Government Workers are Stuck Redoing Things No One Can Find or Access

By Gary Cutlack on at

Rubbish old file formats, web sites that weren't backed up, and digital scans of files no one knows how to access are triggering what one research group calls a fall in "institutional memory" within the government, as new generations of staff redo work previously done and lost, deleted, or simply left inaccessible by technology's march and the man with the password retiring and taking the proprietary cable with him.

Nesta says this, with the "innovation foundation" saying governments need to do a better job of archiving material and keeping records of what's been done and where on earth it is. Nesta's Geoff Mulgan said: "Government forgets as much as it remembers. In an age of search engines this might look like a problem that has gone away. But if anything things have got worse.

"Government websites used to carry extensive previous analyses and policies; these have largely disappeared. A recent study of government’s own commissioned research showed that it has mainly been lost or hidden," with Geoff suggesting that modern governments routinely investigate solutions to problems that have been looked at before and the answers simply... forgotten. [The Times]

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