Archives for October 15th, 2001

BEYOND ACCESS: ICT AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

Book News, PublicNet: 15 October, 2001

By Samantha Hellawell.Bridging the digital divide is about more than simply improving access to new technology. For excluded groups in particular, there is little relevant ‘content’ available on an internet which is driven by the market and aimed at affluent consumers. The best solution is to let people develop content for themselves. Beyond Access features eight case studies of innovative projects which are doing just that. Drawing on their experience, this major new report proposes a radical approach to delivering an inclusive information society.

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PIONEER ONLINE SERVICE WITHDRAWN

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 October, 2001

In August 2000 Publicnet announced the dawn of a new era for the delivery of government services on line with launch of a service for buying fishing licences from the Environment Agency. Those willing to pay an additional one pound fifty pence were able to place an order and pay on line for a licence delivered to them by post. The service had a second revenue stream as purchasers were asked if they would like to receive fishing publications. Impower, a dotcom start up company who provided the service has now announced that it has been withdrawn.When a competitor came on the scene earlier in the year charging only 25 pence for the licence, Impower’s service began to look unsustainable. The irony in the situation is that while the government is encouraging the private sector to share in developing online delivery of services the competitor who forced Impower to withdraw is the Environment Agency. The Cabinet Office report ‘E.gov: electronic government services for the 21st century’, published in September 2000 said that the state should let dotcom government bloom. It urged that the E-envoy should promote a level playing field between public, private and voluntary providers. It also said that public sector providers should assess the rationale for public provision.

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LAW ENFORCERS STARTING TO JOIN UP

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 October, 2001

The Transport Police are the first group of law enforcers to be effected by Home Secretary David Blunkett’s police reform strategy published last month. A key element of the strategy is to extend the ‘police family’ and join up different groups to help in tackling anti-social behaviour. Neighbourhood wardens and security staff employed by public and private sector organizations will also be brought into the extended family.The British Transport Police are the national police force for the railways throughout the UK. They police the national railway network, London Underground and a number of local transport systems. With over 2,000 officers and an annual budget of 123 million pounds, which is entirely funded by the railways industry. They work closely with local police forces and have particular expertise in the management of large travelling groups such as football supporters, and control of anti-social behaviour in enclosed areas such as railway stations and on trains.

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