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					                                                             IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002




Writing a Business Report
This example of writing a Business Report has been provided by the authors. They point
out that the report does not have specific sections on ‘terms of reference’ and ‘the scope of
the report’ as these were agreed in advance.




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                   IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002




A REPORT ON THE EVALUATION OF
DRAFT IMPLEMENTING ELECTRONIC
LOCAL GOVERNMENT (IEG)
STATEMENTS




Final Version
July 2002




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                                                   IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


                                   Authors
                             Paul Beynon-Davies
                             Michael D. Williams




Contact Details:
European Business Management School
University of Wales Swansea
Singleton Park
Swansea
SA2 8PP

Fax:      01792-295626
E-mail:   p.beynon-davies@swansea.ac.uk
          m.d.williams@swansea.ac.uk




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                                                   IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002




Contents
1. Management Summary                                                      1
2. Introduction                                                            3
3. Context                                                                 3
    3.1 The Local Government Context                                       3
    3.2 Implementing Electronic Local Government                           5
4. Conduct of the Evaluation                                               6
    4.1 Evaluation Framework                                               6
    4.2 Evaluation Process                                                 9
5. Analysis of Statements against the Framework                           10
    5.1 Informatics Planning                                              11
    5.2 Informatics Management                                            11
    5.3 Informatics Development                                           11
    5.4 The Customer Chain                                                12
    5.5 The Internal Value Chain                                          12
    5.6 The Supply Chain                                                  12
    5.7 The Community Chain                                               12
6 Discussion                                                              12
   6.1 Current Positioning of Welsh Authorities                           13
   6.2 Instances of Good Practice                                         13
   6.3 Areas of Concern                                                   14
   6.4 Opportunities                                                      15
   6.5 Key Recommendations                                                16
7. Conclusions                                                            16
References                                                                17
Appendices
  A Abbreviations and Acronyms Used                                       18
  B Glossary of Terms                                                     19




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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002



1. Management Summary
During the period April – July 2002, members of the Information Systems Group at the
European Business Management School of the University of Wales Swansea conducted an
evaluation of the draft Implementing Electronic Local Government (IEG) statements of all
22 unitary authorities in Wales. The statement for each authority was evaluated against
seven major themes. Three of these themes related to the social infrastructure necessary
for the effective implementation of IEG. Four themes related to cross-cutting sets of
processes within local government that are amenable to re-structuring with the help of
information and communications technology (ICT). The key conclusions of the
investigation are as follows:

1.1 Informatics Planning
Most authorities make some connection between their electronic government (e-
government) strategy and aspects of their modernisation agenda. However, this is rarely
elaborated in detail within the statements. There is surprisingly little evidence within the
statements of re-engineering of current processes. Given the general view that e-
government change represents organisational change, there is little evidence of process
mapping and re-design apart from the general consideration of the customer interface.
Most authorities have attempted an initial cost/benefit analysis and have reached the
conclusion that no cost savings are likely in the short term. Hence, most authorities believe
that the benefits of e-government are primarily intangible. The majority of authorities have
conducted some form of risk assessment and as a result, identify resourcing, culture
change and low-uptake of electronic services as priority issues to be addressed.

1.2 Informatics Management
A significant proportion of authorities have appointed the Council Leader and the Chief
Executive as authority e-champions. However, there is a variable level of support for the
e-government agenda among elected members of authorities. Some authorities have
created specific internal structures to implement the electronic agenda. Most authorities
are in the early stages of benchmarking their electronic service delivery (ESD) and those
that have completed this exercise place their existing level of ESD in the lower quartile.

1.3 Informatics Development
Most authorities have created development plans that have evolved from their existing
informatics infrastructure. Some authorities have aspired to consider more radical and
aspirational solutions for the longer-term future. Resourcing is seen as a key issue by most
authorities. Estimates from authorities regarding the investment required for the Welsh
region to fully implement the electronic local government agenda range from £20M to
£200M. One important issue that is generally poorly addressed within IEG statements is
the degree to which authorities believe they have the sufficient internal skills-base
required to implement this agenda effectively.

1.4 The Customer Chain
Much of the planning within authorities appears to be devoted to enhancing the customer
chain. Most authorities express the wish to re-engineer access to government services
using multiple access contact centres supported by sophisticated customer relationship
management systems. However, resourcing of this innovation is seen as particularly
difficult for smaller authorities. Most authority Web-sites are currently defined as content


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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


or content-plus, though the aspiration is for fully transactional Web-sites. Only some
authorities are using such technologies to facilitate interaction between, for instance,
councillor and citizen.

1.5 The Internal Value Chain
The enablement of the internal value chains of authorities appears to be much more
advanced than the enablement of the customer and supply chains. Most authorities appear
to be using basic technologies such as electronic mail to good effect internally, many have
intranets, and many have upgraded their internal communications infrastructure. However,
the use of technologies such as content, document and knowledge management is variable.
There is also little description of the integration of back-end systems within the IEG
statements.

1.6 The Supply Chain
The processes associated with the supply chains of local authorities are currently the least
enabled, with few authorities appearing to have a clear strategy for electronic procurement
(e-procurement). Most do not seem to be using extranets in any serious way, and tele-
working, though generally supported, is being piloted by only a minority.

