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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 20:12 GMT 21:12 UK
UK 'to lead world in e-government'
man using the internet
More people will access government websites
The UK is poised to have the most advanced electronic government in the world, according to a report.

If predictions of a boom in internet use in the UK are fulfilled, the country will lead the way in e-government, says Deloitte Research.

Government website usage predictions by 2002
UK 41%
Canada 40%
Australia 34%
USA 31%
By the end of 2002, senior executives in UK government agencies expect 41% of clients to use the internet as their main point of contact.

The researchers said the public has found it easier, quicker and cheaper to buy goods, financial services and holidays on the internet, and expects to be able to do the same with services provided by government.

At present, only 8% of people use the internet to access government services, such as websites for the Inland Revenue or Department of Social Security.

Deloitte, a business research group, carried out a survey of 250 government agencies in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Their executives predicted a five-fold increase in the next two years.

'Greater expectations'

Electronic self-service options are currently in place or being implemented in 60% of UK Government agencies, compared with 53% in other leading web-using nations.

Deloitte's Richard Granger said that the switch to greater use of new technology reflects a public desire to be seen as customers of government services rather than citizens.

He said: "It is the customers that are driving the e-government explosion.

"Their expectations have been heightened as a result of experiences with private sector organisations such as online financial services, retailers and travel agents.

"As customers of these organisations, they are receiving one-stop shopping and more rapid service.

"Not surprisingly, as taxpayers, they are now demanding similar access to and speed of service from the government."

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