Canada: e-gov bulletin - November 2004

Last Updated: November 22 2004

Edited by Michael Power

Contents

  • Canada: New Software for Energy-Efficient Motor Shopping
  • Canada Unlikely to Imitate U.S. E-Voting Effort
  • Nova Scotia: Government Pilots Online Search Site
  • U.K.: Government Still Runs Major Risk of IT Disasters, Watchdog Warns
  • U.K.: Microsoft Sews Up U.K. Health Service Deal
  • U.K.: Public Workers Protest Over Government Efficiency Reforms
  • U.S.: Electronic Access to Criminal Case Files in Federal Courts
  • U.S.: Electronic Forms Available for Madrid Protocol Filings
  • U.S.: GAO Report on Use of Social Security Numbers
  • U.S.: Proposed Rule to Dispose of E-Mail Without Paper Trail
  • World Bank: 85 Per Cent of E-Gov Plans in Developing Countries Have Failed

Canada: New Software For Energy-Efficient Motor Shopping

Canadian industries can now download a tool that will help boost their competitiveness and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Government of Canada announced today that the Canadian Motor Selection Tool (CanMOST) is now available at no cost from Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/egi.

CanMOST allows users to compare operating costs of various motors and assess reductions in energy consumption, electricity costs and GHG emissions associated with purchasing and operating more energy-efficient industrial motors.

CanMOST is designed to support utility auditors, energy consultants and industrial end-users in developing plans and actions to manage energy consumption and improve motor efficiency.

Full press release available at:
http://www.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/media/newsreleases/2004/200458_e.htm

Canada Unlikely To Imitate U.S. E-Voting Effort

Canadian interest in electronic voting has been slower to take hold federally and provincially, with political parties perhaps waiting for "the go-forward solution," said Jonathon Hollins, Canadian director of Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb.

In Ontario, Markham and Prescott have also flirted with Internet voting, which allows people to vote at home, at work, in libraries or at the polling station. The city of Vancouver and the province of Ontario are also exploring online voting for their next elections.

Experts agreed that Canada is unlikely to focus strictly on electronic voting, but instead may adopt multi-channel voting, such as voting by phone, voting by mail, advanced voting or voting on election day.

Full press report available at:
http://www.itbusiness.ca/index.asp?theaction=61&lid=1&sid=57193&adBanner=eGovernment

Nova Scotia: Government Pilots Online Search Site

Government@YourService is an online program that gives people a new and easier way to use the Internet to access government services. Currently, government organizes access to services by department. Through the technical leadership of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, searches can now be customized to the individual's specific needs.

Barrington Passage and Shelburne are two of six communities across Nova Scotia that are participating in a new Internet service pilot project. Other communities involved in the project are Sheet Harbour, Halifax, Main-a-Dieu and Glace Bay.

The project is being implemented with the assistance of Nova Scotia's network of CAP sites. The sites are community-based technology centres that can be found in more than 300 locations across the province at libraries and other centres where communities gather.

Full press release available at:
http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20041105010

U.K.: Government Still Runs Major Risk Of It Disasters, Watchdog Warns

U.K. Government efforts to prevent further major IT disasters are being hampered, a Parliamentary spending watchdog reports, because many departments lack in-house expertise and fail to make full use of best practice initiatives. While praising work over the last four years to address weaknesses in government IT procurement, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned that "step-change" improvements may not materialize unless departments tackle recurring shortfalls in skills and senior management involvement. Departments, it recommends, need to develop a "cadre" of experienced program and project managers to handle large-scale IT projects, possibly by recruiting from the private sector or engaging with industry bodies with skills in these areas. The NAO also said that while comprehensive best practice guidance is available to project managers, less than half have used it, with some departments actively discouraging their staff from doing so. While government IT projects are now subject to greater scrutiny than before, the proportion receiving "red light" warnings has not significantly reduced since the introduction of additional oversight measures in 2001.

The National Audit Office report is available to download in full here:
http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports/03-04/0304877.pdf
(PDF - 1.65MB) or as an Executive Summary:
http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports/03-04/0304877es.pdf (PDF - 218KB)

Source - Based on National Audit Office announcement:
http://www.nao.org.uk/pn/03-04/0304877.htm

U.K.: Microsoft Sews Up U.K. Health Service Deal

Microsoft has struck a unprecendented nine-year software licensing deal with the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) worth an estimated $920 million (STG 500m), under which it has agreed to develop a specific user interface for clinical systems. While not disclosing the new corporate licensing fee structure, the U.K. Department of Health described the terms of the agreement as "extremely favourable," offering "substantial savings" in excess of $610m (STG 330m) over the contract lifetime. As part of the deal Microsoft has committed $74m (STG 40m) to a development effort which will result in "guidelines and toolkits to allow independent software vendors to deliver an NHS-specific user interface," the Department said. The NHS will take an undisclosed share of worldwide licensing fees if Microsoft commercially exploits the interface. The software giant will also supply customised versions of its operating system and office suite tailored to deliver a "consistent look and feel to NHS computer users," the Department's statement added.

