Coxit map: council reorganisation that breaks up Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire is an odd place. The rural district councils are strongly Conservative; Oxford itself is strongly anyone but the Conservatives. The trend in local government is towards unitary councils which do everything, but how would that work in Oxfordshire?

The simplest model would be a unitary Oxfordshire Council (as in Cornwall and Wiltshire), but Oxford and rural Oxfordshire are politically chalk and cheese. The next option would be to turn the city into a unitary and merge the rural districts into one or more unitaries.

However, a plan from Oxfordshire’s five lower-tier councils endorsed by the county’s MPs is a bit more complicated. Oxford City Council would become a unitary and the two districts in the south of Oxfordshire would merge – South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse already share offices and services. Continue reading “Coxit map: council reorganisation that breaks up Oxfordshire”

Good news from government on FoI, too early to say on IP bill

Today saw announcements on two areas of major interest to journalists. One, the report of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information, is good news. There were expectations that the commission was primed to weaken FoI; it hasn’t, and in fact it recommends ways to strengthen it, including speeding and shortening the appeals process.

The government’s response is also cheering, saying that charges for FoI will not be introduced, as “We believe that transparency can help save taxpayers’ money, by driving out waste and inefficiency”. Well, quite.

On the Investigatory Powers Bill, it’s too early to say. Some of the recommendations in the three parliamentary reports on the draft IP bill have been adopted, including better protection for journalists, but police have also gained further powers.

Continue reading “Good news from government on FoI, too early to say on IP bill”

Cambridge’s eHospital problems and Scotland’s IT projects has published my article on Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s problems bringing in eHospital, a £200m IT system based around software from Epic and hardware from HP. While the trust initially reported all was going well, eHospital has recently been fingered by Monitor and the Care Quality Commission as contributing to the trust’s problems.

I spoke to a number of people with knowledge of eHospital, including this former IT employee of the trust who spoke on condition of anonymity: Continue reading “Cambridge’s eHospital problems and Scotland’s IT projects”

For The Register: what the general election could mean for tech policy

Following my article earlier this week on the manifestos and implications for NHS professionals, I have looked at how they might combine to change tech policy, on issues including surveillance, business and IT, government IT, immigration and the EU (both of some interest to the tech industry), employment law and the whole ‘actually having a government’ issue.

My conclusion: Continue reading “For The Register: what the general election could mean for tech policy”

Why did the Salvation Army fail to act on my claims of sexual abuse?

A woman who complained 16 years ago of being abused by charity personnel in the 1970s now wants an inquiry

For Society Guardian, Saba Salman and I write about one woman’s experience of trying to report claims of 1970s sexual abuse to the Salvation Army and the police. The full article is below.
Continue reading “Why did the Salvation Army fail to act on my claims of sexual abuse?”