Sunday, 24 January 2016

"The highlights of 2015 for the [UK] Civil Service"

Sir Jeremy Heywood is the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the UK's Home Civil Service.

He published his review of calendar 2015 in a series of 54 tweets between 23 December 2015 and 3 January 2016, a period he refers to as the 12 days of the Civil Service Christmas.

54 tweets about the highlights of the year as far as the Civil Service is concerned, month by month. The introductory tweet alongside and one for each month makes 13. 41 to go.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

RIP IDA – the sunlight of transparency

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.
And it's dead.


GOV.UK Verify (RIP), currently being tested, uses a combination of passport details, driving licence and credit rating information to try to enrol people onto the population registers maintained by the Government Digital Service's so-called "identity providers".

Even if a computer-literate person with access to broadband would like a GOV.UK Verify (RIP) account, there can be problems. Among others, that person may not have a passport or a driving licence or a credit history.

The solution to those problems suggested by GDS is to increase the range of data sources available for GOV.UK Verify (RIP), which is why on 1 December 2014, 13 months ago, GDS published How we’re working to increase the range of data sources available for GOV.UK Verify [RIP]:
We’re working to identify more government data sources to add to the document checking service. We’re hoping to be able to say a bit more about our plans on this in the new year.

The use of any additional official data sources would be subject to formal agreements on how the data can be used, and government data sources will only be used on the basis of informed user choice and consent.
They were looking for "more government data sources". Such as? Two days later, DMossEsq suggested personal information recorded by the government about your education, travel or health. That was a guess.

Monday, 18 January 2016

UK Digital Strategy - the next frontier in our digital revolution

It was the eve of the eve of New Year's Eve 2015 when the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) challenged the public to challenge the department:
Challenge us
Come 2020, undoubtedly the UK landscape will have changed to be firmly in the digital age. But how do you want to shape that? Government has ideas and ambitions but as Tech City UK back in 2010 shows, the ideas are out there. So challenge us - push us to do more. Let’s show the rest of the world how it’s done.
They gave us until 19 January 2016 to submit our responses.

They asked for it.

Someone had to tell them:

Friday, 8 January 2016

Digital by default and the new meaning of "choice"

Anyone who pays UK income tax one year can be required to make tax payments on account in the following year in addition to any tax deducted at source via PAYE, the standard pay-as-you-earn system. If the payment on account would be less than £1,000 or if the "relevant" amount is less than 20% of the "assessed" amount, then you are exempted from making payments on account. Not many people know that.

Those who do know that sometimes want to apply to have their payments on account reduced for which HMRC, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, kindly provide a form SA303.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Border control, gun control and biometrics in the news

The BBC's News at Ten is the UK's leading TV news programme. Last night's edition was interesting for what it did say about biometrics and what it didn't.