Councils fear exclusion from £325m IT fund


Councils fear exclusion from £325m IT fund

Bruce Ackland
Councils are becoming increasingly worried by the government's delay in releasing its full assessment of the crucial Implementing E-Government statements.

The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) has described current information on the situation as "incomplete and unhelpful".

A successful IEG statement is essential to any local authority looking for a share of the government's £325m funding to help meet the 2005 target for e-government implementation.

Socitm has learnt - despite no official word from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) - that the statements have been given marks out of four stars. Twenty councils have been given an "unsatisfactory" score of one star, while three have failed to produce any statement at all.

The DTLR had announced earlier that 6% of councils had failed to make the grade and that a further 30% needed significant work.

Socitm has been deluged by calls from concerned councils desperate to find out if they have been branded as requiring "further significant work", and whether they will still be eligible for a slice of the £325m fund.

The society wants to help local councils with weak statements but requires full information from the DTLR before it can begin.

Glyn Evans, chair of Socitm's Information Age Government group, said: "Councils need to know which category their IEGs puts them into and what the consequences are. They are also keen to understand the criteria used by DTLR in making their assessment."

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