Although there are good examples such as those
quoted by Ms Hewitt in the earlier evidence work still needs to
be done to develop more local online content.
UK online centres will be expected to offer
users opportunities to develop their own content in some form.
The DfEE approach is for local circumstances to determine the
content requirements of each centre. The overall content strategy
is that centres should be developed, organised and operated according
to the needs of the local community. The differences in social,
employment and cultural traditions, therefore, need to be reflected
in locally-developed solutions.
As most centres lack the necessary expertise
DfEE is in the process of developing a programme which will be
available from April to train centres' staff to evaluate online
content and share reviews with other centres. The programme will
also provide training and guidance to help them and users develop,
and promote, appropriate community content. Mechanisms will be
put in place to enable centres to source, develop and review appropriate
content to attract their client groups into using the Internet
and email through ICT.
Officials are also exploring potential links/partnerships
with media organisations such as local newspapers and/or radio
who already offer community DIY web sites, message boards etc
to facilitate the production of local content.
All UK online centres have access to an online
resource (website) offering them guidance on the setting up, staffing,
marketing and management of their centres and supporting users.
This resource will include a guide to recommend online content
and specific material to help centres attract and engage some
of the harder to reach key client groups eg black and ethnic minorities,
women, older people.
The Wired up Communities scheme is also helping
to develop local online content. The pilot scheme in Liverpool,
lunched in October 2000, features a community portal, with space
for local content. The phase two pilots, which are currently being
assessed prior to launch in late January, will also have their
own websites which will feature Government and local content.
The local content of these sites will be community driven.