Headlines: July 2nd, 2001

Bracknell Forest residents will be able to use a single, multi-function smart card to purchase local services, borrow library books and participate in local retail loyalty schemes as part of a new initiative by the borough council and BT Ignite Solutions.The deal, worth nearly 3.3 million pounds, is the first of its kind to use such an extensive smart card programme to streamline service delivery to citizens.

Unlike previous smart card applications, this project will seek to use the same card instead of a traditional library card, to claim for free school meals, to pay for parking at carparking meters, and even to carry around a small amount of cash to pay for items such as library fines.

The card project aims to be simpler for residents, who will carry only one card instead of several, and more cost-effective for the authority.

The new residents’ smart card will build on the success of the Council’s ‘Edge’ loyalty card, which already provides discounts to 16,000 local people on a range of services in shops and leisure facilities.

It is part of a number of pioneering developments introduced by Bracknell Forest including the setting up of a secure internet site, in partnership with Novell, which residents can use to interact about Council Tax and planning applications.