1.7 The Community Chain
The issue of the electronic community (e-community) is treated differently amongst
authorities. A minority orient their e-government strategy around the key idea of
partnerships with the community. In such authorities the e-community strategy is the e-
government strategy. In the majority of authorities, e-community is placed as one but not
the only issue on the e-government agenda. Most authorities have consulted on ESD and
as a result, predict low uptake of such services in the short to medium term.

1.8 Good Practice, Areas of Concern, and Opportunities for Progress
There are a number of instances of good practice in each of the areas highlighted in this
report. There are also a number of key areas of concern, particularly located around the
sustainability of resourcing for the e-government agenda. Our evaluation has also
highlighted a number of opportunities for enabling the process of implementing e-
government in Wales. Important opportunities exist for aggregating services, standards
and systems at national level, which if effectively coordinated are likely to provide
tangible benefits for local government in Wales.




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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002



2. Introduction
As part of the process of implementing e-government in Wales, the Welsh Assembly
Government (WAG) commissioned an evaluation of the draft Implementing Electronic
Government (IEG) statements of all 22 Welsh unitary authorities. Key members of the
Information Systems group from the European Business Management School at the
University of Wales Swansea were awarded the contract for this evaluation due to:
      the need for the evaluation to be conducted by an independent body
      the expertise of these members in the information systems field and their
       experience of evaluation in the ICT domain
      the perceived synergy with the group’s role as evaluators of the national ICT
       strategy for Wales – Cymru Ar-lein.
The key aims of the evaluation of IEG statements are to:
      identify common themes in electronic local government (ELG) in Wales
      assess the readiness of authorities in terms of the establishment of targets for IEG
      inform the development of national strategy in the area of ELG and its integration
       with the Information Age Strategy for Wales – Cymru Ar-leininput into the
       development of national targets for ELG
      input into the production of guidance for the drafting of future IEG statements.
The structure of this report is as follows. Firstly, we examine the context for the ELG
agenda. Secondly, we describe the conduct of the evaluation. Thirdly, we discuss major
elements of the analysis of the IEG statements. Finally we identify areas of good practice,
issues of concern, key opportunities for moving the ELG agenda forward and key
recommendations for action.

3. Context
In this section we describe the local government context in general and the electronic local
government context in particular.

3.1 The Local Government Context
In Wales, the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 abolished all the county and district
councils from the 1st April 1996 and replaced them with a single-tier system of unitary
councils. The old structure of eight county councils and 37 Welsh district councils was
replaced by a unitary structure of 22 councils. Unitary authorities are responsible for a
wide range of services including education, environmental health, planning, housing,
personal social services, waste management and disposal, highways, libraries, recreation,
cemeteries and crematoria. Authorities also assume some overseeing function in relation
to the fire and police services. National Parks are also constituted as local authorities in
Wales, but do not form part of this particular evaluation.
Local authorities have both a democratically elected set of council members and a
permanent administration of officers (New-Media 1998). The councils exercise decision-
making powers only. Local authorities in Wales are encouraged to operate a cabinet-style
of governance structure under a programme to increase the accountability of decision-
making. In association with this, members of council cabinets are beginning to manage



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                                                           IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


cross-cutting portfolios. This replaces the older-style system of members and officers with
direct departmental responsibility and reporting directly to central government.
In terms of officer structure, a head of permanent administration (frequently termed the
chief executive) is responsible for day-to-day implementation of policy decisions made by
council. In line with changes in the democratic arrangements, a flatter organisation
structure is now being introduced into many authorities with cross-cutting responsibilities
for officers emulating the cross-cutting nature of cabinet local government.
An array of initiatives - collectively known as the local government modernisation agenda
- has been launched by the Government since 1997. This can be viewed as an attempt to
transform the structures and performance of local authorities across the UK. The expressed
aims are to improve local service delivery, enhance community governance, and increase
public confidence in local government.
The WAG has approached this modernisation agenda in a different way to the approach
adopted in England. In Wales the development of policies associated with the wider
modernisation agenda has been undertaken in direct consultation with the wide range of
partner organisations with an interest in the delivery of high-quality public services.
Three main streams of legislation underpin this modernisation agenda (Martin 2002):
      The Local Government Act (1999) which introduced the Best Value regime in
       England and Wales, thereby shifting the emphasis from one of compulsory
       competitive tendering to a more flexible requirement on local authorities to achieve
       continuous improvement. In response to acknowledged difficulties associated with
       implementing the Best Value regime, the Partnership Council endorsed a new
       approach to implementing best value legislation – the Wales Programme for
       Improvement. The Wales Programme for Improvement is in effect, a contract
       between the Welsh Assembly Government and Welsh local government,
       promoting partnership and collaboration by providing local authorities with the
       opportunity to assess their capacity to deliver improved services, assessing risk
       with a view to focusing support on those areas most in need of help, and asking
       themselves whether they could provide better services by exploring different
       service delivery options (Welsh Assembly Government, 2002).
      A second Local Government Act in 2000 which granted local authorities new
       powers to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their
       local communities. It also required them to develop community strategies and new
       operating structures, although a key aspect as identified by the Partnership Council
       (2001) was to take existing local structures and make them work better.
      A policy statement published in 2001 discussed inter alia, partial reform of the
       local government finance regime, a reduction in the number of statutory plans that
       authorities must prepare for central government and the requirement to develop a
       more differentiated framework of regulation of, and a more robust structure of
       performance management for, the activities of local councils.
The main aim of the modernisation agenda is the improvement of quality of life of local
people. To do this local authorities must provide:
      High quality local public services. Under the service improvement objective, WAG
       has introduced a number of initiatives since 1997 – including the Best Value
       regime (the Wales Programme for Improvement), policy agreements and the
       preparation of IEG strategies.


