Headlines: December 10th, 1999

A New Media Team has been set up to light the spark for a rise in public services on the Internet. The team, headed by e-envoy Alex Allen, will act as agents for change driving up standards of Government websites and paving the way for a revolution in the way many public services are delivered. The aim is to give Britain a world class Internet presence.An early task for the team will be to audit Government websites and set targets for complying with new guidelines just published. They will also advise on e-commerce and encourage a move beyond supplying information to carrying out transactions on sites. This development is already happening with plans to provide facilities for both tax and VAT returns to be made on line. There will also be a drive to make facilities available for the visually impaired.

The increased effort which is now going into exploiting the Internet is based on the belief that higher quality services can be delivered direct to the public at a much reduced cost and that the new developments will drive a culture change in the civil service.