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Four hundred local authorities are set to take part in a nationwide poll of e-government activity. ...
Four hundred local authorities are set to take part in a nationwide poll of e-government activity.

The survey, which will be conducted by MORI, has been commissioned by Wandsworth LBC as part of a government drive to get more planning and licensing services online.

Information from the research will be used to provide a road map for the Planning and Regulatory Services Online project which is being led by Wandsworth with funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

PARSOL is helping councils to extend the range of planning-related services which can be offered online. It will link up a host of currently separate disciplines including licensing, building control, trading standards and environmental health.

The aim is to bring together information which is currently available from a variety of sources including councils and government agencies in a way that is manageable for the public.

The move to a one-stop service will help anyone who wants to know what permissions are required for a building project or what controls apply to food premises.

Three councils - Wandsworth LBC, Salisbury DC and Harborough DC - are leading the development of detailed systems and specifications.

Wandsworth borough planner Ian Thompson is the PARSOL project chairman. He says that the survey is a vital first step to establishing just what can be achieved:

'Our job is to make online services take off throughout the country. To do this we need a clear picture of what councils are doing at the moment and what systems they are using.

'We will be working with ICT providers to ensure that a range of cost-effective hardware and software solutions are available which can be used by all the agencies involved.

'The survey will help us pilot the back office systems that have to be developed if the project's aims are to be achieved.

'By cutting a clear path through what is currently a maze of building and planning-related services we will have made huge s tep forward in making government more accessible.'

The PARSOL project is funded through a £4.5m grant from the ODPM. The three lead councils are working with 20 other local authority partners. Project members also include the Planning Portal, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Health and Safety Executive and the fire service.

First results from the MORI survey will be available in July. The project will complete in March 2004.

The government has said that all local council services should be capable of being delivered electronically by the end of 2005.

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