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ONLINE STRATEGY DEADLINES MET

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The majority of English and Welsh councils have met the DTLR deadline for producing a strategy for putting services...
The majority of English and Welsh councils have met the DTLR deadline for producing a strategy for putting services online by 2005.

As many as 94% managed to pull the stops out in the run-up to the 31 July deadline, despite only 35% completing a statement by the week beginning 9 July.

The 363 councils which produced a

statement are in line for a share of£300m funding for the financial years 2002/3 and 2003/4.

A DTLR spokeswoman said: 'The initial evidence is that the overwhelming majority of councils in England and Wales are on target to achieve the 2005 target for online services.

'What we need to do now is to go through the statements in detail so we can make our assessments by late September.'

The DTLR will work with the Improvement and Development Agency to assist the 25 councils yet to produce a statement, she added.

Kristine Ward, a consultant at Customer Contact Company which works with councils on strategy, said most councils had put time and effort into the strategies but added: 'I do have some concerns about the handful of statements that were clearly only written in the last few days before the deadline. These might be open to an early rejection.'

Local government IT consultant Mary Winterhausen said DTLR guidance had been quite detailed, and councils had to adjust ideas to fit the government's framework.

'Councils have put faith in the fact they will get funding without knowing the criteria,' she said. 'The consultation paper on implementing electronic government strategy suggests money would be allocated on a flat-rate basis regardless of council size, but we are not going to know until late September when many councils will already be well into budget planning.'

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