The London Borough of Redbridge and Hertfordshire County Council have been declared the winners of the 2010 Local Government IT Excellence Awards.
The awards are organised by Socitm, Intellect and SOLACE, and are now in their 15th year. The competition highlights public sector IT projects that improve the efficiency and delivery of services within local communities.
Redbridge's "Ilford Blueprint Online" system is a web-based marketing tool developed by the council and Virtual Viewing Ltd to "help turn planning policy into reality". It provides 3D visualisation of development potential in Ilford, one of London ’s 11 metropolitan town centres.
The project team combined web-based commerce and gaming technology with planning policy and regeneration, creating an online resource for promoting development opportunity sites identified in Ilford’s adopted Area Action Plan.
Hertfordshire's "Connect Digitally, Online Free School Meals" system is "transforming a service with a complex delivery chain that sat in the ‘too difficult to solve’ box for years".
Led by Hertfordshire County Council and funded by the Department for Education, the project is working with 174 local authorities in England and Wales and four central government departments, to change a difficult, paper based process to an electronic one, with "a potential to improve outcomes for over a million children annually while driving down service costs".
In addition to these awards, the Metropolitan Police won a special prize for innovation for its Focus Court Presentation System, and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council was highly commented for its E-Buy procurement system.
In other recent Socitm news, last month it and the Local Government Association (LGA) reached an agreement with the Cabinet Office to relax some of the security standards requirements for local authorities to connect to the government’s network. The move will help to reduce the cost for local public organisations connecting to the Government Secure Extranet (GCSx), which was a major concern given current budget pressures.
GCSx is a network that allows sharing of data and services across the government. It will be migrated to the Public Sector Network (PSN) in the future.