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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


      Effective vision and leadership to the community. This is particularly evident in
       the requirement for local authorities to develop community strategies with the
       express aim of improving the quality of life of its citizens.
      Engagement with local people and inspire public confidence. There are key
       pressures on local authorities to establish a clearer user or customer focus and to
       consult regularly with local people about the design and delivery of local services.
Martin (2002) argues that nationally, the modernisation agenda is the result of the
deployment of a number of levers of change in this sector:
      Markets. authorities are under pressure to improve performance through market
       testing, contracting out services, comparing performance with other providers and
       engaging in partnerships and projects with the private sector.
      Managers. There has been key emphasis on the importance of strategic
       management for local government and the introduction of rational planning
       processes.
      Monitors. There is an important role for external review and inspection within
       local government. For instance, authorities are expected to establish key service
       delivery targets against which their performance will be assessed to see if
       continuous improvement is being achieved. The Wales Programme for
       Improvement acknowledges the need for robust external regulation, but where the
       emphasis very much placed on support for improvement.

3.2 Implementing Electronic Local Government
The national context of the wider e-government agenda must be acknowledged, providing
as it does, a framework for progress in Wales. However, it must be recognised that WAG
and its partners are developing a strategy that responds to the particular requirements of
Wales.
There are clear connections between the expressed aims of the modernisation agenda and
that of the e-government agenda. For instance, within a proposed national strategy for
ELG in England, the term electronic government has been recently defined as exploiting
the power of information and communications technology to help transform the
accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of public services, and to help revitalise the
relationship between customers and citizens and public bodies who work on their behalf
(Local-Government-Association 2002).
The UK Prime Minister announced in 1997 that by 2002, 25% of dealings with
government should be able to be carried out by the public electronically. These targets
were later revised in the Modernising Government White Paper. The UK government has
now set a target that by 2005, all (100%) government services that can be delivered
electronically will be delivered electronically. The Audit Commission’s e-government
project is monitoring the progress local government is making toward this target. The
2005 target only applies in England. No similar targets exist for Wales, Scotland or
Northern Ireland.
The UK statement on e-government establishes four guiding principles:
      Building services around citizen’s choices
      Making government and its services more accessible



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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


      Social Inclusion
      Using information better.
The first phase of an Audit Commission e-government project involved a consultation
exercise in May 2001 with key stakeholder groups in Local Government. As a result of
this exercise, local councils in England were invited to submit an IEG statement to the
DTLR (Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions) by 31st July 2001.
IEG statements were designed to set out the actions councils intend to take to meet the
2005 deadline. In effect such statements are meant to provide a strategy for the e-
government agenda within each authority.
The findings of the consultation were presented at a workshop in December 2001, and in a
report in March 2002. The report includes details of a commissioned survey. One main
finding is that while councils agree that e-government demands fundamental change,
many projects do not question existing ways of delivering services. It is perhaps not
surprising to find that 30% of ELG projects are focused on Web-sites. However, most
such sites provide only information about services and do not currently allow the customer
either to interact with the authority or engage in transactions such as paying council tax
on-line.
In the spending review of 2000, the UK central government allocated £350M to enable
councils to meet its 2005 deadline. Based on the IEG statements, £25M was allocated in
2001/2 to support so-called pathfinder projects – key piloting of innovative technologies
such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems in selected authorities. The
balance is to be allocated over two years to 398 Councils throughout the UK who had their
IEG statements rated satisfactory.
In Wales, the WAG and Welsh local government share a common vision that e-
government can join up government services and bring about a transformation in service
delivery (Welsh Assembly Government, 2002). The WAG agreed with local authority
partners in July 2001 to invite each local authority to submit, on a pilot basis, a draft IEG
statement by the deadline of 31st March 2002. They also provided guidance on what these
statements might include. The final version of each statement (including targets) is
required by 31st March 2003. In the interim period the statements will be evaluated and
best practice fed back to the local authorities in Wales.
In Wales there are a number of subtle differences with the approach taken in England.
Most such differences stem from the fact that in Wales, non-hypothecation of funding to
local authorities is the norm. Hence, funding for e-government is not ring-fenced by the
WAG, although, the WAG has issued supplementary credit approvals to authorities for e-
government purposes (£9.7M. over two years). Consequently the Welsh ELG agenda is
founded in the expectation of local negotiation of targets rather than nationally stipulated
arrangements, and the evaluation of ELG strategies is not linked to issues of funding.

4. Conduct of the Evaluation
In this section we describe the structure of the evaluation framework employed and the
process by which the evaluation was conducted.

4.1 Evaluation Framework
The evaluation team conducted a review of the evaluation exercise undertaken in England
during 2001. Due to the different context in Wales and the perceived difficulties in
operationalising some of the key criteria used within this exercise, it was considered


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                                                                         IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


important to construct a more focused and supportive evaluative framework. The
significant elements of this framework are presented in this section.
Figure 1 illustrates the context for ELG. The primary message being promoted is that ICT
is an enabler for organisational change focused around the re-design of service delivery to
key stakeholders – customers, suppliers and employees. Hence ICT is seen to offer the
potential for more effective and efficient delivery of value along supply, customer and
internal value-chains (Porter 1985).


