Feeds

Home Office punished for drafting poor IT legislation?

Responsibilities shifted to other Whitehall departments

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The Home Office has finally got its comeuppance for four years of sloppy and civil rights-infringing legislation. Following his re-election, Tony Blair has made a number of tweaks in the machinery of government.

The most extensive of which is the streamlining of the Home Office. The official line is that the Home Office will "lose a number of functions which are not central to its work, to allow it to focus on tackling crime, reform of the criminal justice system and asylum".

However, these functions are closely linked to areas where the Home Office has been heavily criticised for its poor consideration of them when drafting legislation. Most have involved the politically aware and strong-minded IT industry.

Several bills, including the notorious RIP Act, have claimed they fit in with data protection, freedom of information and human rights legislation when they patently do not. In the case of the RIP Act, it was decided a code of practice was needed to work alongside the law. This was expected months ago but is still being drafted thanks to the enormous complexity of the task.

Many were incredulous that such Bills could make it to and through Parliament, but because the Home Office had ultimate responsibility for the conflicting legislation, no other department felt it could tackle the Home Office on its own ground. That's Whitehall for you.

That situation is now thankfully over and freedom of information, data protection and human rights have been shifted to the more logical home of the Lord Chancellor's department. Sadly though not before a raft of poor legislation (the Terrorism Act is another) has become law.

Another cock-up with regard to the IT industry was the recent Private Security Industry Act, which unnecessarily wrote sysadmins into a new licensing scheme aimed at bouncers and wheel-clampers. Observers felt the Home Office deliberately failed to change the Bill to exclude sysadmins (something that was quite simple) because of the embarrassment the IT industry has caused it in recent years.

This won't happen in the future either, as gambling, licensing, censorship and video classification, horseracing, and planning for the Golden Jubilee have all been moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Again, though, the law has already been passed.

Other shifts include the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordination Unit transferring to the Cabinet Office and the Department for Trade and Industry taking over summertime and Sunday trading.

Sadly, this is the way government works. But in its own special way, it shows that the civil service and politicians are listening. ®

Related Story

The UK's new political landscape for IT

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.