Councils face £1.78bn shortfall in funding for e-government

Local authorities in England will need to spend £2.13bn to meet the Government's 2005 target for electronic service delivery,...

Local authorities in England will need to spend £2.13bn to meet the Government's 2005 target for electronic service delivery, according to research from e-government specialist Kable.

The study of English local authority Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) statements also warned that councils could face a funding shortfall of £1.78bn as they strive to meet the 2005 target for getting services online.

Senior public sector figures have expressed concern that the shortfall could hinder the progress of the e-government agenda. Bob Griffith, national secretary of the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm), said, "To expect all these new initiatives with insufficient extra funding is unrealistic."

Councils were urged by the Government to implement a satisfactory IEG statement by the end of July this year to qualify for a share of £350m allocated as part of last year's spending review.

Experts are now worried that this funding will not be sufficient to enable all local authorities to meet the 2005 target. Kable director Karen Swinden said, "Some local authorities will fail because they will struggle to find the extra funds."

Swinden acknowledged, however, that councils are becoming increasingly innovative as they attempt to deal with the funding shortfall. "One local authority, for example, is going to share software development costs with other local authorities," she said.

The research found that the largest area of expenditure was community access (£306.4m). This was followed by customer relationship management (£287m) and networks (£227.5m).



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