Innovation across local government has been boosted with 34 successful bids from councils for a share of the 6 million pounds e-innovations fund. There were unsuccessful bids from 90 councils. The successful councils, who have had to provide matching funding, will deliver their innovative ideas by March 2005.The projects cover four themes. The e-learning projects include internal sharing of information and good practice, staff development and better use of e-government to assist service transformation. Bridging the digital divide initiatives include using e-government in ways that help services to reach the socially excluded and prevent further isolation. These include SMS text-messaging technology to improve access to services for people living in rural areas
Emergent technology will be used to offer ‘virtual tours’ of vacant council homes, parks, local shops and other community facilities. For the final theme of local authority e-business, there will be better use of ICT to improve internal business in councils, including service planning and performance management.
All the projects can be replicated by other councils, who can build on the experience of the innovators.