Tuesday 7 October 2003

Mobile benefits service wins LGITU-sponsored IT Excellence Award

Halton Borough Council is the winner of the 2003 Socitm Solace Local Government IT Excellence Awards for its Halton Benefit Express, a mobile service that tours the borough providing a link between the public and benefits advisors.

The announcement was made at the Socitm conference in Birmingham last night.

According to the chairman of the judges and Intellect marketing and services director, Charles Ward, the Halton project is an innovative project that enables customers to claim benefits easily and quickly.

"Staff are equipped with digital cameras to record documents and laptop computers connected directly to the benefits system delivering the service directly into the client's home, thus reducing processing times and delays whilst improving service performance and customer satisfaction," said Ward.

Runner-up in the awards sponsored by UKauthorITy.com's sister publication, Local Government IT in Use, is Liverpool City Council's Integrated Children's Services, an on-line first point of contact for government, family and voluntary organisations dealing with children in the city.

The service takes all enquiries from children, families and professionals, and manages a new Children's Community Index computer system. It has made it possible to resolve over 90 percent of concerns at first contact and is estimated to have saved more than £1 million.

'Highly Commended' awards were given to Surrey Partners' e-Recruitment Pathfinder Project and Leicester City Council's Leicester Disability Information and Communication Network.

Surrey's www.Surreyjobs.info is a web based recruitment and retention portal designed to retain and attract public sector talent for Surrey. It features a once-only application form, employer brochure pages and sophisticated job search functionality.

Leicester's Disability Information and Communication Network was launched this July and is aimed at people with disabilities and their carers. This unique project has created a web-portal and new computer suites, specially adapted for the needs for users with disabilities, in social care and voluntary sector centres in Leicester. www.ldicn.org.uk

Organised by SOCITM, SOLACE and Intellect, the awards seek to highlight the use of best practice in local government and how IT has been used both effectively and innovatively to deliver Best Value public services. Now in their eighth year, the 2003 awards are supported by Civica, Staffware and Consilium Technologies.