Wednesday, 27 February 2013

midata – a machine for turning personal data into open data

This is the story of a debate about midata hosted on Twitter by BIS, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Their version on the right. Another version on the left. One event. Two stories.

Professor Nigel Shadbolt is the chairman of BIS's midata programme, a story of personal/private data. He is also a director of the Open Data Institute, a story of open/public data.

Some people talk about the advisability of midata. Professor Shadbolt talks about how midata would work. Parallel tracks. Which will be a long time meeting.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Whitehall death foretold – soul control

No such thing as a ghost?


Scroll down to the blogroll on the right hand side of the screen and take a look at the first entry. 'BIS Blogs –  Building an Intellectual Property regime for the 21st Century', says this voice from the dead, as it has done ever since 21 December 2012, when the clock stopped.

BIS is the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and it is their website that has died – under the Government Digital Service (GDS) Single Government Domain project, BIS disappeared into GOV.UK.

GDS promised that the change would be smooth, all links to the old site would be re-directed so that the original content could still be seen. Baloney. Try clicking on the link down there in the blogroll and, instead of learning about 21st century intellectual property regimes, what you get is:

Untitled 1

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Personality cult at GDS?

Martha Lane Fox watching over the Government Digital Service (GDS)!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Skyscape – would you invest £4 million? Thousands haven't.

There are other cloud computing suppliers than Skyscape.
Some of them comparatively well-established.
What is Whitehall doing?
How did the Cabinet Office and the Government Procurement Service
manage to give G-Cloud accreditation to Skyscape?
And how did the MOD, HMRC and GDS
decide that Skyscape is a safe home for our data?

Skyscape's first accounts appeared on the Companies House website today.

Is Mr Jeremy Robin Sanders still in ultimate control of the company?


Except that it's become a bit indirect. He set up a company called Virtual Infrastructure Group Ltd (VIG) in June 2012. Then in October 2012 he transferred all his Skyscape shares into VIG. So VIG controls Skyscape. But Mr Sanders controls VIG.

How is Skyscape financed?

Not by equity, that's for sure. VIG has £180 £1,180 of ordinary shares and Skyscape has £1,000.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

2e2 – are there any lessons for the new skyscape of government computing?

2e2 Group Limited
Annual Report & Accounts 2011

• Established for over 10 years
• In the top 20 of UK Software and IT Services providers
• 2,000 employees with 1,200 technical consultants
• 17 offices in 5 countries
• Trusted IT advisor and partner to corporate and enterprise customers
• Agile and innovative approach
• Track record of delivering business benefits and reducing costs through transformational IT solutions
• High-level partnerships with the leading IT vendors
• Business-orientated approach and solutions design
• Named as the “Cloud expert” by the Financial Times
• Deep skills in data centre, unified communications, application consulting, cyber security, and managed services
2e2. What is it?

Let 2e2 speak for themselves:
2e2 is an ICT Lifecycle Services Provider; an agile, customer-focused provider of end-to-end next generation IT services.  The company creates innovative solutions that transform business processes, reduce infrastructure costs and enhance performance – 'creating business advantage' for its customers.  2e2 focuses on solutions and managed services for medium and large private and public sector organisations, delivered on premises, in the cloud, hosted, as a managed service or as a hybrid.  2e2 has worked with many companies within the telecommunications, media, healthcare, retail, transport, public, financial services and professional services sectors.
With glowing customer references from Linklaters, the London Borough of Newham, the London Borough of Waltham Forest, Menzies, Three, Bridgend County Borough Council, the Sussex Partmership NHS Foundation Trust, Allianz, Telefonica O2, McAfee, G4S and Orbit Housing, ...

2e2's annual accounts show a turnover of £396 million in 2011, a small loss of £11 million and net assets of £67 million, ...

all audited by Ernst & Young, who signed the accounts on 30 March 2012.

The accounts were submitted to Companies House (CH) on 24 September 2012 and the next entry on the CH website is 4 February 2013, Notice of Administrator's Appointment.

Andrew Dilnot and the cost of social control

Dilnot v., one mood only, imperative (imprecation) Don't! (esp. of hopeless Whitehall policy). Overtones of irrationality/stupidity/ignorance (q.v.), e.g. logically inconsistent arguments in support of hopeless Whitehall policy. Overtones of deceitfulness (q.v.), e.g. proponent of hopeless Whitehall policy is too intelligent not to realise that the supporting arguments are inconsistent. Normal usage – the attempt to promote/preserve honest political debate (q.v.) by a speaker who knows full well that the attempt is just as hopeless as the Whitehall policy. Example: "if you think the solution to excessive borrowing is to borrow more, Dilnot!".
Last seen around these parts Andrew Dilnot, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, told the BBC that his plan to cap social care costs at £35,000 was "not about protecting people's inheritances" but giving people "control over their lives at a time when they're vulnerable and need that control". Predictably enough, the legislation proposed to implement the cap does no such thing. It couldn't. If the state is paying the balance of your care costs over £35,000 then it's the state which is in control. Not you.

Needless to say, it is HM Treasury which will gain control. Them, and local Councils.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Dilnot has maintained his divorce from the natural use of English. Following the announcement of the new social care cost proposals ...
... he described the current system as a “complete disaster” and said the new measures would mean that “for the first time you don’t have to be terrified of the consequences of needing care”.
Readers are advised to carry on being terrified.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Stafford Hospital, Unite and Sir David Nicholson

Some readers may remember Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE, Chief Executive of the English National Health Service and Chief Executive of the NHS Commissioning Board:
DMossEsq must confess to a certain horrified admiration for Sir David. Never met him but he comes across as an old bruiser, a survivor, a winner, he's taken on all comers including the Prime Minister and he remains the undefeated commie, the Lonsdale Belt-holder of Whitehall.
He obviously inspires similar awe in Charlotte Jee, stalwart of the Guardian's Government Computing supplement:

Great profile of powerful, plain-spoken & -seemingly- indestructable NHS chief Sir David Nicholson by @patrickjbutler…

Now that the report into the inhuman degradation at Stafford Hospital has been published, she may think differently.

Not so the charming Mary Riddell in the Telegraph:

Monday, 4 February 2013

Douglas Carswell – where will power end up?

Douglas Carswell's latest book, The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy, diagnoses several problems with the way we are governed in the UK and prescribes a single remedy – the web.

Mr Carswell is talking about politics. Which means he's talking about power.

Politics will end at about the time the sun burns out.

Mr Carswell foresees not the end of politics but the transfer of power, from today's government, to the public, via the web.

There are already several powerful forces fighting for domination of the web. The public are not among them.

It is at least possible that power will be transferred to some cocktail of these rival forces and that we the public will simply find ourselves with different rulers, and not necessarily better off.

Mr Carswell does not explain how the transfer of power from today's government to the public could take place.

Everyone recognises that there is something exceptional about the web. Everyone, including Whitehall.

And unlike Mr Carswell, Whitehall do have a plan.