The NHS and the Ministry of Defence were amongst winners in the e-government national awards, which awarded IT innovation in the public sector.

The 2009 awards, which were unveiled last night at a ceremony in London, recognise innovative IT projects. This year 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.

Prime minister Gordon Brown spoke at the awards, in a video recorded address that reasserted the government’s promises to invest in technology as part of Britain’s economic recovery.

“When times are tough, as they are now, it is more important than ever for government to work as smoothly and efficiently as possible,” he said to public sector IT delegates. “I hope you will continue to push forward with your mission to transform our public services and, with them, the lives of people up and down the country.”

Cabinet office minister Tom Watson said technology is helping the government to deliver more efficient, user-friendly and greener services to citizens.

"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.

NHS Connecting for Health, the agency responsible for the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT, won the award for excellence in innovation, which was also shared with local NHS teams for N3, the NHS’ high-speed broadband network for England. The NHS teams beat other programmes, including the Royal Mail with its ‘Ask Sarah’ knowledge database, and the police national statistics database.

The accolade for excellence in shared services went to the Ministry of Defence’s Disposal Services Authority, which resells used furniture, clothes and other goods from military personnel and sites. Other finalists for the same award included the National Policing Improvement Agency’s Airwave project for digital radio coverage on the London Underground, and a programme by Scottish local authorities to transform council job profiles.

The Charity Commission won an award for take-up and usage growth in recognition of a scheme to encourage online charity returns. Hertfordshire Police won an award for local innovation, for a programme that enabled officers to send urgent appeals and crime alerts directly to residents in their area. The award for green IT went to the British Council for carbon-efficient IT.

Other winners included the Birmingham City Council, RNIB Cymru, Fife Council, the London Borough of Croydon and the University of Bath.

Related articles:

NHS Records and payroll system is rare tech success story