                                   Internal Value Chain                                      E-Community

                                         Local
                       Supply         Government           Customer
      Supplier         Chain          Organisation          Chain            Customer

                     Services/                             Services/
                    Transactions                          Transactions




                                                  Informatics
                                                 Infrastructure
                         Social                                                  Technical

                       Planning                                                Information

                      Management                                           Information Systems

                     Development                                          Information Technology




                 Figure 1: Evaluation Model – Electronic Local Government


It is estimated that a typical unitary authority will have 700 different services. Some of
these services will be primarily information-based. Major examples here are maintaining a
land and electoral register (for which national standards such as NLPG, NLIS and LASER
are being promoted) and collecting revenues such as the council tax. Other services, such
as waste disposal, although not information-based will nevertheless rely on effective and
efficient transmission of information to stakeholders. Hence, for example, effective waste
disposal is reliant on the provision of accurate collection times to authority customers.
Services are end-points of processes or human-activity systems undertaken by
organisations. Information is needed to support most human-activity systems, particularly
in terms of transactional information. Transactions are ways of recording service delivery
and are critical to the measurement of organisational performance. In line with market-
testing, local authorities in the UK are required to benchmark their service delivery. Key
performance indicators have been developed both by the UK central government and the
WAG for electronic service delivery.




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                                                           IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


Information is supplied by information systems - organised systems of communication
within organisations. Information systems are distinct from ICT as not all information
systems rely on ICT. Part of the mission of the e-government agenda is to increase the
number of information systems supported by ICT within the public sector.
According to the National-Audit-Office (2002), English national strategy in this area
requires ELG services to be:
      Joined-up
      Accessible in times and places most convenient to the customer
      Delivered or supported electronically
      Delivered jointly
      Delivered seamlessly
      Open and accountable.
For this to occur, the informatics infrastructure of public sector organisations must be
addressed in terms of both technical and social aspects. In terms of social infrastructure,
information, information systems and information technology have to be planned,
managed and developed in organisations - ideally in association with the planning,
management and development of work systems/processes within such organisations.
Figure 2 illustrates some of the elements to which many e-government efforts are now
being directed. The objective of expanding ESD will involve:
      Investigating and implementing various access mechanisms and channels for
       different stakeholders. In terms of service delivery to the customer of local
       government, face-to-face contact with authority staff and telephone conversation
       are two of the most commonly used mechanisms for accessing authority services.
       Consultations recently conducted by authorities suggests relatively low levels of
       uptake of ESD are to be expected in the short term. However, with an eye on the
       longer-term, most authorities are either implementing or investigating multiple-
       channel access centres that allow customers to interact with the authority using
       devices such as the Internet-enabled personal computer (PC) and even interactive
       digital television (iDTV). The aim is to provide access to authority services 24
       hours a day, 365 days a year.
      Re-engineering or constructing front-end systems to manage ESD. Major
       investment is currently being undertaken by authorities to increase levels of
       interactivity on their Web-sites. The aim for many authorities is to provide fully
       transactional Web-sites designed around so-called life episodes such as registering
       births and deaths and adding names to an electoral register.
      Re-engineering or constructing back-end systems to deliver the data needed by
       front-end systems. To enable fully transactional Web-sites, the information
       presented needs to be updated dynamically from back-end databases. Also, the
       information entered by customers needs to update authority information systems
       effectively.
      Re-engineering is not just technological change it is also organisational change. A
       key focus within the ELG agenda is on re-engineering service delivery around the
       customer. Hence, for example, when a customer enters personal details such as



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                                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


         their name and address into one system for council tax purposes, this information
         should ideally be available to all other systems that need such data.

  Financials
  Human Resources
  Payroll                                                                            Providing Information
  Customers                                                                          Collecting Revenues
  Land & Property Register                      Electronic
                                                                                     & Grants
  Electoral Register                              Local
                                                                                     Access to community
  Council Tax                                  Government
                                                                                     Networks
                 Procurement                                       ContactCentre
                                                Back-End
                 Payments                                          CRM
    Access                                      Systems                                             Access
                                                                   Web-Site
   Mechanism                                                                                       Mechanism
                   Services/       Front-End      Data              Front-End    Services/
       Supplier                     System                           System
                                                                                                    Customer
                  Transactions                                                  Transactions
                                               Front-End
                                                System           Intranet
                                                Transactions
                  E-Procurement
                                                 Services/



                  Extranet
                                                               Booking Venues, Resources
                                                               & Courses


                                                Access                                         Telephone
                                               Mechanism                                       PC
                                                                                               Mobile Device
                                                                                               iDTV
                                               Employee
                                                                                               Video-conferencing


                                  Figure 2: Stakeholders and Systems

4.2 Evaluation Process
The IEG statements from all 22 unitary authorities in Wales were evaluated using a grid of
criteria generated from an ideal model of the local e-government organisation portrayed in
summary above. The intention was to focus around enablers of key process change and
aspects of infrastructure.
The model distinguishes between a number of issues of infrastructure and issues
surrounding the four major value chains of the ELG organisation. The key themes located
on this model were as follows:
        Informatics Planning. This theme considered critical activities of informatics
         planning including information audit and standardisation, process mapping and
         design, authority strategy and modernisation, informatics strategy, risk assessment
         and cost/benefit analysis.
        Informatics Management. This theme was concerned with management issues
         considered important for implementing the e-government agenda. These included
         the form of e-championing, the form of e-government organisation and the nature
         of any benchmarking exercise conducted or planned.




