Features

Change by Design

EVERYDAY COMPUTING     By Dr Lyndell St. Ville ICT Consultant

THE result of the UK’s recent referendum to leave the European Union, took many by surprise, and will lead to changes in both these territories. Their future interaction will likely depend on changed structures of government and cooperation for joint stability. In Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Chastanet’s recent announcement of cluster portfolios in the new cabinet also took many by surprise, since that decision both reconfigures the government and reduces the number of ministries.

The cluster portfolios have already been described as “interesting” and as a “novelty,” and we await the results of this new approach. These two recent events provide an interesting perspective in which to observe the process of change: externally, in the way two governing bodies operate less closely, and internally, in the way disparate ministries interact more closely.

Still, we are left with some interesting questions. How much change is good, acceptable, or necessary? What drives the need for change?

Externally, the UK citizenry demanded more autonomy from Europe, which was strongly focussed on greater integration. Internally, the Prime Minister justifies the cluster portfolios on the grounds of increasing collaboration and reducing the number of ministries, and eventually the cost of government.

We know that the world of ICT revolves around constant change, upgrades, and reconfigurations. We readily grasp the benefits of such change. As a nation, we look forward to establishing an industry based on the ICT tools, technologies and talents which lead to prosperity, economic advantage, and greater output. As individuals, we use our phones, tablets and other computing devices to streamline our everyday work and to reduce effort.

If we apply similar thinking to our government operations, then we should wholeheartedly embrace change and look forward to greater output. The Prime Minister’s reasons for this change refer to reducing cost, but there is an equally significant opportunity which deserves to be mentioned. Based on prior experience, our government’s record for integrated working, cross-agency cooperation, and customer focus is not encouraging, therefore we need to eliminate inefficiency and simplify interactions with the citizenry.

In the future when we can all easily afford the fees imposed or the cost of government service, we still would not appreciate inefficient service. Reduction in costs and fees may be welcome, but even better would be the reduction in poor management, poor integration and inefficient systems. The efficiency ethos must be a core part of the service delivery at the government level.

Here is a short list for areas where further resources or changes are needed:
* Anywhere the lengthy queues cause a wait of more than 30—60 minutes;
* Service areas requiring different queues to be taken for the same transaction.

We the people should reasonably expect the wheels of government to turn to benefit us and to simplify the demands on our time, while affording us the control we expect. The arrangement of the government departments should be secondary to that goal. When that is done, we would have already achieved something great.

To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.

About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.

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