Headlines: November 16th, 2004

The ability of local councils to meet the 2005 deadline to provide a full range of electronic services is called into question by two reports. The Society of IT Management says that some authorities are reluctant to engage with the issue of authentication. In the report ‘Knock, Knock: who’s there? An overview of authentication for electronic service delivery’ the Society points out that councils need authentication systems so that they can be sure that people on the other end of electronic interactions, whether they are citizens, businesspersons, officers within their own or partner organization, are who they claim to be, and have permission to use the service, access the information, or make the transaction in question.The report describes the different methods used for authentiation including digital signatures and certificates, fingerprinting, voice recognition and smartcards.

According to other research commissioned by Sx3, the IT and outsourcing specialist, 40% of senior business managers in local government don’t feel confident about hitting the 2005 targets and 66% admit to being seriously worried about the costs of meeting the new e-Government requirements. Andy Ross, sales director, Sx3 Managed Services said: “Hitting the government’s 2005 deadline has been a topic of much debate over the past year and the minister for local e-government came out confidently stating that all authorities are on track to e-enable 100% of service by the end of 2005. From our research, we know that the authorities would love to be in a position where they could confidently state this, but it just isn’t the case.”