Minister wants £1.2bn e-gov savings

English local authorities will have to deliver £1.2bn in efficiency savings as a result of e-government investment, local...

English local authorities will have to deliver £1.2bn in efficiency savings as a result of e-government investment, local government minister Phil Hope said last week.

Hope made the announcement as he declared that English local authorities expect to meet Tony Blair's target to be able to deliver 100% of services online by the end of this year.

The Implementing Electronic Government statements, submitted by every council in England, showed they were on track to meet the e-government target, set by the prime minister in 2000, said Hope. With this achievement, authorities will be expecting to deliver £1.2bn in efficiency gains by 2007/2008, he said.

The minister expects £121m efficiency gains in 2004/2005. This figure would rise to £400m in the year 2007/2008 with the introduction of e-procurement, he said.

Despite council IT departments' success in implementing e-government, the efficiency targets present a new set of challenges, said Glyn Evans, chairman of Socitm's Information Age Government Group and IT director at Birmingham City Council.

"The technical skills are the same but the organisational skills are very different. Putting services online is not about change, it is about doing something additional. Efficiency is helping business units do things differently," he said.

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