policies and pass bills they can't do any damage.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: After the General Election

        "Maybe then we'll see some consensus politics."

        What, like the current coalition shower of piss?

        As far as I can see there's nowt to tell between Tory, Labour and Bliberal. The same crappy energy policy, the same inability to control immigration, the same shameful under-resourced but overstretched defence policies, the same inability to control the spiralling welfare or health budgets, the same craven surrender to Brussels, the same inability to solve basic problems like high house prices and inadequate infrastructure, the same chaotic economic policies.....

        The only thing the current lot seem to have achieved is freeing schools from the dead hand of local authority incompetence, which (round my way) has worked wonders. But the retards of the Labour party want to meddle with education as soon as they get in, so they'll undoubtedly fuck that improvement up in some shape.

    2. Circadian

      Re: After the General Election

      Ah, more people hoping for a hung parliament. There's also an opportunity to bring significant income to the country as well - sell lottery tickets for the role of hangman....

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: After the General Election

        Why cant politics be more like business? You know where you sit down and write the code while filling in regular updates to the plans they keep changing hoping that when you've got the bloody thing working they aren't so vindictive as to fire you for doing something that would take them a billion years to understand.

  5. Bladeforce

    If they got rid..

    of Windows workstations throughout the government and licensing fees they wouldn't need cuts this year

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Francis Irving

    Beautifully cynical

    Rightly so, meanwhile check out things like the Ministry of Justice's github account:

    There are lots of people at GDS trying to make Government IT better and more open, with some unheralded successes - please help them do it!

    1. Allonymous Coward

      Re: Beautifully cynical

      So are the people behind that MoJ GitHub account part of/acting in concert with GDS?

      Or are they acting in opposition to the centralised "our way or the highway" approach the GDS seems to be adopting these days with respect to other government departments? (I can't help but notice that MoJ are still at and not or whatever).

      I agree with the low-level philosophy - sharing is good. Open systems are good. Users are important. But I also suspect the GDS are out of the honeymoon period and into the hard, unsexy, possibly intractable problems. I wonder if that's part of the reason for their recently-announced delays.

      We've also already seen departments jumping off the GDS ship so I wonder how they're going to keep people on board; particularly people who want to do things and apparently have the independent skills to do them, such as MoJ.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        MoJ are still at and not

        Obviously attract a better class of IT person than the rest of the Civil Service, ones who actually understand the naming conventions.

      2. Allonymous Coward

        Re: Beautifully cynical

        OK, it turns out they *are* on, they just haven't closed down their old site:

        (Whether this is better/more usable than the old site is left as an exercise for the reader...).

        I still find it interesting that they apparently feel the need to follow their own path with regard to development projects. It'd be good to know where some of this code ends up being deployed.

  7. lawndart


    My aging mum needed her driving licence renewed as she is nearly 80. I decided to show her that the internet was more than an Amazon shopping tool.

    Last week I tried to renew online.

    Turns out we were unable to get anywhere without registering, so I went through the registration process.

    Things were going great until the "do you have a passport?" question. No to that, she has never been out of the country. We filled in driving licence number, national insurance details, etc. etc. Eventually, at the end we sat and watched the screen pop up a message saying that as we did not have a passport photo we could not continue.

    So we have had to resort to sticking her licence (which is a modern credit card format with her photo on) along with the renewal form in the post.

    We were not impressed and I am more than a little concerned about our "digital Gov".

    1. Jon Smit

      Re: DVLA?

      Can you suggest another method for the DVLA to put a current, certified photograph of a driver on the licence?

      1. Diogenes

        Re: DVLA?

        NO but lets consider this scenario instead..

        Click renew licence online.

        Popup "You need a current passport to continue. Do you have a current UK passport" y / n

        if (answer==No) {

        showmessage "Thank you - please print out this form and mail to ..."


        else {

        what the original poster described


        This is simple usability stuff I teach my year 8 students. If there is a go/nogo decision ask that question first !

        1. Bobthe2nd

          Re: DVLA?

          @Diogenes - Much as I like your scenario, I'm not sure you are thinking outside the classroom and to the development of large scale enterprise solutions.

          I expect that the application process is to build the database record with the picture to follow. This therefore gets the user to enter their details and not for them to manually write it all out, post it and for an expensive data handler to re-enter the data. This would provide a reference/tracking number for the DVLA and also the user for queries, plus ensures that the user is culpable for the quality of the data, ie. not lying on the form vs data keyed incorrectly and thus the DVLAs negligence.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital Government...