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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


      Informatics Development. This theme considered the existence of a clear plan for
       development work, consideration of resourcing issues, and whether an audit of
       appropriate skills had been conducted.
      Customer chain. Key enablers for supporting the customer chain were considered
       under this theme, including customer relationship management, the state of the
       citizen Web-site, whether e-democracy had been considered, and what
       consideration had been given to the provision of the full range of possible access
       mechanisms and channels.
      Internal Value Chain. This theme addressed the state of the current information
       systems, information technology, and communications architecture for the
       authority. In terms of information systems architecture the concern was with the
       integration and interoperability of information systems and integration with
       external standards and systems. In terms of the information technology architecture
       we wished to highlight critical technology enablers such as knowledge
       management, document management, content management and intranets.
      Supply chain. This theme considered enablers for the supply chain including the
       existence of any extranets, evidence of tele-working, and plans for, or actual
       implementation of, e-procurement.
      E-Community. This theme considered the degree to which various stakeholders
       had been consulted on ESD, the form of partnership arrangements implemented or
       planned and the existence of any form of e-community strategy.
Each authority statement was positioned against these seven themes. This enabled the
evaluators to identify the current state of e-government within each authority and the
potential for moving forward. It also enabled an effective comparative analysis and
aggregation of issues and best practice across authorities.
Two forms of feedback were provided to authorities. Firstly, a two-way feedback session
was conducted with nominated representatives at each authority. This involved an
informal telephone discussion of their IEG statement as well as issues, problems and
suggestions arising from the ELG agenda. A significant amount of further data was
collected from this feedback session that was not present in the IEG statements
themselves. Secondly, two briefing sessions were held (one in North Wales and one in
South Wales) for local authorities. Here, themes from the collective experience of ELG
across Wales were presented to authorities. The sessions also served to provide an open
forum for authorities to reflect on the results of the evaluation.

5. Analysis of Statements against the Framework
In this section we present details of the evaluation carried out on IEG statements within
Wales. The aim is to provide an account of the current state of the e-government agenda in
Wales, and to draw from this, some lessons in terms of the dynamic relationship with the
Local Government Modernisation agenda on the ground.
Following guidance from the WAG, most IEG statements exhibited a three-part structure
comprising a discussion of the authority’s vision for e-government (including cost-benefit
analyses and performance measurement), key milestones in its envisaged plan for
implementing e-government (together with targets and timescales), and a discussion of the
crucial infrastructure issues associated with the transition to e-government (such as skills




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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


and resources). Statements varied in size between 15 to 28 pages, and were often
accompanied by a substantial amount of supporting information in the form of appendices.
Using the themes identified in the model described previously we can present the
following aggregate analysis of the current position of Welsh authorities.

5.1 Informatics Planning
Most authorities make some connection between their electronic government strategy and
aspects of their modernisation agenda. However, this is rarely elaborated in detail within
the statements. There is surprisingly little evidence within the statements of the re-
engineering of any current processes. Apart from the general claim that e-government
change is organisational change, there is little evidence of process mapping and re-design
besides the general consideration of process changes required at the customer interface.
Most authorities claim to have an ICT strategy in place but many acknowledge it needs
updating in the light of e-government, and needs to be more closely aligned with their e-
government strategy. Most authorities have attempted an initial cost/benefit analysis but
the majority of authorities have still to conduct a thorough assessment. In terms of
financial analyses that have been conducted, most have come to the conclusion that cost
savings are unlikely in the short term and that cost neutrality is the medium-term goal for
their authority. They also suggest that most of the benefits of e-government are likely to be
intangible (for example providing greater access to services and providing more joined-up
service provision). Most authorities have conducted some form of risk assessment and
placed the issues of inadequate resourcing, needed culture change within authorities and
low-uptake of services as priority issues to be addressed.

5.2 Informatics Management
A significant proportion of authorities have appointed the Council Leader and the Chief
Executive as authority e-champions. However, there appears to be a variable level of
support for the e-government agenda among elected members of authorities. The general
assessment seems to be that while a proportion of council members are interested and
enthusiastic about e-government, a substantial proportion of most council’s elected
members have yet to be convinced of the case for e-government. Some authorities have
created specific structures to implement the electronic agenda and have appointed e-
government officers specifically to oversee this strategy. Many authorities are re-using
existing structures to implement ELG. Most authorities are only in the early stages of
benchmarking their ESD, and those that have completed this exercise place their existing
level of ESD in the lower quartile.

5.3 Informatics Development
Most authorities have created development plans that clearly have evolved from their
existing informatics infrastructure. Some authorities have aspired to consider more radical
and aspirational solutions for the longer-term future based on some early piloting of key
technologies. Adequate resourcing for e-government is seen as a crucial issue by most
authorities. Estimates from authorities regarding the investment required for the Welsh
region to fully implement the electronic local government agenda range from £20M to
£200M. Many authorities are actively looking toward various forms of external funding
(such as Objective 1) to finance critical components of their ELG agenda. One important
aspect that is poorly addressed in most IEG statements is the degree to which authorities
believe they have the sufficient internal skills-base required to implement the ELG agenda
effectively over the long-term.


