Central Government Isn't Working!

As a private sector taxpayer I’m always slightly more sensitive to wastage and inefficiency in the public sector than many of my public sector colleagues. Thus, I thought I’d share this real-life story:

I’m currently doing some contract work for a large central government department, who outsource their ICT services and support to a well-known private enterprise services organisation.

I wanted to change the hypertext link on an Intranet web page to point to a different page in order to improve the user feedback mechanism for a particular service. Having jumped through all the hoops and navigated around the various, traps and barriers they call ‘Change Control’ I submitted a change request to the service provider in the required format with all the relevant information, then waited…and waited for a response. Several requests for a status update solicited the response from the service provider that the change was ‘being impacted’ (and to remind you, we’re talking about a simple change to a page link). Four weeks after the original change request was raised and I’m still waiting for a definitive answer. Furthermore, my customer (the large government department) is now worried that the service provider may be able to take future sanctions against them because a change has been requested (the first since the project began over 12 months ago).

I’d like to make the following observations :

  1. Invention and innovation are being stifled (nay, killed stone dead) by process in many gov departments.
  2. An elaborate â€˜one size fits all’ change control process is adding to the cost of making simple, low impact, no risk changes.
  3. The public sector is becoming conditioned to the high cost and bureaucratic processes imposed by their suppliers (or which they have collaborated on) – to the extent that they would prefer to maintain a status quo as opposed to making even minor service or efficiency improvements.
  4. With respect to private sector/public sector business relationships, the tail is now wagging the dog.
  5. Apathy rules – ok?!

End of rant!

One Comment

  1. Dave said:

    Spot on, SteveHalf the problem is the control freakery in place with online systems. But the mystique and cost for websites etc is disappearing so fast that soon people will give up trying to make their organisation’s web presences better, and more ‘dissident’ blogs, wikis and forums will start sprouting up!

    December 16, 2006

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