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POLL SHOWS LIVERPOOL ON TARGET TO BE UK'S NO.1 E-COUNCIL

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A survey by information technology experts - Kable - shows that Liverpool is set to be the country's most technolog...
A survey by information technology experts - Kable - shows that Liverpool is set to be the country's most technologically advanced city in the UK.

Liverpool City Council came third in a list of 168 local authorities which have invested millions in order to make all services available on-line by the government's 2005 deadline.

Liverpool's investment of£57m to bring about its e-government plans is far more than the national average of£14.9m for metropolitan councils. Only Croydon and Coventry, with£80m and£69m respectively, are planning to spend more on hi-tech products.

Liverpool's investment has come from a unique joint venture with BT - a deal valued at over£300m over ten years which will provide the technical assistance and the commercial cultural management needed to turn around services. The£57m investment would not have been possible without joining forces with BT.

No government money has been released to help local authorities upgrade council equipment in time for 2005 and the report by Kable shows a massive£1.78bn shortfall in spending requirements nationwide. However, Liverpool's new partnership with BT, called Liverpool Direct Ltd, marks a huge opportunity for the local authority to meet government targets - regarded as unthinkable just two years ago.

Liverpool City Council is now waiting to hear how much of a£350m government cash bounty it can expect to help implement its ambitious plans.

The investment will go towards expanding Liverpool Direct - the council's call centre and the city's one-stop shops. It will pave the way for access kiosks, internet development, smart-cards and electronic voting.

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Mike Storey, said: 'This survey shows we are leading the way in modernising our services electronically. It would be inconceivable just two years ago to think that we would be the third largest local authority investor in hi-tech services. Just imagine what we will be capable of in another two years time.

'But it is about more than money. We are determined to revolutionise local services with the help of the managerial and commercial expertise of BT and our Joint Venture Company - Liverpool Direct Ltd - will have a big part to play. These important changes will help us radically improve services, cut red-tape and put the customer at the heart of everything we do.'

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