Good Governance - Effective use of IT

Written evidence submitted by Wingham Rowan (IT 01)

Response to Q9: How should IT policy adapt to the Age of Austerity?

Key points:

· Government thinking about IT appears to lack a channel for formally evaluating "radical possibilities". That means departmental boundaries and existing assumptions shape IT policy rather than the full potential of IT in the 21st Century shaping IT policy.

· There appears to be an underlying assumption in IT policy that existing processes must be made more efficient using IT, rather than looking for completely new ways of doing things that are only now viable.

· Government seems to see its primary role as funding IT systems. It should be looking instead at how it can pull the levers it controls to incentivise the private sector to build technologies that can deliver broad outcomes.

· The search for new IT policy could focus on wide goals such as "economic opportunity for citizens". These goals contain sub-targets such as "a simpler welfare state". But the latter should be considered as a part of the former rather than a silo of thinking.

· Government already has a model for a highly successful, cost free, technology implementation that has reached 80% of the UK population. It is the National Lottery. The technology is complex, secure and costly. It cost the taxpayer nothing because government intelligently pulled the levers that shaped an opportunity the private sector would fund.

· There are radical, out of the box, possibilities in IT that would cost the taxpayer nothing. But they sit above departmental boundaries. It is very hard to find any forum in which Central Government will consider them. See

· I would be happy to explain my experience of dealing with central government on this concept over the years.

January 2011