The CSSA (Computing Services and Software Association) has issued six policy briefing papers to the incoming Labour government, advising on IT policy and how technology should affect all other public policy areas.
The briefings cover six concepts: public services, defence, UK business competitiveness, social issues, education and the health service. Each outlines the main issues or challenges facing the government in this area, and makes several policy recommendations on how IT can be used to help solve problems.
"It is paramount that the new government has more than just a vague understanding of the importance of technology, and sees how it underpins the future success or failure of the UK economy," commented Rob Wirszycz, director general of the CSSA. "We want legislators to be better prepared to put IT at the top of their list of priorities when determining future policies."
Among the recommendations made in the new reports, the CSSA calls on the government to actively exploit the potential of the Internet for the provision of public services, and to tackle issues such as security, privacy, taxation and encryption as a matter of urgency if the future of electronic commerce is to go ahead smoothly.
Training is a key concern: the reports urge government to agree and publish national targets for equipping all UK citizens with IT skills, and to increase the proportion of the education budget spent on IT-based learning to at least 1% of the total. Ensuring people without PCs, TVs or phones have access to online government services is also identified as an important issue.
Addressing the National Health Service, the CSSA wants to streamline the bureaucracy involved in procuring new IT systems, which currently takes well over two years. On defence, the CSSA warns that "good use of IT in the MOD is essential if our defence is to be cost-effective, flexible and ready to face the new and uncertain threats the world has to offer".
This latest CSSA initiative follows the publication of its IT manifesto, which the group launched in conjunction with Oracle, and a subsequent comparative analysis of how the main political parties' pre-election manifestos matched up to it.
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