Gary Clawson, information communications technology manager for Knowsley's education and lifelong learning department delivers state of the art ICT to improve the services the council offers to residents. Gary won the Public Servant of the Year 2001 Local Government Category in the national Public Finance Awards. The award is sponsored by Public Finance Magazine in partnership with Cabinet Office. Gary was the only award winner in the North of England out of 11 awards.
Now, vast amounts of council information and new technology are to be within reach of ordinary people thanks to Knowsley implementing the Community Grid for Learning. This is an ambitious project to make new technology available to more than 30,000 people. More City Learning Centres (CLC) are also a vision for the future as a result of Gary's commitment to information technology being made available to local people. The first opened only recently in the Prescot and Whiston area and was declared by Malcolm Wicks (minister with portfolio for lifelong learning) as 'the best centre of its kind in the country.' Two more are planned for Kirkby and Huyton.
CLCs are specialist colleges which develop ways of learning that exploit the potential of new technology. The DfEE was so impressed with the quality of the CLC in Knowsley that it asked the council to host a national conference to show other local authorities how best to set up successful CLCs.
Gary has also led the drive to set up an education network linking all the authority's schools and giving then high quality access to ICT. The idea behind the network is to harness resources to increase educational attainment among pupils who will be at the forefront of accessing, sharing and creating information. Knowsley has more than twice the number of personal computers in schools than other authorities in the country.
Gary Clawson commented: 'I am really proud that the work I am involved with has been recognised by Cabinet Office through this award. Knowsley is certainly leading the field in providing IT facilities to its residents and it is pleasing that the commitment and drive evident throughout the borough is paying dividends and has been noted nationally.'