Headlines: December 19th, 2003

The Improvement and Development Agency is creating two new units to support local authorities with the implementation of e-government. IDeA is working with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the Local Government Association to help councils with e-government and it has been asked to expand this work through the creation of specialist and complementary teams that are funded through the Local Government Online programme.The first is the e-Government Strategic Support Unit which will be an advisory service on local e-government and which will be available free of charge to support authorities by sharing good practice and by responding to enquiries and problems. The plan is for it to work on a ‘research once and share many times’ basis to reduce both the costs and risks of implementation.

The advisors will all be specialists in specific areas within the local e-Government model so they can provide support across the range of National Strategy ‘building blocks’. They will answer specific enquiries, research areas of difficulty, anticipate problems, link authorities to National Projects, and disseminate findings to authorities through a number of channels, such as web-based and printed publications as well as workshops and seminars.

Alongside it the e-Government Implementation Support Unit will provide assistance to a number of councils that are identified by the ODPM as needing tailored support to meet the government’s 2005 target.

John Thornton, Director of e-Government at the IDeA, said the Strategic Support unit would provide all councils with free access to a level of expertise and assistance that even the largest could not afford on their own. The Implementation Unit’s work would complement this with tailored assistance available to councils that needed to make more rapid progress.