Headlines: January 18th, 2001

The target to deliver 25 per cent of Government services electronically by 2002 has been reached more than a year early. More than 40 % of Government services are now delivered on line. It is estimated that by 2002 this figure will rise to 75%. The longer term target is to put all services on line by 2005. The definition of ‘on line’ includes personal computers, web-enabled call centres, and Digital TV. Routine telephone calls or faxes do not count towards the target.The on line figure has been boosted recently by a number of developments. The UK online citizen portal went live in December. This guides internet users through the maze of more than 1,000 Government sites – making searches easier and providing a single information access point for life events like having a baby and dealing with crime. A change of address service with three commercial organisations http://www.ihavemoved.com/, http://www.simplymove.co.uk/ and the PostOffice offer a fast way to let organisations, including government departments, know that there is a change of address. There are also new services about employment relations and roadworks.

Services due to be launched shortly include: applying for enterprise grants, travel advice from the Foreign Office and information about agricultural grants.

A major challenge in the months ahead will be setting up the Government Gateway. This is a system that will allow the handling of secure two-way transactions across the boundaries between different organisations. Breaking this barrier is essential to getting all Government services online by 2005.

This progress report applies only to central government services, although the targets apply equally to local government. Further evidence of a lack of joined up thinking about e-government comes from the Office for Government Commerce, which has devised a model for calculating the proportion of services on line. A spokesperson said the model would only be made available to central departments and agencies.