Feeds

Government Gateway gets first local recruit

Shepway goes live

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Residents of South Kent can now pay their council tax online, as Shepway District Council switched on its connection to the Government Gateway. The local authority, which this week announced the UK's biggest council tax increase this year, is the first in the UK to make its services available through the Gateway.

Rather than build its own connection, Shepway has opted for the Departmental Interface Server (DIS), an off-the-peg package developed by Sun Microsystems and Software AG. DIS was developed over the last two years, in collaboration with the office of the e-envoy and was given governmental approval in October last year. Shepway had it installed and running for tests a few days later.

Charles Andrews, Sun's public sector sales director, said the DIS package is an alternative to the large outsourcing deals that have characterised government IT contracts. It is also a simpler option than going it alone, he said.

"Looking at local authorities' attempts to connect to the Gateway, there have been several well documented challenges. Connecting to the Gateway as a local authority is hard enough, and it is even more difficult to sustain that connection over the long term," he said.

Tim Holyoake, Software AG's e-government consultant, said the" Microsoft bag of bits" approach had been tried by the public sector, but it was too complex, and the management costs too unpredictable. "No one in government is happy with only having one option," he said.

"The DIS does away with the need for the local authority to pull its own solution together from a variety of sources. In addition, having one point of contact for support means that the maintenance costs are known, and can be budgeted for."

The e-payments system is the first of a range of services the council plans to make available to residents over the next 18 months.

The Welland region's consortium of five local councils in the East Midlands will soon be connected to the Gateway, too. They will use DIS to provide user authentication so residents can check the their account status without having to call their council.

It remains to be seen of all the bugs really have been ironed out, and if the management of the system is as smooth as claimed. Sun and Software AG must be causing a few wrinkled foreheads at Microsoft, despite claiming not to care about their competition.

More than 100 other government organisations have signed up to attend the formal launch of DIS next week, and the two companies hint that central government contracts are on the horizon. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box
Only 250th most powerful in the world? Bring back Michael Fish
Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER
Sky's the limit with unrestricted space in the cloud
'ANYTHING BUT STABLE' Netflix suffers BIG Europe-wide outage
Friday night LIVE? Nope. The only thing streaming are tears down my face
IBM, backing away from hardware? NEVER!
Don't be so sure, so-surers
Google roolz! Nest buys Revolv, KILLS new sales of home hub
Take my temperature, I'm feeling a little bit dizzy
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.