Extract from Chapter 14 of the report "e-commerce@its.best.uk"

Recommendation 14.2: the Government should appoint an ‘e-envoy’ with a wider remit than originally proposed, covering both e-commerce and the IT elements of the Modernising Government White Paper. The e-envoy should be a high-level champion for Information Age issues across Government, based in the Cabinet Office with a direct link to the Prime Minister.

14.10 The appointment of an e-Minister, covering Information Age issues, will help to ensure effective political co-ordination of e-commerce and e-Government activities. This role needs to be buttressed by effective managerial and administrative arrangements in driving forward the Government’s modernising objectives.

14.11 To achieve this, the role of the proposed e-envoy should be re-defined. The DTI originally advertised the post of e-envoy in November 1998. The initial view was that the post-holder would focus on e-commerce activities. This remit should be extended so that the e-envoy covers both e-commerce and the IT elements of the Modernising Government White Paper.

14.12 The breadth and importance of the role of the e-envoy, together with the need to achieve change across Government and indeed internationally, suggest that the post-holder should have a direct link to the Prime Minister, whilst reporting on a day-to-day basis through the e-Minister and the Minister for e-Government as appropriate. The e-envoy should be located in the Cabinet Office.

14.13 The Team recommends five key themes that should provide the focus for the work of the e-envoy:

e-business: galvanising UK business, at all levels, to recognise the opportunities and threats implicit in e-commerce. A particular focus on under-performing small and micro enterprises would be essential;

e-Government: providing strategic input to the development of the Information Age Government agenda set out in the Modernising Government White Paper. Developing synergies between private and public sectors, including the role of Government as an exemplar of the use of e-commerce through its own procurement and as the deliverer of e-Government services at national, regional and local level;

promoting the UK strategy abroad providing the consistent drive in taking forward the UK’s Information Age objectives in international fora;

e-inclusion: maintaining the push to ensure that the benefits of e-commerce and e-Government are available to all sections of society, including those with disabilities and the marginalised; and

programme management: ensuring effective co-ordination of Government activities, including implementation of the full programme of actions recommended by this Report; monitoring progress against the overall objectives for e-commerce and e-Government, keeping strategies under regular and probing review in the light of developments (international, technological, commercial and legal); and identifying key medium-term strategic challenges for the Government arising from new information and communication technologies.

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