PUBLIC SECT0R: LG Communications boosts e-govt support

LG Communications - the trade body for council PROs - is to set up a support group to help authorities better deal with e-government.

The group's aim will be to focus on content, including the use of digital TV.

It is also hoped that a mentoring scheme can be set up so council PROs with e-government expertise can share their knowledge. This is seen as crucial as councils battle to meet e-delivery targets within the next three years.

Plans to set up the group were revealed this week in an LG Communications submission to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is consulting the industry before drawing up a national strategy for local e-government later this year.

The submission is also calling for government cash to help set up the group, which it says is crucial in halting the, 'uneven spread of knowledge and expertise' among councils.

LG Communications secretary Michael Baker said it is important that councils embrace the ideals of 'customer- focused' electronic output.

He cited the use of life episodes on the central government's UK Online service as a good example.

'This focuses successfully on the customer and what service is of best use at different points in their life, for example retirement or starting a family,' he said.

The LG Communications submission also calls for a future strategy to include an emphasis on integrated and multi-channel media, specifically better guidance on the use of digital TV.

Last month in another submission to the Government it backed plans in the draft Communications Bill to allow councils to hold broadcasting licences.

Meanwhile the House of Commons Information Committee is considering ways to help MPs' e-mail and website use. A report, which is likely to recommend training and the uptake of online tools to help MPs deal with e-mails, is set for release later this month.

Also later this summer parliament's website - www.parliament.uk - is to be updated. Committee clerk Kenneth Fox said the current website is 'very text heavy'.

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