Awards recognise top female CIO

A leading government IT professional has been recognised in the Blackberry Women and Technology awards, held at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London last week.

A leading government IT professional has been recognised in the Blackberry Women and Technology awards, held at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London last week.

Annette Vernon, chief information officer at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, won the award for "best woman in technology" in the non-profit and public sector category.

The awards were created by Blackberry PDA manufacturer Research In Motion and women's networking group Aurora to pay tribute to women demonstrating excellence, innovation and leadership in the field of technology.

Vernon joined the Department for Constitutional Affairs in 1999 at a time when IT in the courts was limited by under-investment, few resources and a lack of strategic vision on how to develop and exploit IT for business, the awards judges said.

Through several initiatives, Vernon increased the profile of IT in the department and altered the perceptions of both staff and the public so that IT is now recognised as crucial to the improvement of service delivery in the courts, they said.

Vernon has radically changed IT spending in the department. In 1999 the average investment in IT per member of staff in the courts was £1,200. By 2006, the average investment per user will be £4,000 per annum.

Ailsa Beaton, director of information for the Metropolitan Police, also received a special mention in the public sector/non-profit category.

The overall award went to Jackie Edwards, a lecturer at De Montfort University, whom the judges described as an "inspiration in making academia accessible through technology".

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