Select Committee on Public Administration Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Cabinet Office


  1.  This memorandum outlines developments in the Office of the e-Envoy since the publication of e-government: A strategic framework for public services in the Information Age in April 2000. Twelve copies of e-government have been sent to the Committee with this memorandum.


  2.  The September 1999 report from the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit, "" was the catalyst for the creation of the e-Envoy post. From the beginning it was envisaged that the e-Envoy would play a dual role, aiming to make the UK the best place in the world for e-commerce by 2002, and driving towards the goal of making all government services available electronically (initially by 2008, subsequently brought forward to 2005). To this latter end, the Central IT Unit was absorbed into the Office of the e-Envoy in October 2000—including its remit to carry forward the information age work arising from the Modernising Government White Paper.


  3.  The Office of the e-Envoy is divided in to three Groups: e-Commerce, e-Government and e-Communications. Ann Steward is the Director of the e-Government Group, which is tasked with making the UK Government a global exemplar in its use of the new technologies by:

    —  reviewing and developing the strategic framework for e-government;

    —  working closely with central and local government and the devolved administrations on the development and implementation of their e-business strategies;

    —  monitoring the Government's targets for electronic service availability, take-up and quality;

    —  setting technical standards for the government's online services;

    —  overseeing central IT projects, like the UK online portal and government gateway;

    —  reviewing the effectiveness of, and learning from, significant public sector IT projects.

  4.  It should be noted that the Office of the e-Envoy is working closely with the new Office of Government Commerce on the implementation of the last function. Copies of Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action, from which this function is derived, have been sent to the Committee with this memorandum.

  5.  It should also be noted that the Performance and Innovation Unit published a report entitled—Electronic Government Services for the 21st Century in September 2000. All the recommendations in this report have been accepted by the Government.

  They call for action by departments and agencies across the public sector. However, the e-Government Minister Ian McCartney, supported by the e-Government group, will be overall champion of the report's recommendations across Government.

  6.  Finally, the Knowledge Network project is owned and administered by the Centre for Management and Policy studies, although there is close co-operation with the e-Government Group's work on technical and data standards.

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