22 Feb – The Conference for the Post-Bureaucratic Age

9 02 2010


I’m writing to invite you to the conference launching the Network for the Post Bureaucratic Age.

It explores current trends in social, political and technological change, and what this means for a new government. We have an array of first-class speakers and panelists, including David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, Martha Lane Fox, the government’s digital inclusion champion, together with entrepreneurs and innovators from business, media, public services, campaigning, and government.

This isn’t just a showcase of new thinking, but includes active drafting of an innovations agenda and benchmarks for the next government (be it Labour or Conservative). It will seek to make progress towards a Freedom of Data Act. It launches a Network – conceived as a post-bureaucratic think tank working online and through events – to take these ideas forward. There will be a pre-conference briefing paper for participants from myself and Janan Ganesh (of The Economist).

If you would like to attend, please respond to RSVPtoPBA@yahoo.com

Spaces are strictly limited to please respond early.

Hope to get your involvement! All the best, Stephan

Event:                     Network for the Post-Bureaucratic Age

Date & Time:         9am to 6pm, Monday 22nd February 2010

Purpose:                To set the agenda and benchmarks for a Post-Bureaucratic Government


9:00-10.00 Registration

10:00-10.15 Welcome and Introduction (Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov)

10.15-10:45 Keynote Address by The Rt Hon David Cameron MP

10-45-11:15 Coffee & Networking

11:15-12:45        Session 1: will focus on the themes of social, political and technological change, and what this means for a new government

Chair, Rory Sutherland (Vice Chairman & Creative Director, Ogilvy Group)

Speakers: Bill Eggers (author of “If We Can Put A Man On The Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government”; “Government 2.0: Using Technology to Improve Education, Cut Red Tape, Reduce Gridlock, and Enhance Democracy”; “Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector”; Fellow, Manhattan Institute; Global Research Director, Deloitte)

Martha Lane Fox (Government Champion for Digital Inclusion, Co-founder lastminute.com and Antigone, a charitable fund)

Edward Wray (Chairman and Co-Founder, Betfair)

Kristian Segerstrale (CEO and Co-Founder, Playfish, Co-Founder Glu Mobile)

Sarah Beeny (Founder and CEO, MySingleFriend.com & Tepilo.com)

Eric Baker (Founder and CEO Viagogo)

Peter Bazalgette (TV Producer, Digital Investor, Chairman Sony Music TV)

William Heath (Founder MyDex, Ctrl-Shift, IdealGov blog)

12.45-1.45 Lunch & Networking

1.45-3:15                              Session 2: Post-Bureaucratic Government and the ‘More-For-Less’ agenda: how we drive innovation through the public sector

Chair, Neil O’Brien (Director, PolicyExchange)

Speakers: Skip Stitt (former Senior Deputy Mayor and Chief Operating Officer for the City of Indianapolis; COO of ACS Inc, Washington DC)

Liam Maxwell (Cabinet Member for Performance, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Leading the Transparency Initiative and street-level Participatory Budget process)

Professor Mark McGurk (Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital Trust)

Toby Young (author of “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”, now creating a new type of ‘free’ school where access to a good education is not based on income)

Jonathan Kestenbaum (CEO, NESTA)

Adrian Ringrose, (Chief Executive of Interserve Plc, Chairman of the CBI’s Public Services Strategy Board)

Martin Brookes (Chief Executive, New Philanthropy Capital)

3.15-3.45 Coffee & Networking

3.45-5:15                              Session 3: Setting the Agenda and Benchmarks for a Post-Bureaucratic Government; towards a Freedom of Data Act

Chair, Stephan Shakespeare (YouGov)

Speakers: Heather Brooke (author and freedom-of-information activist who led the movement for the full disclosure of MP expenses)

Tom Steinberg (Founder of MySociety, TheyWorkForYou, FixMyStreet, WhatDoTheyKnow)

Matthew Elliot (founder, TaxPayer’s Alliance)

Peter Kellner (President, YouGov)

Peter Hoskin (Spectator Magazine)

Richard Allan (Director of Policy EU, Facebook; former LibDem MP)


SAVE THE DATE : and please help right now!

