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Monday, 3 April, 2000, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Whitehall drive for e-government

Tony Blair is looking to modernise the public sector
A personalised e-mail reminder to renew your car tax or television licence could be sent from the government in a new strategy to modernise Whitehall.

Ministers unveiled the next step in creating "e-government", which aims to bring the public sector into the 21st century through the use of e-business methods.

The government hopes technology will make public services more user friendly and more cost effective.

Portal access

By this summer, "e-government" should mean internet access to all local and central government services, operating via a single point of entry, or portal.

Plans are also in progress to make all government services available online by 2005 and the eventual aim is to open them to 24 hours a day access, seven days a week.

The government also wants to use "push technology", so it can send reminders about changes in services or important dates, such as receiving a personal e-mail when a television licence or car tax needs renewing.

Cabinet Office Minister Ian McCartney said: "The challenge for the public sector is to innovate and invest in e-business models to help meet growing expectations applied to government services.

"All citizens will benefit, even those who don't want to use new technology.

"By making internal processes more effective, front-line staff will be free to provide better services."

The government has already declared its intention to make the UK the best place in the world for e-commerce and it is attempting to keep the public sector up to speed with developments in the business world.

It also hopes to use new technology to tackle social exclusion, such as ensuring call centres employ staff who speak different languages in areas with large ethnic groups.

Alex Allan, the government's e-envoy, said: "We want the UK to be at the forefront of the new global economy.

"This strategy sets out how government can become an example by introducing new technologies to modernise the way it works and improve its performance."

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