A former European leader recently commented that ‘the challenge of western democracy is always presented as one of transparency and accountability; in fact, it is one of efficacy’. Our governments are simply not as effective as we wish. We believe that a large contributor to government inefficiency is poor use of technology.
In particular, there is a large missed opportunity in using the proliferation of data and information at all levels of government - both to cooperate better across departments and to centralise that data in a way that empowers the executive to make better decisions.
For the latter the ability to structure and aggregate data more effectively, rather than receiving a slew of reports and presentations, would provide an immensely powerful dashboard to manage government better.
Secondly, cross-ministry or departmental cooperation is often held back by concerns over data privacy and security. Our governments simply do not have the means to exchange information in a secure, transactional environment. Consider, for example, the process that takes place when different government departments request information from each other, regarding an individual citizen. In the absence of a secure query-based system for sharing information, departments end up either not sharing the information or sharing far too much, in an insecure manner, compromising the privacy of that individual and possibly others.
Our contributions and innovation in this area will be announced soon.