back to article Googlification of Britain: Forget 'IT worker', we're all just 'digital' now

The central government CIO job vacated by Andy Nelson will not be filled, according to the Cabinet Office. Nelson was cut loose from the decision-making centre and plonked into the same role at the Department for Work and Pensions. The Cabinet Office confirmed on Thursday that there was no longer a need for a CIO-to-rule-them- …


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  1. Frankee Llonnygog

    From CIO to CPO

    Where CPO stands for 'Press releases' which is mainly what Mike Bracken has delivered.

    Mr Bracken- your Government of the Web, by the Web, for the Web buzzphrase amounts in practice to noting more than a reskinned Directgov website. I call that BAU, not major change.

    You had one hard thing to do which is to deliver Identity Assurance. You've failed. How come no blog posts about that?

    Here's a suggestion: shut up, go away, and come back when you've actually delivered something.

    With your current form for attention seeking and little to offer in return, the next step is surely for you to be cast in some terrible B-list reality TV show. Celebrity Dancing on IT, perhaps?

    1. David Hicks

      Re: From CIO to CPO

      "noting more than a reskinned Directgov website"

      That's annoyed the hell out of me. They use Google analytics. When I asked what was up with that (why are my interactions with my government going to a big US corp) I was told not to worry because they don't allow Google to use the data. WTF?

      Then I was referred to a ticket they'd opened for me at a San Francisco based helpdesk-outsourcing service.


      1. Camilla Smythe

        @ D. Hicks Re: From CIO to CPO

        Apparently they don't ask Google to give the information back to them..

        1. David Hicks

          Re: @ Camilla Smythe - From CIO to CPO

          Looks like someone had more patience to probe into it than I did, and still got nowhere.

          Basically I don't think anyone involved in has any clue what they're doing, down to the people who wrote the site and just added GA because 'that's what you do on the modern web'. I know there are well qualified information consultants within the public sector, but they don't seem to have been considered in this hip, young, cool, open source, Web 3.0, startup-ethic portal service.

          The ICO was going to be my next port of call, but it looks like they're a total waste of time/space too then. Who can we start to hassle about this next?

      2. taxman
        Big Brother

        Re: From CIO to CPO and Emporer's clothes

        Aha, just have a looksie to see whom is involved now in deciding the future of the DIGITALIS. Yes look it up......Monsigneur Ettiene Pollard. In charge of GOV.UK if you belieive his words. And see what wonders the team of GOV.UK have performed to date! lift and shift of just non dynamic content.

        Yes the have introduced a Content Delivery Management system....using Akamai! Just trace back. Except.... they haven't. Not for all.

        As usual, big back doors left open.

        Look, all GOV.UK is to be is all static content in one place from the various websites across government. It's not rocket science. And it's bound to be located eventually on Amazon Cloud (have any of them worked in that that area before?!!). Links to any transactional functions will be retained by the different Depts.

        So again, it's all bloody smoke and mirrors and the clothes remain the same. Amazing, fantastic, etc etc.


        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: From CIO to CPO and Emporer's clothes @taxman


          This is one of the things I find head-bangingly irritating about the current crop of civil-servants: they don't ever try to dress it up as "This is how it is going to help you/make your life better/[whatever]", where "you" is the person on the Clapham omnibus. People are willing to overlook a lot if they perceive they are getting some benefit from it - that is why Google etc are so successful. There would almost certainly be ID cards already had they focussed on "This is how it makes [insert market research determined point] easier/better for you". The same with this. I'll leave it for fellow commentators to decide whether the overriding reason is: a) arrogance; b) cluelessness; c) something else; d) all of the previous.

  2. Thesheep

    Is this the 80s????

    Digital? I mean, come on. Are there still pockets of analogue computers out there that I haven't noticed? Perhaps it's time for me to throw away the 8 track.

    1. Keep Refrigerated

      Re: Is this the 80s????

      Just be glad they're not calling them "cyber leaders". I'll take the abuse of the term "digital" over "cyber" any day.

  3. Tim Parker

    "The GDS wants to hire bods to fill very Google-sounding roles such as data scientists, product managers and user researchers."

    They may sound shite - but there's nothing particularly 'Google', or any other single company, sounding about those titles, and the middle one is decades old at least. They may be the source of a lot of crap, but I doubt this was one... was this stuck in so you could get a catchy headline by any chance ?

