Gov 'skunkworks' to develop e-petitions system

First of priorities for government IT devs

The government "skunkworks" team is aiming to develop an e-petitions system over the next few weeks as the first of its initial round projects.

Mark O'Neill, leader of the informal team of IT developers based in the Cabinet Office, said the government has made this a priority and it is aiming to deliver the system by mid-July. This reflects the brief of the skunkworks to develop low-cost IT applications and advise on the procurement of large projects.

Speaking at an event organised by IT industry association Intellect, he said the system will be developed using the agile methodology, working with SMEs and using open standards and open source technology.

"We will be using this as an example of how to work and engage," he said.

O'Neill outlined a handful of other priorities for the team, including the development of a cloud computing framework.

"The challenge we have is how to put in place a mechanism to use these services," he said. "We're working with the Cabinet Office to put together initial cloud frameworks for early stage learning to inform further work."

The team is also working on commissioning models for government IT, and an approach to information assurance that could be used with cloud computing and the agile programme development. O'Neill said the Communications-Electronics Security Group is supporting the latter work and that it will involve an emphasis on "protecting what matters", enabling government to gain value from IT services that are purchased more as commodities.

In addition, the skunkworks is developing a set of principles on which to base its future work. They are being developed through a crowdsourcing exercise, inviting ideas from interested parties, and there will be six to 10 in total.

O'Neill added that everything the team works on will be based on open standards.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

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