Headlines: July 6th, 2000

Limited Internet access, lack of skills by people in public services, low levels of confidence by consumers and inadequate funding are some of the main barriers to extending e-Government. This is the finding of a survey by MORI commissioned by BT and the Henley Centre.The report, e-Government: Ready or Not? compares for the first time, how ready government and consumers are to interact using existing and new technology. It also charts progress towards the e-Government targets set out in the Modernising Government white paper across education, health, crime and justice, central, local and regional government services.

It reveals that while e-Government is welcomed by both government and consumers, with half of strategic decision-makers in government agreeing that information and communication technology will be essential to their organisations’ service delivery, more needs to be done to make it a reality.

The report reveals a growing gulf between central and local government. Although citizens want local councils to provide more services online, almost half of managers questioned said it would be difficult to meet this demand by 2008, let alone 2005. Central government managers were confident of meeting the 2005 target. There is widespread concern – particularly among health service managers – that e-Government could lead to a de-personalised service.