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                                                             IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


5.4 The Customer Chain
Most of the planning within authorities appears to be devoted to enhancing the customer
chain. Most authorities express the wish to re-engineer access to government services
using multiple access contact centres supported by sophisticated CRM systems. Only one
authority appears to be well advanced in this area in Wales. This is not surprising when
resourcing of this innovation is seen as particularly difficult for the smaller authorities.
Most authority Web-sites are currently content or content-plus (SOCITM categories)
although the aspiration is for fully transactional Web-sites. Only some authorities are
using such technologies to facilitate interaction between, for instance, councillor and
citizen.

5.5 The Internal Value Chain
In discussions with authorities it appears that the enablement of the internal value chain of
authorities is at a much more advanced stage than the enablement of the customer and
supply chains. However, there is little description of the state of the back-end
infrastructure and the integration and inter-operability of back-end systems in the IEG
statements themselves. There is also little allusion to plans for front-end/back-end systems
integration in most authorities. Most authorities seem to be using basic technologies such
as electronic mail to good effect internally, many have intranets and many have upgraded
their internal communications infrastructure. However, the use of technologies such as
content, document and knowledge management is variable. Many authorities express
concern over the increasing costs and unclear benefits of document management systems.

5.6 The Supply Chain
In the private sector, electronic enablement of the supply chain is seen as critical to
modernisation. However, from our evaluation it appears that the supply chain is currently
the least enabled of our themes within Welsh authorities. Some authorities are piloting
aspects of e-procurement but few authorities have a clear strategy for in this area. Many
authorities appear to be waiting on national guidance and initiatives. Most also do not
appear to be using extranets in any serious way, and tele-working is being piloted only by
a minority. Human resource management issues are frequently cited as major obstacles for
introducing tele-working within authorities.

5.7 The Community Chain
The issue of the e-community is treated differently amongst authorities. A minority of
authorities orient their entire e-government strategy around the key idea of partnerships
with the community. In such authorities the community information plan is the e-
government plan. However, in the majority of authorities, e-community is placed as one
but not the only issue on their e-government strategy. Most authorities have consulted on
ESD and as a result, predict low uptake of such services in the short to medium term.

6. Discussion
In this section we attempt to succinctly depict the current position of Welsh local
authorities against the model of electronic local government described in previous
sections. From this exercise, we highlight particular instances of good practice and critical
areas of concern. We also raise what we see as being significant opportunities for
progressing the ELG agenda in Wales, and from this make some key recommendations for
action.


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                                                             IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


6.1 Current Positioning of Welsh authorities
It is possible to describe the 22 unitary authorities in Wales as being at one of three stages
of development in terms of their approach to, and practical application of, ELG:
      Advanced. Such authorities are substantially advanced in implementing most
       aspects of the ELG organisation. We would place no more than 10% of Welsh
       authorities in this category.
      Developing. Such authorities have an e-government strategy in place and a
       coherent implementation plan for moving forward on e-government. In order to
       assess the utility of key aspects of ESD, such authorities are piloting strategic
       systems, standards and technologies. We would place 80% of Welsh authorities in
       this category.
      Not Fully Engaged. In such authorities there is generally little evidence of progress
       on any of the aspects of e-government. Some may be viewed as appearing not to be
       treating e-government seriously. We would place no more than 10% of Welsh
       authorities in this category.
The key challenge in Wales is to move a substantial number of authorities from the
developing category into the advanced category, while at the same time reducing the
number of authorities in the not fully engaged category to zero.

6.2 Instances of Good Practice
There are clear examples of good practice in each of the areas identified in the analysis.
Some of these examples are provided below:
      Planning. A number of authorities have conducted a systematic audit of the
       information required to support internal systems and processes and key data
       sharing with partners. Some authorities have started a number of process mapping
       and design initiatives, particularly in relation to the implementation of contact
       centre processes. At least one authority is employing consultants to initiate the task
       of process mapping, the activities being shadowed by in-house staff who will
       eventually assume the mapping task. A number of authorities are clearly aligning
       their approaches to e-government with Best Value (the Wales Improvement
       Programme).
      Management. A substantial number of authorities have appointed their Council
       Leader and Chief Executive as e-champions. Authorities we have spoken to
       believe that this demonstrates a clear commitment within their authorities to the
       objectives of ELG. Such support is clearly necessary to remove barriers in the way
       of this agenda. Some authorities have implemented a new e-government
       organisation with clear linkages across service delivery functions. This is seen as
       critical to demonstrating the organisational push for ESD.
      Development. Many authorities have produced a clear development plan with
       targets set and resourcing indicated. Some authorities have explicitly linked the
       goals of such a plan to their modernisation objectives and to their established ICT
       strategy. A number of authorities have well-established schemes in place for the
       training of staff (ECDL is commonly used as a baseline standard). One authority
       is demonstrating commitment to advancing the e-agenda by providing drop-in ICT
       surgeries for its elected members.



