Good Governance - Effective use of IT

Written evidence submitted by Martin Caxton (IT 03)

I am the managing director of a small software house that sells software to local authorities. I make the following comments to your questions. Answers are in the same order as your questions.

1. Technology policy is poorly co-ordinated and appears to overlook significant factors when trying to integrate systems into an overall process. Student Loan collection system as a prime example. This has resulted in large numbers of incorrect payments and the inability to perform even the most basic of tasks to specify how much an individual owes at a given time.

2. From point 1 I suspect not very effective.

3. I cannot comment on this question.

4. IT use in design, delivery and improvement is patchy.

5. We aren’t in a post bureaucratic age so this question has no relevance.

6. Government has significant analytical skills but needs to focus on what is important and if it can afford to undertake the development.

7. Current practices work poorly and are over-complex.

8. Most have control over storage of data and network infrastructure. Must be realistic about security and not ask for American Defence Department standards for systems that no one is going to want to hack!

9. It will adapt poorly because it is still trying to start projects that although have benefits we currently can live without.

10. Government should not try to embrace new technologies and techniques without serious consideration. On the whole it should be very cautious. The current movement to Internet based technologies is negligent as the technologies are not robust and there are significant security implications. Obvious costs are being ignored to support incorrect conclusions.

11. Current approach to security etc is laughable and inconsistent. Realities need to be accepted.

12. Overall about the same as other countries.

January 2011