Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex C


  Although there are good examples such as those quoted by Ms Hewitt in the earlier evidence work still needs to be done to develop more local online content.

  UK online centres will be expected to offer users opportunities to develop their own content in some form. The DfEE approach is for local circumstances to determine the content requirements of each centre. The overall content strategy is that centres should be developed, organised and operated according to the needs of the local community. The differences in social, employment and cultural traditions, therefore, need to be reflected in locally-developed solutions.

  As most centres lack the necessary expertise DfEE is in the process of developing a programme which will be available from April to train centres' staff to evaluate online content and share reviews with other centres. The programme will also provide training and guidance to help them and users develop, and promote, appropriate community content. Mechanisms will be put in place to enable centres to source, develop and review appropriate content to attract their client groups into using the Internet and email through ICT.

  Officials are also exploring potential links/partnerships with media organisations such as local newspapers and/or radio who already offer community DIY web sites, message boards etc to facilitate the production of local content.

  All UK online centres have access to an online resource (website) offering them guidance on the setting up, staffing, marketing and management of their centres and supporting users. This resource will include a guide to recommend online content and specific material to help centres attract and engage some of the harder to reach key client groups eg black and ethnic minorities, women, older people.

  The Wired up Communities scheme is also helping to develop local online content. The pilot scheme in Liverpool, lunched in October 2000, features a community portal, with space for local content. The phase two pilots, which are currently being assessed prior to launch in late January, will also have their own websites which will feature Government and local content. The local content of these sites will be community driven.

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