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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 28/08/2001
Implementing Electronic Government Statement



Further to the progress report submitted to the July 2001 meeting of the Executive Committee, this report seeks to:
inform the Executive Committee that a draft “Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) Statement” was submitted to the DTLR in time to meet its deadline of 31 July 2001;
present the IEG Statement for the Executive’s consideration and approval; and
propose the holding of an Awareness Seminar, for all members, on e-Government.
Members are reminded that the resource implications of implementing electronic government will be considered as part of the budget process and the submission of an IEG Statement to the DTLR provides an opportunity for the Council to receive government funding.

There are potential Environmental and “Opportunities for All” implications with respect to the implementing of electronic government. There are no Community Safety or Human Rights implications at this stage.
APPENDIX C

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 28TH AUGUST 2001

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Title:
IMPLEMENTING ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and Purpose

Further to the progress report submitted to the July 2001 meeting of the Executive Committee, this report seeks to:
inform the Executive Committee that a draft “Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) Statement” was submitted to the DTLR in time to meet its deadline of 31 July 2001;
present the IEG Statement for the Executive’s consideration and approval; and
propose the holding of an Awareness Seminar, for all members, on e-Government.
Members are reminded that the resource implications of implementing electronic government will be considered as part of the budget process and the submission of an IEG Statement to the DTLR provides an opportunity for the Council to receive government funding.

There are potential Environmental and “Opportunities for All” implications with respect to the implementing of electronic government. There are no Community Safety or Human Rights implications at this stage.

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Background

1. In its consultation paper “Delivering Local Government Online”, published in February 2001, the Government stated its commitment to promoting continuous improvement in local government services through electronic service delivery (ESD). In order to measure this continuous improvement it also defined a Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI 157) which requires Council’s to make 100% of those services capable of electronic delivery being available in that form by 2005.

2. As reported to the Executive Committee in July, the consultation paper also stated that the Government would be making funds available in 2002/03 and 2003/04 to support Councils in the introduction of electronic service delivery and that this would be allocated “on a broadly flat rate to all principal authorities of the order of 250,000 in each year as a contribution to the capital costs of setting up partnerships”.

3. The consultation paper specifically stipulated that Councils would only be considered for such funding if they had submitted an IEG Statement to the DTLR by 31 July 2001. Waverley Borough Council delivered its draft IEG Statement on 30 July 2001, a copy of which is attached at Annexe A.

The IEG Statement

4. The Government has stated its vision of 100% electronic delivery, by 2005, of local government services that are legally permissible for ESD. Its requirement of Councils to each produce an IEG Statement is three-fold:-
to set down its own vision for service delivery in 2005 and how this vision might be supported by the use of information and communications technology (ICT);
to report on where it is at present with respect to ESD; and
to set out the steps it would have to take in order to move from its current position to its vision in 2005.

5. The IEG Statement is, therefore, primarily a vehicle for the Council to state its vision for service delivery in 2005 and mapping out the way in which it might achieve it. It is not a commitment to the provision of financial resources but a means by which Waverley can demonstrate to the DTLR the level of investment that would be required to achieve the Government’s target of 100% electronic service delivery by 2005.

6. It, therefore, emphasises to the DTLR the importance of any Government funding being at the appropriate level and of the requisite type. To reinforce this point the Director of Finance has written to the Secretary of State for the DTLR, the Minister for Local Government, Rt Hon Virginia Bottomley MP and Mrs Sue Doughty MP stating Waverley’s requirement that central Government financial support for the delivery of e-Government should be:

Allocated equally amongst Local Authorities at a flat rate of 250,000 per annum; and
Given by way of capital grant and not by borrowing approvals, the latter being of no benefit to Waverley as a debt-free authority. 7. The form and content of the Council’s IEG Statement has been produced in accordance with the advice received from the DLTR and the IDeA. Members are reminded that, also, via its representation on the Surrey-wide “Information Age Champions” officer group, Waverley has been working in partnership with the other Districts and County in developing an over-arching joint IEG Statement. This forms Appendix 3 to Annexe A.

8. In its guidelines for preparing IEG Statements the DTLR emphasises the very strong inter-relationship between Best Value, Governance and e-Government, describing these as the core drivers of the wider Modernising Agenda. Due to the importance the Government places upon the implementation of e-Government this report recommends that an Awareness Seminar for all members be arranged for the autumn.

9. Members are advised that, during the next four months, the DTLR’s Modernising Team will liaise with each Local Authority to comment on the adequacy of their IEG Statement. In addition, District Audit will be considering each Authority’s arrangements and plans for:

Gaining commitment to e-Government and raising awareness;
Developing an e-Government Strategy;
Monitoring performance indicator (BVPI 157) targets; and
Ensuring security and confidentiality.

10. As reported to the July meeting of the Executive Committee, the Government recognised the short timescale that was imposed and has stated that, although ideally members should endorse the IEG Statement before submission, it was prepared to receive Statements prior to such endorsement being received subject to the IEG Statement including details of its status and a schedule for completion of consultation and member approval.

Resource/environmental implications

11. The resource implications of implementing electronic government will be considered as part of the budget process. The submission of an IEG Statement to the DTLR provides an opportunity for the Council to receive government funding of 250,000 in each of financial years 2002/3 and 2003/4.


12. The ability to undertake transactions electronically, thereby reducing the use of paper and transportation, suggests that the implementation of e-Government could have beneficial environmental implications.

“Opportunities for All”

13. The potential for electronic service delivery to reach isolated and vulnerable sectors of society means that the implementation of e-Government could support “opportunities for all”.

Conclusion

14. The draft “IEG Statement”, at Annexe A to this report, was submitted to the DTLR before the Government’s deadline of 31 July 2001. Members consideration and endorsement of the draft “IEG Statement” is now sought.

15. Due to the importance the Government places upon the implementation of e-Government it is proposed that an Awareness Seminar for all members be arranged for the autumn.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:-

1. the Executive Committee endorses the Council’s Implementing Electronic Government Statement; and

2. an Awareness Seminar, for all members of the Council, on implementing e-Government be arranged for the autumn.

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Background Papers

Letter to Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP, Secretary of State DTLR, dated 27 July 2001.
Letter to Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP, Minister for Local Government, dated 27 July 2001.
Letter to Rt Hon Virginia Bottomley MP, dated 27 July 2001.
Letter to Mrs S Doughty MP, dated 27 July 2001.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Lawrence Heath Telephone: 01483 869084
E-mail: lheath@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Richard Wood Telephone: 01483 869387
E-mail: rwood@waverley.gov.uk