Anyone who has had a looked at my LinkedIn profile now would see that I am working for the Home Office. I am there working on website convergence (a part of the transformational government strategy) and the Home Office presence on Directgov and Businesslink.gov.uk.
The website: http://www.mylifemyid.org/node first came to my attention as it was a new site that had been set up by the identity and passport service, therefore I needed to include it in the Home Office web estate, and so include it in the list of sites we need to rationalise/converge.
This has been duly done and I won’t bore you with the detail, it is temporary.
When I saw it promoted on the BBC news tonight, I thought that I would have another look.
It is worthy, yes people need to interact and to understand, prod and question the ID scheme (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing to do with this policy area, or the Identity and Passport Service other than collaborating with them in the effort to redefine the Home Office web presence).
However, I thought that much effort has been expended here, the Minister has gone out into the student community to explore this, taking with her this website as part of her tool-kit (as it were).
If we could establish social media and online social engagement in departments, removing the fear of the unknown, reducing perceived risk and so on – this drive to engage people and encourage dialogue would be very simple, and I believe more effective.
The website is good, it is a gentle mix of information pages alongside an invitation to collaborate. However, in order to interact, personal detail must be divulged, registration is mandated. Bearing in mind that one of the chief concerns about ID cards is the risk of government misuse of data (something that I do not buy into at all), it is slightly ironic that the ‘consultation’ website demands disclosure of potentially sensitive/indentifiable information.
Hopefully, in the future, the opportunities offered by social media to help inform and challenge controversial policies will be welcomed by Ministers and policy units – in the same way the websites are now.
DISCLAIMER: I am a contractor to the Home Office, I certainly do not represent their own views, all of these are my own, and on a personal note, I think the efforts being made are valiant.
Here’s to encouraging and sharing opportunities across departments to make this a more democratic society.