Although the literature on the consequences of introducing information technology (IT) has burgeoned immensely in the last few years, there remains remarkably little written on the public sector, and in particular on the administrative services of national and local government (Lane 1988). Yet there are several good reasons for regarding this as a particularly important area. Not least of these is the importance of this sector in sheer size terms, historically and currently. In the UK, central government administration accounted for 4.9 per cent of total employment in 1951, while local government employment encompassed 6.1 per cent of the total. By 1976 these proportions were 8.1 per cent and 12.1 per cent respectively, thus amounting in combined terms to over one in five of the UK work-force (Gardiner 1981). By the end of the 1980s, total public administration amounted to 1.9 million employees, or 8.7 per cent of the work-force, with a further 1.7 million in education and 1.4 million in health. Some of these latter groups are included in local government employment, which amounted to 2.97 million in 1989. 1