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Socitm slams one size fits nobody e-gov plans

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The Society of IT Management has raised "significant concerns" over Whitehall's latest plans for rolling out e-governnment across the UK.

Socitm's hackles were raised by recently-unveiled proposals outlined in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's consultation document Defining e-Government Priority Services & Transformation Outcomes.

According to Glyn Evans, chairman of Socitm's Information Age Government Group (SIAG), the ODPM's paper marks a change of direction, as in previous discussion rounds it has been possible for proposed plans to reflect local priorities.

"Now we're being told exactly what we have to do, half way through the programme, which is going to cause major problems all round. It will come as no surprise that we are seeking an early meeting with ODPM to discuss the all implications in some detail," said Evans.

A central tenet of the latest ODPM document is the call for "definition of outcomes for the current investment in e-government", a strategy which Soctim thinks will end up creating a one-size-fits-nobody disaster because prescriptive dictated at a national level will not work locally.

Soctim points out that e-government should support local priorities and avoid the danger of potential conflicts arising between local and central government priorities.

The society warns that e-government will almost certainly be downgraded or marginialised at the local level, if proposed national priorities do not align with local realities.

In addition, Socitm condemned the Government's plans for failing to provide adequate linkage between its stated national e-government goals and the seven shared priorities which it has mandated for local governments.

According to Socitm, most of Whitehall's proposed e-gov outcomes are too narrow because they concentrate on Web-based service provision, so reinforcing the misconceptions that making Government functions available on the Web will in itself lead to significantly improved public services.

As well as attacking the substance of the proposals Socitm also laid into the proposed delivery timetables, stating that many of the priority outcomes cannot realistically be achieved by the proposed December 2005 deadlines. ®

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