United Kingdom Won't Meet E-Gov Goals, Report Says

United Kingdom Won't Meet E-Gov Goals, Report Says

The United Kingdom won't meet its goal of delivering all government services to citizens and businesses electronically by 2005, according to a recent report by Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

The Forrester study included 14 government departments and 45 contractors. Eighty-seven percent of interviewees said the UK government would fail in its electronic government mission.

The study found many government departments have clear visions of e-gov, but lack understanding of how to implement it effectively. Because of this, they are jeopardizing a potential saving of £3.7 billion ($5.4 billion) in the delivery of government services between 2001 and 2005, said Caroline Sceats, a Forrester analyst in London.

"It's one thing to communicate why e-government is so valuable," she said. "It's quite another to implement [it]."

Government departments must move away from a go-it-alone strategy, Sceats said. They must increase their efforts to work together, sharing information and eliminating duplication by building e-government systems together.

And instead of paying e-gov vendors up front, she said, departments should move toward transaction-based systems whereby vendors are paid with a share of user fees.

Procurement reform is also needed to speed the movement of government information and services online, Sceats said.

The current contracting process, which can take up to 18 months, favors big vendors with large financial resources, shutting out smaller, innovative companies that may be better suited to e-government initiatives, she said.

"Many of the IT projects tend to go to a very small group of very large vendors," Sceats said. "Those players are not necessarily the best players for Internet establishments."

"There is some opportunity in the market for experienced overseas vendors," she said.

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