E-Government Compliance

What is e-government compliance?

The UK government have a UK online strategy. The plan is to make all government services available electronically to the public by 2005. The purpose of getting government services on-line is to make them more accessible to the public and do this in an efficient, manageable way.

What happens when IT and government get together? To start with, lots more acronyms to get to grips with! If you do not like acronyms, then stop reading the rest of this page!

If you are a parish council clerk and would like advice on setting up a parish council website with online parish council documents, then contact Cornish WebServices for advice. We can create Parish Council websites and either provide maintenance or create a website for you to maintain.

The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF)

The e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) is a set of documents that defines the technical policies and specifications to be used by organisations in the public sector. This will enable documents from different departments and councils to be used across the public sector. The e-GIF also requires that websites conform to certain standards.

Cornish WebServices create websites that conform to these standards.

What are XML, e-GMS, and GCL?

XML is short for eXtensible Markup Language. It is a way of describing data or the contents of your document using metadata. Within the public services, e-GMS (e-Government Metadata Standard) defines the metadata to be used.

The GCL (Government Category List) defines the headings to be used for the metadata within the e-GMS. This will ensure consistency across all public service documents and enable searches to be made across all government resources. In other words, the GCL is a taxonomy of unique terms to be used with the 'Subject.Category' element of the e-GMS. To conform to the e-GMS, tagging information with at least one valid heading from the GCL is mandatory.

According to the Cabinet Office, to comply with the e-GIF, by 2005 all public sector resources published on external networks must have at least one valid category from the GCL allocated to the Subject.category refinement. And GCL is mandatory for websites (in the metadata but not in the display). Cornish WebServices can create websites to comply with these requirements.

Local Government Category List (LGCL)

The GCL is limited to high-level headings - and so other vocabulary lists may also be used, with yet more acronyms! The Local Government Category List (LGCL) has been created by the Local Authority Websites National Project (LAWs). This has been based upon a previous category list - the APLAWS Category List.

The LGCL (Local Government Category List) provides the uniform set of subject terms relating to council services. These are the terms that you usually see under the A-Z Services Directory of a Council's website. By encouraging all Councils to adopt a common category list it will be easier for information to be shared and searched by the public.

Within the LGCL (Local Government Category List), there are defined Top Level Headings. These are: Business, Community and living, Council, government and democracy, Education and learning, Environment, Health and social care, Housing, Jobs and careers, Legal services, Leisure and culture, Policing and public safety, Social issues, and Transport and streets.

Within the LGCL (Local Government Category List), there are also defined Top Two Level Headings. For "Council, government and democracy" these are: Central government, Councils, Democratic processes and events, Elections, European affairs, Information management, International affairs, Non-governmental organisations, Political parties, Public services, and Regional governments.

Designing local council websites for e-government compliance

At Cornish WebServices we are able to create websites that can handle such documents when they are in common use. Our websites are all written to conform to W3C standards, and so can make use of XML. The table below has made use of data defined by XML.

Parish Councils and e-Government

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 21 May 2002

The national strategy for local e-government, which is currently being subject to wide consultation, makes clear that successful local e-government and customer focused services depend upon the interaction of local authorities with a range of other public, voluntary, community and private sector bodies. Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are potential leaders in joining up e-enabled access channels and service delivery at the local level. Parish councils, as their tier of government closest to local communities, have a significant role to play in these LSPs.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 Jan 2004

Mr. Key:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how much of the e-Government budget has been (a) allocated to and (b) spent on (i) parish councils and (ii) town councils; and if he will make a statement; (2) whether (a) parish councils and (b) town councils are included in the e-Government targets for local authorities to be on line by 2005; and if he will make a statement.

Phil Hope:

The Government's target to see all services electronically enabled by 2005 only applies to local authorities and fire authorities who are subject to the Best Value Performance Indicator 157, and does not apply to town and parish councils. As they are not subject to this target, parish councils are not being funded directly under the £675 million Local e-Government Programme. However, many councils are working very successfully with local parish councils to both support their websites and to build local parish content into community public portals. Our National Strategy for Local e-Government encourages all councils to have this joined-up approach to providing local online services and information. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is funding 66 Local e-Government Partnerships to provide Community Portals, which will include local parish content.
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