Technology is helping the UK government to deliver more efficient, user-friendly and greener services to citizens, and helping to build a fairer society, according to Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson.
"More and more people are using the internet to carry out everyday tasks like banking and shopping, and they have the right to expect that the public services they rely on are available in the same way," he said at the annual Public Technology E-Government Awards at The Guildhall in London.
Watson claimed that the government is committed to developing the best ideas technology has to offer, to help transform access to the services and information people require.
"While there is still plenty more to be done, these awards show that a huge amount of fantastic and innovative work is going on across the country to ensure that the best advice, information and services are easily available in a way that fits in with busy and diverse modern lifestyles," he said.
Prime minister Gordon Brown spoke at the event by way of a video message. " The 2008 awards saw a record number of nominations from across the country - individuals, teams and organisations who are using new technologies in innovative and creative ways to deliver better public services," he said.
"When times are tough, as they are now, it is more important than ever for government to work as smoothly and efficiently as possible."
This year's awards saw a record 588 nominations across 11 categories, with recognition given to those individuals and teams that have ensured efficient and effective delivery of public services online.
Winners included Birmingham City Council, RNIB Cymru, NHS Connecting for Health, Fife Council, the London Borough of Croydon and the University of Bath.
The entries spanned a range of projects such as the Charity Commission's scheme to encourage online charity returns, and a programme pioneered by Hertfordshire Police that lets officers send urgent appeals and crime alerts direct to the public.
"The awards are a yardstick for UK excellence in innovative government services, including those enabling local communities to transact with their councils, national online government services for citizens or businesses, specific services for vertical industry sectors, and government services delivered online through intermediaries and the voluntary sector," said Christopher Histed, founder of the e-Government National Awards and chief executive at PublicTechnology.net, which organises the event.
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