The Government is briefing agencies about a Cabinet initiative, UK
Online, that aims to bring the whole country into the internet age.
UK Online’s two main objectives are to promote a proposed network of
learning centres as well as a Government portal.
Free learning centres will be located all over the country at different
public facilities, including leisure centres. Private-public
partnerships will be used to develop the concept, so that customers will
be able to familiarise themselves with the internet for the cost of a
cut-price phone call.
The Government portal will develop over time into a centre of
information about all its activities. It will also have practical
applications and you should eventually be able to apply for official
documents such as a passport or driving licence online.
Tax returns are also scheduled for inclusion in the portal. By typing in
your name and address, you will be able to view your tax status and
complete your tax returns online.
Tony Blair’s New Labour has been widely perceived as slow off the mark
in formulating any attempt to bring the country into the digital
However, Blair recently promised to deliver 452 public services
electronically by 2005, a date that was brought forward in April from
2008. More than one third - 152 - of those services are already online.
These include the National Statistics site, Companies House and Ordnance
It is thought that three COI Communications roster agencies have been
shortlisted for the initiative. However, the brief will come from the
Cabinet Office because of the complexity of the task. The drive demands
input from a whole host of government departments, including the
Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Education.
The Government is looking for an integrated approach to this long-term
campaign. All the advertising agencies involved will pitch alongside
direct marketing and public relations specialists.
The budget for the campaign has not been disclosed, but given the size
and duration of the drive, New Labour is expected to invest a
substantial sum in marketing the initiative.
This article was first published on Campaign