The Local Government Association (LGA) has signed a deal with Novell to allow local authorities to license software based on their population rather than the number of users of the system.
According to the LGA, the three-year licensing framework agreement is the first of its kind.
The Novell software includes Novell Portal Services, eDirectory LDAP-enabled directory-based identity management, DirXML bi-directional data sharing and iChain identity-based web security.
The population-based pricing works out at below £2 per citizen per year, dropping to 60p according to local authority size.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead will be the first authority to deploy the software.
It has already signed up for e-Work and the full Novell suite, and is due to offer its 140,000 citizens access from the start of next year.
It aims to provide secure access to personal records such as council tax history. A citizen's portal will provide local information including optional email alerts about council activities.
Ben Bulpett, Novell UK's enterprise sales director, explained that groups of local authorities could license the software together to move into a higher population band, lowering the price per citizen.
Paul Bray, head of IT at the LGA, said: "The LGA is a member organisation so it has to be impartial. It would be wrong to say that we have selected [Novell] from all the others, but we are saying 'here is a worthwhile product'."
According to Novell's own research, 80 per cent of local authorities use its software in some capacity.
Meanwhile, just 28 per cent of local authority services were available online and nine-tenths were struggling with skill shortages in the key areas for meeting e-government targets, said Novell.
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