Superinjunction futility

Alice works on a national newspaper. She’s always looking for tasty things to write about. Then one day she gets a very secret notification about a top footballer who’s having an affair with a TV presenter. But she can’t write…

Preaching to the unconverted

I’ve been getting this blogging thing all wrong. Three years of grinding out thoughts about public services and technology, generally pointed towards an audience already versed in the issues, have all been for nothing. I’ve been missing the real audience.…

Agile, waterfall and muppets

There’s been some very good debate of late about how to do it all better, with a heavy emphasis on the role that Agile methods might play. “It” in this case being not just government technology, but extending to policy…

Not quite public

That old question came up recently: What really good online service experiences has government ever given us? As usual, the first (and, sadly, often the last) answer: the online tax disc service. There’s no doubt it’s a properly good use…

Community post hubs

This is not my idea. This is something I heard talked about years ago. Literally, years ago. Can’t remember who, when or where. It’s niggled at me ever since. But there’s no point hanging on to it in the back…

Broken journey

I’ve seen an awful lot of online government, of one form or another. Consultations, information, tools, maps, communities…and transactions. Transactions really are the very bugger to get right, aren’t they? You wouldn’t think it was that hard to do the…

You wouldn’t do this to a dog…

Confession: I know rather more about online government transactions as a theoretician than a real user. I don’t actually need or use very many of them myself, in anger. Car tax, obviously. I renew passport and driving licence every few…

Dear O2

I actually feel sorry for you. No, really, I do. The Gods of Fail looked down this morning and smote you hard with the Cudgels of Crap Customer Management. So hard, it seems, that you were stunned into silence for…

How the Government Gateway works

Caveat: this is not a technical description of how the Gateway works. Nor does it cover the behind-the-scenes services that the Gateway provides in terms of messaging and interoperation between various government systems. But it is my description of the…

The Weakest Link

(Yes, that is me on the left…) Imagine you have some diamonds. Small, valuable and very, very desirable. You don’t want them to get nicked, so you lock them in a safe with a bloody massive key. Made of splendonium…

Indeterminately public

I did a thing that might have been very wrong yesterday. But I’m not sure. So this is part confessional, part taking advantage of it as a vehicle for discussion. (And a fair bit of hand-wringing into the bargain.) I…

Data.gov.uk one year on

A year, almost to the day, from the launch of data.gov.uk it seems clearer that it was really trying to fire at three targets simultaneously: transparency, usefulness and good old commercial value. Three targets that have some overlap, but also…

The trust paradox

Although we think that “being open” will increase trust and transparency, the reverse is more likely. I came to this paradoxical conclusion after reading an interesting piece on perverse economics [link; but summarised here to save you jumping around]: why…