- What are the National Projects?
- Why is the ODPM funding these projects?
- Where do the National Projects fit within local e-government?
- How can these projects/products help me?
- I don't know where to start - there are so many projects and products - can you help?
- What are these events I've heard about? Can I talk to all of the projects in one place?
- Who is involved in this Programme?
- How will these Projects help local authorities?
- What have the National Projects developed?
- Which local e-government services are citizens now benefiting from?
Initiated by the ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister), the local e-gov National Projects are a key part of the strategy for local e-Government. They offer councils cost-effective, proven, standards-based products, services and implementation roadmaps with which to build effective e-services tailored to their citizens and each council's own needs.
The 22 National Projects have been created to help local authorities deliver local e-government by December 2005 – meeting the Priority Outcome requirements and helping them to respond to the recommendations of the Efficiency Review. Although the funding comes from the ODPM, the National Projects are run by local authorities and for the benefit of other local authorities.
These Projects are focused on two distinct areas:
- Exploration of technology-based solutions that form the building blocks for developing local e-government. These have been set up in areas within local authorities that can help accelerate the progress of local e-government, such as information and knowledge management, CRM and e-payments.
- Application of technology to improve services and achieve savings in line with Priority Service areas.
The ODPM is funding these projects to assist local authorities improve services and meet the 2005 local e-Government ESD (Electronic Service Delivery) targets (measured by BVPI 157) and Priority Outcome requirements.
These projects will also have a direct impact on local authorities' endeavours to meet the efficiency and effectiveness agenda by simplifying and improving back office efficiency and delivering real cost savings, while maintaining and improving service delivery.
- 25 Pathfinders were created to test innovative ways of delivering e-enabled services.
- 22 National Projects were funded with £80m to take forward Pathfinder and other effective products to provide common solutions for all local authorities to reduce costs, uncertainty and implementation time.
- Over 100 Partnerships have also been created. Ninety nine percent of English local authorities are now part of at least one e-government partnership aimed at providing joined up service delivery and economies of scale.
Many of the projects have completed their Phase One development stage. This means that their experience, guidance, products and implementation guidelines are available today for implementation in your authority in time to meet the 2005 deadline and Priority Outcome requirements.
Those projects that have not yet completed Phase One are due to do so imminently – and still in time to help meet 2005 e-targets. The National Project Programme website will be constantly updated to reflect real-time project progress.
As part of the Programme, an advisory and support system has been set up to assist authorities to access and use the products. There is already a National Projects Information Phone Line (tel: 0870 777 0011) that will direct any such queries to the relevant people.
The National Projects Directory lists the aims, achievements and outputs of each individual project.
The hands-on experience sharing workshops for English local authorities run in November 2004 were based on the outputs from the 22 National Projects - which aim to help councils improve services, deliver value for money, increase efficiency and foster the creation of sustainable communities.
The workshops, which took place around the regions in England, focussed on how each of the projects can help councils develop business cases, select suppliers and implement systems to help deliver service improvements. The sessions were aimed at senior (practitioner level) officers across a local authority involved in delivering local e-Government. This first series of workshops has been a resounding success with more than 1,800 local authority delegates attending over 2,500 workshop sessions.
The next series of these Experience Sharing Workshops will take place in February and March 2005.
In addition local e-gov EXPO, a series of five, regional conferences and exhibitions are taking place in January 2005 in Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol and London in April 2005. These events will showcase the benefits of the National Projects and provide a platform for local authorities to share their experiences.
Over 80 percent of all English councils are involved in at least one National Project. As the Programme is run by local authorities for local authorities many city, metropolitan, district and county councils are involved in delivering one or more National Projects. The Programme has also worked with a range of private sector suppliers from blue chip organisations to niche, specialist technology companies and consultancies to help deliver and assist in the ongoing development of a number of the National Projects.
Over half of the National Projects have completed their (initial) development stage. This means that their experience, guidance, products and implementation guidelines are available today for implementation in local authorities in time to meet the 2005 ESD and Priority Outcome targets. The remaining National Projects are still in the development stage and will be progressing their work further.
During the course of the Programme, the National Projects have developed a range of tools that include best practice advice, implementation guidelines, common standards and, in some instance, software products designed specifically for local authority use.
A number of National Projects are already delivering services to citizens (via the local authority implementing the service). They include:
- Macclesfield Borough Council is using the PARSOL National Project to offer its citizens the submission of planning applications online.
- Westminster City Council is using Project Nomad to help monitor and reduce noise levels in Soho.
- Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is using the CRM National Project to deliver savings in excess of £150,000 pa by building a CRM solution in its Benefits & Revenues and Council-wide bookings services.
- London Borough of Sutton has equipped its financial assessment team with tablet PCs to write up home-based interviews. The system calculates the contribution the client needs to make to their care package and automatically generates and prints an assessment letter on the spot. This has led to a 30% increase in productivity and the time take to make an assessment has reduced from 4-5 months to 1 week.
- The North London Strategic alliance, with the help of Project Nomad, is using a GIS solution to enable borough officials (enforcement officers, neighbourhood wardens, police, etc) to report crime, location and incident details in real-time. The solution uses PDA handhelds, with GPS to locate the incident co-ordinates via satellite and GPRS to send and receive data via a mobile carrier.
- London Borough of Newham handles 1.5m transactions pa and the customer-tracking database has enabled decisions to be made based on newly available management information.