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COUNCILS LEAD THE WAY TO BETTER SERVICES -£23M WON FOR FIRST TIME IN CENTRAL FUNDING

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For the first time, more than 50 council-led projects have secured ...
For the first time, more than 50 council-led projects have secured

funding in the government's Invest to Save Budget - a programme to

help public agencies link up and deliver a more innovative, efficient

and joined-up service to their customers.

The latest round of funding, newly opened to council bidders, saw

£23m, more than 45% of the total announced today, secured by councils

across the country.

Local residents in Walsall, patients in Barnsley and parents in the

Medway will be just some of the people to benefit from the new

innovative services. The fifty-one successful projects involve

councils and other public agency partners, working together to

develop joined-up services that better respond to the needs of local

people.

Hailing their success, local government minister Hilary Armstrong

said:

'This is excellent news for councils and their communities. Their

success illustrates that councils are already seeking innovative

alternatives to traditional approaches. It represents their

continuing commitment to a more effective, client-focused service to

the public.

'Councils are currently preparing for the introduction of best value

- a new way of delivering local services to bring year on year

improvements. The extent of today's success demonstrates that

councils are rising to this challenge and putting local people

first.'

Ms Armstrong also congratulated a further six projects led by the

department in association with partners, Driver and Vehicle Licensing

Authority, English Nature, the Health and Safety Executive and local

government to increase public access to government information and

improve customer service.

Details of the DETR-led projects are attached. Details of the 51

council-led projects are available from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

NOTES

1. Invest to Save Budget is a HM Treasury/Cabinet Office led

competition involving£230m over three years from 1999/2000

designed to develop projects which bring together two or more

public bodies getting together to deliver services that are more

innovative, more joined up, more responsive and more efficient.

Today's announcement concerns Round Two involving a total of

around£51m for ISB projects in England.

2. Round Two (unlike Round One, which was only open to Central

Government) was opened to local government and the NHS.

3. 229 Expressions of Interests (outlines of proposed bids) were

submitted by local authorities to the DETR (who handle the bid

assessments for local authority bids) last May, seeking an

invitation to submit a full bid. In all some 80 local authorities

submitted full bids.

4. From a total of 105 successful projects, 51 are led by local

authorities involving some£23m of funding (representing some 45%

of the total funding available in Round Two).

INVEST TO SAVE FUNDING WINNERS: DETR-LED BIDS

Dissemination of Nature Conservation Data and Information

This project will create an electronic gateway to a range of nature

conservation information and services provided by English Nature

concerned with nature conservation and environmental matters. This

will be made accessible to public and private organisations and the

general public both in the United Kingdom and internationally via the

Internet.

The project will provide major benefits including easy electronic

access to nature conservation strategy and policies, scientific data,

national and international site information and a range of general

information concerning the management of nature conservation in

England.

Funding - #48,000

Link DVLA's driver licensing service with other databases to improve

customer service and record accuracy.

This project will provide a direct link to the Passport Agency (UKPA)

database, so that applicants who have a new computerised passport

will only have to quote their passport number on their driving

licence application. A check, using the passport number, would be

made against the UKPA database in lieu of DVLA checking the identity

documents. This will means that applicants won't have to part with

their original birth certificate or passport as a means of

identification when making their application.

Funding - #366,000

Improving the effectiveness of DVLA's vehicle operations using

electronic databases, tracking and notification.

Sub-project one: Pilot system to track vehicle movements through the

motor trade.

When a vehicle is sold into the motor 'trade' DVLA does not have a

record of who is responsible for that vehicle or where it is until a

new keeper registers it. The police have identified that vehicles

within 'the trade' are being used to disguise stolen vehicles, a

practice known as cloning.

The first stage of this pilot will investigate the feasibility of

setting up a trade database to track vehicles from the time a keeper

sells a vehicle to a dealer until the vehicle is registered by a new

keeper. It will also assess the different technical and business

options.

Funding - #209,000.

Sub-project two: Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud and Theft Register

(MIAFTR)

There is currently a paper based system for the insurance industry to

notify DVLA of any vehicle which has been seriously damaged. This

system currently restricts the notifications to vehicles valued over

#2000 (over #1000 for motorcycles).

The purpose of this sub-project is to provide an electronic link to

the Association of British Insurers Motor Insurers' Anti Fraud and

Theft Register (MIAFTR) and replace the paper based notification

system with an electronic link. The electronic link will also enable

notifications to be made on all vehicles regardless of value.

Funding - #200,000

HSE New Incident Reporting System

This project will set up a centralised reporting system to accept and

code reports of industrial accidents, which are required to be made

by employers either to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or to

the local council. Current arrangements are that employers complete a

standard form, and send it to the appropriate HSE or local authority

office. This could be one of 500 different addresses.

Employers would be offered a single address and phone number,

irrespective of their location in the country, and the freedom to

report by telephone, internet or fax - or continue to use hard copy

forms if they wished.

Accident reporting is a statutory requirement; about 210,000 reports

are received each year by the enforcing authorities. The project is

lead by HSE, working in conjunction with local councils, and is a

major plank in HSE's contribution to the target of 25% electronic

business by 2002.

Independent research found overwhelmingly that this service was seen

as helpful to industry, and one which reduced both the legislative

and administrative burdens.

Funding - #448,000

Communicating with Local Government

The Communicating with Local Government project will give local

authorities quicker and easier access to local government-related

information from central government departments by providing a

one-stop gateway web site.

A pilot site (www.info4local.gov.uk) has been set up and it will be

developed over the next two years to give an automated and searchable

database web site. In time, an e-mail alert system connected to the

site will give local authority staff quick links from their desktops

to the latest relevant information.

Five 'partner' departments (DETR, Department of Health, Department

for Education and Employment, Department of Social Security and the

Home Office) and two other departments (Department of Trade and

Industry and the Cabinet Office) are already adding data to the web

site. The project hopes to sign up other departments and agencies

that communicate with local government to make it a truly central

resource for local authorities, covering the whole of government.

The aim is to make the delivery of information between departments

and local authorities simpler, more joined up, better quality and

more efficient - helping them to deliver policy and give a good

service to the public.

Funding: - #500,000

Best Practice on Local Authority Information and Communication

Technology (ICT)

The project will develop the application of ICT to support best value

and continuous improvement of services; citizen focussed service

information; and the Central Local Information Age Forum and

Concordat, set up by the Modernising Government White Paper to

encourage innovation and co-operation between central and local

service providers. It spreads best practice from a group of

pioneering local authorities, links this with central policy makers

through the Central Local Information Age Forum, and provides a

mechanism for dissemination of best practice and practical support.

The bid is led by DETR Local Government Directorate, in association

with 8 local authorities, the Local Government Association's

Improvement and Development Agency and private sector agency CDW

Associates.

Funding - #600,000

151459 02

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