This is the first I’ve seen of this project and, being a web developer working in the public sector, I think that the concepts behind this, as well as the winning ideas, are great.

My concern, however, is the ultimate execution; it’s not clear to me whether the winning ideas will be developed into a single overarching solution (where possible) or will be developed as individual entities. If it is the later, which it seems to be, I wonder if the approach of having numerous individual sites is not defeating the object a little.

For example, I have had some involvement in Lincolnshire County Council‘s MyLincolnshire site. The idea behind this is that it provides a “Do All” solution to finding public information, such as “Who is my Councillor” or “When are my bins collected?”. The data can be built on and the quality improved based on what people are looking for and the availability of said information. This gives a flexible, forward thinking solution that can grow with it’s requirements.

A lot of the solutions here fall very much into the realm of a PostCode search driven “Find my nearest…” or “Who / What is my…?” tool which raises the question; why shouldn’t we have a country wide do all tool. If MyLincolnshire can do it on a county base, using data provided by District Council’s, then surely something similar could be done for the whole of the UK. Obviously I’m not suggesting this could be achieved overnight, but with a proper minded steering group containing a number of techies, providing a user friendly front end and a back end that a layman could use, I’m sure that something could be pulled from the bag.

While this shows that the idea and indeed the impetus is there, this is a classic instance where “Out of the box” thinking is required…