Feeds

Government scrambles Intellect code

Badge of honour unravels

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Trade body Intellect is failing in its efforts to regulate public sector IT suppliers because it lacks the vital support of government customers.

Instead of trusting suppliers to do a good job, government has taken matters in its own hands and used a more severe approach to making them behave responsibly. The result is that Intellect's code of best practice - a set of principles by which government suppliers swear to do their best to produce IT systems that work - is looking ever more like a damp squib.

Prolonged government neglect of the code is becoming an embarrassment. On its first anniversary this time last year, Intellect complained that government indifference was stunting the scheme's growth and civil servants insisted they would show it more kindness in 2005.

But little has changed. Intellect's statements on the matter this week were indistinguishable from those it made a year ago. We've done our bit, said the trade association's government director Nick Kalisperas, it's up to the public sector to pull its weight now.

Intellect has ailed to attract more than a couple of suppliers from its membership of around a thousand to join the 50 who were already signed up to the code this time last year - though, it should be noted, these do include the major government suppliers.

Government is taking little interest in this ornamental code of honour, partly because it doesn't have to, partly because there are more important matters to be dealt with. It is a good indication of where the power currently lies in the relationship between industry and government.

The reason the government doesn't have to play ball is that the IT industry is dependent on government business as its major source of income. So the British government's contracting sheriff, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), has got suppliers by the goolies. All suppliers can do is smile sweetly, show their medals and hope it doesn't squeeze too hard.

The OGC has accordingly been dictating terms of business, most significantly through tough contractual terms.

Though of questionable use in helping to avoid IT disasters, these terms might be a far more effective means of ensuring suppliers play to the government's tune than a voluntary code. And it may also be a favoured method of protecting public sector IT managers (who are less clued-up than their private sector counterparts and therefore easy prey) from unscrupulous sales people while the eGovernment unit puts them through its newly formed IT management school.

The OGC has got enough on its plate besides. As well as its ongoing controversial review of contracts, there is a bothersome set of European procurement laws being implemented, and a new government IT strategy. On top of all that, it has to help deliver the Gershon efficiency savings - arguably the most radical change programme the government has seen.

The code is of little practical value to Intellect without public sector buy-in. Customers are not even demanding that suppliers have the code when they put business to tender. Neither are they noting whether suppliers abide by the code and complaining about them when they do.

Perhaps if Intellect had real teeth it might attract some interest. As it stands, suppliers who offend the code face having their association membership revoked. (Ouch - ed)

The OGC says it has people on the job promoting the code among government customers, though you never can tell. The latest word from the agency is that it is being considered part of the Government IT strategy, which is a euphemism for, 'not now, dear, I'm busy'.®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.