I read through the comments from the Cabinet Office, issued last week, accepting virtually all the conclusions from the ‘Power Of Information’ report by Ed Mayo and Tom Steinberg. Twenty pages of accept, accept, accept. So why did I feel so underwhelmed? In several places, the response seems to be saying ‘yes, we know all that, and we’ve started doing something about it already.’ (But if this were true, wouldn’t we have seen some results?) In others, the answer is the classic ‘let’s form a committee to talk about it’ response. By which time, of course, things will have moved on. Where I felt quite inspired after reading the original Mayo/Steinberg paper, this just feels like another pamphlet full of platitudes. Sorry.
I’ve also just spotted a new Better Regulation Executive report on ‘informing the public in a multi media age’ (PDF), concentrating mainly on statutory notices – planning, traffic orders, licensing, bankruptcies, etc. It seems to conclude that publishing notices in the local paper is expensive and ineffective, whilst lots of people are starting to use this new-fangled internet. Er, it is 2007, isn’t it?
This was presumably the final act of Pat McFadden’s time as Minister for E-Government; he’s now moved over to the former DTI. I can’t immediately see any indication of who’s taken on the e-gov portfolio: the new junior ministers at the Cabinet Office, under Ed Miliband, are Gillian Merron and Phil Hope.