The UK is a world leader at benchmarking progress to electronic delivery of Government services, but is not in the premier league of delivery, according to a new international comparison published by the Cabinet Office this month, writes Mike Simons.
Presenting the report, Benchmarking Electronic Service Delivery, the e-envoy, Alex Allan, said a third of UK central government services were now online, with 70% on track for 2002. The majority of services available are information, rather than transactional, based and the report highlights the need to develop back-office capability.
The Cabinet Office Central IT Unit (Citu) and the e-envoy are trying to coordinate approaches through consultations, many of which never seem to have made it onto the radar of public sector IT professionals.
These consultations have led to the development of policy frameworks in a number of areas, and it is worth IT professionals being familiar with them.
Citu explains them as follows:
Effective government online and call centre services will require a widely accepted means for citizens and businesses to authenticate themselves for the purposes of those transactions. The policy and guidelines establish a common approach to authentication for Government departments, agencies and the wider public sector
The interoperability framework policy sets out the policy and standards for achieving interoperability across all Government departments and the wider public sector
Work is underway to deliver a metadata policy for Information Age Government
The security policy represents a call for a general alignment with best e-commerce practice. This applies across the public sector, and extends to all service delivery channels and bodies. Supplementary guidance on security topics will also be published, including confidentiality and privacy, business services security and network defence security requirements
The smartcard framework policy provides a set of standards and guidelines to facilitate interoperability. It also provides advice on acquisition issues for public authorities; to ensure that accessibility is an integral part of any card scheme; and to provide guidance on data protection issues
The Modernising Government White Paper committed Government to "address concerns about privacy" and to "provide a proper and lawful basis for data sharing where this is desirable." This paper outlines the key topics of privacy relating to Information Age Government. Data sharing is at the heart of the Modernising Government agenda
The framework on electronic records management provides guidelines to support greater commonality and inter-departmental working in electronic document and records management, and in the sharing and exchange of electronic records across the Government Secure Intranet.