Consultation Document Intro & Guidelines  

London is a city of great contrasts,where high unemployment and social deprivation exist alongside great wealth and affluence.Poor housing,ill-health, lack of skills and poor training all add to the problems of social exclusion which many Londoners experience.Long years of under investment have taken their toll on the city ’s infrastructure and basic services and there are major initiatives underway to reverse this decline.

The public sector has a central role to play in restoring the social and economic fabric of the capital and in transforming the range and efficiency of its infrastructure and services.London boroughs, the GLA,health services and other agencies between them employ about one quarter of London ’s workforce and manage budgets worth more than £18 billion a year.

New technology has already brought about many changes in the way in which we organise our lives and work,and is now being increasingly deployed in the public sector in order to meet customers needs and deliver better services. However,the use of e-Government services in the UK trails behind many European countries,both in relation to information access,and for full transactional use.The Government has recognised the importance of addressing this, and has set ambitious targets for having all public services available on- line by 2005.

This technology-enabled transformation of our public services is an essential factor in ensuring London sustains its current pre-eminent position as the major driving force in the national economy, and as Europe ’s prime e-business location. LondonConnects,which has been established to support this aim,believes that the Government targets can be met, and that technology can make a real contribution to the transformation of our public services.

An ambitious and challenging programme is being proposed to co-ordinate the expansion and use of new technology to improve public services for everyone

The programme will be developed to support four key objectives.

  • To provide a unified e-face for London ’s public services by putting in place a regional infrastructure and services
  • To promote and support collaborative working so that the many examples of excellent practice which already exist locally can be taken up more widely across the public sector
  • To ensure the benefits of technology are available to all by initially supporting research into technology access and impact,and then acting on the conclusions
  • To use technology to encourage public participation in democratic processes by assessing the impact of the many experiments now taking place, and then actively promoting the success stories.
 

To secure these objectives LondonConnects is proposing a practical programme of work and research which will:

  • Establish a London Portal , providing an entry-point to all public and voluntary services in the capital,and act as a stimulus for collaborative, multi-agency,working.
  • Develop a business case for Government funding which will enable the portal to be public sector led,with delivery and support provided by the private sector.
  • Discuss with the LDA and London First and London Tourist Board whether Londonline.gov.uk could host additional web-based services for both business and visitors to the City.
  • Put in place a management framework which ensures close linkage with those involved in London ‘Pathfinder ’ portal work as well those responsible for other capital-wide service portals, and with the LondonConnects partner organisations.
  • Explore the possibility of partnering with the London Grid for Learning network (LGfL)to provide a London Public Services Network which would have the advantages of a private network,including controllable costs for usage and additional capacity.
  • Explore the implications of developing a Londonwide smart-card, in order to provide ready access to a wide range of public services.
  • Develop a programme,overseen by the LondonConnects Steering Group, based on opportunities for inter-sector partnership working around e-Government.
  • Support and promote the establishment of ‘shareware’ clubs, which bring together organisations and agencies with an interest in a single e-Government project.
  • Review the existing Pathfinder projects to promote their wider take-up across the capital, and examine the existing e-Government strategies of the LondonConnects partner organisations to assess the potential for further collaborative working, and opportunities for further central
    Government funding.
  • Carry out a study into community websites in London in order to explore the potential for spreading good practice, and opening up funding opportunities to support local communities in their e-endeavours
  • Develop criteria to identify successful e-democracy projects and organise a policy workshop during the consultation period that will make e-democracy the key theme for the planned Spring 2002 London e-Government conference.
  • Ensure LondonConnects website supports those responsible for the management and delivery of e-Government in London through a comprehensive information base, including strategic e-projects, details of e-funding sources in the UK and EC,discussion forums and a comprehensive e-index.
  • Undertake an annual review of e-government activity in London which will help inform future strategic direction.This will be available on the LondonConnects website; and provide the basis for the annual London e-Government Conference.
  • Work with the LDA on e-skills needs generally,and specifically to develop an e-literacy framework for staff in London ’s public services, based on the European Computer Driving License (ECDL).
  • Assess the effectiveness of current IT management skills training,and see whether there is potential for greater collaboration in the development and running of common training programmes in key IT-skills areas.

Conclusion

LondonConnects believes that by 2005 Londoners should enjoy the benefits of having:

  • One of the most advanced,integrated transport ticketing services in the world, together with state of the art, multi-channel,transport and travel information.
  • A London Portal that provides quick and easy online access to local, regional and centrally administered public services.The portal will be underpinned by common city-wide standards for authentication and payment.
  • Major initiatives to address the so-called ‘digital divide ’ in London both in terms of access and affordability of services as well as basic e-skills, and with every Londoner having ready accessibility to a public access point connecting to London ’s e-services.
  • Broadband penetration to the home will be increasing rapidly and all new build developments will be e-enabled during construction.