Private firms blamed for holding up e-services

28 Jun 01
Councils at the vanguard of on-line service delivery have blamed the private sector's unwillingness to form close partnerships and their own uncertainties over procurement for the hesitant progress of pathfinder projects.

29 June 2001

The testimony of local government delegates at this week's Pathfinder Summit illustrated that growing discord over private sector involvement in public service provision has seeped into the e-government arena.

During the summit on June 26, many delegates spoke of their frustration in dealings with private sector partners. One told Public Finance: 'We had a meeting with a private company and they wouldn't contemplate taking any risk on board and didn't approach the project as a partner. They only wanted to give us a big sales pitch.'

Steve Gallagher, chief executive of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, summed up the mood: 'We need to get better at understanding how to act in terms of partnership, where the best buys are and how we share information about that. At the moment we don't understand where these things are working and how.'

Delegates bombarded the summit's panel with queries on the two main issues. Chair Valerie Shawcross, e-envoy for London, said: 'We need to work on procurement and the relationship with the private sector and recognise that they are the obstacles that stand in front of us.'

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions used the

event to launch its paper, Modern councils, modern services, access for all, which lays out a 'route map to the e.revolution'.


Did you enjoy this article?