"We are using technology as an accelerator for change," Liverpool City Council chief executive David Henshaw told CW360.com after winning the award. "In the past, a local authority was valued by its land. In the future, its value will reflect the information it holds."
The council has taken proven techniques from the private sector, such as data analysis of customers in retail, to capture data on the general public. "We are doing what the private sector does already by developing customer profiles," says Henshaw.
In the future, he adds, this information would help Liverpool City create better services.
As an example, by tracking refuse collections using its Oracle CRM system, the council could measure the effectiveness of the service delivered by its contractor, Onyx. Sensors within wheelie bins could even be used to track the amount of refuse generated by each household, paving the way for an environmental reward scheme.
Henshaw says another use of the technology was to get " a sense of what is happening on our patch".
Liverpool City Council has begun using a geographical information system (GIS), to examine demographic trends, such as the spread of single-parent families within the city.
The award comes three years after Henshaw became chief executive. At the time, Liverpool City Council was rated third from the bottom in the local authority league table for council services. It also had the highest council tax in the country.
The move to CRM began with a concept that Henshaw describes as "intelligence-led local government".
"We began organising the council around our customers, instead of around council departments," he says.
A key step was the creation of a joint venture with BT and the formation of Liverpool Direct, set up to provide the council with information and communication technology, maintenance and repair of IT systems and a new call centre.
Henshaw wanted to offer the general public a single point of contact for all local government services. Staffed by 240 agents and run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the call centre now accounts for 75% of all customer contact at Liverpool City Council and handles 37,000 calls per week.
A further 20% of customer contact is now is handled through one of seven "one-stop shops", set up around the city to provide the public with a single point of contact for council services. The City's Web site takes just 5% of customer inquiries.