TechnologyGovernment in new online drive

Government in new online drive

The government is pinning its hopes on a new initiative this spring to drive take-up of public services offered online, because efforts so far have failed to boost numbers.

The Office of the e-Envoy told Accountancy Age this week that as far fewer people than expected have used online government services, the next round of its emphasis will be to dramatically improve use.

‘The e-Envoy office is planning a major campaign in the spring to get people online. The Online Nation campaign will encourage people to try online services and if they already have, inform them about the wide range of things they can do online,’ said a spokeswoman.

Two-thirds of government services available online are information based, but between now and 2005 there will be more transaction based services which will increase use, according to the government.

A recent survey of 1,000 UK citizens found only 7% had contacted the local authority online over the year.

Mark Westaby, director at Portfolio Communications, which commissioned the survey, said a lack of understanding of the benefits of using the web to find information, pay bills and deal with local authorities could hold back e-government.

Westaby said e-envoy Andrew Pinder faces an uphill struggle in dealing with the slow take-up.

‘The government has a big job to do in education or the adoption of online services could take decades rather than a few years. If the government is investing £350m to put e-government in place it should put some money into informing people,’ he said.

The news came as the NHS signed a £168m deal with BT to link GPs and hospitals with broadband internet connections. According to the BBC, the high-speed network is part of the NHS modernisation programme, which includes booking patient appointments online, making patient records available to all healthcare staff and the electronic transfer of prescriptions.

A spokesman for BT Retail said the upgrade is one of the largest within the public sector. The aim is for doctors to take advantage of the network to perform online diagnoses using imaging or video-conferencing.

It could also mean smaller hospitals will be able to treat patients locally, using online experts to guide them.

A spokesman for the NHS Information Authority, which runs the NHS network, said the deal will mean a more streamlined health service. ‘NHS networking has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past year, demonstrating healthcare professionals are making the most of the modern communication tools to access and share information quickly,’ he said.

Related Articles

Is predictive analytics the end of the annual audit?

Audit Is predictive analytics the end of the annual audit?

5d Martin Herron, MHA MacIntyre Hudson
Cybersecurity webinar: how protected are you and your data?

Security Cybersecurity webinar: how protected are you and your data?

1w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Back to the Future: why financial transformation just hasn’t happened

Technology Back to the Future: why financial transformation just hasn’t happened

1w Workday | Sponsored
GDPR: Don’t forget the human touch

Security GDPR: Don’t forget the human touch

2w Neil Patrick, Director of GRC and Centre of Excellence EMEA for SAP
5 key tech innovations helping accountants transform their businesses

Accounting Software 5 key tech innovations helping accountants transform their businesses

3w Heather Darnell, Founder of Ask the BOSS
HMRC scaling back digital projects to ‘release project capability to EU Exit work’

Brexit HMRC scaling back digital projects to ‘release project capability to EU Exit work’

4w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
What is the role of governance, compliance, and control in financial transformation?

Corporate Governance What is the role of governance, compliance, and control in financial transformation?

1m Workday | Sponsored
Grant Thornton joins with Immersive Labs to increase cyber talent

Career Grant Thornton joins with Immersive Labs to increase cyber talent

1m Lucy Skoulding, Reporter