BBC News – Universal credit – an IT fiasco?

It’s an ambitious plan to transform the benefits system – but it looks as though the technology meant to power universal credit is turning into another great government IT disaster.

This morning the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC that the planned 2017 deadline for the programme would probably slip – although the DWP statement still talks optimistically of the continued “safe and secure roll-out” of the scheme.

One civil servant close to the situation has painted a rather different picture. He tells me that DWP staff at the frontline are doing a heroic job using the IT but they are “struggling so much with the number of times they have to re-key, systems are crashing. They’re not joined up, they just can’t cope with the messy reality of people’s lives”.

The IT system that the DWP is using at the moment is the one severely criticised in a National Audit Office report. It has been developed mainly by big outside contractors such as Accenture and IBM at a cost of more than £300m. Some believe much of that money will have to be written off.

via BBC News – Universal credit – an IT fiasco?.

What’s next for edtech? | @UB-UK @UniWestScotland

I wrote a piece for University Business on the future of education technology. You can read it here.

UK HE is placing a higher priority on attracting international students than ever before. Indeed, my own institution, the University of the West of Scotland, has recently been rated as amongst the top 5% of universities worldwide. While this is an exciting development it also comes with its own challenges including tailoring teaching, research and the university’s procedures to ensure a fulfilling experience. Enabling all of this is the underpinning technical infrastructure.

By Tony Gurney, Lecturer, School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland

Source: What’s next for edtech?

Bridging the UK Digital Skills Gap in the Public Sector | @HolyroodDaily

As the 2016 Summer games got into full swing, it was easy to get caught up in bit of national pride. Watching gold-medal favourites such as Mo Farah and Andy Murray, or surprise newcomers such as gymnast Matt Whitlock and golfer Justin Rose, just about any of us watching had an extra spring in our step. But if we step outside of the world of sports, how does the UK stack up in the digital skills arena?

Unfortunately, not so well. According to a recent Ofcom report examining internet use among E5 countries, the UK is leading the way in terms of mobile broadband connectivity and ordering good or services online. But when it comes to citizens interacting with public authorities online, the UK ranks second to last. In other words: we’re connected, we’ve got the know-how to interact online, but when it comes to public sector digital services the UK isn’t quite measuring up.

Source: Bridging the UK Digital Skills Gap in the Public Sector | Holyrood Magazine