Monday, 7 January 2013

Public service in the UK 2013-style – ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken

Under the guidance of ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken, the Government Digital Service (GDS) have turned parts of Martha Lane Fox's digital-by-default revolutionary manifesto into reality. At least what passes for reality in the Cabinet Office.

Is her manifesto really revolutionary?

It certainly looks like it when she says:
Directgov [=GDS] should own the citizen experience of digital public services and be tasked with driving a 'service culture' across government which could, for example, challenge any policy and practice that undermines good service design ... It seems to me that the time is now to use the Internet to shift the lead in the design of services from the policy and legal teams to the end users ... Directgov SWAT teams ... should be given a remit to support and challenge departments and agencies ... We must give these SWAT teams the necessary support to challenge any policy and legal barriers which stop services being designed around user needs.
It looks as though the delivery tail should wag the policy dog. But has it worked out that way?

Yes.

In his review of his first 18 months in the job, the Executive Director of Digital says:
Looking at the highlights of what we have delivered, it is notable that delivery of services, whether they be information or transactional, has come before final strategy work is completed. Or put more simply, in an analogue world policy dictates to delivery, but in a digital world delivery informs policy. This is what agile means for Government and its services, and if delivered in this way, the ramifications are profound.

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