Century Government Briefing No 15
WHAT IS IT?
21st Century Government is the Scottish Executive's strategy
for bringing about "modern" government in Scotland.
It comprises several related initiatives: the 21st Century Government
Action Plan, Information Age, Government Framework, and the
Modernising Government Fund.
All agencies of the Executive, including the NHSiS and local
authorities have reviewed their activities. The Executive has
set a target to ensure that of all services that can
be delivered electronically 10% are available by the
end of 2001 and 100% by the end of 2005.
Action Plan | Information
Age Government (IAG) | Modernising Govt Fund
| Action | Further Information
The 21st Century Government Action Plan was produced in December
2000. It sets targets across all of the Executive and its agencies,
and highlights four objectives:
- To work in partnership
- To be open and accountable
- To be inclusive
- To deliver on its commitments
Built into the objectives are 15 targets, setting out how the
various objectives can be delivered
The aim of the Government to streamline and improve service
delivery is admirable but there are several aspects of concern
for those who deliver the services.
Objective D states that 21s Century Government should deliver
on its commitments.
Under this objective, there are three targets. Two deal with
performance measurement/ indicators and target setting,
The most controversial section highlights the need for councils
to continue with Best Value, including "more flexibility
to trade and enter into joint ventures".
The Executive are also committed to continuing to support PPP's
"where they represent value for money". There are
clearly severe implications for our members in this section.
INFORMATION AGE GOVERNMENT (IAG)
A draft framework has been published which looks at the way
in which technology can be used to deliver public services,
using compatible systems (interoperability). The framework looks
at service delivery using a "life event", e.g. the
birth of a child, which can involve informing several agencies,
who often require similar information. IAG proposed one operation,
which focuses on the customer's needs, rather than those of
departments. It also proposed a Procurement Supervisory Board
to look at
savings in purchasing across agencies, using e-procurement.
All public bodies will need to review the skills required to
deliver IAG and identify gaps. Staff may need to be trained
on different aspects of "life events" than those they
The framework proposes removing legislative and policy barriers
to achieve its aims. Clearly there could be problems for staff
and branches must ensure that jobs are protected, terms and
conditions retained and proper training given.
MODERNISING GOVERNMENT FUND
Briefing No. 10, Shared Services outlined the Modernising
Government Fund's allocation of £26m to 36 projects which
use ICT to deliver services in new, more modern, ways, using
a range of methods including smartcards, shared services, call
centres, one-stop shops.
COSLA is pulling together projects from all local authorities,
working closely with the Executive to ensure delivery of IAG
across Scotland. All councils developed implementation plans
prior to 31 March 2001 and a forum was set up involving representatives
from each council. 29 councils received approval for projects.
Aberdeen Accordlink - a Smartcard project involving
Aberdeen City Council, with health and other agencies. Pilot
schemes were run in two Aberdeen schools, using a card for each
pupil to use for school meals and for access to library, sport
and leisure services, with further applications to follow, including
transport and shopping.
North Lanarkshire Direct involves Lanarkshire
Health, and other agencies. The project aims to redevelop information
systems around life events, using call centres and one-stop
Scottish Borders Council, East Lothian Council, Borders
College and Lothian & Borders Fire Brigade have set up an
e-procurement project, using a magnetic card based purchasing
In addition, there are projects involving specific council
services across the whole of Scotland. Two involving social
services tie in with the Regulation of Care Bill and another
involves the library service.
Some of the projects that received approval from the MGF involved
the NHSiS. These concerned joint projects with councils and
other bodies. Specific modernisation projects involving the
NHS relate to integrated patient records and the electronic
transmission of prescriptions from GPs to local pharmacists,
then on to the CSA, to streamline the prescriptions process
Unlike the NHS in England and Wales there are no plans to introduce
proposals for shared services within Scotland. This has however,
been considered in Scotland and concerns remain, that if implemented
in England and Wales, this will increase pressure to introduce
such proposals here.
Scottish Children's Reporters is looking at links to
local authorities to speed up case processing.
Scottish Enterprise has a current project to enable
business to be carried out with partners and customers using
Scottish Further Education has a website providing details
of services and courses and their e-strategy is currently under
Scottish Homes have developed an internet strategy for
use with housing allocation.
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has developed
an electronic register of its environmental permits, to make
their registers available online in due course.
Water Authorities Prior to merger proposals,
each of the three authorities were considering various online
The Water Industry Commissioner is currently receiving
some complaints electronically.
- Study the 21st Century Government Action Plan to find out
what is happening with your employer.
- Seek information on the likely consequences.
- Look at successful projects and the implications if adopted.
- Ensure terms and conditions are protected and adequate training
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