Community portal acknowledged for its ‘e-excellence’ in innovation

Launched a year ago, West Yorkshire Police’s iPortal website for local community information has been shortlisted for a national award for innovation. Praised by the Home Office when it went live, it has successfully provided a ‘one-stop-shop’ for users to get customised information about both police and local authority services and news.

Dec 16, 2010
By Paul Jacques

Launched a year ago, West Yorkshire Police’s iPortal website for local community information has been shortlisted for a national award for innovation. Praised by the Home Office when it went live, it has successfully provided a ‘one-stop-shop’ for users to get customised information about both police and local authority services and news.

A revolutionary project to bring up-to-date customised information about local communities direct to people’s homes has been shortlisted in the 2010 e-Government National Awards.

Launched last year by West Yorkshire Police across the Wakefield district, the iPortal website enables users to tap in a postcode and request localised information from all the force sites.

The system has been linked up with Wakefield Council enabling local residents to get customised information about both police and local authority services and news.

This is the first time that police and partnership information has been featured on single web portal page in this way, which enables public users to design their page around local news and information.

Partners working with West Yorkshire Police are encouraged to sponsor their own information box, or ‘widget’, which automatically pulls relevant content from their own existing websites.

Users can select which areas of information they would like to view, for instance contacts and news from their local neighbourhood policing team, weather updates or press releases from Wakefield District Council.

The exciting technology allows users to move their chosen content areas around the page allowing a more flexible choice of how they want to view the information. Also, the page can remember postcodes and your chosen layout for subsequent visits.

The project has been nominated in the ‘e-Government excellence: Innovation in strategy at a local level’ category, sponsored by Pitney Bowes.

Chair of West Yorkshire Police Authority, Cllr Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “On behalf of the police authority, I congratulate West Yorkshire Police for being a finalist in the e-Government awards 2010. West Yorkshire Police is one of the leaders in the police service in its use of the Internet and social media to communicate with the public and has a proven track record of working with partners.

“The iPortal is an excellent way of people having access to information from all public bodies working in the area where they live and would be a worthy winner of an award.”

West Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable for citizen focus, John Parkinson, said the iPortal website not only made it easier for the public to find local and relevant information from the police, but also from the force partners as well, enabling individuals to customise their page to highlight the issues important to them across their community.

Launching the pilot last year, he said: “One of our priorities is also about keeping people informed, letting the public know what’s going on, and for the first time the iPortal has the potential to capture and display on a single page a range of key updates from police and partners in local neighbourhoods.”

The iPortal has been developed by West Yorkshire Police’s web team in media and marketing in conjunction with the force’s Gateshead-based commercial web design partner Direct IP.

Patrick Brooke, West Yorkshire Police web communications manager, said that from a practical point of view, it provides public users with a one-stop-shop of local police and partnership news, delivering tailor-made Wakefield partnership information direct to the home of public users.

Cllr Olivia Rowley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said that using the opportunities of new technology helps them to reach more people in different ways.

Neighbouring force South Yorkshire Police has also been named as a finalist in the 2010 e-Government National Awards. South Yorkshire has been nominated in the ‘Innovation in strategy at a local level’ category for its BlackB

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