Feeds

Home Office punished for drafting poor IT legislation?

Responsibilities shifted to other Whitehall departments

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

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

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.