by Richard Steel

On civil service and no service

Mar 30, 20093 mins
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On Friday I was e-mailed a number of questions about Socitm’s constitution and operations, which necessitated my checking with colleagues on a few details that I wasn’t sure of myself.

Jos Creese suggested we adopt a “FAQ approach” when responding to such queries, which other board colleagues readily agreed. We’ll therefore use those questions to start a new Section in the Governance & Management Section of the Society’s website (which should be there tomorrow) and build it up as new questions are received.

I recorded two interviews (on Broadband Britain and Green IT) at GBTV’s studio in Chiswick, this morning…

…and took part in a Whitehall & Westminster World Civil Service Roundtable on “how can online interest groups and social media be utilised to deliver better government services”. “Whitehall and Westminster World” is a fortnightly newspaper for civil servants and parliamentarians, linked to the “Civil Service Network”. An article on our deliberations will be published in the 19th May edition. I was pleased to have the opportunity of representing the local public sector in this important debate, held over lunch in the Atrium at 4 Millbank, and hope for many more such opportunities for our sector. Other attendees represented:

  • The Power of Information Taskforce Secretariat, Cabinet Office.
  • The Security Industry Authority.
  • The Employment Tribunal.
  • Transformational Government Communications, Central Office of Information.
  • The Ministry of Justice.
  • The Policy & Strategy Directorate, Department of Health.
  • The Food Standards Agency.
  • EzGov Europe(sponsored, I think).

This was an enjoyable discussion, with no epiphanies, but progress towards consensus on the key issues. I was concerned to establish the context, which includes Broadband Britain requirements, Unified Computing/ Network Convergence, creating trust in Government through an effective security infrastructure, and public understanding and management of the risks.

I understand that a list of links to useful resources is to be circulated but, in the meantime, here are one or two that I noted down.

At the weekend our family PC broke-down (again) needing a new Graphics Card (I think). I ordered one online from PC World on Sunday evening. It was in-stock and, at extra cost, I could arrange a delivery time-slot on Tuesday morning, when Chris would be home. So, I rushed home early this afternoon but, guess what? No Graphics Card.

On ‘phoning Customer Services, I was told that the product hadn’t even been despatched to the Courier, yet, but they’d gladly refund the extra I’d paid for special delivery! Grrrrr – and people complain about public service! I’ve written requesting that PC World kindly expedites delivery – but I won’t have an opportunity, now, to fit the new card until the weekend. Sorry, family!