ICT stands for information and communications technology, ICT mainly focuses on the role of communication that includes phone lines and wireless data/signals as well as the ability to control information including hardware for computers and networks and software. Throughout this essay, the way in which ICT has affected and continues to become of high importance to the United kingdoms Government will be explored, the main areas that will be conducted in this research are the Government ICT strategy, greening government ICT, how the internet is transforming the UK Economy, a selected number of Government departments and how ICT is important to their daily use and finally an end conclusion highlighting the importance of ICT development in the UK government.
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Government ICT strategy
In October 2005, the first government ICT strategy was released setting the schedule for the ICT public sector (organisations funded by the government) towards the next five years. Its main aim was to focus on the areas that could enable transformed service delivery, ‘putting the citizen at the heart of what we do, shared services and professionalising IT-enabled business change (Cabinet Office 2010 [URL] – Date Accessed 02/11/10). Five years later, after reviewing yearly reports and employing a new Government chief information officer a new strategy was released. Its approach has been adapted to fit the current economic climate in which the nation is in ‘transforming services against a backdrop of economic pressure’ change (Cabinet Office 2010 [URL] – Date Accessed 02/11/10). The new strategy will now make possible an ICT infrastructure that will solve many problems ‘across the board’ which the Government faces. It also encourages the development of delivery being increased via the public, private and third party sectors in order to meet the needs and requirements.
In 1994 www.direct.gov.uk formally known as www.open.gov.uk was announced to hold all websites and links to government and agency websites, with all the increased pressure to deliver higher and better public services, expectations had never been higher due to the potential of better services that was unforeseen when the website was first published. However, with the increased prospect of technology, expectations have changed and so have demands which has enabled the government to make it easier to handle their day to day business and help those in need of support, talktofrank.com was set up to assist and explain the dangers of drugs and notschool.net was set up for those children excluded from school. On the other hand Denis McCauley, Global Technology Research Director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, believes the government can do more recognizing that although it does well in terms of its internet website, its popularity is decreasing rapidly and he thinks that even more can be done in terms of using information technology.
Although the United Kingdoms Government is not solely to thanks for its success in its public sector ICT use, it reaches the top spot when compared to the rest of Europe, as its citizen-based services are 100% online compared with the average 71% that Europe has. Since the turn of the century the UK was the first Government to even start to allow its citizen-based service online taken approximately four years till Europe’s average came became public.
Turning Government ICT green
Since the governments increased use of ICT from owning some of the largest and most power fullest computers and public servants using their desktop computers at a higher rate than expected, be it from issuing tax disks to people across the country to saving x-rays on file. The Government is the countries largest purchaser of ICT equipment, and use a large amount of power and resources. They have decided to set an example amongst the nation and turn green, as they want the disposal of monitors, printers, computers and servers to happen in a sustainable and responsible way. To start the Governments reduction of carbon emissions another strategy has been created called the greening government strategy. According to the cabinet offices brochure on becoming green by turning just one computer off will save 235kg of carbon dioxide emission’s a year. By ‘turning off every one of Whitehall’s 500,000 computers at night would have the same effect as taking 40,000 cars off the road.’
How the Internet has transformed the United kingdom’s Economy
Moving away from the strategies recently formed for ICT, this essay will now review how the Internet has affected and transformed the UK Economy. The Internet has largely influenced societies in the United Kingdom with a majority of them having easy access to it, many modern phones now come with the capability to do such thing. Websites such as ebay.co.uk and amazon.co.uk have increased the populations spending habits, which further down the line companies pay tax, which turns back into the government. In 2009 the Internet contributed to 7.2 per cent of GDP in Britain, an estimated £100 billion making it larger than the countries transportation, construction or utilities industry. Whilst the large growth in Internet activity has increased it has disrupted many businesses but has had a positive effect on the medium and smaller based businesses that sell anything from clothes to computer games with research showing that the United Kingdoms economy is likely to increase by up to 15 per cent via the Internet.
Government organisations and their use of ICT
Now this essay will look at a number of government organisations and the importance that ICT plays in them.
-Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
To begin with The Department of Work and pensions (DWP) pays money into millions of peoples accounts across the nation, from people on benefits to elderly people receiving their pension, its use of ICT is on a large-scale basis and as a whole plays a major role in the social sector of today’s lifestyle. ICT is a positive use in the DWP as it allows a quicker way of handling information and delivering an output service due to the large memory servers they have. However errors still occur in which the government loses millions at a time and because of this have called for an urgent change in the way their ICT strategy is changed
-Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defences (MoD) role is to protect the nation against any potential threat internally and externally, its team highlights dangers through many methods that involve ICT such as listening in on phone calls or checking the internet for major threats. Its ICT role again is very important to how its run due to keeping in contact with other global agencies to keep informed about terrorism strikes, it also informs local media in order to get information broadcasted across the UK. Another use of ICT within the MoD is to ensure military standards are kept high as well as the environment. Again by using the Website they allow people to view the procedures and information of the MoD, which encourages responsibility.
-Driver and vehicle Licensing Agency DVLA
The use of computers in the DVLA is very important, as they have to produce tax certificates as well as driving licenses and number plate registration forms in their large memory banks.
Concluding the report, ICT is probably one of the most important aspects of the governments way in terms of running its whole organisation, due to this it is hard to find any faults into the way they are actually sustaining their ICT, the only weak point is due to the fact that their website is not as popular as it was before however it still provides the information that you look for as well as email addresses and phone numbers if you need more help. With the Government also turning green they have taken another positive step in terms of being leaders and hopefully turning it in to a national thing; they have started to release television adverts and produce leaflets to spread the word.
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