"Loosemore also drew on former BBC associates."
That explains at least some of it.
"Most of the great stuff in GDS"
Surely there's something wrong with this phrase.
Last year, the UK's Cabinet Office asked an external management consultancy to examine staff morale and high turnover at the Government Digital Service. After interviewing more than 100 civil servants, its scathing confidential analysis described an organisation beset by low morale and run by a “cabal” management of old friends …
"GDS has managed to recreate the worst traits of the private sector"
In my personal experience of Civil Service IT, promotion of the clueless and toleration of the incompetent was endemic, so for the career civil servants to condemn that seems a bit ripe. And the bit of the civil service I worked was resolutely un-diverse (though I've yet to be convinced that diversity is a success factor in this particular field).
Nepotism and favouritism are more troubling, but even there, the traditional civil service promotion panels involved three smug individuals quizzing you on their particular expertise, and then conferring in secret to decide who should be elected to the next rung of the service. Whilst less based on interpersonal relationships, the outcome was that the culture of the civil service (inertia, risk averseness, obfuscation, techno-babble) tended to be promulgated.
All in all this report seems to be the pot calling the kettle black.
Yes, my experience of MAFF, albeit some time ago now, bears this out.No chance of getting promotion if you were not in the right clique.
My current experience of the NHS is promote anyone who doesn't know what they are doing or who is a danger to patients to a position where they can't do any real damage, other than pissing everyone else off due to their incompetence, because this is easier than giving them the sack; or, recommend them for the same or more senior role at a different Trust.
Having worked/attended a civil service job in the past, I'm not really surprised by any of this.
But then there was always the number 1 rule of the civil service.. if someone was bad at his job, promote him out of the way.
Eg deputy engineering manager who did'nt know one end of a file from the other.. well lets make up a post of engineering liason officer (basically he gets the call from the sciencey groups, then passed the request on to the engineering shop) and promote him to that.
Science gets to talk to us engineers "can you build it?" and engineering talks to science "yes we can , will take 2 days* " without useless deputy going on about budgets and admin and flapping his arse in the way all the time.
* we used "wrath of Khan time" so that job took us 2 hrs giving us 1.75 days of tea drinking time :)
NHS managers are like the Sith, always in pairs, there is a talented apprentice who actually does the work and another more senior but hopelessly incompetent master who is adept in the dark arts of workplace politics...
PS I'm not either one, it's just a pattern I've noticed.
I can't understand the adulation.
She isn't a technology expert or a serial entrepreneur; she had one big hit during the dotcom boom and has since ridden a raft of quangos, charities and boardrooms. I can't see that she has brought anything other than her name to any of them.
Won't comment on the rest of the article/report since I don't have direct knowledge of dealing with GDS, but I have worked with Neil (as an SME supplier) whilst he was in a project delivery role at BIS. Based on this experience, in my opinion the "Whitehall source" has a case of sour grapes, and the implication that he doesn't deserve a senior role is unfounded.
I just read the annual report for the Government Digital Strategy, published just three months ago, and it says that everything is absolutely spiffing.
It starts "This has been a great year for digital government. It’s been 12 months of getting things done. I’m pleased to report that the hard work of the Government Digital Service is transforming the way that the public interacts with the government" and continues in this vein for hundreds of words.
And then at the bottom of the report, there is a link "Is there anything wrong with this page?"
You mean, apart from being complete bollocks...
... but the move to gov.uk killed it. Before the move, it had a great UI, with separate areas for professional users and those who didn't know the jargon, and was very helpful. After, it's just a block of links with no explanation behind them. Total waste of the previous efforts.
VAT-Return pages were/are bad, but they're now hidden behind several new-format pages which describe the basics of VAT (I ALREADY KNOW) and hide everything, as you say, behind "a block of links with no explanation behind them"
Eventually, after 5 or 10 minutes of going round the (new) houses, I tried a link that I didn't think could be the right thing, AND YES, IT TOOK ME TO THE SAME OLD VAT SUBMISSION SITE AS BEFORE (sorry to shout).
That entire set of managers should be fired, by the sound of it.
So the report pretty much highlights what most of us have been slandering and guessing about with GDS since it's inception, so no surprises there really.
What will be the actions from this report to solve those issues though? My guess is nothing and GDS will just rumble on, as is, pissing tax money up the wall on badly, ill thought out IT projects.
(I'm crying inside as a similar web project happened here and all advice was ignored and a GDS style site has been released, although I think this organisation beat GDS by not actually doing any testing before release. I have now have months of work repairing the site before we can actually get back to doing any developments.)
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