Can anybody find a useful job for the Cabinet Office to do?
The Government ICT Strategy - Strategic Implementation Plan, moving from the "what‟ to the "how" is available at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/govt-ict-sip.pdf
"The approach set out in this plan ensures that departments will now work in a collegiate way", it says on p.4. In the light of past experience, unlikely. The reason Transformational Government failed back in 2006-07 was precisely that other departments didn't turn up to meetings called by the Cabinet Office. The drubbing handed out to the Cabinet Office by the Department of Health a few weeks ago suggests that nothing has changed. Francis Maude, Ian Watmore, Joe Harley and Liam Maxwell have no authority.
"... we can drive down our costs by creating a more open and competitive marketplace ...", it says on pp.4-5. Heard that one before. It's never happened. Why should it happen now?
"This ... comprehensive implementation plan ... will ... increase digital inclusion ... and ensure information is shared", it says on p.5. How will it increase digital inclusion? There are still nearly 10 million people in the country who have never used the web. The Cabinet Office couldn't get the other departments to share information before -- how will they make them share now? Do we want them to share? Is that a good thing?
"Successful implementation of the Strategy in central government is projected to deliver over £460m savings in-year in 2014/15", it says on p.7. That's not very much. It's less than was wasted on FiReControl. It's less than the begging letter CSC have on the table at the Department of Health (£3 billion, please). And the savings depend on the strategy being implemented successfully. When did that last happen?
"... the government‟s priority areas of activity are the creation of an environment for a common and secure ICT infrastructure ...", it says on p.10. Secure? Everyone from the Pentagon down seems to operate insecure websites. How is the Cabinet Office going to avoid the same fate?
October promises to be a busy month. The Cabinet Office intend to publish their Cloud Computing Strategy, End User Device Strategy, Green ICT Strategy and ICT Capability Strategy (a slim volume), see p.14. That's a lot of publishing. What's it meant to achieve?
There is an answer. See p.56, Channel Shift, The Challenge, the Cabinet Office are going to "make the lives of citizens simpler and easier". So, just like ID cards.