'Whitehall needs new internet policy body with a new approach'
29 October 2012
The government must create a new and adaptive organisation to handle internet policy – one which can create and change policy quickly and which could even be based in Tech City, former Labour Culture Secretary James Purnell has said.
Purnell, the former Stalybridge and Hyde MP who now works for two major think tanks, said Labour had put public services online "quickly" even if it had not always done so "elegantly or effectively".
Policy makers in government needed to be "nimble", he said in an article for The Times newspaper. Politicians and civil servants could no longer afford to take years over "detailed, definitive strategies".
"That may work for defence or welfare, but it's too slow for the internet," he said.
A different type of organisation was now needed – ministers needed to create a "MiniCom", a new organisation which brought together all internet policy teams.
"This team could move out of Whitehall to an area with an internet cluster – perhaps joining the former Facebook executive Joanna Shields in Tech City
, East London," he said.
"It should have as many outsiders as civil servants with a fast stream for digital natives, its own budget and the authority to spend without normal Whitehall processes."