Headlines: November 14th, 2005

A national campaign is to be launched to encourage public take up of electronically enabled local authority services. The Government says the campaign, scheduled to begin early in the New Year, will herald the next phase in the transformation of council services.The campaign will aim to raise public awareness of e-services and will highlight the benefits of accessing local authority services online, emphasising their flexibility and convenience and the improved access to information that they offer.

Since 2002 the Local e-Government Programme has seen councils working towards a target of e-enabling local services by the end of this year. Local e-Government Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, said there was evidence that current usage of e-channels was still lagging behind public interest in using them. Research, he said, showed that 46 per cent of the English adult population – about 17.5 million people – were predisposed to use council e-channels.

He said the campaign would aim to tap into this demand, and support councils in turning that level of interest into action. After December 2005 raising awareness and encouraging take up would become an increasing priority for councils to increase their usage and so release predicted gains.

Mr. Fitzpatrick said the Local e-Government Programme had built a platform for the next phase of transforming service delivery. “Our future plans are dependent upon winning citizens around to the benefits of using e-services,” he said.