    What could possible go wrong?

    (Please note I reserve the right to trot this line out again at relevant points throughout the year)

  9. phil dude


    I would paste a "Yes minister" quote but instead I will remind everyone that due to the amazing advances in technology all this information will be lost in a public place on a *single* device, not the many many devices that have been lost before....



  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gds shiny wrapper

    We'll, given that all gds do is build front ends and can't be arsed with back end integration I ain't surprised that they get frozen out. In some places the business print stuff off and then rekey.

    Integration by sneaker net!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Just one day after Francis Maude labelled the bungled deployment of Universal Credit - the all-in-one replacement for the benefits system - as "lamentable", the Cabinet Office Minister has been trumpeting that the UK could be "the most digital government" in the G8 by next year."

    This folly is hardly surprising. It's a Conservative government. I'm surprised they know what a computer is considering that conservatives resist change, by their very nature of being conservative!

    (Of course when money comes into the equation, they seem to drop their conservative attitudes. May be it's time to call a spade a spade and rename them from Conservative to just Bigots.)

    I think they are god fearing, stuck in the dark age, retards. Doesn't say much for those Brits voting for them, does it!

  12. Jemma Silver badge

    And we want any of this why?

    Great - put driver details on the web - when the DVLA won't accept email anything because, and I quote, we need a signature!

    Its a shame they stopped treating treason as a capital crime because so far the 'universal credit' has been directly responsible for at least 2 suicides & one and I fully expect it to be two by tomorrow, murder/suicides. Government incompetence driving citizens to suicide? I'd say that counts as treasonous...

    But that's OK Iain Dumb**** Smith - you haven't done anything wrong because you're above the law - despite the 1961 act on suicide in British law saying its a criminal act to cause a person by your actions to commit suicide. And mods - look it up, you'll find I'm telling the truth.

    This government is a joke, the DVLA is incompetent enough as it is without further digital crapgasms ladled on top. Tell you what Francis - why don't you fix the roads we're paying you for? Instead of paying millions for a system that's got the same chance of working properly as a IPCC complaint has of getting an honest hearing.

    Not to mention there are alot of cases of 'driver history' where that information being available breaches data protection so badly it'd sink faster than the HMS Hood.. that's even before the traditional 'laptop on a train' data protection disaster.

    One person mentioned voting ... whats the point - the fact we're lumbered with Cameron's Wannabes show what we say doesn't matter in the least.

    I'd vote BNP over the main parties for one reason - they may be mindlessly right wing bigoted sociopaths with the social skills of a constipated rhino - but at least they'll admit to it...

  13. Don Jefe

    Accounting by Unfounded Assessment - A Guide for New Civil Servants

    As a good rule of thumb, it is always wise to be wary of politicians who make definitive statements. Doubly wary if it's a definitive statement about money.

    Even if you like the politician, definitive financial statements are horribly scary because that means he's already got a plan to meet that goal, and it's guaranteed to be royally fucked up. Like changing the 'IT' label to be 'Dept. of Strategic Technology' or renting all the software through the cloud or outsourcing everything. Whatever it turns out to be would be accounting fraud in a commercial operation.

    If a politician makes some nebulous, hazy statement that means it's either patronizing bullshit or he just doesn't yet know what to do. Which is probably the best you can hope for.

    Good politicians won't make statements that they can't backup and fulfill and it's always scary when they do put actual figures on something. That means they're getting ready to really make a mess.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The UK with the most digital gov by 2015

    In light of past projects, I think we can all agree that the UK will certainly have the most expensive digital government by 2015 - if that isn't already the case.

    Also, if 500M is the best economy they can do, it'll take near 40 years to recover the more than 18bn already splurged on non-working, unfit for purpose government projects.

    At least, those are the figures I read here and there, IIRC.

  15. Jon Smit

    National Insurance Number

    To obtain a cheap insurance quote on one the comparison sites, it will be necessary to give them enough information to access your licence details. Who is their right mind is going to send so much personal and unchangeable info over the interweb?

    Obtaining a persons National Insurance Number is the first and most important step in Identity Theft, throw in the driving licence number and postcode and the jobs a good 'un.

    This is Identity Cards by the backdoor innit.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: National Insurance Number

      sounds like several identity cards through the frontdoor you mean?

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