Today started with "The Greening IT" Launch, at the Science Museum.
Chris Chant – DeFRA (Department for Food & Rural Affairs) CIO – introduced the meeting, explaining the event was being held to launch the programme based on an initial report, published by the Cabinet Office, developed on behalf of the CIO Council by a group chaired by the MOD's Catalina McGregor. The strategy was to act quickly and "simply".
Tom Watson, the Minister for Transformational Government, was next to speak. He referred to the Science Museum's Survival Exhibition – by-lined "Your Planet needs you" (which we all got to visit afterwards) saying our World is a contained eco-system.
"It took Al Gore 15 years from championing the Information Superhighway to link the need to combat an inconvenient truth" (environmental damage potential of ICT). "Turning-off all Whitehall computers at night would have the same effect as taking 40,000 cars off the road." Central Government has set a target of making its central office estate carbon neutral by 2012, and all Government carbon-neutral by 2020.
John Higgins, Director-General of Intellect – made the case for developing an economic model that factors-in the cost of carbon in all business cases, and for a cross-Government Charter. "Increasing ICT's 2% contribution to World carbon emissions would be a good thing if it created greater carbon savings elsewhere."
Andrew Lee – Chief Executive of the Sustainable Development Committee – said it takes 1.7 tons of raw materials to make a PC, which has the same environmental impact as a SUV (Chelsea Tractor).
I had a couple of hours to kill in Westminster before my next meeting, so I tried using BT OpenZone in this wonderful wireless city. It cost £6 for 90 minutes' use within 24 hours of signing-on, which I didn't think unreasonable.
The signal was strong, but speed was very slow, and I lost network access within about 30 minutes, and was unable to reconnect. Episodes like this just reinforce, for me, the need to have a comprehensive approach to accessible broadband infrastructure.
After lunch, I met with Keith Holder, at the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools & Families) about their work on Authentication.
We spoke about the programme – authentication currently being piloted in the "key to success" application in a number of Authorities – next stage to pilot the employee registration process – full functionality through the Government Gateway by November – and of links to Government Connect, and how Socitm can help with the programme and cross-Government linkage.
We agreed a number of actions including working with Government Connect and others through a Socitm facilitated Discussion Forum on the pan-Government high-level vision for Security and Data Sharing, and quarterly follow-up meetings.