Leeds City Council has won plaudits for its work on an ongoing programme to improve and expand the electronic delivery of local government services to its 715,000 citizens. This year this has led to the council’s website being rated among the top eight UK metropolitan authorities for meeting residents’ needs by the Society for IT Managers (SOCITM) in March.

The Leeds City Council site is now one of the most popular local UK sites, with more than 140,000 people using it every month to view nearly two million pages. The Socitm award particularly singled out its ‘usefulness and usability’, which includes functions such as navigation, search and information content. Maura Brooks, chief officer for the council’s ICT Services, said at the time that the award “highlights the continuing good work and commitment of the council to make the best use of technology and adapt the website for all our customers’ needs”.

The work completed in 2005 had a key role too in the recognition the authority has received for its e-transformational work. Significant investment in Novell-based technology has formed the basis of a back office Windows XP desktop migration, along with SAP and the use of Adobe software at the front end. The transformation has consolidated 850 disparate applications across 140 servers, at more than 200 sites. And the 10-year electronic Social Care Records system begun in 2003 continued towards its goal of saving the council £1.5 million.

Since then, work has been carried out to rationalise nine call centres into one new £1.8m contact centre housing 250 agents and 70 back-office staff to handle the 30,000 calls a week it receives from residents about a range of issues.

This year has also seen the council standardise its IT service management system. The implementation of the BMC Remedy and Service Management suite has introduced web-based, self-service support, with online support tracking for its staff, improving first-line fix rates from 20 per cent to 78 per cent within four months of rollout.