Dáil Éireann - Volume 682 - 13 May, 2009

Written Answers. - Departmental Websites.

Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the implementation of the eGovernment project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15564/09]

  Deputy Brian Lenihan: As the Deputy will be aware, the focus over the past year has been on making progress with those 20 specific services included in the European Commission’s eGovernment Benchmarks and those eight specific services identified in the Dáil Joint Motion on eGovernment of 30 April 2008. Good progress has already been achieved with a number of these and work is ongoing with others. Therefore, at this stage, approximately 70 services are fully available online, and forms can be downloaded electronically for hundreds more.

The Government’s aim is to have a rolling eGovernment Programme in place. With that in mind, my Department issued Circular 6/09 on Arrangements for eGovernment in March of this year. It requires all Departments, offices, agencies, and all non-commercial public bodies and authorities to develop detailed eGovernment plans by the end of June 2009. These plans must set out additional projects they intend to undertake from hereon in. These plans will be subjected to regular monitoring by my Department and reporting to Government.

To support this work, my Department has established a website on eGovernment specifically for civil and public service bodies. This website provides them with a range of resources to aid and guide them in developing and progressing eGovernment projects. In this regard, my Department has produced a working definition of eGovernment projects that should be included in individual plans. It includes projects that are organisation-specific, cross-organisational, sector-specific or cross-sectoral, and it highlights eight categories of project types such as those providing online information, online transactions, automated transactions, triage facilities, and full business transformation opportunities. This definition may be changed over time as opportunities and priorities develop. Additionally, my Department has produced an eGov[573] ernment Planning Advisory Note which provides public bodies with assistance on how to develop a project plan and helps to ensure that such plans contain full details on ownership; timelines; facilities being offered; costs; benefits and impacts; capacity of the organisation to deliver; monitoring arrangements; and progress to date.

Progress has also been made with a number of central eGovernment operations. A central ePayments facility, operated by the Local Government Computer Services Board, is now being used by approximately 60 different public bodies for over 30 different service types worth about €20 million per annum. Since assuming responsibility for the Public Services Broker, my Department has simplified its operation, and integrated its portal with other Government websites such as gov.ie, citizensinformation.ie, and ros.ie. My Department has also implemented a simplified technology solution for the electronic publication of death events to civil and public service. This solution provides a way for authorised public service staff to access records of all recently-registered deaths in a simple and secure way. It is now being used by six Civil Service Departments and Offices, 20 Local Authorities, and a number of HSE functions. Plans are in place to extend this solution to also facilitate the electronic publication of birth and marriage events subject to business needs being identified and the necessary regulatory changes being implemented. My Department has also commenced work on the integration of customer identity data from seven sources around the civil and public service, using the “Public Service Identity dataset”. Once completed, this will allow public bodies to better establish the identity of persons in order to maximise re-use of such data and to aid the process of administrative simplification.

My Department is providing the Cabinet Committee on Transforming Public Services with regular updates on developments and progress. Additionally, it is providing the Government with comprehensive progress reports every six months. The first such report was submitted in March 2009.

Finally, my Department is working on developing brochures to explain to people what services are available online, how they can use them, and how they will benefit them. It is intended to publish these in the latter half of the year.

Question No. 117 answered with Question No. 84.