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      Customer Chain. One authority is in the early stages of utilising a multiple access
       contact centre, including supporting electronic transactions from the authority’s
       Web-site and employing CRM technology. Another authority has won an award
       for its Web-site for the second year running. The use of Web-casting technology to
       broadcast council-run events over the Internet has also been piloted.
      Internal Value Chain. A small number of authorities have implemented a content
       management system to support maintenance of the authority intranet. Some
       authorities are beginning to develop explicit linkages between their intranet and
       Internet presence.
      Supply Chain. Few authorities are currently enabling the supply chain. One
       example which points in the right direction is the use one authority is making of an
       extranet to allow schools to reconcile payments with the authority’s finance
       system. The use of hand-held devices for field workers is another instance of
       innovative practice, being piloted by a number of authorities.
      Community Chain. A small number of authorities have developed an explicit e-
       community strategy in support of their community strategy. In one case, the
       authority has appointed officers to manage electronic partnerships in the
       community. In North Wales an effective consortium of authorities is sharing
       expertise and actively engaging in joint initiatives.

6.3 Areas of Concern
A number of areas of concern were raised in our discussions with authorities. Some of
these areas are listed below:
      The Business Case for E-government. There was suggestion that the difficulty of
       making the case for e-government within authorities was a common experience.
       Many felt that a clearer and concrete linkage between the modernisation agenda
       and ELG needs to be established. There was some allusion to the need to adapt
       more appropriately the private sector model of e-business to the particular context
       of local government.
      Direction from the Assembly. Concern was expressed at the level of direction
       being provided by the Assembly particularly in relation to the prioritisation of key
       aspects of the ELG agenda. Generally a lack of awareness seemed to exist about
       the Cymru Ar-lein strategy and its relationship to implementing e-government.
      Resourcing and Sustainability. Major concerns were expressed in relation to the
       level of resourcing necessary to achieve a certain level of ESD. Associated with
       this concern, a number of pertinent questions were tabled in relation to the
       sustainability of funding in the longer-term for ELG. A particular area of anxiety
       was the degree to which funding of ELG is currently heavily reliant on the success
       of bids to numerous agencies.
      Partnerships with other Authorities. For a number of authorities, a solution to the
       high-costs and risks associated with implementing aspects of their e-government
       strategy would be to partner with other authorities to deliver key electronic
       services. However, significant political obstacles were raised as limitations on the
       degree to which partnerships can be formed in relation to aggregation of electronic
       services.




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                                                             IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


      Partnerships with other Agencies. Significant tangible and intangible benefits may
       be achieved through the sharing of data between local authorities and other public
       sector agencies such as police authorities and health care trusts. However, concerns
       were expressed over levels of duplication of technologies and systems and the
       major difficulties of managing partnerships in this area without appropriate
       direction from the WAG.
      Skills. Few authorities have conducted a systematic audit of the skills required to
       implement their development plans. Hence, there is little information on which to
       base an assessment of the realism of the loose targets highlighted in many
       statements. Authorities may experience difficulties in the medium-term to long-
       term in implementing ELG effectively if the skills issue is not suitably addressed.
      Data Sharing and Data Protection. To facilitate joined-up working, data needs to be
       shared both within authorities themselves and between an authority and its external
       partners. However, data protection legislation was seen to actively restrict the
       degree to which data can be shared both within and without authorities.
      Benchmarking of Electronic Service Delivery. Many authorities feel that the
       current WAG P1.5 set of indicators for ESD are likely to prove a hindrance rather
       than a help to the ELG agenda. The indicators are seen as being too focused upon
       inputs rather than outputs, on front-end systems rather than front-end/back-end
       integration, and as such are too crude a measure for assessing the process of ELG
       implementation.

6.4 Opportunities
Although cost savings were seen as being difficult to achieve by most authorities in the
short to medium-term, there appear to be a number of ways in which a national strategy
might achieve significant efficiency gains. In this respect, our findings are clearly aligned
with the philosophy of the Freedom and Responsibility in Local Government Policy
Statement (Welsh Assembly Government, 2002), which clearly identifies the advantage
presented by the relatively small number of Welsh unitary authorities with similar
responsibilities, thus allowing collaboration while retaining accountability.
      Aggregation of Services. There appear to be a number of areas of common core
       services within authorities that are duplicated. With political will, there is a
       significant opportunity to centralise and integrate such services. Local government
       payroll and teachers payroll were two examples frequently raised in this respect.
      Common Standards and Systems. Although there are significant differences in the
       makeup of authorities, there are a number of core technologies and systems that
       many authorities need to purchase in common. Significant examples here are smart
       card systems. It makes little sense for each authority to purchase their own specific
       smart card system with it own associated authentication and security protocols.
       Significant technical rationalisation could be achieved through the establishment of
       guidance in standards and systems.
      National e-Procurement. Most authorities we spoke to are waiting on national
       guidance on e-procurement. Literature suggests that significant savings may be
       forthcoming in this area.




