A call has gone out for 20 councils to volunteer as pathfinders for delivering services electronically. They will share in a 25 million pound budget. Successful bidders will be expected to develop e-government initiatives and to be centres of expertise from which all local government can learn.Councils bidding for pathfinder status will have to show that they have the track record and capacity to deliver significantly enhanced electronic service delivery is such areas as internet access and email free to all citizens at their local library; use of smart cards for public transport passes or to pay for school meals, and authentication of transactions such as on-line voting. They will also have to demonstrate that their services are joined up with other councils, central government or the voluntary sector. Exemplars will also be needed in the use of digital TV and mobile phone formats.
The closing date for expressions of interest is 5 March 2001 and results will be announced by the end of March.
Details have now been published of how the 350 million pounds provided in the July 2000 Spending Review for e-government will be allocated. This amount is in addition to the annual 1.5 billion pounds spent annually by councils on ICT.