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LGA CONF: VIRTUAL RUTLAND ONLINE WINS WEBSITE COMPETITION

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The best local authority website has been awarded to Rutland CC. ...
The best local authority website has been awarded to Rutland CC.

Deputy leader Derrick Watson accepted the award today at the Local Government Association conference in Bournemouth.

Rutland head of strategic policy & community development Neville Wilkinson told LGCnet:

'It is a very unique project which made us stand out from the crowd. It is not just a council website but an innovative partnership between the council and a local private sector company. We've created a virtual Rutland online.'

The site address is: www.rutnet.co.uk

Press release from Rutland CC follows:

National honours for Rutland website

Rutnet, the home of Rutland CC's website today won national awards for excellence at the Local Government Association annual conference in Bournemouth.

The council's website won the Local Government Website of the Year Award, and the Tourism and Community Information Site of the Year. The website is run in partnership with local company Rutland On Line and receives funding from the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) for a full-time project manager.

The Rutland Information Network is home to local government, businesses and community organisations from England's smallest county. There are over 500 pages of information on the website incorporating directories and guides for local businesses, the community and tourism. Examples of information on the site include local news, jobs, shopping, property, sport and leisure and local history. Each of Rutland's 54 villages has its own web page including an interactive village noticeboard. Local correspondents contribute to the site and can publish village newsletters directly on the site. Other features of the site include bus timetables, information on local schools, jobs and access to council planning forms.

Councillor Rob Lacey, representing the management board of the Rutnet Partnership and also lead member for Rutnet said: 'I am delighted that the council's website has been recognised for excellence by the Local Government Association. Rutland CC has been keen to develop new communication tools, and this website is fast becoming a central focus for communities in our rural county. The Rutnet project manager, Deborah Murrell, has been rapidly developing and updating the council's website whilst at the same time encouraging businesses and villages to address their own particular needs'.

'To win the local government website of the year award so soon after its launch is a massive achievement. I would like to thank those people involved from the council, Rutland On Line, and within the villages for all their hard work in making the Rutland website a great success.'

Nic Streatfield, director of Rutland On Line commented: 'This award recognises the unique blend of public and private service provision we are building into Rutnet. It is still early days for what we eventually wish to achieve, but it is great to know we are on the right track'.

Deborah Murrell, Rutnet project manager commented: 'It is very encouraging to receive this award. The website is continually evolving and is very popular in Rutland, with 11,500 visitors every month'.

A press release from the LGA follows:

WEB AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Rutland CC has won top prize at the LGA's website awards ceremony held at the association's annual conference in Bournemouth today.

The award was announced by Richard Turpin of Huntingdonshire DC and Mike Blackburn, head of local government marketing, from the competition sponsors BT.

Peter Blair, competition administrator, said: 'Judges were inspired by the way that Rutnet raises awareness about the potential of the internet and encourages local people to join and contribute to the community network.'

Winners include:

LGA Website of the Year - Rutland CC

RNIB Prize for Accessible Design - Kirklees MBC

Environment and Renaissance Award - Camden LBC

Enhancing Public Service Provision - Tameside MBC

Reinvigorating Local Democracy - Bristol City Council

Tourism and Community - Rutland CC

Public Consultation on Best Value - Oldham MBC

SHORTLISTED AUTHORITIES

A list of this year's shortlisted authorities for each competition category is set out below. The shortlisted sites were judged on content, originality and accessibility.

Category - Environment & Renaissance

London Borough of Camden

http://www.camden.gov.uk/green

A micro website dedicated to green issues and the environment.

Staffordshire County Council http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/sustainablestaffordshire/

A unified look at sustainability issues including forum, The Good Environment Guide, council activity and Local Agenda 21 information.

Thanet District Council

http://www.thanet.gov.uk/eduindex.html>

Economic development information designed to attract inward investors and support local businesses. Includes commercial property and local company databases.

Category - Enhancing Public Service Provision

Kirklees Metropolitan Council

http://www.kirkleesmc.gov.uk/community/community.shtml

An excellent example of how information can be presented in a way which is customer-focused and does not require knowledge of the Council's organisational structure.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

http://www.tameside.gov.uk

Excellent use of online forms and innovative introduction of on-line secure payment for Council Tax, general bills, parking fines, etc.

Waveney District Council

http://www.waveney.gov.uk

Check out the Cemetery Index and refuse collection information to see how new aspects of public service provision can be developed on the Web.

Category - Reinvigorating Local Democracy

London Borough of Brent

http://www2.brent.gov.uk/leader

Includes consultation on corporate strategy and budget and an innovative report tracking system.

Bristol City Council

http://www.bristol-city.gov.uk

The Bristol Matters section available from the home page contains online meetings diary, minutes and reports, including advanced search facilities.

London Borough of Camden

http://www.camden.gov.uk/democracy

A micro website dedicated to democratic issues.

Category - Tourism and Community Information

Cheltenham Borough Council

http://www.visitcheltenham.gov.uk

An innovative tourism website with online booking and secure e-commerce facilities.

East Sussex County Council

http://www.escis.org.uk

The East Sussex Community Info. Service (ESCIS) online, including fast access database.

Poole Borough Council -

http://www.poole.gov.uk

Imaginative site that allows people to check real-time data on hotel vacancies and much more.

Rutland County Council

www.rutnet.co.uk

Consummate community gateway including discussion forums, free classified postings and facility to sign-up for a Rutnet email account.

Category - Public Consultation on Best Value

London Borough of Brent

http://www.brent.gov.uk/streetcare

Includes Best Value questionnaire for streetcare services and detailed Best Value Performance Plan for 2000/2001.

London Borough of Hillingdon

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk

The Local Government section accessible from the home page includes Best Value online survey form and email facilities along with a Best Value newsheet and news article database.

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

http://www.oldham.gov.uk

Citizens in the Chadderton area can request services online as part of the Council's Best Value initiative. There is also a Best Value Newsletter for Chadderton residents.

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