The future of government transparency - and online petitions
Is the government beginning to wonder whether its passion for transparency is going a bit far?
I'm on the way to an Oxford digital event, reading what appears to be a masterplan for the government's web strategy by Martha Lane Fox, published on the web for anyone to see.
Rather, I'm reading a brief description by Simon Dickson on his blog of the document, which he says he found merely by searching for "Martha Lane Fox directgov review". The missive to the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude apparently recommends a dramatic increase in the scope of Directgov's operations, making it the front end for all government transactions.
In other words, if you want to do business with the government in any way - paying your tax, getting a driving licence or selling computers to the civil service - Directgov is the place to go. The document has now disappeared, but there seems little doubt that it is authentic.
This plan is due to be published later this week and it will be interesting to see whether it is watered down in any way before then. The open-government lobby will be happy to see the whole process played out in public, but ministers may be grinding their teeth at how difficult it is to frame policy in public.
And is another transparency initiative - the Number 10 petition site - about to go west? The service was launched by the previous government, which soon found itself swamped with calls to change policies or even sack the prime minister. It went on hold during the election; if you try to launch a petition today, you get this message:
Yet sources close to Martha Lane Fox say this was never meant to be part of her review. The plot thickens.