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Creating Pontypridds Digital Future

p Civic Offices, 133 Berw Road, Pontypridd, CF37 2AA

t 01443 300097 m 07092 107212

11 August 2009
Rt Hon Dr Kim Howells
Member of Parliament for Pontypridd
16 Tyfica Road
CF37 2DA
Tackling the Digital Divide
I am writing to you in my capacity as Town Councillor for Treforest, while also being an elector in
Pontypridd at 8 Heol-y-Parc, Efail Isaf.
I would like to welcome to appointment of Stephen Timms MP to the position of overseeing the Digital
Britain Report. He is a most capable appointment, having served in a similar role in the Government in the
past. I recall writing to you in 2003 recommending the take up of Wi-Fi and Mr Timms responded from the
Government. Since then, I have during my time on the Town Council convinced other members to agree to
the setting up of Wi-Fi Hotspots on council property, starting with the Museum. I still need to raise
awareness that the Digital Divide is something that needs to be tackled rather than implemented!
I wrote to the previous minister, Mr Tom Watson about the issue I am writing to you about today in
response to an invitation he put in my .Net magazine, but he did not reply, so I am writing to you in the
hope that you will raise it with Mr Timms.
Mr Watson took the step of culling the number of Government websites and centralising it on
While I agree that it should be possible for non-business customers to access every government service
from I also think that it is important to have specialised website for certain audiences. These
need not be run by the Government.
Website providers should, in my view, be allowed to access a Government Gateway to content and
services, which they can integrate into their own websites. For instance, the charity, the Shaws Trust, could
access the Jobcentre jobs listings and provide disabled people with information on jobs that participate in
the two-ticks scheme. Charities like Epilepsy Action could provide access to the DLA claim form and
make an interactive service that explains to disabled people how they need to complete the form, taking
into account their specific disabilities.
As a Chartered IT Professional I think the most effective way to enable this would be through a secure
XML interface. This would mean that with only industry standard knowledge anyone could interface with
the system and provide targeted advice and information to their specific groups, providing they are
authorised to.
I hope you will be able to pass my opinions onto Mr Timms, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards,

Cllr Jonathan Bishop CITP

Town Councillor for Treforest