Gov 2.0 and Balneus nostalgia
Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-06-24
Regular readers will know of my interest in citizen engagement with policy development processes, information systems governance, and my respect for AGIMO and AGIMO’s political masters (including Gary Nairn from the Howard regime).
So, with Lindsay Tanner launching the Government 2.0 Taskforce, which is looking at ways of leveraging recently introduced "Web 2.0" tools (I hate that term, and prefer "The Semantic Web"), it’s worth raising again my submission to the AGIMO consultation about on-line consultations, and some previous posts on related issues.
I’ll admit that improving consultation processes is only part of the task, but it is an important part.
More important, I feel (and this is hinted at in my submission) is getting a grip on metadata management, which most bloggers/feedreaders refer to as "tagging". The quality of the tags in government documents, whether for internal or external use, directly determines the efficiency (or not) of government operations, as well as determining whether citizens can find what consultations or announcements are on offer (or not).
More on this in future posts.
And before you look at the bits below, it’s worth reading Lindsay Tanner’s "Internet Drives Policy Rethink" (2008-11-24) post, because Tanner is one of the "good guys" pushing improvements in governance and Web 2.0. It included this great paragraph (my bolding) which talks of the advantages of crowdsourcing, and by extension if nothing else, the advantages of high-quality open-source software:
Peer production frees labour from the need to work in the same place at the same time. Groups can now work on a project across time zones and continents. Significantly, peer production does not rely on hierarchy for organising labour…. The glue that binds peer production together is the ethic of collaboration it inculcates among groups. People contribute their time to peer production because they find communities with a passion for making their adopted content niche the best it can be. This environment also creates efficiencies by allowing skilled amateurs to allocate their intellectual capital to the content niche about which they are most passionate. This is significant when you consider the quality and value of work done by people for love and not money.
Anyway, to the bits and pieces on government information handling and consultations:
- My submission to the AGIMO inquiry about consultations: PDF (via WordPress), or HTML (via Google Docs).
- Given that Gov 2.0 has a necessary-but-not-sufficient requirement of value-for-money IT services, it’s worth looking over the Gershon Report, using links from "Gershon Report to be implemented in full" (2008-11-28) and "Gershon Report into Oz Gov IT: Good but some holes" (2008-10-16)
- "The major inhibitor of open government and commercial efficiencies" discusses how poor management of email metadata (lack of use of "X-Headers" in email, mainly because most email clients provide less functionality than old ones) screws everybody over except the inefficient and the corrupt: and perhaps the Gov2.0 Taskforce would consider funding development X-Header-savvy plugins (that reference Dublin Core, AGLS and government thesauri) for common email clients (including Thunderbird and Firefox) given that the taskforce has that power (but I don’t know how full the chequebook is!)
- "2020 gabfest submission topic 9: Australian Governance" (2008-04-05)
- "Victorian gov recordkeeping slammed by auditor" (2008-03-21) highlights poor data management – so again, how can the data be leveraged for use in the Semantic Web?
- "Gormless Oz Political Bloggers" (2008-02-06) points out how few of the chattering netizen classes actually get involved
- "AGA proves government doesn’t know what it does" (2007-06-22) highlights how poorly politicians have been able to define what they are supposed to do (and so how the hell can they tag it up??).
- "Freedom from information – and fixing it" (2007-05-22) is a brief overview of how bad tagging (and security labelling) hides important information from the public, as well as the machinery of government.