The Government has appointed the editorial director of Justpeople.com, Lucian Hudson, to be its first webmaster-general as part of its UK Online initiative.
Hudson, previously the head of programming at BBC Worldwide before he joined Justpeople.com, will head up the development of UK Online as well as co-ordinate work across government departments and agencies. His brief is to give the Government as strong an internet presence as possible.
Last month, Campaign revealed that the Cabinet Office was briefing ad agencies about the UK Online initiative, which is a partnership involving industry members, the voluntary sector and consumer groups. It announced the appointment of Ogilvy to the account this week.
The scheme will concentrate on making the UK one of the world's leading knowledge economies, and the initiative will promote a proposed network of learning. Six-hundred UK Online centres are planned to be opened by March 2001.
Promotions for the new portal and the establishment of universal internet access by the end of 2005 are also priorities for the scheme. The Government's E-Envoy office has been split into three divisions: the e-government group; the e-commerce group and the e-communications group - to be headed by Hudson.
Hudson said it was an exciting time to join the Government and commented: 'I've been a hands-on editor all my life and I want to achieve that with this job as well.'
In the past, Tony Blair has made no secret of his limited knowledge of the internet but he has vowed to deliver more than 450 government services online by the end of 2005.
One-third of government services are already available online, including health guidance from the NHS. By 2001, it is expected that people will be able to book appointments with their GPs and undergo education courses online.