U.K. unveils new e-gov strategy

The British government launched a major initiative last week to better use information technology for public services over the next decade.

Commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the strategy to transform government, which was developed by the CIO Council, would include improving customer service, increasing the efficiency of government agencies and providing greater IT planning, delivery, management, skills and governance to reduce failures.

“The future of public services has to use technology to give citizens choice with personalized services designed around their needs, not the needs of the provider,” said Blair during a Webcast. “Within the public services we have to use technology to join up and share services rather than duplicate them. It’s a simple fact: we’re stronger and more effective when we work together than when we work apart.”

“This strategy has my full support and I’m going to do all I can to make it happen,” he added.

According to a press release, Cabinet Office Minister John Hutton said the strategy includes transforming back office operations in human resources, information technology and finance to deliver services more efficiently and faster. Part of the strategy also includes -appointing customer service directors for particular groups, such as older people and farmers, to ensure their respective and specific needs are met.

“In 1997, fewer than 16 percent of households had a mobile phone and fewer than one in ten used the Internet,” Hutton said in the press release. “Private companies have been swift to shape their services around people's needs and lifestyles -- now public services need to raise their game and offer people the levels of convenience, choice and efficiency they rightly demand.”

According to the strategy, the CIO Council and the new Service Transformation Board must approve a detailed action plan to implement the strategy. The timeline provides a general outline of what must be done by 2011 and beyond.

The CIO Council, which is composed of 28 members from central and local governments, is charged with creating and delivering an agenda on how to use IT to transform government.

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