Close ☰
Menu ☰

Skunkworks and Asborometers

Posted on: Tuesday 8th of June 2010

Today’s announcement that the government is looking to get public input (a sort of crowdsourcing, perhaps?) into the upcoming cuts to public service is further confirmation that there is a seismic shift in the world of public services. The previous prime minister was reportedly a fan of apps such as Asborometer which build on publicly available data. And the minister now responsible for Government IT (and more besides) announced in March as part of the Conservative policy formation that “we will also create a small IT development team in government – ‘skunkworks’ – that can develop low cost IT applications in-house”.

So it’s of little surprise that this will be a tough summer for public servants who will be asked what functions currently carried out by the government could be better performed by other bodies.

And to justify spending decisions against a series of questions, including:

• Is the activity essential to meet government priorities?

• How can the activity be provided at lower cost?

• Can the activity be provided by a non-state provider?

We’d politely suggest that they should also be asking how much does it cost the taxpayer / consumer / citizen to deal with this service?