The following motion ‘Making IT Work’ was passed at Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, 2003:
Conference believes that the revolution in Information Technology (IT) can create conditions for a more liberal world in which people are brought together overcoming traditional boundaries. Conference therefore endorses the proposals in Policy Paper 54, Making IT Work, to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to benefit from the information revolution by:
- Ensuring a smooth transition to an information society.
- Supporting the domestic IT industry.
- Using IT in the delivery of public services.
Conference in particular welcomes the paperâ€™s proposals to:
- Ensure that Internet access is available on a fair and reliable basis by:
- Taking action, through the regulator OFCOM, to promote effective markets for Internet services.
- Providing Government support for broadband rollout in cases, such as rural areas, where there is market failure.
- Encouraging innovative methods of delivering broadband.
- Reconcile the interests of the digital producer and the digital consumer while maintaining a commitment to a well-regulated free market by:
- Challenging attempts at trade restriction as not compatible with a free market.
- Supporting continued widespread innovation by resisting the wider application of patents in this area.
- Working towards a copyright law for the digital age that supports artistic endeavour without imposing unnecessary restrictions on legitimate purchasers of work.
- Monitor the standard of material sent over the Internet by supporting the self-regulatory and coregulatory approaches rather than responding in UK national legislation. This would include:
- Encouraging the development of industry bodies, such as the internet Watch Foundation as the most effective way of policing the Internet.
- Government playing an active role in supporting industry bodies that are seeking to raise standards.
- Ensure the prosperity and continued development of the IT industry in the UK by:
- Encouraging better connectivity to remote areas.
- Promoting the further development of IT qualifications within the national academic and vocational framework.
- Develop new rules that will allow specialist contractors to properly charge reasonable and legitimate expenses against their pre-tax income by reviewing IR 35.
- Setting up a standing forum on IT skills requirements that would be able to make recommendations both on domestic training needs and also on the need to recruit labour from overseas.
- Improve the use of IT by government by:
- Considering Open Source software as an option in making IT purchasing decisions.
- Encouraging government to follow the methodology of Open Source projects to enable it to develop collaborative systems in which large numbers of developers can freely share their work.
- Giving consideration to the benefits of placing software elements in to the public domain and developing them collaboratively amongst the whole developer arid user community.
- Ensure that Government delivers better services using IT by:
- Implementing changes to the way in which IT projects are managed in the public sector including appointing an IT Director responsible at board level, introducing an IT impact assessment into the legislative process and requiring external validation of the expectations of projects.
- Moving away from single supplier dependence in very large contracts by engaging in pilots for smaller modular contracts that would be fully evaluated by independent auditors.
- Bring about truly joined-up government by:
- Introducing cross-departmental standards for the use of IT based on best practice across the IT sector.
- Further developing the role of the Office of Government Commerce in the provision of IT equipment and services.
- Replacing crude quantitative e-government targets with indicators based on the quality of electronic service delivery systems.