e-envoy office is not delivering, says PAC

25 Apr 02
Senior backbencher Edward Leigh has slated the government for failing to develop systems for measuring the success of its e-government programme two years after pledging to do so.

26 April 2002

The chair of the Commons' Public Accounts Committee said he was frustrated that the Office of the e-Envoy still had not devised a way of working out cost-benefit analyses of e-government, nor designed data collection systems to measure service take-up.

The OEE, a unit within the Cabinet Office, is leading the drive to get 100% of government services on-line by 2005.

'My committee expects, with good reason, that its recommendations will be carried out by government,' Leigh said. 'The need for the OEE to collect and publish systematic information is… vital if that office is to assure Parliament that they are delivering value for money.'

Leigh made his comments as the National Audit Office published a report, Government on the web II, which showed that many of the recommendations made during its first investigation in 1999 have still not been implemented.

The report, published on April 25, levelled particular criticisms at the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. It says that the DTLR, which is responsible for overseeing

e-government among local authorities, has 'little information available about the existing state of development of local authority Internet-based services'.

Report author Professor Patrick Dunleavy, from the London School of Economics, also criticised Best Value Performance Indicator 157, which measures on-line council services. He said it would not illustrate improvements in service take-up or value for money.

Overall, the report showed that 66 out of 376 central government bodies still did not have a website, although most of these had few dealings with the public. It also found that many website search engines were of little use.

Dunleavy called on the OEE to 'move beyond campaigning for e-government towards a service delivery style with emphasis on implementation'.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the OEE welcomed the report. 'It makes a helpful contribution,' she added.


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