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NEW INTERNET PROJECT FOR BEDFORDSHIRE GOES ONLINE WITH£1.2M BOOST

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A new internet service for Bedfordshire and Luton, designed to help people get easier access to councils, emergency...
A new internet service for Bedfordshire and Luton, designed to help people get easier access to councils, emergency services and a wide range of other organisations, has received a£1.2m boost.

Bedfordshire and Luton Online, a project developed by Bedfordshire CC with 14 partners across the county, has been awarded more than£1m by the cabinet office to help develop the scheme over the next three years.

The innovative project involves making it easier for people to access services, including those from councils, emergency services, the chamber, De Montfort University, charities and other public sector organisations and partners, by joining up the information people need through an internet service.

The services will then be delivered electronically to the citizens of Bedfordshire wherever this is possible. This could include activities such as completing forms electronically

People living in the county will be able to access information direct, or by phone, using special screens placed in libraries or by visiting a one-stop-shop or community resource centre.

The service will provide NHS Direct-style access to the organisations providing a single point of contact for a wide range of information.

Bedfordshire's successful project joins other innovations in electronic government unveiled across the UK by ministers today.

Angela Roberts, the executive member for resources at Bedfordshire CC, welcomed the government's support for Bedfordshire's project.

She said: 'This scheme is important because it uses new technology to make it easier for the client or customer to get information and help. It will help remove the complexity involved in dealing with public organisations, because there will be one point of contact. It also means that if you do not have access to the internet, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of the scheme by phone, or speaking to someone face-to-face.

'The key to its success is the partners working together behind the scenes, using new technology, to make it easier for people to access the right help and information.'

The project now moves to the next stage of development and details of timescales and launch plans will be revealed later in the year.

- The executive summary of the bid, together with a summary of the partners involved in the scheme is available on request from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

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