Almost three-quarters of local authorities lack the know-how to develop effective e-government services, according to the latest report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Based on research carried out between August and November last year by the department's Local and Regional Government Research Unit, the Implementing Local e-Government survey found that many authorities lacked planning skills.
The report said 72 per cent of local authorities reported that their officers and members needed training. "[They] are most likely to lack skills relating to strategic issues and project management, as opposed to more technical skills," it said.
Training, advice from external bodies and private sector partnerships could help address the deficit, the report suggested.
Rod Matthews, head of information society technology at Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, agreed that resources are available to improve knowledge. These include public and private partnerships and mentoring.
"Where we identify a gap we find a way of filling it with additional advice and guidance from public and private bodies," he said.
The current lack of strategic and project management skills is not a terminal problem, Matthews added. "There is still time to get the skills and deliver the programme, and if local authorities use all the [available] resources they should not be held back."
A more detailed evaluation of local government's implementation of e-government will be published this summer.
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