GPRS benefit claim processing system scoops top local government IT award

Halton Borough Council scooped top honours at this year's Computer Weekly-sponsored Local Government IT Excellence Awards, which...

Halton Borough Council scooped top honours at this year's Computer Weekly-sponsored Local Government IT Excellence Awards, which were presented at the Society of IT Management's annual conference in Birmingham yesterday.

The council's Benefits Express service impressed the judging panel with its unique approach to processing benefits claims.

By using a complete mobile online office, GPRS communications, digital cameras and laptops linked to Halton's benefits system, staff are now able to update records online and process benefits claims directly from people's homes. The service means claims can be processed on the day of application - a process that used to take more than two weeks.

The runner-up in this year's awards was Liverpool City Council for its Integrated Children's Services/Children's Community Index project. Launched in July, the multi-agency Integrated Children's Service provides a single point of access to all council services for children and families in Liverpool.

Highly commended awards went to Surrey Partners for its e-Recruitment pathfinder project and Leicester City Council for its Disability Information and Communication Network.

Now in their eighth year, the Local Government IT Excellence Awards are organised by the Society of IT Management, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and suppliers' body Intellect.

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