The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, led by John Prescott, has spelt out a set of "priority outcomes" for local authorities to help them meet Tony Blair’s 2005 e-government targets.
The Improvement and Development Agency has laid down what councils must do to receive e-government funding from Whitehall. Earlier advice, the ODPM admitted, was "unclear" and vaguely written.
Adrian Hancock, policy support officer at local authority IT directors’ organisation Socitm, welcomed the guidance but expressed frustration that it had been delivered so close to the 2005 deadlines.
"We wish the ODPM had commissioned such a project 12 or 18 months ago, giving our members a more realistic timescale in which to achieve the very demanding outcomes," he said.
The new publication outlines 14 outcomes in areas such as education, democratic renewal and community information, and provides brief outlines of what is needed to achieve them.
"We do feel that the guidance brings some much needed clarity to the priority services and offers some very useful pointers regarding responsibility for specific outcomes," said Hancock.
He pointed out the ODPM was recommending that ownership of many e-government projects should not lie with the IT department but with those in charge of the services being modernised.