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Putting the "e-" into local government

Conference provides guidance and practical case studies

Over the past few years the concept of e-government has developed an apparently irresistible momentum. New government bodies, initiatives and officials have appeared at national level, and to some extent are being mirrored at local level too. Strategies, guidelines, conceptual models and working papers abound; projects are branded e-this, dot.that and @whatever. But behind the hope and the hype, is much actually happening?

A conference, "Putting the 'e-' into Local Government" in February sought to provide an answer to that. 

Initial scene-setting outlined the issues facing local government when moving service delivery and ways of working into the "Information Age", and a presentation from Toshiba provided a glimpse into the future technology which will provide increased opportunities for innovation.

At ground level, there are many examples of good practice developing and a number of these were featured. The conference divided the case studies into four themes: 

  • e-services

  • e-learning

  • e-work

  • e-inclusion.

Each theme provided two or more case studies of best/good practice, highlighting the issues, successes and the pitfalls.

Conclusions

Two messages came over clearly from the day

  • the inter-dependence of new ways of working and new electronic forms of service delivery - to maximise the benefits you need to tackle both

  • the only way to do it is to do it!

The case studies showed how a number of pioneering authorities are leading the way. With new technologies people only begin to understand the full potential and implications when something is up and running, or at least piloted.

So delegates left with clear encouragement to "go and do likewise"!

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