Four English councils have been selected as the finalists for this year's Local Government IT Excellence Awards.
The annual programme aims to highlight local authorities that have used IT to improve the delivery of public services, and are organised by IT trade body Intellect, public sector user group Socitm and council chief executive group Solace, with support from Computer Weekly.
"It really is most pleasing and encouraging to see how the entrants have made use of ICT technology for the benefit of the citizen and shown great ingenuity in delivering big benefits and savings far beyond the initial investment," said Chris Browne, director at Best Practice Group and a member of the judging panel.
"This year we have seen some outstanding examples of cost-effective e-government delivery and we think this augurs well for the future use of IT becoming central to the delivery of the aggressive savings being demanded of the public sector."
The finalists are (in alphabetical order):
Connect Digitally, Online Free School Meals
Free School Meals (FSM) is a service with a complex delivery chain which sat in the 'too difficult to solve' box for years. Online FSM (OFSM), led by Hertfordshire County Council and funded by the Department for Education, is streamlining service delivery in 174 local authorities in England and Wales and four central government departments. Innovative technical delivery, shaping the service around the citizen and identification of benefits are critical to success. OFSM transforms the application from an antiquated, difficult, paper-based process to an electronic one improving outcomes for more than a million children annually while driving down service costs.
London Borough of Redbridge - Ilford Blueprint Online
Redbridge and Virtual Viewing have developed an innovative web-based marketing tool to help turn planning policy into reality by providing a 3D visualisation of development potential in Ilford, one of London's 11 metropolitan town centres. Its multi-disciplinary project team has successfully combined web-based commerce and gaming technology with planning policy and regeneration, creating an online resource for promoting development opportunity sites identified in Ilford's adopted Area Action Plan.
Met Police - The Focus Court Presentation System
Focus is a bespoke software-based digital evidence viewer and organiser, designed by the Metropolitan Police Service's Directorate of Information engineers for use in the courtroom by non-specialist operators, such as police officers. It is a highly effective and simple-to-use tool, allowing the officer one-click access to all of the digital exhibits pertaining to a case, helping to speed up and streamline the presentation of evidence in court.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council - E-Buy procurement system
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council has teamed with EGS to transform the way it procures goods and services from suppliers. The resulting E-Buy solution is on course to save £3.5m over five years which the council can re-invest in services for citizens. E-Buy has replaced disparate and inefficient systems with a highly-automated, web-based solution for purchasing-to-payment, including electronic invoicing. The solution is as intuitive as Amazon.com, saving hours of administrative time for employees. Suppliers of all sizes and the wider local economy are benefiting too. E-Buy was delivered on time and under budget.