Monday, 22 March 2010

Digital Economy Bill - have you had your say?

The Government is getting ready to rush the Digital Economy Bill into law.

They're planning to force the law through Parliament before the election giving themselves far-reaching new powers to cut people's internet connections, block websites and restrict public wi-fi.

These huge new powers need proper scrutiny, the need to be debated and subjected to public debate - not forced through without a chance for opposition to be heard.

Over the last few days over 11,000 of us have written to our MPs voicing our concerns about rushing the Digital Economy Bill into law without Debate. Will your write to your MP now? It takes just two minutes:

In just a few weeks MPs are hoping we'll vote for them in the General Election. That gives us an opportunity to persuade them not to force through these draconian new internet laws  - if we can convince them it's unpopular, they'll think twice about doing it just before they have to face their voters.

Opposition is growing. Web giants like Google, Yahoo, BT and TalkTalk oppose the plans. A people-powered avalanche of emails could just be enough to stop the government from forcing these measures into law.

Please write to your MP now and tell them why the Digital Economy Bill should face a proper parliamentary debate, not rubber stamping.

Just click on this link to get started:

Posted via email from Steve's musings

Commons Manifesto: Strengthen the Commons now!

Download now or preview on posterous
CommonsManifesto.pdf (1066 KB)

Commons Manifesto: Strengthen the Commons. Now!

"A group of commoners who participated in Interdisciplinary political salons of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Germany in 2008 and 2009 have collectively authored a terrific new manifesto and statement about the commons" -  David Bollier

“Strengthen the Commons — Now!” was written in German and translated to English and Spanish.

Quotes from the Manifesto

There‘s something new afoot – a movement to reclaim the commons! 
There is a movement that reminds us of what is worth keeping. A movement that seeks to reclaim what belongs to us, that affirms human dignity and creates something new. This movement to build and protect the commons is expanding the horizon of what is possible.

It is imperative that we focus our personal creativity, talents and enthusiasm to protect and increase our social wealth and natural commons. This will required an eye on the goal to change some basic structures of politics, economics, and society...

Agents of the commons do not have one but many centers. We need them locally, regionally, and globally. Conflicts can be resolved directly in well-arranged communities and their commons. But the global commons is an almost insolvable challenge, because where does the „world community“ really come together and define itself as such? How should it agree upon the sustainable usage of its shared resources? The more complex the system, the more important it is that there is an institutional and transparent framework for the careful management of the commons. When the state achieves this and protects the commons, government action will be supported by society.

Download the full text of the Commons Manifesto from the attached PDF.

Posted via email from stephendale's posterous

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Daily News Review - Tuesday 9 March 2010

The Truth is Out There

The Audit Commission latest discussion paper in the ‘Truth’ series, published last Friday, received further coverage:

Public Service

Can more data boost people power?
The Audit Commission has published a discussion paper on how information on the web can empower the public. According to the local government watchdog, the debate is "timely" as it follows the government's recent efforts to release greater amounts of information into the public domain. The discussion paper talks about what happens after data is deposited online, noting the fact that only information that captures the public's imagination will be used. More here

Tomorrow’s public services
Steve Bundred (Audit Commission) kicked off with an exposition of The Truth is Out There, while discussion centred around the opportunities and risks associated with more open approach to sharing data in developing future public services. So, where does all this take us? For Socitm, our interest lies in how more intelligent innovation and improvement of information handling and deployment of technology can enable the breakthrough into Tomorrow's Public Services. More here


Audit Commission moves on debate about information online
The Audit Commission is taking another step to stimulate debate on transparency in the public sector in the information age. It has published the second discussion paper in its ‘Truth’ series ‘The truth is out there’. It asks questions including ‘What information will capture the public’s imagination?’ and ‘How will the public know what information to trust?’ More here


Sky News
Hospital Patients 'Treated In Mop Cupboards'
Hospital patients are routinely treated in TV rooms, mop cupboards and corridors because hospitals are too full, a new survey has claimed. It found kitchens and storage areas are also used while extra beds are put on wards, increasing the risk of infection. Watch report here   Also in Guardian  Also in Metro  Also in Telegraph  Also in Daily Mail  

