An Internet consultant has slammed the Millennium Commission for ignoring the importance of the Web in its third round of funding. At the same time it emerged that the DTI's Information Society initiative to put government departments on the World Wide Web does not include quangos.
There was not one single Internet project included in the long list the MC issued, said Mike Farrow, MD of Channel Business Software.
Michael O?Connor, acting chief executive at the MC, told him: ?The Internet is not important for this country. It is important for the Americans.? Farrow said an educational Internet project his company had instituted was supported by over 100 MPs and the MC?s decision to choose no Internet company was ?a disgrace?.
But a spokesperson for the MC, which is moving today to a millenium tent in Greenwich, said: ?We can?t just say the Internet is a good idea. We rely on applications of quality. We use professional advisors and we do have IT projects.?
He explained that the MC resembled a quango but was independent of government. He said: ?We are one of the good Lottery causes. By statute we?re meant to spend most of our money on capital projects.? Those, he explained, were buildings but the latest list included the Highlands & Islands University, a virtual college, and Scram, a CD Rom project.
The quango dispenses funds to the tune of #1.6 billion and, claimed Farrow, is the only unit which can assign funds to IT.
The MC is under the auspices of the Cabinet Office while the DTI has consistently pushed the Internet as a way for the UK to win business. A spokesperson for the DTI said: ?We think it?s terribly important that the Internet is promoted heavily for business.? She said O?Connor ?was entitled to his own opinion?.
She said most government departments had bought into the idea of producing Internet sites but the Cabinet Office controlled the MC's activities.
Farrow said: ?The MC is not on the Internet and it has no staff with Internet skills. It has to communicate with over 2,000 external bodies but they do not think they need to be on the Internet.?
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