Local government will look very different on 1st January 2006 compared to today. Public services will be joined up and seamless, delivered jointly by local and regional partnership, accessible at times and places most convenient to customers. They will be open and accountable so that information about the objectives, standards and performance of local service providers and their elected representatives will be freely available. They will also be delivered faster, be more reliable and give better value by using electronic support. This is the vision that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has put to local councils. If they can compile a 20 page document setting out a complementary vision for their council on 1st January 2006 they will qualify for a grant of 200,000 pounds.The invitation to councils to provide a vision statement and an action plan to deliver the vision and implement e-government contains a warning that the document is more than simply a means to attract further government funding. The ODPM wants evidence of action, not just words, in taking the e-government agenda forward. Councils must demonstrate that they have a realistic plan of action and expenditure to meet targets for e-government by the 31 December 2005 deadline.
The principal areas of risk which could jeopardize targets are seen as lack of local leadership and inadequate change management capacity. Councils are asked to identify officer and council member e-champions and their roles in leading the e-agenda and describe how they are enhancing change management and leadership and skills capacity. They also have to say what progressed in implementing e-government has been made in the last twelve months.