  4. RonWheeler


    Give everyone an iPhone! They're soooooooo cool.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Synergisitc paradigm

    Are we STILL trying to repurpose a new synergistic paradigm by leveraging previously existing topologies of... oh eff it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Synergisitc paradigm

      I think the word you were looking for is omnishambles

      1. David Hicks

        Re: Synergisitc paradigm

        While "omnishambles" isn't a *bad* neologism, per se, I'll always prefer the more gritty and honest term "clusterfuck".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Synergisitc paradigm

          Ironically the word 'neologism' was coined back in the 1770s - at which time I guess it was an example of its own definition - sort of. There's probably a word for that - if not I'll have to make one up.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Synergisitc paradigm

          I was thinking more "BOHICA"

  6. Mr Spock
    Thumb Down

    This sounds like...

    ... a load of Martha Lane Follox.

  7. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    The tongue-twisting job title of government senior information risk owner

    Sir Humphrey would be proud, at least once he'd stopped laughing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The legacy he has left means we are in a fantastic position to review our governance and set the direction for the future of our technology leadership.

    == Its a mess now and we need to find someone to sort it out.

    [T]o ensure that all these roles can operate to their full potential, the people and organisations with which we work must be imbued by the culture and ethos of the web generation. This means they understand that what used to be hard is easier, and what used to be expensive is cheap and becoming cheaper.

    == We are offshoring it to the lowest bidder

    But above all they must understand that the challenge now is not about information technology, but about designing, developing and delivering great, user-centred digital services.

    == We are going to put everything online and close all the helpdesks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There you go

      spot on

  9. sandman

    I can't comment...

    ... for once, I just can't, well, not without releasing a string of profanities that would shock a Navy Clearance Diver on a bender. There's just something about this bunch of clueless twits trying to sound technologically "down with the geeks" that just makes my skin crawl. (Although admittedly it's a good laugh - sort of like watching a drunken uncle trying to chat up bridesmaids at a family wedding).

  10. Mr Young

    "user-centred digital services"?

    WTF - That's a totally obvious FAIL right there!

  11. OSC

    A short history of government digital strategies

    If you were not weeping (rage/mirth/both) before reading it you will be afterwards:

    What you might also have missed was this Wednesday's publication by two publicly funded bodies along with one of the large systems integrators (aka a third publicly funded body) of the output of a nine month study regarding public services and design.

    The usual suspects (Quirk, Mulgan, Leadbeater) propose that the solution to life the universe and everything is to spend more money (I know, who'd have thought?)

    Why do I say "usual suspects? Well for those new to all this...

    Barry Quirk was an "Information Age Government Champion" circa 1999

    and has been "reimaging government" for years

    Geoff Mulgan was the head of No10's "Performance and Innovation Unit" that in September 2000 produced (linked in first article)

    Electronic Government Services for the 21st Century

    No-one can speak for Charles Leadbeater better than the man himself

    So as you can see none of these characters ever stop talking about it, nor it seems, stop getting funding to talk about it.

    It will be your job to be writing about Mike Bracken and Liam Maxwell's offerings circa 2025

  12. Alister Silver badge

    But above all they must understand that the challenge now is not about information technology, but about designing, developing and delivering great, user-centred digital services.

    A-huh, I look forward to seeing them deliver "user-centred digital services" without information technology, should be quite a challenge...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    UK is a Mafia State and the bosses will thrive

    Sociopaths the lot of 'em.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    The only thing that surprises me is that they haven't (yet) said they need to build another database cross-linked to everything imaginable.

    Oh noes! What have I just done? Given them the idea?

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  16. Wrong ended schtick

    Another round of over simplification

    By those incapable of imagining complex data and capabilities as anuthinh more than web pages and PDFs. When the web forms won't do, theyll build phat-ass java applets that won't work on more than one OS version, collectong millions of dollars, whilst each achieves the collective output of two or three SQL queries. On the process they'll use logic built on layers of vulnerable code they don't understand and cannot maintain, producing unstable apps that barely work but can be hidden by funnelling help desk and maintenance to third world DCs where the staff can earn 5x the wage selling the data it's all based on.

    Meanwhile anyone capable of pulling the data with a few lines of code or SQL will be laid off so the data can be made redundant and deleted once organised crime types have it all nicely indexed and dynamically updating from each government website...

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