Friday, 29 November 2013

GDS now Lane Foxless

Martha-now-Lady Lane Fox is the salesman who sold the government the revolutionary idea of digital-by-default and laid down the constitution of the Government Digital Service (GDS) to deliver it.

She is now stepping down from her rôle as the UK's Digital Champion.

Ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken, the executive director of GDS and revolutionary envoy, writes on the GDS blog, Thank you, Martha:
If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know how often we refer to Martha’s report. It’s impossible to understate its importance to GDS.
Does he mean that?

Or is he really trying to say that it's impossible to over-state the importance of her report?

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Update 13:18:

"understate" has now been changed to "overstate" on the GDS blog. There's a copy of the 29-11-2013 12:41 version here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

They also appear to be Universal Credit-less -

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240210536/Government-Digital-Service-no-longer-involved-with-Universal-Credit-IT-development

Not sure how that fits into the GDS master plan.

David Moss said...

Thank you very much, Anonymous, for that Computer Weekly link.

I, too, am not sure how the events/decisions described in the article fit into the "GDS master plan".

DWP/Universal Credit are/is an obstacle to GDS and they recommend "routing round" obstacles. GDS withdraw/withhold support from digital projects that displease them. As they see it, they hang these miscreants out to dry. The events described fit in with those GDS tactics.

Are GDS in or out when it comes to Universal Credit? A bit of both. They're not in charge of the IT project. No-one imagined they would be. It's a DWP project, not a Cabinet Office project.

But the IT project will adhere, it is said, to GDS standards and will be led, it seems, by a Digital Leader, a title bestowed on people placed in departments but who report back to GDS. A bit like the old days, when you used to have a Jesuit living with you in the house who reported back to the church on your virtue. So they're not quite out either.

And DWP are quoted as saying that the "enhanced" IT system will follow "agile" software engineering methods. The unquestioning faith in "agile", whipped up by GDS, is misplaced, to put it mildly. The bag is more and more mixed.

There seems to be general acknowledgement that a large nine-figure sum is going to have to be written off and the only disagreement is over when that will be admitted. Well done Francis Maude for trying to bring that date forward.

DWP seem to want to make the eventual write-off even bigger by continuing to spend our money on the IBM/HP/Accenture/BT IT systems. Is there a target? Will they be satisfied when the write-off hits £1 billion?

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