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Today (5th November 2007), 81 finalists in the e-Government National Awards 2007 (http://www.e-governmentawards.co.uk) are announced. The Awards are independent and highlight the UK's most effective services which improve citizen and business transaction with councils, central government departments and other public sector organisations.

Finalists include a great diversity and spread of excellence in e-Government and public sector services right across the UK - Councils, central government departments, non-departmental public bodies and voluntary organisations are all represented in this 'best of the best'. A key theme in this year's finalists list is social inclusion, and the use of innovative technology to deliver services to help the disadvantaged.

This year's finalists have been chosen from among the record 527 nominations that were submitted by senior professionals working across the public sector. The judging panel was headed by Government Chief Information Officer John Suffolk (based at Cabinet Office), and the winners will be announced and presented with their e-Government National Awards on 22nd January 2008 at a black-tie dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

The annual e-Government National Awards has become the UK's highest level commendation for the best e-Government services - services which, through innovative online delivery or IT implementation, have positively transformed the lives of citizens, local communities, business and stakeholder groups.

Organisations and services among the finalists this year include projects as diverse as Talking Bus Stops for the blind & visually impaired in Brighton & Hove; Leicester City Council's Online Job Shop; Bedfordshire Police mobilising its front line officers with a BlackBerry solution; the NHS On-line Pharmacy Catalogue; HMRC's online tax self-assessment and the Prime Minister's (sometimes controversial) ePetitions operation - plus, 75 more from across the UK.

[[[ ---------------- Editor's note: The list of finalists is at the foot of this press release -------------- ]]]

Gillian Merron, Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for Transformational Government, said:
"Technology is bringing an ever increasing range of benefits to the public, making more and more services available online and allowing people to pay bills or make purchases at any time of day or night."

"Central government has a key role to play to ensure the provision of services fits around the diverse needs and lifestyles of our customers. However we also recognise the fantastic work being carried out across the public sector, and these Awards are an ideal opportunity to reward those who are both leading and delivering best practice."

"I would like to congratulate all of the finalists in this year’s e-Government National Awards on having come this far. This is a very strong set of short listed nominees whom I hope will inspire others and show what can what can be done to improve public services for more people."

John Suffolk, Government Chief Information Officer at the Cabinet Office, says:
"In my time in post as the Government Chief Information Officer I have been struck by the scale and complexity of the public sector and the services we deliver. We are at the beginning of the Transformational Government journey, but already have many successes we can be proud of - the e-Government National Awards (2007) are great way of sharing and recognising these achievements."

Nigel Smith, Office of Government Commerce Chief Executive says:
"These awards play a key role in recognising the very high standards of good practice being developed in this area. e-Government can act as a facilitator which enables departments to focus on value added activities, as well as saving money and time, which can be reinvested into front line services."

Keith Bannister, KPMG Partner, Global IT Advisory market leader for Government, Platinum Sponsor of the Awards and a lead member of the judging panel comments, "KPMG is proud to be lead sponsor of the awards for the third year running, for us this is a way of recognising and celebrating all the good work that's been done."

"We believe that e-government has helped support the transformation agenda for public services in this country, it has made them more open, more accessible and more efficient. A key theme of this year's Awards are Government services which help build a fairer, more inclusive society. E-Government gives all citizens and businesses the opportunity to interact directly with services and government which is why we think e-Government is helping to build a fairer society."

Christopher Histed, founder of the e-Government National Awards and CEO of PublicTechnology.net says: "These annual Awards are independent and the most-authoritative yardstick for highlighting excellence in innovative government services. The Awards reward the best and most effective technology-driven services and organisations enabling citizens, businesses and local communities to interact with their councils, national government, voluntary and health services."

On the judging panel were central and local government leaders with great experience of delivering strong services for citizens and stakeholders.

The panel included Rose Crozier, Head of Information Services, Belfast City Council and President of the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM). Crozier says: "These awards do a great job in highlighting the excellent work being done to deliver transformational change, facilitated by technology, to public services. As an organisation that regards the sharing of best practice as one of its key roles, Socitm is delighted to support the Awards and very pleased to see the strength of the entries received this year from local authorities."

Awards judge and sponsor Mark Armstrong of O2 says "E-government is a great platform for O2 to demonstrate our commitment to the government sector. It is also an excellent forum to gain a deeper understanding of the multitude of innovative initiatives that are taking place throughout the public sector. The audience mix, the awards and O2’s ability to interact with every dinner guest make this a top annual event."

Stephen Baker, Chief Executive of Suffolk Coastal District Council and an Awards judge said: "The quality of submissions was remarkable and I struggled to identify a clear 'winner' in any category - there were so many deserving recognition."

