Senior civil servants to get facebook lessons

June 19, 2008 6:59 PM

One of the most worrying things I came across in my investigation into Britain's quango state - UnseenImages
Government -
was the noticeable decline in Cabinet Office time given over to monitoring quasi-government. This was surprising, as being the
gate keepers of government one might assume this to be one of their primary functions.


But all is now revealed. Rather
than waste their time frivolously auditing the actions and costs of taxpayer funded quangos, they were instead preparing
guidelines "to encourage civil servants to take the first steps to engage with on-line social networks", such as Facebook and MySpace. Young, 'plugged-in' civil servants - "digital pioneers" as Tom Watson the Cabinet Officer minister described them - will
be seconded from their trivial jobs running the country to "enlighten their counterparts in more senior positions" to the joys
of photo sharing, instant messaging and virtual 'poking'.


With all the recent failings in government management - HMRC, Rural Payments Agency, etc - one might think that civil servants
would be undergoing serious training in data protection and IT. But clearly the Cabinet Office has other priorities.

One of the most worrying things I came across in my investigation into Britain's quango state - UnseenImages
Government -
was the noticeable decline in Cabinet Office time given over to monitoring quasi-government. This was surprising, as being the
gate keepers of government one might assume this to be one of their primary functions.


But all is now revealed. Rather
than waste their time frivolously auditing the actions and costs of taxpayer funded quangos, they were instead preparing
guidelines "to encourage civil servants to take the first steps to engage with on-line social networks", such as Facebook and MySpace. Young, 'plugged-in' civil servants - "digital pioneers" as Tom Watson the Cabinet Officer minister described them - will
be seconded from their trivial jobs running the country to "enlighten their counterparts in more senior positions" to the joys
of photo sharing, instant messaging and virtual 'poking'.


With all the recent failings in government management - HMRC, Rural Payments Agency, etc - one might think that civil servants
would be undergoing serious training in data protection and IT. But clearly the Cabinet Office has other priorities.

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