HC Deb 21 October 1998 vol 317 c1267
8. Ms Margaret Moran (Luton, South)

What plans he has to use new technology to increase public participation in government. [54725]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr. Peter Kilfoyle)

An increasing number of Departments already use the internet to carry out public consultation exercises on policy proposals. We are keen to extend that further and want to encourage wider public participation in government via new technology.

We will shortly be publishing our market research results on peoples' attitudes to electronic government and intend to use the findings to help ensure that our better government programme will bring government closer to the needs of all our people.

Ms Moran

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply [Interruption.]

Madam Speaker

Order. I cannot hear the hon. Lady.

Ms Moran

May I ask my hon. Friend to look seriously at some of the work done by local government, such as the Lewisham democracy project, in the extension of what we now call e-governance and to look at the connecting Canada e-governance strategy which could be of benefit to us? Will he consider incorporating some of those ideas into the eagerly awaited White Paper on better government?

Mr. Kilfoyle

The former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark), went to look at some of those projects. We have considered their place in the better government White Paper and programme. I should point out that, when my hon. Friend was the leader of Lewisham council, she was one of the leaders in all the uses of information technology in delivering better services in that council. We have a programme of visiting many of our local authorities which can provide a lead in this area in partnership with central Government.

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