Feeds

Minister wants more mashups

'Wiki thinking is the way of the future'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The new minister for transformation has advocated the cause of user generated content on public websites.

Tom Watson said one of his priorities for the transformation of government is that data mashups, in which users can take and combine data to meet their own preferences, becomes embedded in the thinking of all departments.

Speaking at the Tower 08 conference, organised by the Cabinet Office and IT industry association Intellect, Watson said: "Government is engaged in a big debate. I genuinely think if anything holds us back it's failing to comprehend the possibilities of what we can do with data mashups. My job is to explain it across government."

As an example, he cited work done by mySociety.org and the Department for Transport on producing commuter maps, and said the Cabinet Office is talking with the charity about further possibilities.

Watson also reiterated the government's support for the principles outlined in last year's The Power of Information report (pdf), which advocates the increased use of public sector information by the public, charities and community groups. There are 14 specific recommendations in the report. He said the government will report on its willingness to follow them "shortly", and acknowledged it would entail a change in attitudes.

"One of the things for service delivery that we need to know is what customers are saying," he said. "We need a cultural change, and 'wiki thinking' is a way that we can go forward."

Watson's speech placed a heavy emphasis on the potential of web 2.0 projects, in which content provided by users is the central feature of a website. He said government can use the technology to provide tools that would give people more power in their dealings with the public sector, but that so far it had not done enough in the field.

"The public sector has not been making transformation quickly enough," he said. "I see my job as helping to accelerate the pace of change.

Among the other priorities he mentioned for the next few months are to continue the programme of reducing the number of government websites, with an increased emphasis on Directgov and Businesslink, to improve content on these two sites, and to use new media to engage the public. He said this would involve more experimentation.

"We need to build stuff small, test it, then iterate, iterate, iterate," he said.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
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.