FUNDING BOOST FOR GOVERNMENT CONNECT
Local authorities will be able to take advantage of the Government Connect initiative free of charge after the announcement of ten million pounds in funding for the scheme. The money will be used towards installation and running costs for the Government Connect secure extranet solution as well as the running costs of the Government Gateway for local authorities until March 2008.
The funding has been released by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions to put the service on a firm foundation. The money is being seen as an added incentive for councils to sign up to the scheme, which provides secure transfer of data between local authorities and central government. It is a joint initiative between the two sides and the e-Government Unit of the Cabinet Office and is being led by the North West e-Government Group under the sponsorship of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.
Janet Callender, Chief Executive of Tameside and Chair of Government Connect, said, “I am delighted that the DCLG and the DWP have provided us this additional level of support to make GC a success, helping to move GC’s vision for a secure shared infrastructure closer than ever.”
Angela Smith Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the DCLG added that the funding was designed to ensure that all local authorities had the opportunity to take advantage of the programme and she wanted to see them grasp the chance and to engage with it. The success of Government Connect depended on working together, she said, as only then would it be possible to see the initiative’s true worth in a world where citizens could gain effective and efficient access to numerous council services.