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Take-up key to efficiency and transformation

So you think that everything is going to be quiet in local authorities because we've done all the e-government stuff and the egov agenda is now ‘dead' and everyone is e-enabled?

Well, think again, says Peter Ryder, Socitm president, e-innovations programme manager at Preston and local t-gov editorial board member.

“We may well all have our services online,” says Ryder. “But the government sees that as merely the start of the journey to transform local government.

“To be blunt, they have given us the money to do e-government, now they are pulling it back under Gershon and transformation. They are looking at efficiencies and efficiency savings and driving take-up of the services already developed.”

Ryder believes that the current Take-up campaign is very successful, but doesn't go far enough: “The real problem for local authorities is not the people who are IT savvy, it's not the people who have got IT resources, it's not the people who have got the training and ability. It's the very opposite of that. It's the people who haven't got the skills, haven't got the training, haven't got the equipment, haven't got the ability - and those are the very people who probably need our services more than anyone else.”

“Take Up for these people is absolutely crucial and the Take Up Campaign I suspect doesn't really target them. Councils must take the outputs from this campaign and work with them to increase take-up locally.”

But more importantly, says Ryder, councils must work with strategic partners and the voluntary sector to transform service delivery and take them out to the community – starting with facilitated access at the grass roots level, delivering training and services in the heart of the community.

That, says Ryder, is the key to driving take-up of services: “Obviously you transform your services to make them as slick, as cost effective as possible, you do shared services where it's cost justified, you do a number of things to help make your services better, more effective, more efficient. But at the end of the day you've still got to get the take up of those services or you have achieved nothing.”