16 12 2009

In May 2000 I co-founded YouGov, the online polling agency. The name ‘YouGov’ derived from the idea of ‘You Govern’ – bringing power and responsibility to the people, away from state and business bureaucracies.

On the 22nd February 2010, I’m bringing together a ‘network for the post-bureaucratic age’ for a one-day conference in London. The name of the conference is “Control Shift”, and will be opened by David Cameron. We will also have the participation of politicians from other parties, as this is a non-partisan and independent initiative.

This is not a think-tank or a pressure group, but a network. We have identified you as among the key thinkers, activists, and sector specialists, and would like to invite you to become part of our network. We would like to enlist your experience to help us put on a first-rate launch conference, to be followed by continuous online activity and further conferences, which will galvanize and coordinate efforts to bring post-bureaucratic solutions to government, business and society.

We intend to address three key topics within the PB agenda:

Democracy: how PBA developments can make government more transparent and subject to public influence

Services: how a post-bureaucratic society can benefit from new ways to provide public services

Procurement: how the biggest spender can become the best spender, not only getting more value-for-money but supporting innovation and enterprise

This is not about the technology, but the use of the technology, so this network is as much for entrepreneurs and social activists as for people with backgrounds in technology.

For this reason, in addition to addressing practical issues, we are also addressing a fourth topic: the thinking that underpins the post-bureaucratic age, and setting up some benchmarks by which to judge new efforts by government to embrace it.

What I ask from you today:

a)      Please use the comments section to send me your expression of interest or email me at stephan.shakespeare@yougov.com , together with any feedback on what topics we should cover, who the network should include, who should be invited to speak (and why)

b)      Please send any contacts who you think would be interested to this page

Thank you in advance for your help,

Stephan Shakespeare

Network for the Post-Bureaucratic Age

White House Open Government Initiative: Review

8 12 2009

The exciting news in world Gov 2.0  is the launch of the White House’s Open Government Initiative.

The means of announcement was carefully chosen: the three architects of the directive, led by open gov guru Vivek Kundra, presented it to the American people via videolink on Facebook and The Sunlight Foundation. They then answered their questions, which were submitted in a live feed.

There was much criticism of the fact that the directive itself came in an unlinkable pdf form, and in true post-bureaucratic spirit, someone had soon solved the problem:

Owen Ambur I will post the directive in StratML format at http://xml.gov/stratml/index.htm#StratPlans.

This kind of activity has been supported by private enterprise volunteering its services and software on the opengov site.


The Americans are leagues ahead of the UK in coming to terms with the post bureaucratic age. We have just released some Ordinance Survey maps (after a battle); they are soon to release this great IT Dashboard which allows anyone to track governmental technological investments.

Also covered are Data.gov (which the UK is copying); DODTechipedia, which keeps the Department of Defense abreast of technological and scientific innovations; and regulations.gov, which allows anyone to give meaningful feedback on proposed regulations while they are being drawn up, rather than retrospectively.


There were concerns over privacy (especially in healthcare); data comparability; cultural entrenchment; and all the usual legitimate questions about how this actually helps. There have been some concrete examples in the last few months, which are to be presented next week. I expect that, wonderful as these initiatives are for democracy and transparency, once they start saving serious money (and all the indications point to the fact that they are), sceptics will be much more convinced.

Healthy People 2020

10 11 2009

There is an excellent initiative from the US Dept of Health & Human Services.

The ‘Process’ Section of the site suggests that this department understands how post-bureaucratic engagement can deliver better results, far more cheaply and democratically than the traditional top-down bureaucratic model:

“The Healthy People process is inclusive; its strength is directly tied to collaboration. The development process strives to maximize transparency, public input and stakeholder dialogue to ensure that Healthy People 2020 is relevant to diverse public health needs and seizes opportunities to achieve its goals. Since its inception, Healthy People has become a broad-based, public engagement initiative with thousands of citizens helping to shape it at every step along the way.”

This commitment is more than vague enthusiasm: there is a dedicated online comment system, and three public meetings. We might perhaps want to see a slightly more engaging interface, and some data put up to give us something to work with, but this is a step in the right direction.