Partnerships share £350m e-funding

18 Oct 01
Local government minister Nick Raynsford indicated this week that a proportion of the £350m due to be allocated to councils to promote electronic government will be reserved for partnership schemes.

19 October 2001

Speaking in Ipswich at the annual conference of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, Raynsford stressed that councils would be encouraged to work together. 'We recognise that in some cases partnerships will require more resources than initiatives that depend just on one local authority,' he said.

The minister claimed that all councils would benefit from the three-year funding. It would be offered in three chunks: a level of support for all councils; assistance for national projects; and support for partnership working. 'We think this combination is the right way forward and hope to make an announcement in the near future,' he added.

Previously the government had announced only that the first year's allocation would be £25m and that this would be shared among 25 pathfinder projects. There had been concerns expressed that if this approach were to be repeated in the following two years, only the better performers would benefit.

E-envoy Andrew Pinder, who also addressed conference delegates, told Public Finance that the rationale for the funding allocation was to encourage all councils to submit high-quality Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) statements.

'We want particularly to help district councils because they tend to have fewer resources and to encourage joined-up working between authorities,' he said.

District councils had earlier come in for criticism from Raynsford who confirmed that they had shown the widest variation in the quality of their IEG statements. Overall, he said that 6% of authorities had so far submitted unsatisfactory statements and a further 30% had weaknesses.

  • At the conference, Pinder confirmed that 48% of government services were now available on-line. He reiterated that the e-government targets were aspirational and the goal was to get high-priority services on-line and to encourage greater take-up.


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