I’ve been thinking about my favourite government department, DoRA, The Department of Random Activities. She’s not really a real department (we invented her for our acclaimed Digital Continuity training course) but she is made up from real stories we gathered from across government. Perhaps she’s more a Frankenstein’s monster of government departments.
I’ve been thinking about what the future might hold for DoRA, and specifically for how she manages her information. Even five years from now this could be a radically different picture from the way we work today. So drawing from developments going on around us, let’s take a trip, Tomorrow’s World style, into a brave new world of government information…
All of DoRA’s technology services are now provided through the cloud (i.e. they are all accessible through an internet connection).
Staff work flexible hours and often away from the office when it’s more convenient. They use secure government apps developed for mobile phones and tablets. It’s proved a very successful policy with most staff still spending two to three days a week on average in the office to keep contact with colleagues. The policy has been particularly successful for new parents.
The biggest change to DoRA’s management of information was the result of the the Open Government Information Strategy.* This built on the government’s approach to opening up data by providing better access to important work and projects within government, ensuring proactive release where possible. Sensitive information is still securely handled and the culture for doing is as firmly embedded as now in staff.
The first stage of the strategy was delivered through the work of the Identity Assurance Programme which was used to develop a single sign-on across all government technology platforms and ensure appropriate access to information for all civil servants.
The next stage was to ensure information could be found and used regardless of how or where it was created or held. All information now has a set of mandatory metadata that ensures basic understanding of what it is and what it is about. If an application can’t create this metadata it can’t be used by government.