The Open Public Services White Paper (currently in listening mode!) reveals the latest changes to UK DigiGov, including the Government Digital Service (GDS). It all sounds good, particularly the “co-ordinate all government digital activity, including encouraging the commissioning of the best user-centred digital services and information at lowest cost from the most appropriate provider” bit.
However, it seems that the GDS has missed its first trick. The government (Mark Harper @ Cabinet Office) just announced that it has abandoned the plan to create a Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) following an assessment that it would not be cost-effective.
So why do I care? Well, CORE was intended to provide a single source of electoral registration information for authorised users, was included in the Electoral Administration Act of 2006. Its main purpose was to make it easier for political parties to verify the legitimacy of their donors, and it would have been administered by a new independent public body.
BUT the real benefit of CORE was as an enabler for eVoting and the ability to have a system in place that would enable e-voting to connect to the relevant electoral register, verify voter details and record who has voted in real time. It goes against the grain of pretty much every recommendation in this publication back in 2006.
With representation and turn-out at an all-time low and an upturn for referendums (via the Localism Bill) around the corner, the UK should be pulling out all the stops for eVoting. We are already embarrassingly behind in terms of take-up by continental Europe.