In a ground breaking new project, the London Borough of Lewisham and Fretwell-Downing Informatics have commissioned and delivered a working model which demonstrates how the APLAWS local government content management system can integrate with the seamlessUK community information portal.
The APLAWS project gives local borough websites the same look and feel for ease of navigation, while the seamlessUK project adds communality of metadata to websites to ensure users can input common terms to find information – for example guaranteeing that entering ‘refuse collection' will bring the same results as ‘dustbin collection'.
Lorraine Trenchard, Connected Communities Programme Manager at the London Borough of Lewisham said, “As part of our Connected Community strategy we are developing a community portal information site for Lewisham. We wanted to take the strengths of APLAWS and seamlessUK to make a site which is useful and interesting and to make using the Internet a good experience, providing information that is appropriate and useful to our local residents.”
Systems integration specialist in the e-Government arena, Fretwell-Downing Informatics, was chosen for the project due to its knowledge of relevant new standards such as e-GIF and e-GMS as well as its expertise in systems integration and thesauri development for local government applications. As part of the drive to ensure all government services are online by 2005, The Office of the e-Envoy, will launch a campaign this month (May) to encourage people to use the Internet.
Fred Baron, consultant at the IDeA, the Improvement and Development Agency, said recently that there are two main challenges for councils: the cultural and communication issues of sharing best practice internally, and the challenge of sharing it across the wider government sector and added that if the public sector could find ways around these barriers, it could get best value from its investment in IT. Mark Allcock, Product Manager and e-Government specialist from Fretwell-Downing Informatics, commented, “Lewisham is pioneering best value from IT in this project to mesh two high profile projects to make them stronger, and is sharing the outcomes with a growing group of South London boroughs to ensure that the benefits are widely available.”
About Fretwell-Downing Informatics
Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI) has a long history of supplying leading-edge information management solutions to over 200 organisations worldwide. FDI perates from its headquarters in the UK with a US subsidiary, Fretwell-Downing Inc., in North America plus additional offices in Australia and Europe. FDI's experience has resulted in a suite of welldesigned solutions including information portals, library management, resource sharing, document delivery and data publishing. The company's freedom by design philosophy is underpinned by a strong software development team and a commitment to interoperability and open standards – such as NISO Z39.50, Dublin Core. This enables FDI components to be built into a total solution or integrated alongside existing technologies.
About London Borough of Lewisham
Lewisham covers 14 square miles of South East London and is a 15 minute train ourney from central London. It stretches from the River Thames in the north, through inner city landscapes to leafy southern suburbs and includes Blackheath, Deptford, Forest Hill, Catford, Lewisham, New Cross and Sydenham and is home to 247,000 residents. Lewisham Council employs 8,356 people and has an annual total budget £675m. It is one of only two London Council's (32 in total) to have a dirtectly elected Mayor - Steve Bullock who was elected in May 2002 for four years.
The Council's aim is to work with its partners to make Lewisham the best place in London to live, work and learn. Find out more about Lewisham at www.lewisham.gov.uk.