Friday, 12 February 2016

Trust in the Civil Service 3

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, wishes to increase the level of trust placed by the public in the civil service. As we have seen, here and here.

His chosen method to achieve this objective centres on перестро́йка and гла́сность, i.e. perestroika and glasnost, or innovative transformation and openness, to be delivered by the Government Digital Service (GDS).

We have identified certain problems with the strategy. Among others:
  • GDS have promised the public that we can use GOV.UK Verify (RIP), the replacement for the Home Office's failed ID cards scheme, to establish our identity on-line and that we can use that identity to access public services. GDS's business partner, OIX, the Open Identity Exchange, tell us that GOV.UK Verify (RIP) is having trouble achieving the requisite level of assurance that people are who they say they are. Which means that relying parties like the Department for Work and Pensions would be irresponsible to rely on GOV.UK Verify (RIP) when they pay benefits, for example, or pensions. GDS's false promise is more likely to destroy trust in the civil service than to inspire it.
  • In September 2012, the Information Commissioner's Office published advice on data protection which included this: "We also recommend you ... use different passwords for separate systems and devices" (p.8). That was obviously good advice then and it still is, three-and-a-bit years later. You'll find the same advice given worldwide. Here's the US organisation StaySafeOnline.org, for example: "Have a different password for each online account". GDS want you to have a single GOV.UK Verify (RIP) password for all your accounts. They're more interested in convenience than in security. Which diminishes the trust anyone can place in them.
  • "All your accounts"? Surely that should be "all your public service accounts"? No. The GOV.UK Verify (RIP) literature generally says that the system is designed to make it easier for members of the public to access public services, e.g. "GOV.UK Verify [RIP] is the new way to prove who you are online, so you can use government services like viewing your driving licence or filing your tax". Less publicised, GDS are trying to interest the private sector in GOV.UK Verify (RIP). Not a shining example of гла́сность.
Sir Jeremy's trust problems aren't limited to GDS.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Trust in the Civil Service 2

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, wishes to increase the level of trust placed by the public in the civil service. As we have seen.

His chosen method to achieve this objective centres on перестро́йка and гла́сность, i.e. perestroika and glasnost, or innovative transformation and openness, to be delivered by the Government Digital Service (GDS).

We have identified certain problems with the strategy. Among others:
  • GDS have promised the public that all the "identity providers" appointed to GOV.UK Verify (RIP), the replacement for the Home Office's failed ID cards scheme, will be certified trustworthy by independent organisations. They are now breaking that promise, thereby destroying trust in the civil service.
  • GDS offer people the option to register with the Post Office – which is not certified trustworthy – but behind the scenes those people are actually registered by a different "identity provider", digidentity. What does that say about openness?
Sir Jeremy's trust problems aren't limited to GDS.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Trust in the Civil Service 1

As Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood is one of the most powerful people in the country and three days ago on 5 February 2016 he tackled the question of Trust in the Civil Service:

© Ipsos MORI
According to an Ipsos MORI poll, civil servants are more trusted than journalists and politicians (and estate agents and bankers) and less trusted than policemen, prelates, scientists, teachers and doctors. If you believe Ipsos MORI, or any other pollsters, trust in civil servants has been increasing since 1983 but 45% of people still don't believe a word Sir Jeremy says.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

RIP IDA – interview tips


That's a font, don't you know. A font called "Agile", described as "a pleasurable alphabet that is suitable for both headlines and longer body text; its spirited nature is evident in small as well as in larger point sizes". Available from Village.