Borough Aims to Lead the Way Forward in E-Government; the Borough Is Pioneering Community Interactive Television On-Line Via Television in People's Homes
AS Merseyside strives to become a centre of ICT excellence, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is forging ahead with a pioneering approach to the e-government agenda.
Knowsley's Chief Executive, Steve Gallagher, who leads the North West's e-Government Group, explained: "In order to propel Merseyside to the forefront of the ICT and digital world, a lot of public and private sector money is being invested in ICT."
"A strategic framework is being devised to drive it forward and we have two universities in Liverpool where world class research and development is taking place, " he added. "Local authorities in Merseyside are putting together plans to develop electronic government and will be investing in the region of pounds 130m to pounds 140m. A total of pounds 16.5m will be spent in Knowsley alone.
"The strategy is inclusive - making sure everyone in the community benefits from and has access to ICT to develop their own skills, be it through the internet, mobile phones, digital television or interactive web kiosks."
Recognising the benefits that ICT can bring to communities, Knowsley MBC is evolving as an e-council, with its award-winning Community Information Programmes (CIPs) giving the people of the borough free access to multimedia and internet facilities through a network of 130 public access PCs. Trained assistants are on hand to help users develop their IT skills and get the most from the facilities.
It is hoped that this will arm the people of Knowsley with a foundation of knowledge and skills to produce a strong employment base.
In addition, Knowsley is turning to new technologies to improve its services. Options such as One Stop Shops, call centres, e-mail, the web, interactive digital TV and public access kiosks are key elements of the borough's moves toward service improvements and provision of ecouncil facilities.
A website provides detailed council information and interactivity with a range of facilities. The council aims for its residents to be able to use the web for a wide range of transactions such as applying for benefits, paying for services and booking sporting facilities.
It also provides support free of charge to communities and businesses wishing to create their own websites with the intention of promoting their services.
Residents and visitors have access to information kiosks located within Knowsley. Touchscreen technology provides them with a wide range of information about Knowsley and services available.
The borough is now pioneering a UK first - community interactive television on-line for local residents with web pages available via television in their own homes. …