Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence


APPENDIX I

GOVERNMENT APPROACH TO IT—OFFICIAL COMMENT

1.  CUSTOMER FOCUS

"the electronic Government agenda must be driven by the needs and requirements of users, including those who cannot or choose not to use the new technologies".

  "making a service available electronically is no guarantee that anyone will wish to use it in that way . . . It is essential that the electronic Government agenda is driven by the needs and requirements of users, not by what Government officials assume these to be".

  Trade and Industry Select Committee, Electronic Commerce, August 1999

  "Government on the Web raises some salient possible problems for future social policy though. It will be very important to ensure that citizens (and very small firms) without Web access are treated equally and do not become disadvantages in their future dealings with agencies".

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 1, December 1999

  "there is clear potential for the skewed development of web access across social groups to lead to greater levels of social exclusion or to new forms of inequality".

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 1, December 1999

  "The end users must be identified before the project commences so that their needs are taken into account fully during design and development".

  Committee of Public Accounts, Report into Improving Delivery of Government IT Projects, pg v, November 1999

2.  GOVERNMENT IT PROJECTS—EXPERIENCE TO DATE

  There are "more than 25 cases from the 1990s where the implementation of IT systems has resulted in delay, confusion and inconvenience to the citizen and, in many cases, poor value for money to the taxpayer".

  Committee of Public Accounts, Report into Improving Delivery of Government IT Projects, pg v, November 1999

  "The Committee is very concerned at the number of Government IT projects that are not delivered on time or at all, are completed over budget, and either fail to match specifications or require significant changes before they are satisfactory".

  Committee of Public Accounts, Report into Improving Delivery of Government IT Projects, pg ix, November 1999

  "The electronic Government agenda is characterised by hyperbole, over-optimism and failure to learn from past mistakes" and the Committee notes "the need to tackle the current plague of failing projects". The Committee fears that some of the projects "ill-thought out, lacking in detail and not co-ordinated with existing initiatives".

  Trade and Industry Select Committee, Electronic Commerce, August 1999

  "Major changes in information and communication technologies (ICTs) require substantial and co-ordinated investments across programme and departments. And public officials have frequently learnt (and then relearnt) difficult and sometimes costly lessons in implementing ICT changes".

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 49, December 1999

3.  TARGETS AND MEASURES

  "A central element of the white paper chapter on `information age government' is an October 1997 pledge by the Prime Minister that 25 per cent of transactions between citizens and government should be capable for being conducted `electronically' within five years".

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 55, December 1999

  "Transactions are defined narrowly by CITU and the Cabinet Office as any two-way dealings between a Government Office and a citizen: one-way processes are excluded."

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 55, December 1999

  "It is difficult to understand why `Modernising Government' continues to define `electronic' as embracing systematic phone communication . . . the white paper's use of `electronic' is likely to become increasingly idiosyncratic and liable to misinterpretation".

  NAO Report, Government on the Web, pg 55, December 1999


 
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