The fact that Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP as of April 2014 has been well publicised, by the Redmond firm itself and countless other analysts and technology industry experts.
However, one area that this looming deadline seems to have completely passed by is the UK government.
Far from encouraging its various departments and public sector bodies to move onto current versions of operating systems and web browsers, the government seems to be taking the opposite tack and forcing users to stay on old systems if they want to connect with services online.
I must admit to being a sceptic about government IT. I hear a lot about the innovation pushes, cost-cutting measures and centralisation strategies. The G-Cloud initiative was a great example of this, encouraging public sector IT purchasing to favour cloud services on a more flexible basis, and from a broad range of suppliers. But this didn't get the warmest reception in the public sector.
When it comes to the actual reality, most government IT is more along the lines of the million-pound unwieldy, complex systems favoured by those signing off contracts for NHS IT, police IT and so on.
And my view hasn’t been helped by some recent guidance notes I’ve come across on the Department of Work and Pensions site, aimed at those at wanting to claim certain benefits.
If you visit the Gov.UK site looking for information on how to claim either Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Overseas State Pension, you’re helpfully pointed to the DWP website, where you can simply fill in a form online. At first glance, this appears to be a positive use of the internet by the government, letting its citizens apply for benefits over the web, rather than having to fill out forms and send them via the post or visit offices in person.
However, it seems that many of those claimants could fall at the first hurdle due to some rather outdated stipulations about the computer systems supported by the DWP.
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