Wednesday 7 November 2012

Government Digital Service (GDS), your comment is awaiting moderation 1

GDS have published their digital strategy. Francis Maude says that digital by default will save between £1.7 billion p.a. and £1.8 billion p.a. How much longer are people going to fall for that gambit?

Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the home civil service and permanent secretary at DCLG, has penned a tribute to GDS, the strategy and digital by default.

At about 1 o'clock this afternoon, DMossEsq submitted a comment on Sir Bob's post. Unpublished on GDS's blog, it's still awaiting moderation. With GDS you can wait forever:

dmossesq #

Please Note: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Dear Sir Bob

Digital Strategy

Re your paras.2 and 3, publishing a strategy does not of itself improve government digital services.

Re your paras.4 and 5, it’s hardly a new idea that it’s best if the departments have someone on board who knows what they’re talking about or that you can’t run a business without accurate and up to date management information.

Re your para.6, GOV.UK simply replaces Directgov and Business Link and, so far at least, marks no change in the 24-hour on-line convenience that those two websites have provided to the public for years.

Re your para.7, the public have long experience of Whitehall promises being made that digitisation would save money and long experience of those promises being broken. Scepticism is the order of the day. Mr Maude promised that digital by default will bring savings of between £1.7 billion and £1.8 billion p.a. in his speech yesterday. How many public servants does that equate to? How far advanced are your negotiations with the public service unions to make these lay-offs? Will the savings be passed back to the public or does Whitehall plan to spend the money itself?

Re your para.8, the medium is not the message, form is not content and in the same spirit of scepticism above I trust that you are not as impressed by a small change in format as perhaps some people are, who have retained from childhood the facility to be impressed by meretricious ornamentation.

I would welcome your comments on the matters above.

I propose to consider your para.1 and the need for Whitehall to maintain its values in a separate letter.

Yours sincerely
David Moss


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