Headlines: November 28th, 2002

Councils now have national guidance for making e-government a reality. The government and the Local Government Association have joined forces to launch the strategy.It sets out the issues it is believed councillors and chief executives need to consider to make the most of online technology. In a joint foreword to the document, Sir Jeremy Beecham, the LGA chair, and Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford say, “Local leadership, particularly that of elected councillors, is vital to deliver the benefits of local e-government. It is essential that councillors appreciate both what local e-government can offer them and their role in leading their councils to make it real.”

They go on to say that chief executives and senior managers need to understand and drive forward the changes this will mean for council services.

Junior minister Chris Leslie underlined the range of opportunities offered by e-government. “The strategy that we are launching today is ambitious. It has been recognised as the world’s most comprehensive approach to implementing local e-government. The strategy will require a strong and effective partnership between local and central government to bring about the improvements we are aiming at by 2005,” he said.

Mr.Leslie said local councils were central to the government’s ambition to reform public services. He said eighty per-cent of peoples’ day-to-day dealing with government was delivered by local councils.

The strategy aims to encourage councils’ work with Regional Development Agencies and other partners to build thriving economic communities with effective communication networks and skilled workforces.