The UK government's early support for greener IT has continued in the vein of setting up plan developments, ignoring them and then making calls for action with new plan developments.
This well worn government public relations spin and bureaucrat dance can be seen with regard to EPEAT and the Green Grid, two organisations that the UK government should simply support and join in that order.
The point that it is not doing either suggests that 'Not Invented Here' (NIH) is still a firm part of government policy-setting.
What we have learnt over the past few weeks is that:-
1. US government support for the Green Grid, a non-profit consortium of companies from around the world working to boost energy efficient IT, has sharply come into focus. The US Department of Energy (DOE) is teaming with The Green Grid to advance energy efficiency in the IT world.
The Green Grid said it has created a new working group to gain a deeper foothold in Europe. It will focus on communications to promote the organisation's efforts and serve as liaison for European organisations that want to collaborate.
The US government has also mandated that all federal IT purchases of PCs and laptops must buy only EPEAT-rated machines. The UK government has not done this.
2. An EU code of conduct for greener datacentres is being developed. The UK government representative on this is Robin Murray of DEFRA, not a Cabinet Office member. Cisco is also involved in this effort.
DEFRA is the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It's latest achievement is the foot-in-the-mouth style one of starting a Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK through faulty maintenance.
3. In a speech at the fourth European Ministerial e-Government Conference in Lisbon, the Cabinet Office minister Gillian Merron called on the UK Chief Information Officer Council to reduce the carbon footprint of government computers and improve the sustainability of public sector IT.
This speech did not allude to pre-existing UK government green IT activities.
In the Cabinet Office press release about Merron's speech, the UK boss of Cisco, Duncan Mitchell, was quoted in a supportive way. Cisco is a founder member of the Green Grid, a point that the UK Cisco supremo could usefully pass on to cabinet office minister Gillian Merron. (NOT that he is ever likely to have spoken to Merron about her Lisbon speech.) He might also have told her about the EU datacentre code of conduct work Cisco is involved with.
4. There is a UK government green IT national plan supposedly being developed which appears to have been dropped.
Here we have both a government department, headed by a cabinet-level minister, Hilary Benn, and the Cabinet Office, headed by a civil servant apparently (see below) both talking about green issues for the government and neither, again apparently, talking to each other.
Why is the UK government's green IT stance so disorganised and ineffective? What should happen is that the Cabinet Office would act as the natural place for cross-government green IT policies to be planned and implemented. It doesn't.