Friday 20 March 2015


Just another government IT failure, BBC news website:
A multi-million pound government IT system to process EU subsidy payments for farmers has been largely abandoned following "performance problems".

The system will be re-launched next week with farmers asked to submit Basic Payment Scheme claims on paper forms.

Farmers say they have struggled with the £154m website for months ...
Or is it?

Perhaps this government IT failure is special.

DMossEsq's millions of readers will remember that the Government Digital Service (GDS) used to entertain us once a week with their Friday Message. Here's an extract from their message of 11 January 2013, an interview with Public Servant of the Year ex-Guardian man Mike Bracken CBE CDO, executive director of GDS and senior responsible owner of the non-existent identity assurance programme:
Interviewer: Looking back at the end of 2012, what do you think about?

PSotY: I think about delivery. I think it was a brilliant year, and it was capped off in fine style by the publication of the departmental digital strategies. I think getting those departments to make that ambition statement was a tremendous achievement, because it gives us our next step of our mandate. Martha gave us our publishing mandate, and we've now got our transaction mandate. It's going to be fantastic.

Now we can get on with the job of delivering major transformation right across the government's estate: tax, land management, justice, all those departments, all the great stuff to come.

Interviewer: You've just recently come back from Reading...

PSotY: I have. I go weekly now. I go to the meeting of the Common Agricultural Policy Reform Group. It's the RPA. It's the Rural Payments Agency.

Why I'm so excited about that is because they've embraced agile completely. They're going with an agile build out of a whole new programme. That's going to affect everyone in this country, and how they deal with land management, all the farmers, all the people who deal with crops, all the data. It's going to create, I think, a data industry around some of that data.

It's going to help us deal with Europe in a different way, and quite rightly we're building it as a platform. It's going to be another example of government as a platform.

I'm on the Board, and I'm trying to help them every week, and GDS will be working very closely with them to deliver that.

I've already seen a prototype. We're going to be showing that soon. It's really, really exciting. It was created so quickly, such a small amount of money compared to some of the big IT programmes that have preceded it. It's just a new way of working, and RPA have really embraced the whole spirit, as well as the whole emphasis behind the digital strategies.
No wonder he didn't mention DEFRA in his Guardian article earlier this week, Firms still have time to adapt to the digital age – but they're cutting it fine, in which he lectures the ignorant on GDS's putative agile successes.

... they've embraced agile completely ...

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