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Tuesday, June 17

How the Victorians do it (and how the dicks in charge here do it)

Following up on a previous post about ICELE, the multi-million pound funded Centre for e-democracy, it's officially dead.

On the 13 June 2008, the Minister for local e-democracy, Parmjit Dhanda M.P. [MP for Gloucester for the next two years, pictured right], announced in a letter to the International Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy (ICELE) Chair, Cllr. Matthew Ellis, that ICELE as a sponsored entity of CLG, would no longer receive any further funding beyond the agreed life-span of the programme.
He's ordered it closed by the end of the month and, in d***khead move #9,786 from yet another Minister responsible for some arm of egov, only then will they work out what to do with the good bits.
ICELE, as a sponsored entity of CLG, should cease operations on the 30 June 2008 [other than core staffing support activities related to the Review]. I have instructed officials to conduct a further review in partnership with ICELE on the tools and products produced or managed by the Centre. This review will also seek to establish how best any successful elements of ICELE's work might be taken forward and how sustainability might be achieved.
As I commented before, despite the stuff which many thought rubbish or unnecesary duplication, ICELE had done great stuff, not the least of which was produce basic guidance for people like councillors on blogging and other such 'e-dem' issues. More than any other wing of this incompetent administration around egov.

How many millions has been wasted? On this and countless other now dead and buried 'resources'?

As I have commented ad nauseum, it's not like there aren't numerous overseas models ready to copy.

Many countries have central portals which link into guidance, both basic and complex, and so - say - a councillor wondering where to start isn't lost in a process of 'projects' both new and defunded or a webteam can both get up-to-date guidance as well as useful news instead of a deluge of rubbish and hard-sells.

The US has resources like and

Many east Asian countries manage it. The Australian state of Victoria (pop. 5,25m) has a great portal with regular edited updates (I publish their RSS news feed). There's a great Australian federal resource too.

The eGovernment Resource Centre provides access to the Victorian Government body of knowledge on eGovernment, information and communications technology (ICT) and government website best practices, with Australian and international examples.

Resources include:

* eGovernment case studies,
* Government ICT policies, trends and issues
* Victorian Government ICT Procurement Policy Standard and Guidelines, and Investment Management Standard,
* Victoria Online Thesaurus
* Victoria's eGovernment strategies and reports,
* Victoria's Website Management Framework including website standards and guidelines, and the
* website manuals and toolkits including the Accessibility and Web analytics toolkits


Each week, the site publishes a news roundup of what's new in eGovernment and government website practice from around the world. You can subscribe to our free newsletter to receive the weekly updates.

News Feeds

Please also subscribe to our news feeds to receive regular updates on additions to the site. These include:

* the eGov Daily Digest - all the eGovernment resources as they are published on the site,
* the Government Website Digest - resources useful for those managing government websites, and
* the What's New newsletter – a newsfeed version of the weekly newsletter.

eGovernment Toolbar

You can download the eGovRC browser toolbar which provides you with ready access to news feeds, the weekly newsletter, toolkits, website management framework and website standards and guidelines. The toolbar also provides a search facility for the site and access to the State of Victoria's portal – Victoria Online.

The toolbar is available for both the Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

Management of the Site

This site was previously managed by Mutlimedia Victoria, however, following machinery of government changes in late 2006 the Citizen Access and Transformation Group, was set up within the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and assumed responsibility for its management. The Citizen Access and Transformation Group has been set up to work on transforming the contact and experience people have interacting with government. As of 8 November 2007, this Group has now moved to the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development.

Further information about the Citizen Access and Transformation Division is available by contacting us. An A-Z list of Victorian Government websites is also available on the Victoria Online portal.
Go look and weep.

More: I've been called me on content. Hands up! He says it's not "millions' but £380kish over two years".

Here's my point.
Seriously, no-ones adding it all up (to my knowledge). So gawd knows how much the waste amounts to.


  1. I understand your anger Paul. Maybe because I am relatively new to all of this, I don't feel quite as much frustration as you. I appreciate the good guidance and stuff that ICELE produced, but the reason they are being shut down is because they weren't sustainable when they needed to be to survive. Maybe if they hadn't wasted so much money on pointless stuff like Voice and Blog in a Box, this wouldn't have happened.

    ICELE were also way, way behind in terms of the culture to actually engage with the social web in any meaningful way. And even a this stage, they are refusing to acknowledge their failings and are lashing out - see here:

    I want to see a decent eGov centre too, preferably virtual, preferably managed in the most part by enthusiasts in a way that won't die because of a lack of gov't funding. I'll be putting the case for this forward to DCLG on Thursday - will report back.

  2. This is exactly why the leadership is lacking.

    rather than close something down, ditch the good stuff, waste money and start with another blank sheet - why not intervene and change ICELE? or merge it? or change it's name?

    If everything is going to not be allowed to make mistakes, not managed from on top properly and be - essentially - thrown to the wolves whilst money is then thrown somewhere else then we're never going to get anywhere.

    there is no problem with funding btw - it's how it's being misused.

    if a little state like Victoria or countless other places can do this much better it really is about time govt. was called on it. We are many years down the line with egov now.

  3. Anonymous17.6.08

    Paul I think organisation develop a culture around there staff. Changing names also requires a big culture change.

    I've shared a thought or two here:

  4. To which I responded -

    I know the arguments around the bad stuff and culture. It was a ham-fisted, bad management manoeuvre and given past experience amounts to money thrown away.

    the lack of a proper portal and the reality of a proliferation of projects means that there’s no coordination and individual projects constantly struggle for attention.

    the roots are in the egov policy and management which we’ve had for the last eight years or so.

    It’s not going to get better. everyone seems to think that the next initiative will solve the problem. It won’t.

    It’s time to speak truth to power and that means calling Ministers on their rubbish.

  5. Anonymous17.6.08

    Come along, at least write a factually correct post. For a start there's no "multi-million" about must have seen the grant determination in the thread from CLG - £380kish over two years!

  6. I guess I'm still 'bitter' about e-citizen (at least £12m).

    I'll add a correction dude!

    Seriously, no-ones adding it *all* up (to my knowledge).

    So gawd knows how much the waste amounts to.

  7. You should know I don't do anonymous posts Paul!

    I wouldn't be that snarky either!