Headlines: October 20th, 2003

The information technology analysts, Gartner, predicts that if governments do not spell out the benefits gained from IT spending there will be disillusionment. They also predict that by 2007, more than 50 percent of government IT initiatives that have been cost-justified by traditional economic and financial return methods will notachieve return on investment targets.The UK Government will spend 19.6 billion dollars on Information Technology in 2003, an increase of 4 percent on 2002. It will then steadily increase this amount to 22 billion dollars in 2005. The UK spends more public money on information technology than any other government in Western Europe, and almost double that of Germany in second position with 11 billion dollars in 2003. As time passes and scrutiny of public spending grows, pressure is increasing on the Government to prove that this is money well spent.

Traditional measures for assessing benefits need to be supplemented with wider considerations. These include stakeholder satisfaction and value, measured by surveys before and after electronic delivery commences. Stakeholders include constituents, political leaders, employees and contractors that deliver support services. There is also a need for measurement of the relative usage of delivery channels such as walk-in, phone, website or mail. Transformation should also be factored in with an assessment of the extent to which multi-agency working has been improved or shared services developed for the benefit of the customer.

The e-Envoy wants public sector organizations and private sector companies to increase spending on technology so they can lease personal computers to their staff. The office of the e-Envoy has published a consultation document on the Home Computing Initiative. The Initiative, which comes with a tax advantage, is aimed at improving PC and Internet access penetration. The benefits for the employer would be improved ICT skills, reduced information barrier and improved customer service. Employers costs would be offset by a reduction in the employees’ gross salary and at the end of the scheme in 3 years the employee would be given the option to purchase the PC at a fair market value which would be a fraction of the original cost. There would be a 500 pounds maximum annual tax exemption and overall the cost of the PC would be effectively reduced by one third. The consultation document is available at