London boroughs to provide services via digital television

London's borough councils will next week outline their plans to provide public services via interactive TV (iTV) within the next...

London's borough councils will next week outline their plans to provide public services via interactive TV (iTV) within the next two years as part of the Modernising Government initiative.

Representatives from all 33 local authorities in the capital will meet at the Londonone conference next Thursday to discuss a single strategy to deliver services, such as booking doctor's appointments, via iTV.

The move follows a pilot scheme in Newham, which was launched by government-funded iTV content provider dktv last September.

The scheme enabled subscribers to Video Networks' Homechoice broadband digital TV service to make direct contact with the local council and the NHS, book appointments and access local information, such as housing services and benefits advice, via their TV sets.

Camden will be the next borough to roll out the iTV services later this month.

The scheme has been a success, according to Bryan Collier, Newham council's lead member for ICT. "Broadband technology has allowed us to deliver some of our services in a smarter, faster way and a way that is socially inclusive," he said.

"The ability to do this on a larger scale across London, while targeting the services to the needs of each borough, is absolutely at the heart of Modernising Government and will be of benefit to us all."

Allen Therisa, managing director of dktv, which will be spearheading the iTV roll-out, said public services are "crying out" for a definitive strategy for electronic service delivery. "By bringing the London boroughs together for the Londonone conference we hope to create that strategy and turn a spotlight on the capital. London can then provide a lead to the rest of the country," he said.

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