Tony Blair has “failed to grasp the importance of e-citizenship”, a left wing think tank claims today.
In a report, Demos says the Government’s efforts to promote e-government compare favourably with those of other countries: but it argues that Labour’s programme should be more imaginative, with greater emphasis on using new technology to reform the way government is conducted.
“We argue that the distinction between e-democracy, where information and communication technologies create new voting and decision making opportunities and e-government, where they improve the efficiency of public services, is false.” Says the report, Transformation Not Automation: the Challenge of e-government.
Last year Mr Blair announced that £1 billion would be spent promoting e-government, with services such as UKOnline designed to make it easier for people to communicate with Whitehall.
Demos says”The UK Government has so far failed to grasp the importance of e-citizenship. There seems to have been little thinking about how e-delivery might democratise the policy-making process”.
It argues that the steps already taken should be integrated into”a broader programme” to ensure they have a real impact.
“Without it, information and communication technologies could have the perverse effect of …undermining the legitimacy of government as a whole, because expectations will not be met.”
By Andrew Sparrow – Political Correspondent
eNews The Daily Telegraph 15 March 2001