Huddle Gov Muddle

Huddle make some great collaboration software. I first met Alastair and Andy at Open Coffee more than a year ago and they’re very nice chaps. I’m also a fan of Mike Butcher. But when I read Mike’s piece on Huddle’s study of opinions of “public sector workers” I hoped that he’d just skimmed the press release badly and regurgitated it without thinking too much – entirely understandable – it’s nearly holiday time.

However the press release is available on the Huddle site too. Though the actual study and important details of methodology are not, we are told that it’s the result of talking to 202 local authority officials a few weeks ago.

My gripes are:

  • The use of “public sector workers” to describe the study sample as in “more than half of public sector workers (52%) are disappointed with lack of innovation in IT services”. No. More than half of the officials asked maybe, but 202 people in local government are not necessarily representative of the public sector as a whole.
  • Government with a capital G usually means central government and the executive in particular “One third (32.5%) believe the Government’s IT problems could be solved by buying from local, UK-based companies” So were these local government people asked about the Government’s IT purchasing policy or their own?
  • The confusion of unwillingness to adopt social software in local government with Central Government IT overspends.
  • No details of what sorts of local government officials these were – either in terms of service area or in terms of seniority or responsibility for decision making.
  • An assumption that IT departments are the problem – is there evidence that those authorities that have banned Facebook have done so entirely on the say so of IT? Surely it’s more complex than that?

I want to make it clear that I’m sure I probably agree with most of the findings of this report and other people would find some clear facts about staff opinions in this area valuable , it’s the sloppy reporting that I find annoying – can someone who actually knows something about the subject give us a decent summary?