Wigan Council have been crowned Digital Council of the Year at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards in London, beating off tough competition from places such as Glasgow and Nottinghamshire.
As part of The Deal, residents and local businesses have been encouraged to embrace technology. Working with public and private sector partners such as Agilisys, Wigan STEAM, Leigh Hackspace and the NHS, the council has delivered a range of activities to get residents and businesses fully equipped for the digital age.
Councillor Terry Halliwell, lead member for services transformation at Wigan Council said: “We’re absolutely elated that all our hard work here in Wigan has been acknowledged. Winning this award proves that Wigan is leading the way yet again and we will continue to inspire our residents and businesses to improve their digital knowledge for their own benefit and for the local economy.”
Also competing for the top prize were the London Boroughs of Croydon and Lambeth, Suffolk County Council and Southend-on-Sea. However it was Wigan’s strong partnerships and clear commitment that proved unbeatable.
Getting online has an estimated average benefit of £1,064 per year for new users and is one reason why the council has put a strong emphasis on digital skills as part of The Deal, asking residents to access services online.
Online tools like the Report It app and MyAccount, enabled by the Agilisys Digital platform, have revolutionised the way residents can contact the council, including paying bills and reporting environmental problems, so that they can enjoy a seamless online experience, available to them 24/7. There are already over 40,000 registered users of MyAccount.
This has also seen people take free ‘get online’ courses and tablet training at venues across the borough, which has helped the council boost the availability of internet access in public spaces.
The council also aims to reach as many businesses as possible through these courses to help them build efficient websites, as research suggests that businesses in Greater Manchester without a digital presence are missing out on UK online sales, which were worth £164billion in 2014.
Steven Beard, chief executive at Agilisys, the council’s partner in digital transformation said: “We’d like to congratulate everyone at Wigan Council on this fantastic achievement. To be awarded ‘Digital Council of the Year’ recognises the innovation, collaborative working across the borough, and overall effective use of technology and data by Wigan Council, which has enhanced and improved outcomes for their citizens. It is an honour to be working in partnership with Wigan Council who share our ‘customer-first’ vision to help get even more people online.
With this success comes even greater opportunity for Wigan Council as it sets its sights on becoming a digital stronghold within the North West, and we look forward to continuing with them on that journey. Well done again to everyone involved.”
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