Headlines: January 31st, 2001

Staff in about one third of councils in the UK will be able to take a computer driving test before the end of the year. The European Computer Driving Licence is the first pan-European Union qualification in personal computing skills. Originating in Scandinavia and launched in the UK in 1998, it is designed specifically for those who wish to gain a basic qualification in computing to help them with their current job,or to help them grow their skills and enhance career prospects.A survey of councils by the Society of Information Technology Management revealed that one of the major challenges to the successful implementation of e-government is lack of proper training for professional and clerical staff using the new computer technology. It also revealed that some councils already make use of the European Computer Driving Licence and others plan to do so.

The ECDL is administered in the UK by the British Computer Society, but testing is carried out by accredited bodies. Many colleges of further education are accredited, but councils can also secure accredited status.

Applicants for a test must acquire a Student Log Book which is used to maintain a formal record of their success in the various tests. The charge for a Log Book is 25 pounds. There is also a test fee which varies according to who administers the test. The syllabus includes managing files, word processing spreadsheets and databases. Students are not required to do any training. If they are already sufficiently experienced they can purchase a Log Book and start to take the tests. Training providers offer a range of courses designed to cover individual needs.

The ECDL is recognised throughout the EU.

Link: www.socitm.gov.uk