I don’t think anyone sensible these days would question the first two objectives, but I have heard that Shaun Gallagher, Director of Social Care Policy at DH, fears that having one site will stifle innovation, and that progress comes from competition.
His view is not uncommon - indeed it is widely held - but that doesn’t necessarily make it right, and I think he should consider the following:
- Competition isn’t working in social care IT. The solutions are not moving as fast as the market needs them to. I managed to get an invite to speak to the Information Management Group of ADASS last week because they recognise this.
- Innovation can come from outside the initial developers if the product is open source. There is some science (well, economics) around this that is very entertainingly delivered in the 10 minute RSAnimate video Drive. (In an attempt to demonstrate this we have brought forward our plans to open source BetterCareGuide.org - see this blog post for details).
- Offering information on websites to most of the demographics who are in receipt of social care is hard enough without confusing them by splitting the information across multiple sites. Having one place to go is one of the drivers behind www.gov.uk.
We would welcome your comments on this.