Archives for December 14th, 2005

IT TRENDS – E-GOVERNMENT LIFT OFF

Abstracts, PublicNet: 14 December, 2005

This survey from the Society of IT Management confirms progress on e-government but highlights concerns about councils’ future commitment to ICT-facilitated transformation.The survey sheds light on the cost and the benefit of the e-government initiative. Councils have spent in excess of 13bn pounds on ICT over the past five years, an increase in resources of 2bn pounds. Almost half of the new money has come from Central Government the balance has been found from Council budgets. Spending on ICT systems, services and staff in 2005/6 has risen by 23% to 3.3bn pounds pa, but this spending is well below that of organisations that use ICT aggressively to deliver their business. This leads to a concern about local authorities’ commitment to transformation.

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AGREEMENT ON EXPANDED ROLE FOR LACORS

Headlines, PublicNet: 14 December, 2005

The Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services has been given additional funding to provide support to councils with their environmental protection responsibilities. The boost to LACORS and the extension of its remit follows an agreement with the Local Government Association.The LGA Executive has confirmed that LACORS will now be funded to undertake a range of services relating to environmental protection, prevention and control of air, land, water, and noise. This expansion of its role results from recommendations made its Quinquennial Review in March this year. That report highlighted the need for LACORS to consider expansion into new local authority regulatory services. A strategy will be developed by LACORS and the LGA with key local and central government stakeholders to implement the increased remit.

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COMMISSIONER ORDERS COUNCIL TO RELEASE HOTEL INSPECTION REPORT

Headlines, PublicNet: 14 December, 2005

A Welsh council has been ordered by the Information Commissioner to release the latest hygiene inspection report for a local hotel under the Freedom of Information Act. The decision to make Bridgend comply with the request coincides with agreement from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to join the growing number of councils that routinely publish food hygiene inspection reports on their websites after requests under the Act.The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, said Bridgend Council had argued that releasing the inspection reports would undermine the way it carried out its responsibilities but he had been unable to agree that their refusal was justified. “The public has a right to know what health inspections discover. Well-run restaurants have nothing to fear – and much to gain – from public scrutiny. Publishing inspection reports will put pressure on restaurants to raise their standards, “he added.

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