The government is planning to introduce new and aggressive targets for establishing its agency services electronically – but has denied its current targets were too soft. In a speech on Monday, recently appointed e-envoy Alex Allan said target dates set by the government to bring its agencies online could and would be brought forward. Speaking at the National Audit Office seminar, Government on the Web, Allan said it was important to keep applying pressure on agencies, including the Inland Revenue and Department of Trade and Industry, in a bid to keep ‘the agenda moving forward’. Current targets include agencies being capable of conducting one quarter of transactions between government and citizens electronically in 2002. Additionally, agencies will be able to conduct 50% of transactions online by 2005 and 100% of their transactions by 2008. But Allan said: ‘We have to get the Internet process adopted as soon as possible and that means applying pressure to people at the top of agencies to ensure this is made possible. ‘We have a lot of work to do but we will be looking to redefine the targets and bring them forward. The current targets are not too easy, but there has been a lot of hard work to get to where we are now.’ There were an estimated 17 million transactions between the government and the public last year, and that is estimated to rise to 75 million in 2002. Allan also stressed the need to improve the quality of government Web services, but did not comment on the amount taxpayers will save by sending their self-assessment returns electronically.
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