§ 5. Mr. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)
What plans he has to extend his Department's activities in respect of digital communications. 
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Dr. David Clark)
The key to the Government's approach is flexibility. We see a variety of channels as providing user-friendly access to electronic government services. The Government's target for electronic delivery of services is not dependent on a single technology or delivery channel. Telephone call centres, personal computers, kiosks, other public access terminals and digital broadcasting are all examples of possible delivery channels.
§ Mr. Fabricant
Does the Chancellor accept that it is an accident of history that the means of digital communication, whether by telephone, broadcast, narrowcast, cable and so on, are the responsibility of several Government Departments— his own, the Home Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Trade and Industry? What is his personal view on that? Does he not think that it would be better were they encompassed within, and regulated by, one Government Department?
§ Dr. Clark
One of the things that shook me most when I took over my office 12 months ago was to find that we had inherited a position whereby Government Departments could not speak to each other electronically. I found that quite staggering in the modern age. One of the matters on which I have spent a great deal of effort over the past 12 months is the installation of a Government secure intranet, which allows Government Departments to interact electronically. Building on that platform, we can have a truly modern Government and, by using information technology, we can deliver services to our citizens at a time and in a manner of their convenience and of their choosing.