Archives for December 4th, 2003

IDENTITY CARD PIONEER PROJECT LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 4 December, 2003

The Home Office is looking for 10,000 people to apply for a new type of passport that will contain the core features of a compulsory identity card. The recruitment of volunteers will be managed by MORI to ensure a representative sample of the UK population. The project will run from January to June 2004 and the contractor SchlumbergerSema, will employ fixed, mobile and portable units. Requests to take part in the pioneer project should be e-mailed to trial@mori.com.The pilot will test facial, iris and fingerprint recording and recognition. This biometric data will ultimately become the basis for passports, driving licences and identity cards. Each volunteer will receive a personalised smart card carrying both printed and electronic information. The trial will be used to increase understanding of how the enrolment of biometrics will work, what it will cost, and how our customers will react. It is planned that passports incorporating a chip holding a facial biometric will be issued from mid-2005.

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COUNCILS GET FREEDOM TO TACKLE LOCAL QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES

Headlines, PublicNet: 4 December, 2003

The grip of Whitehall departments on local government has been lessened with the publication of guidelines for the second generation of local public service agreements. The agreements provide for councils to set stretching service delivery targets and for those that are achieved they receive cash rewards. Freedoms and flexibilities are also linked to the agreements including a reduction of the burden to produce plans. The first generation of agreements launched in 2000 were based on national and local priorities. The local agreements reflect well established arrangements in central government where departments sign up with the Treasury each year to achieve a range of targets.The second generation agreements will allow councils the flexibility to negotiate around topics which are most important to their area, rather than have to fit around national targets. There is no national menu from which local targets must be selected. The Local Government Association has urged councils to become more ambitious with the targets they set and the freedoms they ask for.

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WIRED UP COMMUNITIES PRACTITIONERS’ TOOLKIT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 4 December, 2003

Over the period 2000 to 2003, DfES invested 10m pounds from the Capital Modernisation Fund in the Wired up Communities initiative to pilot the connection of around 12,000 homes in seven disadvantaged communities to the Internet. The objective was to assess how individual access to the Internet can transform opportunities for people living in these communities by developing new ways of accessing learning, work and leisure services. To ensure the best value is obtained from the investment in the pilot projects, consultants were commissioned to draw together best practice and lessons learned. This toolkit is the result.The toolkit is a useful guide to planning, setting up and running a community based ICT project, whether it is in a deprived inner city area or a remote and isolated rural community. Aimed at community practitioners, local authorities, researchers and governmental policy makers, the toolkit draws upon the experience of the pilot projects.

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