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E-Envoy Suggests Rethink on Government E-Targets

eGov monitor

22 April 2003

Andrew Pinder, the e-Envoy, has reportedly indicated that the Government no longer intends to pursue vigorously its target to ensure that all public services are online by 2005.

In a rare interview, the e-Envoy suggested that the quality of services that were e-enabled would be the measure of success, and that the Government would be content if this meant that some were not brought online by the 2005 deadline. "What matters to me is that we get it right", the e-Envoy said. "If 90 per cent of services are achieved, we shouldn't worry about the last few." Pressed on whether this meant that the Government had downgraded its target, Mr Pinder would not be drawn, but commented: "People should prioritise - and what matters is getting sites really usable, and then altering their offering to match consumer demand. Lets go for the 80:20 rule."

Mr Pinder was then questioned on the accessibility of government websites, following the news revealed exclusively by eGov monitor Weekly, that the Office of the e-Envoy had found that hundreds will need to be redesigned to avoid falling foul of disability discrimination laws. "Our websites are far more accessible than the private sector's", the e-Envoy responded. "But we have a plethora of sites, some put up in a hurry, and people haven't always thought of accessibility." During the interview it was disclosed that the Government is developing another network of websites based around "life events", as currently provided by the UK Online citizen portal.

Asked why the Downing Street website did not provide an email address for the Prime Minister, Mr Pinder's press spokesperson was quoted as saying: "It all depends on how you define 'an email address'".

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