UK finds new e-gov boss

UK Online

The United Kingdom has a new head of e-government, just in time to make the official switch to the central government's new Web portal.

On May 25, Prime Minister Tony Blair named Ian Watmore as the head of the new e-Government Unit, which replaces the four-year-old Office of the e-Envoy. Watmore comes to the position following more than three years as UK managing director at Accenture. The new unit, part of the Cabinet Office, will work with all UK agencies to improve the delivery of public services.

Watmore will start in the position in September. He replaces outgoing e-Envoy Andrew Pinder, as authorities and responsibilities officially switch to the e-Government Unit on June 2. Those responsibilities include developing and overseeing implementation of the central government's IT strategy, information architecture, investment, IT skills development, research, security and contracting.

"The change to e-Government Unit represents a development from the original e-Envoy's task of 'getting the UK online' to ensuring that the government capitalizes on the potential of [information technology] to both transform service delivery and achieve a step change in operational efficiency across the public sector," Douglas Alexander, minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement.

May 28 will be the last day of operation for the UK Online portal. Officials launched the Directgov site in March to change how government information is presented to citizens and businesses.

Other countries are going through the same reexamination of their e-government services, according to Accenture's fifth annual global e-government study, released earlier this month. The U.S. federal government did not change portals, but it did overhaul the FirstGov portal in 2002.

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