Jun 29 2012

Harrow’s innovation rewarded at the MJ Awards 2012

A trailblazing online account that brings Harrow Council services to residents at the click of a button has scooped one of the country’s most prestigious awards.

Harrow was named winner of the ‘Transformation through IT’ award at the prestigious MJ Awards in London last night (21st June), which recognise outstanding performance in local Government.

A panel of distinguished judges chose Harrow for its work in transforming council services through IT innovation – making things easier, more accessible and better value for money for residents.

The council’s MyHarrow Account, an online personal account system where residents can carry out over 80 different transactions with the council 24 hours a day, without waiting or queuing has been a huge success locally.

The approach also means we are the first in the country to offer online electoral registrations.

Thanks to this work perceptions of customer care are up 30% and importantly for our residents costs have been reduced by £300,000 in the first year. Staff are also able to spend more time with residents that really need a one-to-one personal service.

The annual MJ Awards are organised by the Municipal Journal magazine, which is the leading weekly magazine for local authorities. This year saw a record number of entries.

The Council’s Adult Services Department was also highly commended and named runner-up in the ‘Redefining Quality in Adult Services’ category.  This award is particularly welcome as it recognises the council’s work in putting quality as it is understood by our customers at the heart of challenging, designing and improving the way we provide our services.

The ‘Redefining Quality in Adult Services’ award also acknowledges exemplary achievements in delivering better outcomes for users and promotes examples of best practice. Harrow has a unique arrangement for users and carers to design and improve what they expect from our services. This has led to big increases in their quality of life and choice of control.

Cllr Bill Stephenson, Leader of Harrow Council, said:

“I was privileged to attend the Awards Ceremony with nearly a thousand other local Government colleagues. These are very keenly contested. To one is a great boost to the work being done in Harrow to improve services on which our residents rely whilst at the same time delivering the vital savings the national cuts demand we have to make.

“Winning the ‘Transformation through IT’ award for our innovative MyHarrow account shows just how ahead of the curve we are when it comes to offering residents a service that suits their needs and lifestyles at the same time as delivering excellent value for money.

“Our highly commended runner-up placing for ‘Redefining Quality in Adult Services’ is a very significant award for Harrow. The work being done by our adult services teams helps and supports some of our most vulnerable residents to led independent, full lives. We are a council that puts the support of those most in need as priority.

Michael Lockwood, chief executive of Harrow Council, said: “Great credit is due to all staff in both these areas for their innovation and passion. It has been a real piece of teamwork.”

Michael Lockwood, Chief Executive of Harrow Council said:

“I am delighted to announce that last night we were presented with two MJ Awards. Although our year of being the Best Achieving Council in the UK came to an end yesterday we did not leave the Awards empty handed.  Harrow Council took home two awards – first place in the Transformation through IT award for our MyHarrow Account; and runner up in the Redefining Quality in Adult Services category for our quality assurance system.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate staff for all of their hard work in the development and ongoing promotion of the MyHarrow Account; and dedication in ensuring the Council has a robust quality assurance system, which provides quality services for our vulnerable adults.”

The Harrow awards were presented by BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson at the ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Source: Harrow Council

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