Headlines: May 23rd, 2001

The worldwide marketplace for e-government information services this year is estimated by Forrester Research at 55 billion dollars with annual growth at 14 percent. Companies worldwide are gearing up to share in this market. Before the announcment by the Labour Party that it is planning greater involvement of private finance and expertise in the public sector, UK companies were already moving in to provide customer services, such as parking fine payments and as well as to offer e-procurement facilities.The US company EDS (Electronic Data Systems), which has over one third of the UK government IT outsourcing market has formed a partnership with Ezgov, a leading e-government technology specialist, that already provides services to public bodies in the US. EDS Ventures, the venture capital arm of EDS has invested 6.25 million dollars in EzGov.

The partnership plans to provide customer services to local councils. It is thought that EDS wants to extend beyond its current sphere of central government and move into the local government arena and the partnership will enable it to provide web hosting, customer relationship management as well as computer hardware and network components.

It is expected that the Office for Government Commerce will shortly announce up to four successful companies who tendered for pilot e-procurement systems. Customs and Excise is among the departments that have agreed to take part in the pilots which will test e-procurement concepts within the Government purchasing environment. The pilots, which are funded by the OGC, will start in August 2001 and run for six months.