Headlines: April 7th, 2004

A project in which three local authorities use state of the art technology to prevent young people straying into criminal behaviour has been singled out for praise for its contribution to progress towards meeting e-Government targets. The RYOGENS – Reducing Youth Offending Generic Solution National Project has successfully completed the first phase of its pilot scheme.The project is one of 23 schemes funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as the cornerstones of the Local e-Government programme to e-enable all local authority services by 2005. RYOGENS is a partnership between Warwickshire, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets councils and is fully supported by the Youth Justice Board.

The project is a web-based system that helps different agencies such as the police, social services, education authorities and health services record and share concerns about children at risk of getting involved in crime with the aim of taking effective action before it is too late. The three councils have been developing and piloting the technology for the past year. Now the pilot phase is complete the technology is available to any local authority wishing to take it. The next phase of the Local e-Government programme will be focusing on encouraging local take-up of the products of the National Projects.

The National Projects were set up to address a number of issues facing local councils in the areas such as on-line bill payments, customer relationship management and the use of digital television. Their aim is to develop generic solutions to IT challenges and to make those solutions available to all local authorities.

Local e-Government Minister Phil Hope said the projects, together with the pathfinders, partnerships and other initiatives, were beginning to deliver results and people could see the many ways that new technology was enabling local authorities to work more effectively and in an efficient and customer-focused way.

“The Local e-Government programme is not about developing technology merely for the sake of it. At the centre of this programme is service improvement and using technology to help local authorities meet their responsibilities using modern methods,” he said.