Abstracts: July 25th, 2002

This report by the Audit Commission looks at the way local councils have responded to e-government. Local government spent an estimated 1.8 billion pounds on ICT in 2001/02 and councils estimate a further 2.5 billion pounds is required. The Commission believes that ICT has not been well managed in the public sector and the risks are increasing. Because e-government is relevant to everything a council does, it makes it difficult to know where to start. Some councils are implementing e-government by engaging their staff and by taking a realistic view of their capacity and performance. Other councils are finding it difficult to get started, and are struggling to access the necessary skills and to engage members. For these councils, e-government feels separate from, and marginal to, the core business of the council. There is a clear risk that for many councils e-government could mean improved access, but unimproved service. Many councils are focusing on broadening access to existing services and information by putting them online or making them available through call centers. A few councils have the dual objectives of improving access and improving quality. But for most, improving services trails behind. The Government’s national strategy sets out a pathway to local e-government success. But more needs to be done.Message Beyond the Medium Published by The Audit Commission. Reference LNR2724 25.00 pounds. http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk,