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Beacon Councils Announced

2 April 2003

Seven local authorities in England have been selected to serve as centres of excellence in promoting online access to services in the latest round of the Government's Beacon Council Scheme.

These were named as Derwentside District Council, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough, Council, Liverpool City Council, and Cambridgeshire County Council, which has applied jointly with East Cambridge DC and Huntingdon DC.

The councils were chosen from 30 authorities which applied for Beacon status under the 'Social Inclusion through ICT' theme. The aim is to disseminate best practice by identifying local authorities that deliver a clear strategy for improving access to ICT among less socially-advantaged communities.

The authorities will now work with the Improvement and Development Agency to share their best practice with others through a series of learning events that will take place until Summer 2004.

To achieve Beacon status, councils were expected to point to examples of sustainable programmes or initiatives that have raised awareness of the opportunities that ICT can provide, together with an increase in the take-up of local e-services and the availability of advice and skills support to target groups.

Visiting Camden Council yesterday, one of the authorities awarded Beacon status for its work on Tackling Homelessness, the Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford commented that the Beacons were “great examples of how good services can make a real difference to peoples’ lives.”

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