Head of Business Systems at the London Borough of Havering, Ray Whitehouse, an Awards judge, says: "This is the second year I have been part of the judging panel and was delighted to see the improvement in the number and the quality of the entries, and the progress we have all made across many e-government activities."

The e-Government National Awards 2007 are supported by the Cabinet Office, the Office of Government Commerce, the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM) which represents ICT management in the public sector, and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE). The Awards' platinum sponsor is KPMG and also sponsoring is O2.

The charitable beneficiary of the e-Government National Awards 2007 dinner will be the Charitable Trust of the Information Technologists' Company, the 100th City of London Livery Company, which helps a wide range of not for profit organisations to gain the maximum benefit from their IT, and to benefit the needs of the disadvantaged.

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Finalists in the 11 categories in the e-Government National Awards
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1) Building a fairer society with e-Government: National-scale services Sponsored by KPMG
(Using ICT & e-Government services to improve social inclusion or improve lives on a large or national scale).

> Fire Service College: the Fire Gateway (www.fire.gov.uk) web portal for the Fire & Rescue Services in England
> Kirklees Council: Enabling job seekers nationwide the ability to look for a job via digital interactive TV and mobile.
> N3 - bringing the National Health Service closer together
> Prime Minister's Office: ePetitions - the digital engagement project to link citizens & the head of government
> The British Library 'Sacred' online resource
> UK online centres: myguide supported by UK online centres

2) Central e-Government excellence: Take-up & usage growth
(Delivering high & growing take-up of an e-enabled service through effective service delivery & marketing).

> DVLA: Electronic Vehicle Licensing (EVL)
> Environment Agency: Growing online rod license sales
> HM Revenue & Customs - Self Assessment Online
> Prime Minister's Office: ePetitions, the government's two-way communications system for citizens
> The Planning Portal
> Vehicle & Operator Services Agency: MOT Computerisation

3) Central e-Government excellence: Team Sponsored by O2
(Proven team-working or partnership activity which has delivered more than the sum of the parts).

> Highways Agency: Travel Times on Variable Message Signs (TTVMS) team
> HMRC: International Trade Single Window: a team success
> Ministry of Justice: DISC Transition team, the successful transition of IT Services from six existing to two new suppliers.
> Office of Government Commerce: Collaborative eAuctions for IT Hardware

4) e-Government excellence: Leadership & Professionalism
(Leading e-Government strategies and professional development which contribute to achieving positive transformation).

> Birmingham City Council: Business Transformation Agenda
> HM Revenue & Customs - IT Professional Skills (ITPS)
> Leeds City Council Business Process Reengineering Team
> Northern Leadership Academy: Development of a virtual leadership academy
> The Prime Minister's website - the official online presence of the PM.
> Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council: Organisational change programme “Worksmart”
> The West London Alliance (WLA) e-Government group

5) e-Government excellence: Shared Services
(Proven shared services which have delivered effective services and efficiency gains).

> Northern Ireland Department of Finance & Personnel: NICS ICT Shared Services Project
> Devon Building Control Partnership - facilitating data sharing and centralised management
> Hampshire County Council: Five Councils use e-Procurement to drive collaboration & efficiency
> HM Prison Service - Shared Services
> JANET, the Joint Academic Network, and roll-out of JANET5
> Kettering Borough Council - One Team Wide Ranging Services
> Norfolk County Council - I C T Strategy - E services
> Northumbria 101 Partnership: www.northumbria101.gov.uk - a single non-emergency number (101) to tackle anti-social behaviour.
> Scottish Government: eProcurement Scotland Service

6) e-Government excellence: Innovation in strategy
(Delivering innovative strategies which have delivered above-average results in improved services, transformed processes & results, increased effectiveness).

> Bedfordshire Police - mobilising front line officers with the BlackBerry solution
> Border and Immigration Agency, e-Borders: Project Semaphore
> Crawley Borough Council: Virtual desktop – Added value to mobile working
> Driver & Vehicle Agency: Booking Services Project, introducing computerised driving & vehicle tests (MOTs)
> Highways Agency: Roads Information Framework Project
> Informing Healthcare: Individual Health Record in the Gwent GP Out of Hours Service
> Lichfield District Council: Business Matters Project & the Business Description Schema
> Mobile working in social care: transforming service delivery for London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering
> London Borough of Harrow: Introduction of Voice Risk Analysis to Housing Benefits & Council Tax assessments
> Samaritans: SMS Text Messaging Project
> South Yorkshire Police: Intranet mapping service
> Ukvisas: Delivering a global biometric web-enabled Visa regime
> Vehicle & Operator Services Agency: MOT Computerisation

7) Local e-Government excellence: Take-up & usage growth
(Ensuring high & growing take-up of an e-enabled service through effective service delivery & marketing).