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6.5 Key Recommendations
Although recommendations for action are not strictly within the remit of the evaluation, a
number of critical issues need to be addressed if ELG is to prove a success in Wales:
      Address Unpredictability of Funding. Non-hypothecation of funding within
       authorities is clearly problematic as far as e-government is concerned. It is
       suggested that guidance might be provided by the WAG as to the quantum of
       authority funding that should to be devoted to implementing e-government. This
       will lend weight to the business case that is being established for e-government
       within Wales. It may also more clearly focus the production of e-government
       strategy within authorities.
      Provide Incentives for Partnerships. Despite the sentiments of the Freedom and
       Responsibility in Local Government Policy Statement (Welsh Assembly
       Government, 2002) and the encouragement therein for local authorities to examine
       the benefits of working together in a strategic approach, there are currently few
       incentives for the pursuit of joint working between authorities and other agencies
       in the face of substantial political obstacles. Partnerships around the use of key
       technologies offer a cost-effective solution for achieving effective ELG in key
       areas. It is therefore suggested that tangible encouragement be provided to
       authorities to engage in strategic electronic partnerships.
      Simplifying and Focusing Benchmarking of Electronic Service Delivery.
       Important benefits are likely to accrue from a simplified approach to the
       benchmarking of ESD – one which is more closely associated with the ELG
       agenda. For instance, requiring authorities to state the actual volume of
       transactions impacting upon key access channels would provide more concrete
       measures of the actual use of ESD.
      Guidance on Data Protection and Data Sharing. The declaration of appropriate data
       subjects by authorities is one way of alleviating problems of data sharing.
       Guidance should be formulated in this area for authorities in Wales. Authorities
       should be explicitly encouraged to engage in both an internal and external
       information audit to facilitate the process of data sharing.
      Electronic Innovation Projects. One way in which the ELG agenda could be
       supported in Wales is through the funding of pilot projects in specific areas of
       innovation. The results of such projects could be fed back to all authorities in
       Wales, and could be used as key vehicles for identifying and proving ground for
       the adoption of common systems, standards and technologies.
      Support Unit. A number of authorities indicated that they felt disadvantaged in
       Wales in terms of the amount of external support available to English authorities in
       implementing e-government. For instance, it was felt that a number of activities –
       information audit, process mapping, skills audit - necessary to aid ELG could and
       should be usefully conducted by some form of Wales support unit for ELG.

7. Conclusions
Authorities are currently working under considerable pressures to perform effectively
against a large number of different initiatives. They are also experiencing significant
constraints in terms of the degree of freedom they have to implement e-government within
the domain of a significant number of other priorities. It is therefore not surprising to find


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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


that while the need for organisational change under the remit of e-government is clearly
understood and is seen as essential by many, there are currently significant barriers to
achieving radical re-engineering of structures and processes within local government in
Wales.
On the positive side Welsh authorities are significantly under-selling the efforts they have
made over the last decade to improve their back-end infrastructure. On the negative side,
most authorities within Wales are only at the piloting stage in investing in key front-end
systems and processes. Of greater longer term concern is the important need to adopt a
holistic approach to ELG focused around the innumerable benefits of efficient and
effective back-end/front-end systems integration. As one authority put it to us – ‘ELG is a
bit like retail – doing front-end systems work is like re-decorating your shop front and
making it more accessible – this will attract more customers - but the prettiest shop is
likely to fail if customers find that they cannot actual buy anything they require!’.

References
Local Government Association (2002). egov@local: Towards a National Strategy for
       Local e-Government. London, Local Government Association.
Martin, S. (2002). "The 'Modernisation' of UK Local Government", Public Management
       Review, 4(3), 1-15.
National Audit Office (2002). Better Public Services through E-Government, London,
       National Audit Office.
New-Media (1998). How Local and Regional Government Works in Europe. London,
     New Media.
Partnership Council (2001). The Future of Local Government in Wales.
Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive Advantage: Creating and sustaining superior
        performance. New York, Free Press.
Welsh Assembly Government (2002). Freedom and Responsibility in Local Government:
      A Policy Statement from the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff, Welsh
      Assembly Government.




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                                                          IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


Appendix A
Abbreviations and Acronyms Used


CRM              -   Customer Relationship Management
DTLR             -   Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
e-Community      -   Electronic Community
e-Government     -   Electronic Government
e- Procurement   -   Electronic Procurement
ELG              -   Electronic Local Government
ESD              -   Electronic Service Delivery
ICT              -   Information and Communications Technology
IDTV             -   Interactive Digital Television
IEG              -   Implementing Electronic Government
LASER            -   Local Authorities Secure Electoral Register
NLIS             -   National Land Information Service
NLPG             -   National Land and Property Gazetteer
PC               -   Personal Computer
SOCITM           -   Society of Information Technology Management
WAG              -   Welsh Assembly Government




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                                                            IEG Evaluation Report: July 2002


Appendix B
Glossary of Terms

LASER                     Local Authorities Secure Electoral Register - The LASER
                          project aims to provide electoral registers that are joined up,
                          maintained and managed locally, and can then be accessible on a
                          national level to authorised users. LASER will draw together all
                          of the locally held registers of electors and make them available
                          nationally to support e-voting
NLIS                      National Land Information Service - NLIS is an on-line, one-
                          stop shop that delivers land and property related information
                          from source data providers to conveyancers and home buyers. At
                          present, NLIS provides access to information held and
                          maintained by local authorities, the Land Registry and the Coal
                          authority. Negotiations are now under way towards including
                          searches relating to the water service companies and the
                          Environment Agency
NLPG                      National Land and Property Gazetteer - a single, comprehensive,
                          up-to-date list of addresses. Local authorities are essential
                          participants because they start the process by naming streets and
                          numbering buildings. The NLPG requires local authorities to
                          convert their existing lists of addresses into a fully consistent
                          national information system, held electronically, constructed to
                          common standards, and based on unique property reference
                          numbers (UPRN’s) for each property or piece of land – reliant on
                          authorities producing and maintaining Local Land and Property
                          Gazetteers (LLPGs) to a common standard
Promotional, content,     Promotional, content, content plus and transactional represent the
content plus and          four points on the scale used by SOCITM to classify Web-site
transactional web sites   functionality.




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