Govt briefs shops for UK Online drive

By EMMA HALL,, Friday, 01 September 2000 12:00AM

The Government is briefing agencies about a Cabinet initiative, UK Online, that aims to bring the whole country into the internet age.

The Government is briefing agencies about a Cabinet initiative, UK

Online, that aims to bring the whole country into the internet age.

UK Online’s two main objectives are to promote a proposed network of

learning centres as well as a Government portal.

Free learning centres will be located all over the country at different

public facilities, including leisure centres. Private-public

partnerships will be used to develop the concept, so that customers will

be able to familiarise themselves with the internet for the cost of a

cut-price phone call.

The Government portal will develop over time into a centre of

information about all its activities. It will also have practical

applications and you should eventually be able to apply for official

documents such as a passport or driving licence online.

Tax returns are also scheduled for inclusion in the portal. By typing in

your name and address, you will be able to view your tax status and

complete your tax returns online.

Tony Blair’s New Labour has been widely perceived as slow off the mark

in formulating any attempt to bring the country into the digital


However, Blair recently promised to deliver 452 public services

electronically by 2005, a date that was brought forward in April from

2008. More than one third - 152 - of those services are already online.

These include the National Statistics site, Companies House and Ordnance


It is thought that three COI Communications roster agencies have been

shortlisted for the initiative. However, the brief will come from the

Cabinet Office because of the complexity of the task. The drive demands

input from a whole host of government departments, including the

Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Education.

The Government is looking for an integrated approach to this long-term

campaign. All the advertising agencies involved will pitch alongside

direct marketing and public relations specialists.

The budget for the campaign has not been disclosed, but given the size

and duration of the drive, New Labour is expected to invest a

substantial sum in marketing the initiative.

This article was first published on


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