Cumbria, Lambeth and Leeds councils have made the final three for the Society of IT Managers' 2005 awards for excellence in local government IT.
The three were selected from an eight-strong long list by a panel including Computer Weekly. All used innovative technology to produce tangible improvements to front-line services.
Cumbria deployed an application on tablet PCs to allow staff to determine people's social care needs. Having demonstrated that the application was robust, the authority partnered with three London boroughs - Enfield, Lambeth and Sutton - to spread the project's costs. Lambeth has translated the forms used by the system into 10 different languages.
Lambeth in turn made the shortlist because the council is the first in the UK to develop a single view of each citizens' interactions with its services.
The authority had to implement several technologies that were new to the public sector, including the Onyx OneServe customer relationship management (CRM) application that generates the virtual records.
Lambeth's executive director of corporate services, Eric Bohl said,"We have processed 820,000 customer service requests since March 2004. We had £1.75m annual savings last year."
Leeds City Council made the shortlist by swapping its 1,725 home-care workers' ballpoints for digital pens. When home-care workers complete forms in people's homes, the pens transmit the information to Leeds' head-office.
The winner will be announced at Socitm's annual awards at the Grand and Metropole Hotel, Brighton, on October 18.