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Wednesday, June 27

Bytes · Estonian lessons - Best luminosity - What digidivide?

Back to life and catching up with the scrapbook ...


Citizen engagement: Growing grass roots, Rosie Lombardi,
“We get better information by electronic means, and people find it easier to get to it. We’re not seeing as good information coming out of town hall meetings,” he says, adding that summarizing these verbal proceedings is a laborious, manual exercise. “Meetings become more a way to validate electronic feedback.”

The more dynamic Web 2.0 enables greater online collaboration and allows people to easily organize themselves into communities of interest, says Cunningham. “This will allow people to find each other and create communities around public debate on political decisions. Once they reach critical mass, these can make their positions heard and influence decision­-making. Governments are struggling to be more modern and relevant in a post-modern world, so they ignore this trend at their peril.”

Michael Cross in the Guardian, talking about Estonia, found another reason why there are issues with DirectGov:

Centralisation comes with penalties, however. One is that, however centralised services are arranged geographically, some users will lose convenience. Another penalty comes with size and complexity: government systems are already too big, and big and complex IT systems go wrong more often than small and simple ones.

Finally, as the Estonian experience shows, there is the vulnerability caused by creating a single point of failure. Not just to cyber-attack, but to old-fashioned terrorism. Not to mention industrial action: if the Treasury is considering taking on public-sector unions in the next spending round, it might want to reflect that picket lines can be shared services, too.

The updated Accessibility guidance from WCAG will have the following luminosity recommendations:
Level AA Threshold
· Large text (and images of large text) have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1
· Regular text (and images of regular text) have a contrast ratio of at least 5:1
Level AAA Threshold
· Large text (and images of large text) have a contrast ratio of at least 5:1
· Regular text (and images of regular text) have a contrast ratio of at least 7:1


Public Sector Forums says that an important new review of the Government's strategy on the digital divide has been "hushed up".
PSF has managed to track down the whereabouts of said obscure report – which we found helpfully buried away in a deep, dark corner of the DCLG's Digital Challenge website, down at the very bottom of this page.

The report can be downloaded here, and shows that the Digital Inclusion Team completed and submitted their 125-page report in March. Strangely, it was not actually released until Sunday, 20 May, and then with no announcement or word of its existence, or any ministerial comment. A surprising move indeed, given the report's supposed importance and with digital inclusion being high on ministers' agendas, so we are told.

As we reported back in December when news of their findings first began filtering out, these made for very uncomfortable reading - depicting the Government's digital inclusion agenda as practically in chaos, with waste, repetition and disjointed policies the order of the day.

The report concludes - two years' on from the launch of the Prime Minister's much-vaunted Digital Strategy - that "the ownership and governance of the digital inclusion agenda", as well as policies and strategies, are "fragmented across government, industry and the third sector".


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