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US wants to learn from UK e-government

James Rogers
The US is looking to learn from the UK's e-government experiences, according to Mark Forman, associate director of IT and e-government at the Executive Office of the American President.

Speaking at the Microsoft Government Leaders' Conference in Seattle, he explained: "We would look to leverage the use of XML for government-to-business relations, and also the use of a portal for basic business tax filing and other purposes."

Forman cited the UK, Australia and Singapore as leaders in e-government.

XML technology is an integral part of the UK's Government Gateway, which allows legacy systems in different departments to communicate with each other and offers information about services to the public via the Internet.

Forman, who is the US counterpart of e-envoy Andrew Pinder, believes that the US is catching up with UK e-government, although he said the different structure of the US federal system of government raised difficulties. "We have devolved a lot of contact with citizens to state and local government," he said.

He added that his country's e-government would work across 24 key departments, explaining that many departments already duplicate work for each line of government business.

At the heart of US e-government strategy is the FirstGov website, which is the official portal for all government information. The site, which was relaunched in February, aims to bring together 22,000 Web sites and more than 33 million Web pages.

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