There's been a long thread going this week on the UKIE-Edem network (European edemocracy) about what appears to be the last death thrashes of the International Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy (ICELE). This was a 'National Project' funded by the government, then defunded, then thrown to the wolves.
Although there has been deserved criticism of the project, for duplicating blog products for example, much of the work has been very useful, not least their basic resources on blogging etc.
All will, apparently, be lost.
I can't think of a better example of how out of touch Downing Street is with the state of egov in the UK; that this is happening and they aren't interested, actually they're probably completely unaware.
So whilst we have them pioneering good edem initiatives like Twitter and epetitions, at the grass roots it's chaos.
Here's a summary from Dave Briggs of the thread discussion. And here's what I posted to the thread:
1. How much money has been wasted on this and other national projects? Is anyone other than Public Sector Forums paying attention?
2. This just highlights for me the absence of any national central point of reference for egov. It's splintered all over the place, so no one actually working in the area has 'heard of' most of the worthy stuff.
We need an intro point as well as one for researchers - ICELE at least tried to be the former with its introductions.
It just pains me that the Australian state of Victoria and other governments like Hong Kong and New Zealand have managed 'one stop shop' portals to egov for practitioners but all Downing St has led with is endless, endless different initiatives with different websites whilst at the same time preaching to the rest of us about 'just' directgov and businesslink.
We've got truly bad leadership on egov in the country and I'd hope us practitioners could say that with a collective voice rather than 'well, on the other hand ... '