New e-envoy named!
And the selection process was a waste of time!
Updated Well, four months after Alex Allan quit as the government's e-envoy and after an open invitation to the UK for anyone to put themselves forward for the job, the incredible choice has been made. Yes, it's Andrew Pinder!
His selection hasn't been officially announced yet but the government has leaked the story to the FT today so it can write a puff piece about how great he is and how everyone loves him and what a no-nonsense, straight-talking kinda guy he is. ("He does not need a three-month honeymoon period and can get on with the job" - wow! What a man!)
D'you wanna know why he doesn't need a three-month honeymoon period? Because he's been the bloody e-envoy since Alex left. As soon as Alex departed, Andrew was named as e-envoy on a temporary basis "until a permanent replacement is recruited". The FT failed to point out Pinder has been doing the job for four months.
So, the question is: was he chosen because the government has as much imagination as a block of wood, was he chosen because the government needs its own man in there because its e-government dream is falling apart around its ears, or was he chosen because no one half-way decent bothered to apply to such an impotent job?
The FT makes a point of saying that "despite criticism of its effectiveness, the post drew 150 applications from across private and public sectors". So presumably it's the last explanation that's true.
So, who is Andrew? Sadly, he's another dyed-in-the-wool civil servant. He lived at the Inland Revenue. He helped computerise the PAYE system - and this apparently is his unique qualification for turning the lumbering government into a lean, mean Internet machine.
He left the civil service in 1990 and went to two typical ex-senior civil servants companies: Prudential and Citibank. Maybe we're being a little cruel to Andrew. But then if he's so great, why would his taking over the job on a permanent basis suddenly turn him into a star crusader? We haven't heard bugger all from him in the last four months. ®
We have it from a reliable source that we may be being unnecessarily critical of Andrew Pinder. Apparently, Andrew is quite forthright with his views and can punch his way out a paper bag. He has a hatred of red tape and knows what he's talking about. Also, because he was a civil servant he gains that all-important respect from the public sector bigots. This is what we've been told. And we hope to God it's true. We'll try to get an interview with him and tell you what we think.