Hampshire Council has announced that it is the first county council and one of only a few UK public sector organisations to achieve an internationally recognised accreditation for IT.
The ISO 20000 accreditation recognises best practice in IT service management, information security and the efficient operation of IT. Widely coveted by high-profile blue chip companies, it has not previously been awarded to any local authority IT department.
The council's IT department spent 18 months streamlining and standardising its delivery of IT. To qualify for the award, the authority had to satisfy three independent audits and a rigorous external review by the British Standards Institute (BSI).
The council said the award was recognition that over one million Hampshire residents would enjoy the highest quality IT performance, efficient services and continuously improving reliability and availability of IT.
According to council spokeswoman Suzi Southgate, more than 200 process areas were considered, and process managers set up in every area of IT from technology and service management to supplier and customer relationship management.
The exercise has not cost the taxpayer anything.
"Cost was largely absorbed in business-as-usual service improvement rather than significant new resources found," said Southgate. "It was also treated as a change programme.
"It will be and is already reaping dividends in performance management and reporting, helping the IT management team with decision-making and ensuring Hampshire County Council targets resources more quickly and effectively. "Consistency in IT management lies behind delivering effective and efficient IT. We need repeatable and proven ways of doing things if we are to be responsive and productive, yet ensure we protect services and data.
"The new ways of working will increase productivity levels. They mean Hampshire County Council can do more."