Councils told no extra cash for 2005 deadline

The Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions has laid out its strategy for local e-government but there will be no...

The Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions has laid out its strategy for local e-government but there will be no new money to hit Tony Blair's deadlines.

The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm), the public sector user group, has nevertheless welcomed the launch.

Socitm president Robin Carsberg said, "I think that this is very helpful, it puts the spotlight back onto the e-government agenda and the role that local authorities have to play." The strategy recognises that there is a great deal being done and offers up the promise of more funding for continued development, he added.

The consultation document, entitled E-gov@local: Towards a national strategy for local e-government, outlines action that needs to be taken at national, local and regional levels.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and Regions is calling for comments on its proposals by 28 June.

The strategy details how the Government proposes to target the bulk of the £165m of funding, the last part of Tony Blair's £350m earmarked to help councils meet the 2005 target for getting services online.

Officials at the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) say that as much as £80m will be allocated over the next two years to a number of national projects covering e-procurement, smartcards and customer relationship management.

Up to £75m will also be spent supporting the development of local and regional partnerships between councils and other local service providers such as the police and health service, with £6m devoted to sharing best practice that has been developed by "pathfinder" organisations.

The joint strategy, which was devised by Whitehall and the Local Government Association, focuses on three key areas. These include a national framework of standards, infrastructure and partnerships and a model for local e-government "building blocks". Officials have also described their intention to put customers at the heart of local e-government service delivery and design.

The £350m of e-Government funding was made available as part of 2000's Spending Review, of which £25m has already been invested in a programme of 25 pathfinder projects.

Last December the Government also announced £160m worth of funding for all local authorities in England to boost their Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) plans.

The consultation paper is available at:
www.local-regions.dtlr.gov.uk/consult/egov/index.htm

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