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Unlocking the Past: The 1901 Census Online

“The project to provide online access to the 1901 census was ambitious and, ultimately, successful. In implementing the project, the Public Record Office and its contractor QinetiQ encountered a number of problems which they managed to resolve eventually. It is important that the wider public sector learns the lessons from this project when implementing projects to provide access to services online. Looking forward, the National Archives should also consider these lessons if it decides to provide online access to the results of the 1911 census.”

14 Nov 2003

Progress in Making e-services Accessible to All: Encouraging use by Older People

“Older people are major users of public services but, as a section of society, are far less likely to access those services electronically. However, these e-services are potentially a great boon to older people many of whom have mobility problems, have difficulty in gaining access to sources of information, live alone or want to remain independent and involved.

“If government is to take full advantage of the potential of technology, it must make sure its e-services are accessible to all and work to avoid a ‘digital divide’. More older people would be willing to use new technologies if they saw the benefit to them of doing so. The Office of the e-Envoy, Departments and agencies have a key role to play in publicising the benefits of e-services and providing older people with the encouragement and facilities to use them.”

20 Feb 2003

New IT Systems for Magistrates’ Courts: the Libra Project

“There are a number of lessons that other departments can learn from the problems that the Lord Chancellor’s Department has experienced with the Libra project. Departments should take it as a warning sign that their proposed PFI projects may not be workable if few bidders show initial interest and others withdraw as the procurement process continues. In a single tender situation, Departments need to take special care to safeguard value for money, for example by developing a should cost model to assess the reasonableness of a bid. Up to date contingency plans should be in place on all major contracts so that there is a fallback position if and when a contract goes wrong.”

29 Jan 2003

Better Public Services through e-government

“A significant amount of taxpayers’ money is being spent on delivering public services through electronic means. We have found examples of innovative practice but there is much to do to realise the full potential from using internet technology and ensure a sufficient number of people use public services delivered electronically. The major challenge is to get services on-line and to encourage and enable people to use them. Otherwise the considerable potential gains in departments’ efficiency will not be delivered and large amounts of public money will have been wasted.”

4 Apr 2002

The Implementation of the National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy

“Good information systems have a vital part to play in helping probation officers carry out their work in supervising offenders serving their sentences in the community and in helping them turn against crime.

“Whilst the Home Office has been able to install a standard information technology infrastructure across a large part of the probation service, there are some important lessons to be learnt from the serious flaws in the Home Office’s procurement and management of this IT programme. The new National Probation Service now has an opportunity to address these issues as it develops a new IT strategy and enters into a new strategic partnership.”

26 Apr 2001