National CRM Programme needs new owner

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is looking for bids from councils to take over the £4.25 million CRM National Project after the London Borough of Newham turned down the chance to remain as lead local authority for the project.

Newham had first refusal to own and exploit work developed by the CRM National Project, but turned it down because it believed it would not be able to give the work the attention it felt was needed.

The ODPM is now extending the offer to other councils, in line with a strategy to enable each of the 22 National Projects to continue beyond 2005. Local authorities have been asked to register expressions of interest in ownership of the CRM National Project by the deadline of next Monday.

Potential bidders could meet with ODPM representatives as early as next week. They would then have to supply their proposal, along with a long-term sustainability strategy, by no later than Thursday, 26 August. The proposals will be evaluated by 2 September.

In a open letter dated 27 July, Julian Bowrey, Divisional Manager for Local e-Government at the ODPM, said that both individual or joint submissions from councils would be accepted. "Short-listed authorities will need to support their expressions of interest with a strategy for long-term sustainability, demonstrating how they propose to sustain the project's products through continued promotion and roll out across the Local Authority community,” he wrote.

According to ODPM figures, virtually every council in England will have fully implemented CRM within their organisation by the end of 2005. In his letter, Bowrey said "The CRM National Project has successfully developed a number of products for implementation by local authorities in support of their e-government objectives."

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