UK forecasts 96% e-gov hit rate

Electronic services aplenty

The vast majority of government services will be available electronically by the end of next year, according to a report from the Cabinet Office. It says that 96 per cent of the services earmarked by the government as "suitable for e-enabling" will meet the 2005 deadline set by Tony Blair.

The Cabinet Office says the outlook for takeup of such services is "encouraging". It found that 67 per cent of business incorporations are now carried out online, 79 per cent of vehicle registrations are electronic, and 65 per cent of those applying to university for 2004 entry, did so online. Other, less obvious areas are also seeing greater use: more than 1,300 applications per day are filed to register land online, for instance.

This looks encouraging. But it is interesting to consider exactly what a service has to do to qualify as being e-enabled. The e-government unit of the Cabinet Office states: "Final delivery to the user should focus on the most appropriate delivery channel (or channels) being chosen and will not exclude other methods when they are most effective."

The latest (from Q2 this year) on the services in question, and their status, is available here (pdf), Interested readers will note that some services are considered e-enabled because they have an email address and phone number.

Services that will not be e-enabled by the end of 2005 will miss the deadline for one of four reasons. Some projects have been delayed or even cancelled over security concerns, other projects are in the pilot phase, and won't be fully rolled out fully by the deadline. Some service areas are in a kind of limbo because the departments concerned are being reformed.

Finally, services that have been introduced since the initial target was announced. Among these is the Environment Agency's monitor of salmon catch returns. ®

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