Five stumbling blocks

Former Ontario CIO Scott Campbell points out that if governments don’t take the lead by dealing with cross-jurisdictional decisions, they run the risk of being replaced by e-communities – non-governmental groups of individuals who come together online to lobby for a decision.

E-communities are here to stay, asserts Campbell. They’re growing in number, in sophistication and in value, and they’ll only grow much more in legitimacy. “As a result, we run the risk of becoming less legitimate. We have to get our act together.”

Campbell says Canadian governments need to clear five major hurdles to delivering cross-jurisdictional, integrated services.

Accountability and governance: It’s critical that governments resolve exactly who is accountable for what. There are multiple ways of looking at it, so don’t create one size of shoe, make many sizes. Governance models must be tailored for all three levels of government, and should address services as well as policies. “If we don’t solve this, it’s a show-stopper.”

Privacy and security: The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) offer a framework for privacy, but there needs to be more public debate on privacy vs. services. The trade-off means if we reduce privacy, you get this much more service. Debate should be specific, not broad-based.

IT security exists within frameworks similar to those that govern privacy, but they’re not hinged on business drivers. IT security frameworks are still too technology-driven. By the end of 2007, the Public Sector CIO Council must have a framework that addresses business risk management. As well, all federal departments and agencies must comply with the Management of IT Security (MITS) standards.

Visibility: It’s what political parties are all about: claiming the political credit for services that are shared across jurisdictions equals more votes, which equals re-election. “Get it right off the table – go for one brand.”

Capacity: Less people are doing more, and the gap is growing. Labour faces a supply problem over the next 10 years and the knowledge and skills mix for this new world is very different. Governments must recruit new people, train them, and develop performance management systems with incentives.

Political leadership: Service delivery’s Achilles heel. CIOs and other government executives must develop more compelling cases for political leaders and they should fight more aggressively for these initiatives. “What we need are 1,000 political leaders – who really get it – by the end of 2008.”

– Mark Els

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