Office of the e-Envoy

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The Office of the e-Envoy was set up by the Blair Government in 1999 and was replaced by the E-Government Unit in September 2004. A few senior members of the office joined gov3 an ICT consultancy firm for governments.[1]

The first e-Envoy was Alex Allan. He was succeeded by Andrew Pinder in October 2000 till the operation was wound up in September 2004.

Its staffing level was between 50 and 140 people.[1]

Government Gateway[edit]

This flagship project of putting all government departments online by 2002 and enabling people to conduct a wide variety of routine transactions, from paying taxes to obtaining driving licences, via the internet by 2005 was announced by Microsoft on 27 March 2001 who, in just 15 weeks, had "brought Tony Blair's ambitious e-government vision to reality".[2] The tight timescale was due to Compaq withdrawing from the project after four months[3] for which they received £5.6 million.[4]

The project was billed at £15.6 million[5] and involved licensing some of the UK government's intellectual property to Microsoft to be sold on as part of their product to other governments around the world and return significant income streams.[6]

The result was widely criticised because the digital certificate system, central to the project, locked out all other browsers except Microsoft's own Internet Explorer.[7]

The e-Envoy responded by explaining that the priority was to make it available to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and that the only part of the system that was limited was the ability for citizens and businesses to enrol for services. But, "Once enrolled, they can submit transactions from any operating system, since XML - the language used - is totally platform independent."[8]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Cabinet Office - E-Envoy". Hansard. 3 April 2003.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Helps Turn Britain's E-Government Vision Into Reality" (Press release). Microsoft. 27 March 2001. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
  3. ^ Naughton, John (10 June 2001). "Tony's Microsoft spot for Bill leaves rest of us out in the cold". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
  4. ^ "IT Failures". Hansard. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
  5. ^ "Public Accounts Committee - Examination of Witnesses(Questions 60-79)". 12 June 2002.
  6. ^ "Public Accounts Committee - Examination of Witnesses(Questions 80-99)". 12 June 2002.
  7. ^ Lettuce, John (28 May 2001). "MS-built UK 'Government Gateway' locks out non-MS browsers". The Register. Retrieved 2006-11-23.
  8. ^ Andrew Pinder (17 June 2001). "Government Gateway is not a 'Microsoft puppet'". London: The Observer. Retrieved 20 May 2010.