Online for top award

Contributed by editor on Jan 12, 2005 - 12:01 AM


The man spearheading Shepway Council’s drive for improved electronic access to council services is in line for a national award.

Martin Skeats, the council’s e-Government co-ordinator, will be one of the finalists at the first e-Government National Awards ceremony at the Institute of Directors in London on 19 January.

Martin was nominated for helping to develop an e-payment system that allows customers to pay anything from a parking fine to their council tax online. 

“Using the website is more convenient for our residents. It enables them to make the payment at any time it suits them. They are not bound by office opening hours and it is cheaper than using the telephone.

“It also benefits the council. It is more efficient and saves money. It can cost up to £1.17 in staff time to handle just one phone call and we can take hundreds of calls a week. Making payments online uses existing technology to improve what we do.�

He said credit should go to the IT team at the council for helping to develop the online payment system. “Although I will be going to the awards ceremony, it is very much a team effort.�

Ian Watmore, Head of the Cabinet Office’s e-Government Unit, said e-Government was going to transform the way central and local government interacted and communicated with the people they served.

“For many organisations, technology has fundamentally changed their relationship with customers. Customers demand more of the organisation they interact with.