This document provides information about administrative reform in the United Kingdom and is part of a series published by the Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. The United Kingdom Government has embarked on an ambitious strategy concerning the modernisation of the government with the final aims of creating new opportunities for people to participate in the government's policy process and of ameliorating service delivery by using the Internet. In particular the UK government is committed to strengthening its connections with citizens, so therefore also in representative democracy, building up confidence in the political process, and producing better policy outcomes. This paper aims to analyse the latest steps taken by the UK government in this regard and to show how technologies are bringing public administration and citizens closer together by putting citizens at the centre of government. In 1999 the UK Government launched the white paper Modernising Government.
Its central themes are:
* policy-making - to ensure that policies are strategic, outcome-focused, inclusive, flexible, innovative and robust;
* responsive public services - to deliver public services that are accessible, interlinked and personalised for the benefit of citizens;
* Information-Age Government - to make all public services available electronically, using new technologies to meet the needs of citizens;
Chapter 5 of the Modernising Government White Paper sets out the Government's vision for Information Age Government. It gives a commitment to bringing about a fundamental change in the way IT is used. The Prime Minister has set out a clear target that all Government services to the citizen and to business should be available online by 2005. In order to fulfill the commitment in the Modernising Government White Paper and thus to make services available to all on-line, the Government has launched several initiatives, the latest one of which is named "e-government" and has four guiding principles:
* building services around citizens' choices
* making government and its services more accessible
* social inclusion
* using information better.
This initiative focuses on better services for citizens and businesses and more effective use of the Government's information resources. The strategy challenges all public sector organizations to innovate, and it challenges the centre of government to provide the common infrastructure that is needed to achieve these goals.