Headlines: May 3rd, 2006

There were a record number of entries for this year’s Government Computing BT Awards for Innovation, which have seen prizes going to projects from local and central government and covering criminal justice, health and immigration. In all 150 projects were put forward for the awards by 98 bodies and the organisers say that shows that in spite of the often unfavourable press for public sector ICT, technology is central to providing more efficient, citizen-centred services.The awards recognise individuals and teams who have shown imagination, focus and commitment to bringing benefits to the public through the application of ICT. David Myers, director of shared services in the Cabinet Office, who presented the awards, said it was important to celebrate successes.

“Sometimes in the public sector we tend to underestimate the level of our achievements. Across the public sector we exist to serve our customers, so I am particularly pleased to be awarding prizes which celebrate significant achievements in great customer service,” he said.

The winner of the best government to government project was the Violent Offender and Sex Offender Register, known as Visor, from the Police Information Technology Organisation. The runner up was OGC buying solutions’ eSourcing Managed Service. In the government to citizen category the winner was the European Health Insurance Card from the Department of Health, which has already provided 15 million new cards to UK residents. The London Borough of Islington took the runner up spot with its Sign Video Contact Centre, which uses videoconferencing to provide sign language communication for people with hearing disabilities.

The best government to business project was judged to be Landweb Direct from Land Registers of Northern Ireland with the runner up being VOSA, the Operator Self Service from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. The award for the best project within an organization went to South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust’s Hospital at Night Rapid Response System, which uses wireless technology to coordinate patient care. The Immigration Office’s Terminal 3 Immigration Service Website, providinga tailored information resource for staff, took the runner’s up award.

The Greater Glasgow Independent Living Equipment Service from GlasgowCity Council, which brings together health and social services to manage the provision of equipment to help elderly and disabled people to live at home, took the award for delivering efficiency. The runner up was the Crown Prosecution Service’s Compass case management programme. The shared services award went to Your London Report IT from London Connects, a centrally hosted facility for residents to report problems to their boroughs. Second place was awarded to Customer Service Direct, a partnership of Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and BT, providing common access channels for local government in the county.Competition was close in the Innovators of the Year category. The winner was Stephen Hilton, who leads on e-democracy for Bristol City Council. There were joint runners up, Darren Scrafton, IT manager from Public Lending Right, and Claire Hamon, director of business information systems for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Steven Voss, publishing director at Kable, who chaired the judging panel, said the quality and range of entries had shown growing maturity in the field and a consistent focus on delivering value for money and meeting the needs of end user