Local authority IT managers organisation Socitm has sought reassurance from the new head of e-government that local government will "no longer be overlooked in e-government policy-making".
Socitm has written to head of e-government Ian Watmore demanding that "local government, that vital part of government that delivers 80% of public services to the citizen, will no longer be overlooked in central government policy making".
The open letter from Socitm president Chris Guest goes on to state, "There are many examples, including the Government Gateway and UK On-Line (continuing with DirectGov), where the research undertaken, and subsequently the products and policies emerging from the Office of the e-Envoy, have taken into account neither the delivery of services locally to citizens, nor the needs, requirements or budgets of local authorities – thus compromising e-service delivery to a huge section of the public."
Guest expressed some scepticism as to whether these hopes will be realised however, stating that "the advertisements for your job did not once mention the words ‘local government’ and in the announcement of your appointment, while private and voluntary sectors are referred to as ‘partners’, reference to local government is solely in the context of IT architecture and systems integration, instead of as part of the modern, seamless and relevant delivery of services to citizens and business."
Socitm wanted Watmore to tackle two key issues. These are the differing timescales and priorities that have been set for different parts of government which, it said, is making "joined-up government" very difficult, and legislative issues which are impeding information sharing, particularly between public bodies subject to different, service-specific legislation.