For further details see the NHS National Program for IT Web site at:
http://www.npfit.nhs.uk

Source - Based on Department of Health announcements
Licensing agreement: http://www.npfit.nhs.uk/news/news_031104/
User interface development: http://www.npfit.nhs.uk/news/news_031104_2/

U.K.: Public Workers Protest Over Government Efficiency Reforms

Public services across the U.K. were affected to varying degrees on November 5, as an estimated 200,000 public sector workers staged a national one-day strike in protest at the Government's plans for massive job cuts planned under its efficiency reforms. The industrial action was the largest general strike by civil servants in a decade. The Chancellor Gordon Brown said the action would not change the Government's decision to go ahead with large-scale redundancies. The cuts in civil service manpower, announced in the Chancellor's spending review in July, form part of a major IT-led efficiency drive designed to save the public sector £40bn (STG 21.5bn) per year by 2008. Mr Brown has said the Government's $11bn (STG 6bn) investment in IT would allow a net reduction of 70,600 public sector jobs in England, with a further 20,000 posts shed across the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the U.K.'s largest civil service union, warned the strike marked the beginning of a major campaign to protect public workers' jobs ahead of next year's expected General Election.

The PCS hails the stike as a "fantastic show of strength":
http://www.pcs.org.uk/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=894512
Source - Based on the above press release:
http://www.pcs.org.uk/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=894130

U.S.: Electronic Access To Criminal Case Files In Federal Courts

Beginning November 1, 2004, all criminal case file documents available to the public at a courthouse also will be available remotely through the court's electronic access system. Under the new policy, if a member of the public can access a criminal case file document at the courthouse, he or she should be able to access that same document through the court's remote electronic access system. However, if a court is in the process of implementing CM/ECF, remote access to electronic criminal case files may not yet be possible.

As with civil and bankruptcy cases, personal data identifiers must be redacted by the filer of a criminal case document, whether the document is filed electronically or in paper. These redacted identifiers are Social Security and financial account numbers to the last four digits, the names of minor children to the initials, dates of birth to the year and home addresses to the city and state. It is the filer's obligation to redact these documents.

There remains no public access for certain documents, whether in paper or electronic form. These include unexecuted warrants, presentence reports, supervision violation reports, the statement of reasons that is part of a criminal judgment, juvenile records, financial affidavits submitted seeking court-appointed counsel, ex parte requests for expert or investigative services at court expense, and sealed documents. Courts maintain the discretion to seal any document.

Full notice available at:
http://www.uscourts.gov/ttb/oct04ttb/access/index.html

U.S.: Electronic Forms Available For Madrid Protocol Filings

The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announces the availability of electronic forms for submitting Madrid Protocol related documents. Now a U.S. trade mark owner may file a single online application with the USPTO in English, based on an existing U.S. trade mark application or registration, pay the fees in U.S. dollars, and potentially obtain registration for the mark in any or all of the 65 member countries of the Madrid Protocol.

Today, 73 per cent of all trade mark applications currently are filed electronically. This level of electronic filing, coupled with Madrid filings, furthers the agency's commitment to a fully electronic trade mark operation.

Full press release available at:
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/04-30.htm

Forms for submitting Madrid Protocol-related documents are available at:
http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html

U.S.: Government Accountability Office Report On Use Of Social Security Numbers

The following is an except taken from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the use of Social Security Numbers entitled, "Governments Could Do More to Reduce Display in Public Records and on Identity Cards":

While the use of Social Security numbers (SSN) can be very beneficial to the public sector, SSNs are also a key piece of information used for committing identity crimes. The widespread use of SSNs by both the public and private sectors and their display in public records have raised concern over how SSNs might be misused and how they should be protected. In light of this concern, GAO was asked to examine (1) the extent to which SSNs are visible in records made available to the public, (2) the reasons for which governments collect SSNs in records that display them to the public, and (3) the formats in which these records are stored and ways that the public gains access to them. As well as looking at public records, GAO also examined the practices of several federal agencies regarding the display of entire nine-digit SSNs on health insurance and other identification cards issued under their authority.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that the Office of Management and Budget identify those federal activities that require or engage in the display of SSNs on health insurance, identification, or any other cards issued to federal government personnel or program beneficiaries, and devise a government-wide policy to ensure a consistent approach to this type of display. All agencies that reviewed a draft of this report generally agreed with our findings and recommendation."

Full text of report available at:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0559.pdf

U.S.: Proposed Rule To Dispose Of E-Mail Without Paper Trail

As part of it's Records Management Initiatives, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has determined that Federal agencies should be allowed to dispose of short-term temporary electronic mail (e-mail) records (e.g., those with a retention period of 90, 120, or 180 days), without requiring the creation of a separate paper or electronic recordkeeping copy.

Allowing agencies to dispense with creating separate recordkeeping copies of such documents will reduce the records management burden on agencies and will serve to encourage agency staff to create recordkeeping copies of the relatively small proportion of e-mail records that warrant longer-term or permanent retention. The records covered by this change are limited to transitory Federal records covered by GRS 23, Item 7, or Federal records scheduled on a NARA-approved agency records schedule with a very short-term retention (e.g., 90, 120, or 180 days).

Full text of proposed rule is available at:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/06jun20041800/

World Bank: 85 Per Cent Of E-Gov Plans In Developing Countries Have Failed

The World Bank has estimated that as high as 85 per cent of e-government projects in developing countries are either "total or partial failures." "It is estimated that approximately 35 per cent of e-government projects in developing countries are total failures, approximately 50 per cent are partial failures—only some 15 per cent can be fully seen as successes," a senior World Bank official told a seminar on e-governance in Bangalore on Friday.

Delivering the key-note address, the World Bank's Lead Informatics Specialist Robert Schware said, "There are equal numbers of very sad statistics about the number of failed implementations in the US and Europe."

The bank is currently completing a study of national e-strategies across a group of 40 regionally representative countries with a view to mapping common policy focus areas and interventions across countries. "There is consensus in the strategies that e-government can provide realistic and immediate benefits in terms of improved government productivity, effectiveness and cost savings," he said.

Full press report available at:
http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2004/nov/05egov.htm

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