Government plans to maximise the potential of the internet for delivering public services will be revealed by Gordon Brown – and could see thousands of jobs lost.
The prime minister (pictured) will announce the proposals, which include the creation of personalised webpages for everyone in the country to access government services within a year.
The plans aim to save billions of pounds, and Brown has previously highlighted the benefits of the internet in cutting building costs, phone calls, postage, paper forms and face-to-face contact with officials.
He will unveil the plans in a speech explaining how every voter will be given a unique identifier allowing them to apply for school places, book GP appointments, claim benefits, get a new passport, pay council tax or register a car.
But union leaders have criticised the plans and warned that thousands of public sector workers could lose their jobs. They also raised concerns about the government’s poor record of handling personal data.
Within another three years, the Times reported, the secure site would include a Facebook-style interactive service allowing people to ask medical advice of their doctor or consult their children’s teachers.
The move could see the closure of job centres and physical offices dealing with tax, vehicle licensing, passports and housing benefit within 10 years as services are offered through a single digital “gateway”, Downing Street sources told the newspaper.
Private firms such as Amazon could be involved in a bid to make the processes as simple as possible, it said.
Copyright © Press Association 2010