Labour And Tories Neck-And-Neck In Key Seats
Labour and the Tories have equal support in 100 of the most marginal seats to be fought in the General Election, according to a Times poll.  The survey was carried out by Populus in 100 constituencies currently held by Labour and targeted by the Conservatives. Watch report here 

Daily Newspapers

The Times

Opinion - Get off our backs and just let us do our jobs (Simon Wolfson, P18)
The next government must cut down on intrusive meddling as well as spending says Simon Wolfson. (Simon Wolfson is the chief executive of Next. He has written the foreword to The Renewal of Government, published by Policy Exchange today.) More here

Daily Mail

We’ll ‘unleash hell’ on Tories, claim unions (James Chapman and Becky Barrow, P19)
Britain is in the grip of a wave of militancy by millions of public sector workers as unions threaten to 'unleash hell' on an incoming Conservative government. Alarming figures reveal the number of days lost to strike action in the public sector is now 15 times higher than in the private sector, prompting concerns about the growing readiness of union leaders to flex their muscles. More here

Health trusts s natch millions meant to help family carers (Daniel Martin, P24)
Millions of pounds meant to give respite breaks to voluntary carers have been diverted to plug NHS deficits, charities have revealed. Ministers announced with a fanfare that they would double the funds for long-term carers to have time off by bringing in social workers to cover for them…But Crossroads Care and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers revealed that just 23 per cent of the money for the first year was going to respite care. Under Freedom of Information requests, they found the money was simply added to existing budgets instead of being reserved for carers. This left health trusts to spend the money how they wished, including on reducing budget deficits. More here

The Sun
The comment piece on page 6 says David Cameron will ringfence NHS budgets, but that the NHS must change the way money is spent and spend less on hiring officials. (Not online)

The Independent

Carers deserve better than this diversion of their money (Dominic Lawson, P29)
In a comment piece, Dominic Lawson discusses the lack of support for carers, despite government promises to fund respite breaks. More here

The Guardian
Civil service strike under way (Polly Curtis, P8)
Civil servants have begun a 48-hour strike, leaving court hearings postponed, job centres operating a minimum service and 2,000 driving tests cancelled. The action is designed to put maximum pressure on the government just weeks before the general election. More here

Conservative adviser pushes for Whitehall 'living wage' (Allegra Stratton, P13)
David Cameron's head of strategy is losing a battle that would see the Conservative party introduce a higher minimum wage across Whitehall, the Guardian has learned. Steve Hilton wants his party to announce a higher rate, the so-called "living wage" of £7.60 – which is £1.80 more than the minimum wage – for low paid workers employed as cleaners and catering staff across government departments. More here

Electoral reform could define the election (Polly Toynbee, P29)
Brown has just enough time to push through voting reforms that would expose the Tories and cement his legacy. In just a few weeks Gordon Brown will call the election: the word is that he favours a long campaign, prolonging the x-ray lamp scrutiny of Cameron policies. It is, after all, David Cameron who is under most pressure to reveal his plans, since in his unwisdom he promises to swing the axe on the deficit starting "on day one". More here

Maternity services and NHS cash crisis (Letters, P31)
Under current proposals for the reconfiguration of maternity services, some hospitals will shut and maternity services are in danger of being consolidated in large 'baby factories'. More here 

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Monday, 1 March 2010

Andrew Stott at Managing Public Sector Information 2010

Andrew Stott speaking at the Managing Public Sector Information conference - 1st March 2010.

Spoke about background to Power of Information and Making Public Data Public and Public Data principles - Putting the Frontline First.

Public data will be available and easy to find through a single easy to use online access point - launched 21st January 2010. 

Note by me - this provides an access point and some metadata, but is NOT a data repository of open or linked data, as many people seem to think. Big headache for me in continually explaining this to people following progress of the Knowledge Hub.

New licence terms for use of government open data are being developed by OPSI in consultation with Creative Commons. More details on the Perspectives blog.

No time for questions - Andrew had to dash off - only time for two questions from the delegates, so couldn't verify whether Andrew was aware of the Knowledge Hub project, which will be focused on open and linked Local Government data.

Meeting tomorrow (2nd March) with Prof Nigel Shadbolt who chairs the Local Data Panel to make sure Khub is joined up with Gov open/linked data initiatives.

Posted via email from stephendale's posterous