Headlines: May 29th, 2001

Announcements about the introduction of new technology in public services are being made with increasing frequency. Although each announcement may have limited significance, when put together they represent a strategic trend. They include external services for the public and internal services to improve efficiency.Telewest has provided Knowsley Council with an interactive digital TV service which provides for tenants to send home repair requests and get consumer advice. The service also allows residents to have their say about how the council operates. E-mail phil.woodhead@merseymail.com

Worcestershire County Council is replacing an ageing range of finance, treasury and purchasing applications with a new service provided by IT Net. The Council believes that by using the new applications service and paying the service provider for each transaction, they will make savings through improved processes and more timely and accurate information. Link: www.itnetplc.com   <http://www.itnetplc.com>. Making use of the services of an application provider is a global trend because it moves up front costs and risk to the IT company.

Worcestershire CC are also installing a content management system from Obtree Technologies to allow non technical staff to update content to external and internal websites. The system allows the Administrator to retain control of design, but gives users control of content. E-mail jacquelene@rjhpr.com

Coventry City Council has piloted an Internet payment system from Academy. It allows customers to pay council tax, business rates, parking fines and other bills. The system provides an end-to end service by checking payment criteria and transferring funds directly into the council’s bank account, eliminating paperwork and reducing transaction charges. Link: www.acadinfo.co.uk

The Document Company Xerox will shortly launch a system to allow councils to automate the agenda management process from report creation to publication of outcome. It will allow agenda items and associated documents to accessed by any user as soon as they are submitted. E-mail david.millican@gbr.xerox.com

The Corporation of London is piloting electronic forms for collecting information from the public. The system provided by Toplevel provides for the forms to be signed off with electronic signatures. E-mail info@toplev.com