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The UK Government's Planning Inspectorate today announced that it has awarded IBM with a contract to provide the planning portal services as part of the Inspectorate's ambitious eGovernment programme.

The programme, sponsored by Sally Keeble MP, ministerial champion for the Portal Programme, provides the Inspectorate with the means to develop 21st century electronic services and achieve Tony Blair's eGovernment service goal ahead of 2005.

The portal will provide a general advisory service linking the public, business and other users of the planning system to a wide range of advice, guidance and services on planning and related topics. The service, designed, built and hosted by IBM will provide a single point of access for all planning matters. The portal will also be linked to the UK Online portal, ensuring wide availability for the services.

"The Planning Inspectorate chose IBM because of our proven eBusiness capability with commercial and Government customers around the world" said Christian Noll, Managing Principal, Public Sector, IBM Global Services "We were also able to provide the Inspectorate with a comprehensive solution which matches the aggressive timescales of the Portal Programme to commence information services in April 2002".

IBM's design is based upon its websphere portal server software and its comprehensive design and build consultancy capability.

ESRI will design a geographic presentation layer to provide information within the context of electronicmaps, allowing information to be shared in a user friendly way across government and with commerce and the citizen. The contract, worth #2 Million, will run for 3 years.

Graham Saunders, the Planning Inspectorate's Board Director responsible for delivering the e-Business programme said:

" The Planning Portal has a key role to play in making the planning process more open and accessible to its customers. Free toolkits will help local authorities take advantage of the facilities and services provided by the portal. The Inspectorate is pleased to be working with IBM and the planning community in taking forward this exciting project."

IBM has invested heavily in the development of Specific Solutions for the Public Sector in the last twelve months, and portal services are part of the eGovernment vision IBM has developed.

Editor's Notes:

About IBM Global Services

IBM Global Services is the world's largest information technology services provider, with nearly 150,000 professionals serving customers in 160 countries and annual revenue of more than $33 billion (2000). IBM Global Services integrates IBM's broad range of capabilities - services, hardware, software and research - to help companies of all sizes realise the full value of information technology.

For more information, visit:

About The Planning Portal Programme

The Planning Inspectorate is leading a programme of work to develop e-business systems in support of the Modernising Government agenda and associated targets. The Programme consists of two main projects:

~ The Planning Portal will be a general planning advisory service linking the public, business and other users of the planning system to a wide range of advice, guidance and services on planning and related topics. The service will be accessed via a single managed Internet portal that will link all relevant organisations, and will itself be linked to UK Online.

~ The Planning Casework Service will be an electronic planning casework document handling and tracking facility. It is intended to automate the links between the Planning Inspectorate and applicants/appellants, local planning authorities, Government Offices, DTLR, the National Assembly for Wales and other interested parties. It will provide direct access to
progress and decision information on the 20,000 or so cases handled by Planning Inspectorate each year. The service will be one of those available via the Planning Portal.

For information visit:

For further information:

Gill Kenny
IBM Global Services
Tel: 44 (0)20 7202 6264


Nicky Morgan / Jonathan Batty / Adrian Bridgwater
Brodeur Worldwide (On Behalf of IBM)
Tel: 44 (0)1753 448800

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