Last Thursday, Chris Chant gave a talk at a cloud-computing event kindly hosted by the Institute for Government in London. Chris is an Executive Director in the Cabinet Office working as Programme Director for the G-Cloud initiative, and spoke about G-Cloud and what people can expect from it. For those who were unable to make the event, we recorded it and you can listen to it below:
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As Chris mentioned, you can find on the Cabinet Office's website the UK Government ICT Strategy from March 2011, its Implementation Plan which was released on last Friday, and the G-Cloud Sub-Strategy published on 28 October.
Image by Paul Clarke, commissioned by UKGovcamp 2011 as official photographer; used under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution Non-Commercial.
Comment by Chris Chant on the G-Cloud and the Future of Government IT - Government Tenders, Government News and Information - Government Online posted on
[...] Listen to Chris Chant talking about the G-Cloud on the Government Digital Service’s website: http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/2011/10/25/listen-to-chris-chant-talking-about-g-cloud/ [...]
Comment by Propagating G-Cloud | | G-CloudG-Cloud posted on
[...] IT, and it looks like these really are unprecedented times. There is a lot of inspiring talk (like this from Chris Chant for example) and, given the radical nature of the changes, a matching forest of [...]
Comment by 1st Tea Cloud Camp – Held at the IFG offices » teacamp posted on
[...] Chris Chant, Programme Director for the Government’s G-cloud initiative gave his ‘Unacceptable’ speech and how the new G-Cloud is a sign of public sector IT becoming more flexible, modern [...]
Comment by paul d'cruz posted on
I enjoyed listening to Chris's views on this broadcast. There are many benefits that can be made within Government around IT changes/Cloud. These benefits will be found through both technology and change in organisation structures to maxmise skills and experience of employees.
Comment by adyscaife posted on
There is a lots of good stuff coming out across the pond right now. http://collaborate.nist.gov/twiki-cloud-computing/bin/view/CloudComputing/WebHome
Comment by Vested interests will try to stop GovIT changing – Cabinet Office official | Campaign4Change posted on
[...] Chris Chant talking about G-Cloud – audio [...]
Comment by The Unacceptable | Government Digital Service posted on
[...] the response to the talk I gave at the Institute for Government was quite interesting. It prompted quite a few questions so I thought I should expand and clarify [...]
Comment by Paul R posted on
Speaking as someone who has delivered a fully functional pilot solution successfully to Government using agile techniques (with the work even getting a positive mention by a minister in the Commons), only to see Government then rip out the pilot, and try (unsuccessfully) to replace it with a 'Big 5' solution, I'd comment that a radical overhaul of procurement needs to happen.
Government has to stop specifying requirements that require non-commodity solutions.
They have to stop specifying requirements and SLAs that simply are overkill and not necessary
They have to learn to properly specify their requirements (example of a £1bn programme with 1000 pages of inconsistent, incoherent and incomplete requirements)
They have to stop dictating technologies to suppliers they want to see inside solutions, when they are buying a service
They have to stop using external management consultants to drive procurements, who mostly have little domain understanding and are not incentivised on programme outcome
They have to use procurement frameworks which permit agile development (agile is effectively precluded if suppliers face stiff financial penalties if an SLA is missed)
I'd further comment that Chris's heart is in the right place, but I believe reality will derail significant elements of his good intent.
Comment by chrisconder posted on
spot on Paul.
This applies to more than ICT procurement. Its endemic.
Comment by Patrick Ffinch posted on
Chris, this is excellent stuff. You make a lot of very strong points and cover so many of the issues that I have personally come across in the public sector.
We may not have all the answers available now, but you are right that we do / will have quite a few of them. However, one of the biggest problems is obtaining the buy-in and support across government and the public sector to ensure effective delivery.
My concerns are:
How do we prevent inertia and the fear of risk stifling good new projects and ideas? and
How do we stop one hand of the public sector from blocking what the other hand is trying to do, or worse, investing in a competing system, along with the damage caused by end of year spends, followed by the difficulty in trying to halt projects that are never going to deliver?
PS Is there a transcript of this at all? (apologies if there is, but I couldn't find one)
Comment by dmossesq posted on
"The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences (Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum), commonly known as The Ninety-Five Theses, was written by Martin Luther in 1517 and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially the sale of indulgences ...
"On the eve of All Saint's Day, October 31, 1517, Luther posted the ninety-five theses, which he had composed in Latin, on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, according to university custom."
OK, we don't call it "reformation" any more, but "transformational government". But that's what Mr Chant's talking about, isn't it. And he didn't nail his theses to the door, they were posted as an audio stream. But it comes to the same.
What chance did Luther stand against the powers ranged against him? To any observer at the time, none. Ditto Mr Chant. But Luther won. Perhaps Mr Chant will, too.
Comment by CanUSeeTheLight (@CanUSeeTheLight) posted on
I am stunned (but in a good way)
Mr Chant has voiced the very questions and incredulity I have been banging on about from the outside for some time now.
At last someone on the inside who has seen the light.
Well done Chris, this has come at an opportune time, however the government machine that is CfH still roles on and I note that CSC has managed to get Lorenzo into a mental health trust (Humber NHS Foundation Trust), I am sure with some arm twisting for certainly 10’s of millions. How can this level of financial haemorrhaging be stopped?
Comment by The unavoidable truths about GovIT – by Cabinet Office official | Campaign4Change posted on
[...] This is much of what Chris Chant said: [...]
Comment by David Alexander posted on
Chris, fantastic, thank you for the clarity, common sense and speaking with such honest pragmatism about what is an untenable situation without the flexibility, agility and scalability needed. Roll on G-Cloud
Comment by Chris M. posted on
Thankyou Chris for reminding me why I got out of government web earlier this year and cant consider coming back until these things are resolved. It is outrageous, unacceptable and I am embarrassed to have been part of it.
Comment by John UWW posted on
Thank you Chris. You make some great points regarding Government IT. Government IT does need to be faster a more user centric.
Comment by Chris Chant posted on
Thanks guys, more to come
Comment by Ian Osborne posted on
Great stuff, Chris! Agree with the "Integration" comment. In the G-Cloud Programme phase II we talked about "Service Integration", rather than Systems Integration. Perhaps a more helpful clarification vis a vis the status quo today?
Comment by Steph Gray (@lesteph) posted on
Small thing, but under the licence terms, the image of Chris ought to be attributed to Paul Clarke, commissioned by UKGovcamp 2011 as official photographer: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_clarke/5378397979/in/photostream/
Comment by jdforrester posted on
You're right, sorry - unfortunately WordPress doesn't seem to let one retain the entered captions for the "featured image", so I've had to tack it on to the end of the post.
Comment by adyscaife posted on
Thank you Chris, you give hope & inspiration to those of us striving to make a difference in Government ICT.