West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council scoops national award

Award recognises digital transformation project

MJ Award presentation

Issued on: 22 September, 2021

West Berkshire Council has picked up a national award for Digital Transformation.

The award was presented by the Municipal Journal (The MJ), the UK's leading local government publication, and recognised the work done by West Berkshire Council and its partners to improve services through its Smart Cities Cluster project.

The project, which was funded by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, saw West Berkshire Council and its fellow Berkshire local authorities working with local start-ups and SMEs to improve services to residents using new technology. In West Berkshire, this included employing sensors in supported accommodation to help prevent falls in elderly people and the rollout of a chatbot on the Council's website to answer common resident queries during the Covid-19 pandemic. Other initiatives funded through the project included a social prescribing app to prevent isolation and a device to prevent unnecessary electricity usage in local authority-owned buildings.

It also saw the deployment of a new communications network across the county which local people can use with their Internet of Things (IoT) devices to exchange data and monitor assets, as well as a wide range of other applications.

 West Berkshire Council's Executive Member for Internal Governance, Councillor Howard Woollaston, said:

 "This is brilliant news which demonstrates once again that West Berkshire and the Thames Valley Berkshire region are at the forefront of digital innovation.

"The breadth of council service areas across the county which have benefitted from this project is incredibly wide, which goes to show that the use of new technology can really enhance what we do across the board.

"Many other local authorities have already been in touch with us about the potential of smart cities solutions and how they can use them in their areas. We are very proud to be among the country's leaders in this field and look forward to using what we've learned throughout the project to continue to deliver excellent, sustainable services to our residents."

Speaking about the winning project, the judging panel said:

"We were particularly impressed with the genuinely joined up working between the participating organisations. This project has invested in nine innovative businesses to develop smart city solutions addressing a range of challenges faced by local authorities in delivering services in unprecedented times. Projects such as Project Joy, IntelAgent, Eco Rewards and My Way offer a real opportunity for local authorities across the UK to learn from and tailor to their own needs."

Details of the awards can be found at: MJ Awards 2021