No sooner had I finished mulling over the implications of the Power of Information report I wrote about earlier in the week when I came across another eGov/Web 2.0 article – this time from Richard MacManus at the Read/WriteWeb blog (based on a couple of Gartner reports).
In this case it is very much a US based report but as with all things web-based where America leads…all in all its pretty damning of the ‘one-stop portal’ concept (i.e. Directgov!) and supportive of the idea of reusable information supporting ‘mash-ups’ and the like through the use of web services (very similar to the Power of Information report). One qoute that is pulled out from the report is pretty damning of the portal concept “in the future, government single points of contact will become even less relevant than they are today”..ouch!
Also, like the Power of Information report, it supports making use of existing non-gov controlled channels and that government agencies “should make sure that their information, services and applications are accessible through a variety of different channels, some of which are not controlled or directly owned by government.”
I think this is the way the wind is blowing and that these two reports really demonstrate the way the web is changing to something thats less about pages and more about data and collaboration – unfortunately the UK model is still very set in a Web 1.0 world.
I think a new generation of digital confident civil servants are going to need to get out there and enter the conversation and accept that they won’t be able to control it. Thats not to say there is no place for something like Directgov – however it needs to be more flexible and less monolithic than it stands at the moment. The work I am doing for the HE section at Directgov is certainly valid in the short-to-medium term – we all know things don’t happen overnight in these circles – but I’d like to see more evidence of these more flexible, web 2.0 inspired ideas being embraced or at least discussed.