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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is "deliberately planning" to withdraw from setting the local eGovernment agenda.

A new 'e-Government Regional Partnership Group' is due to take over the ODPM's responsibilities in this area from March 2006.

Under the current plans, there will be nobody at the ODPM to continue the role after this time.

The e-Government Regional Partnership Group would be in charge of shaping national and regional policy around the eGovernment agenda for local government.

It will comprise of two representatives from each region – one from every regional eGovernment partnership and another from a local authority – who will meet bi-monthly.

Chairing of the group will rotate every six months and be initially held by the London Connects Partnership, followed by the North West eGovernment Group.

It will make also use of virtual workspaces to allow members of the group to collaborate online.

Part of its aims would be to serve as a forum to promote best practice, as well as work with the Regional Centres of Excellence on areas which contribute to improving efficiency and customer service.

Senior representatives from government will also be invited to join the Group – including potentially the ODPM, the Cabinet Office e-Government Unit, the Government Connect project and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).

The group is understood to have no business case as yet, although plans are underway to present a formal bid for start-up financial support to the ODPM. Over the long-term, it is expected that it will be possibly funded through subscriptions.

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