Some of the UK's smallest councils are showing larger authorities the way to deliver e-government according to public sector IT directors organisation the Society of IT Management (Socitm).
North Cornwall District Council has become the first council in England to have its IT department receive a double three-star rating in a best value review.
The council was judged to provide an excellent service and have excellent prospects for improvement and the accolade prompted Socitm to publish a report on the achievements of smaller authorities.
The report highlighted eight organisations that have overcome a lack of resources to successfully deliver their e-government strategies.
Socitm said key lessons for other councils include a commitment to the strategic role of IT in improving services and the importance of boosting employees' confidence in technology.
North Cornwall District Council has developed a website that handles online council tax payments, and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has used the European computer driving licence training programme to increase staff confidence in IT.
The Welland Partnership, which involves five local authorities from four counties, has enabled its members to pool their skills and financial resources. "This is an example of the whole being more than the sum of its parts," the Socitm report said.
Martin Greenwood, programme manager for Socitm Insight, which produced the report, said the approach of these councils was "characterised by an ability to focus on a clear purpose - allowing managers the scope to act, getting all parts of the organisation to act cohesively and using technology to support the communication required to bring the organisation together."
Big successes by small councils
North Cornwall District Council: Became the first local authority IT function to achieve a double three-star rating in its best value review.
Derwentside District Council: Developed new channels by leading partnerships to provide broadband.
Canterbury City Council: Developed a simple approach to IT performance management that delivers powerful results.
Caradon District Council: Built a platform for exploiting IT and delivering e-government with high levels of customer satisfaction.
Staffordshire Moorlands Council: Increased employee confidence in IT through the European computer driving licence qualification.
Welland Partnership: Five local authorities working together to pool skills and resources.
Maidstone Borough Council: Delivering best practice in website development.
Stroud District Council: Gained top-level commitment to build a highly commended website.
Source: Socitm report: Big successes in small councils. Some shining examples of e-government achievement in shire districts. www.socitm.gov.uk
All of the councils featured in the report served populations of less that 140,000 people.