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UK councils will all meet e-enabling deadline

e-Gov minister Hope springs eternal

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Local councils will all meet the 2005 deadline for e-enabling their services, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). Local e-Government Minister Phil Hope said yesterday that most councils have already made good progress towards the target. He added that, altogether, local authorities expected to save £1.2bn by 2007/2008 as a direct result of e-government investment.

Implementing Electronic Government (IEG4), a survey of all the councils, revealed that the average council is nearly 80 per cent e-enabled, and according to Hope, expects to be 100 per cent ready by the end of the year. Hope commented: "In over 100 councils, citizens can already go online to submit planning applications, check their council tax balance and calculate their benefits entitlement. Our challenge for the next twelve months is to drive through the full benefits of e-government to help build the efficient and effective local councils that our communities deserve."

He added that there will be another progress review in July 2005, so that any councils who need it, will get help to meet the deadline. So far, 59 councils have asked for more help. However, as we have previously reported, while the government's statistics sound impressive, the level of technology required to qualify as e-enabled is not very high. Some services qualify if they have an email address and telephone contact number for people to use. ®

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