PracticePeople In PracticeGovernment’s online drive under threat

Government's online drive under threat

Prime minister Tony Blair has so far failed to appoint a minister responsible for driving through plans to get the government online, following the recent cabinet reshuffle.

The failure to make an appointment following the transfer of Ian McCartney to the position of minister for pensions after the election, has raised doubts over the government’s ability to meet its self-imposed targets.

In his role as e-government minister prior to the election, McCartney had been responsible for ensuring all of government services were online by 2005.

The responsibility has since fallen on junior minister Christopher Leslie, a former aide to the chancellor, who only joined the Cabinet Office earlier this month, and who represented the UK at an e-government meeting held in Belgium.

However it is unclear whether Leslie will be handed the role.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office, said it was confident of meeting its targets. He added: ‘The role will be filled by a minister, but there is still a lot of work to be done behind the scenes in terms of working out ministers’ portfolios and the brief is ongoing.’

E-envoy Andrew Pinder, also responsible for much of the project, recently insisted the government must ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to implementing e-government.

Speaking at the recent GC2001 conference, Pinder emphasised the government’s commitment to bringing 100% of its transactions with citizens onto the internet in just three-and-half years’ time.

However, it has since been revealed fewer than half of UK councils will meet government targets to put their services online by 2005.

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Delays hit UK online target

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