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EXTRA£9.5M FOR GOVERNMENT MODERNISATION

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A range of innovative partnership projects aimed at modernising government and improving access to public services ...
A range of innovative partnership projects aimed at modernising government and improving access to public services have been announced.

In addition, the minister for finance and public services announced an extra£9.5m under the second round of the Modernising Government Fund, bringing the total package to£39.5m over two years.

Attending a MGF showcase exhibition in Paisley, Mr Kerr was given first hand demonstrations of current projects supported by the fund. He also met front line staff who are using the new systems to deliver better services to their customers.

Mr Kerr said:

'I am delighted to announce details of the£39.5m Modernising Government Fund package including the additional£9.5m. The increased funding is in direct response to the innovative partnership approach taken to develop these projects throughout the public sector in Scotland. A significant amount of joint working will take place to deliver Scotland wide solutions to modernise public services for everyone.

'We must make the most of the economies of scale that can be delivered by joined up public services. It is very encouraging that all of the projects we will be supporting involve public organisations working together. To provide convenient services to young people and older people alike; to provide secure information sharing between health and social workers helping to prevent vulnerable people from falling through the system; to rationalise customer records that will remove needless form filling and cut down on unnecessary journeys to public offices and to use new technology to improve land and property management across Scotland.

'There is a high level of commitment among public sector bodies to modernisation and this funding reflects our recognition of that. The package of projects identified, satisfy not only our common national priorities but also the priorities that impact on local service delivery.

'It is this joining up of the public sector that will significantly enhance our capability to provide services that are convenient to the public and ensure that customers always remain the primary focus.

'I am totally committed to the improvement of our public services and these projects and the injection of new money, over the next two years, will help make that happen.'

Mr Kerr attended the MGF showcase exhibition, which was run alongside the Cosla Convention in Paisley. Ministers approved a funding package of£39.5m to support all of the projects - to be announced at the Cosla Convention on 6 Dec 2002.

In June 2000 details of£16m for MGF2 were announced in the Budget statement (£15m for 2002/03 and£1m for 2003/04). The fund is intended to encourage innovative ways of providing services that are responsive to the needs of the public and to deliver improvements in public services across a range of areas.

In addition to the original details of the Fund previously announced, on 6 February cabinet agreed to commit up to a further£15m for 2003-04, subject to review in the light of demand. This made the potential fund up to£30m over two years.

Demand on the fund was£49.5m. The bidders were encouraged to form partnerships, develop common projects and deliver some economies of scale and this reduced demand to£39.5m.

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