> Broadland District Council: Increased Direct Debit take-up for Local Taxation
> Kennet District Council: Delivery of e-planning services
> Leicester City Council's Online Job Shop
> St Helens Council: Electronic Householder Agents accreditation scheme
> Wakefield Metropolitan District Council: Local e-Take-up Campaign
> Westminster City Council: "Parking Services: from enemy to ally". Making life easy with Pay by Phone parking & online permit renewals.

8) Local e-Government excellence: Team
(Proven team-working or partnership activity which has delivered more than the sum of the parts).

> Borough of Poole: Customers First Implementation Steering Group (ISG)
> The West London Alliance (WLA) e-Government group
> Hampshire Constabulary: ACPO Freedom of Information Central Referral Unit. Coordinating authority for freedom of information requests across UK Police forces
> Kent Connects Partnership: Team change of direction proves pioneering
> Kettering Borough Council: Successful team working in Delivering customer service improvements
> London Borough of Ealing: ‘Econnected: Ealing’s Digital Bridges’
> London Centre of Excellence & OGC: OGC IT Hardware Collaborative e-Auction
> Oxfordshire County Council Communications Unit and Web Deployment Teams

9) Central e-Government excellence: Procurement Sponsored by Office of Government Commerce
(Procuring excellent IT-enabled solutions for better public services).

> Cabinet Office: Project ISAAC/Public Sector Flex ICT Outsourcing Shared Service
> JANET, the Joint Academic Network, and roll-out JANET5
> Jewel & Esk Valley College: eProcurement in the Further Education Sector in Scotland
> NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency: On-line Pharmacy Catalogue
> Royal Mail migrates entire procurement system online to e-sourcing making the process completely paperless
> South East Centre of Excellence: Waste Information Network

10) e-Government excellence in Learning & Skills
(Public sector online or electronic services which transform learning & skills outcomes).

> Emerson Park school opts for hosted software service to deliver virtual learning
> Gloucestershire College: StARs & StRIPEs (Identifying ‘at risk’ students)
> NHS Education for Scotland: e-Portfolio
> North Eastern Education and Library Board: The Creativity Truck
> Opening the Book: The Frontline online course
> Pembrokeshire College: The mLearning Project
> The Open University: the OpenLearn website
> Welsh Assembly Government: Careers Wales Online

11) Building a fairer society with e-Government: Targeted or localised services - Sponsored by KPMG
(Using ICT & e-Government services to improve social inclusion for specific groups of excluded or disadvantaged people).

> The National Archives: Prisoner 4099 - providing access to archival material for students with a visual impairment
> Brighton & Hove City Council: Talking Bus Stops for the blind & visually impaired
> Connexions Tyne and Wear: Online vacancy application system for 16/17 year olds in NE England
> Dundee City Council: Disabled Parking Bay Application Process
> Lincolnshire County Council: The Connect Lincoln Information Portals project to deliver internet access into remote areas
> Heart of Birmingham teaching NHS PCT: Health Exchange, supporting wellbeing in Birmingham
> Lincolnshire County Council: A pioneering Polish Community website
> Telford & Wrekin Council: Innovative system enabling customers to claim benefits easier.

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Notes for editors:

1) The Awards' platinum sponsor is KPMG and also sponsoring is O2.

2) Case studies on each finalist are available – please contact Chris Histed (see details below).

3) Related web links:

e-Government National Awards: http://www.e-governmentawards.org.uk
Cabinet Office: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
Office of Government Commerce: http://www.ogc.gov.uk
Socitm: http://www.socitm.gov.uk
SOLACE: http://www.solace.org.uk
PublicTechnology.net: http://www.publictechnology.net
KPMG: http://www.kpmg.co.uk
O2: http://www.o2.com
The Information Technologists' Company: http://www.wcit.org.uk

4) Press contacts:

> Cabinet Office e-Government unit: Press Officer Charlotte Carr – 020 7 276 1196
Charlotte.Carr@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk

> Office of Government Commerce: Press Office – 020 7271 1318

> Socitm: Vicky Sargent – 01608 730 538 / v.sargent@boilerhouse.co.uk

> Solace: Graham Taylor, Head of Communications – Tel 020 7233 0081 / graham.taylor@solace.org.uk

> KPMG: Katrin.Boettger@KPMG.co.uk 0207 785 4232

> O2: Nigel Dutton – Tel 07889 208 051 / nigel.dutton@o2.com

> e-Government National Awards:
Chris Histed (CEO, Public Technology.net & founder of the e-Government National Awards) - 07808 905 314 /chris.histed@publictechnology.net

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of PublicTechnology.net in the following categories: Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.