Liverpool shortlisted for government IT award

Liverpool City Council's ambitious scheme to place PCs in libraries, one-stop shops and on the street, has been shortlisted for...

Liverpool City Council's ambitious scheme to place PCs in libraries, one-stop shops and on the street, has been shortlisted for one of the top awards in local government.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has shortlisted the city council for Beacon status for social inclusion through ICT.

Liverpool has already set up six one-stop shops where people can access council services electronically, and there are plans to establish a network of 13 across the city. Early next year it will also introduce a pilot scheme of eight "pavement pods" - street kiosks which allow local people to contact the council online and send e-mails and text messages, free of charge.

The initiatives are part of Liverpool's long-term "Seaport to E-port" initiative, which aims to bridge the digital divide and foster economic growth in the area. As part of the strategy, 230 computers have been introduced into the city's 24 libraries.

Council officials see the award of Beacon status as a boost to the city's drive to modernise public services. David Henshaw, the council's chief executive, said, "Being shortlisted for Beacon status is a real boost to our vision to move from Seaport to E-port. Our aim is to put the customer at the heart of council services, and we are making radical changes to improve and modernise our services."

The Beacon council scheme aims to identify certain authorities as trailblazers in local government. A final decision on the award is expected in April.

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