This year for the first time, iNetwork held the Innovation Awards Showcase: Celebrate, Learn & Share on Wednesday 15 May at the St Thomas Centre, Manchester. The showcase displayed some of the best practice and innovation that was nominated for the iNetwork Innovation Awards 2018.

The iNetwork Partnership exists to support local public services ‘collaborate to innovate’ and the iNetwork Innovation Awards is an opportunity to highlight, recognise and share leading practice. Each year we receive dozens of nominations across the iNetwork Innovation Award categories; only a handful win, but all are deserving of recognition. The showcase provided a platform for the best of the best: the organisations, partners, teams and individuals who have led the way on innovation across the local public sector. The Showcase consisted of interactive sessions, workshops and videos that allowed delegates to learn and celebrate together.


Another excellent iNetwork event sharing and learning. iNetwork always provides a great opportunity to network with a range of inspirational people

Vicky Clarke

Manchester City Council

The day began with arrivals, refreshments and registration. Shelley Heckman introduced all the fantastic nominations showcasing their projects on the day and you can view all the presentations from all the projects on the day on the agenda. The agenda is filled with a variety of projects that will showcase digital transformation, culture change, collaborative working, effective information sharing and leading examples of innovation.

The day was split into interactive workshops that directly reflect the programmatic work within the iNetwork family; Transforming & Innovating Public Services, Effective Information Sharing & Security, Connected Procurement & Commissioning and iStandUK. You can find out more about the iNetwork programmes on the iNetwork website. Furthermore, the day also included projects that were nominated for the Partner Excellence Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award.

The first round of workshops included the following;

Whole School Approach to Restorative Thinking in Liverpool Schools and was presented by Lesley Parkinson, Restorative Thinking & Caroline O’Neill, Liverpool City Council. The Liverpool Families Programme invested in a pilot programme for 6 schools during 2015 – 2017 with Restorative Thinking Limited to develop a restorative practice whole school approach to improve behaviour, develop better relationships and reduce young people from being excluded from school. Six schools were recruited from across the primary, secondary and special sector. You can learn all about the project here.

SMART Parking in Harrogate BC & North Yorkshire CC and was presented by Matthew Roberts, Harrogate Borough Council & Nick Leggott, North Yorkshire County Council. North Yorkshire County and Harrogate Borough councils launched a joint initiative to create the country’s first ‘smart parking’ town in Harrogate. Initially on an 18 month pilot basis working with Appy Parking, the town will see parking partly managed by 1,600 surface-mounted bluetooth sensors in all street parking bays and off-street surface level car parks. The first ‘smart parking’ app is set to be launched in Harrogate, offering motorists the chance to be guided to available spaces and pay for exactly the time they stay. The solution identifies available spaces, provides cost information and assists navigation to the most suitable parking space. Smart parking should significantly improve parking and traffic management, reduce pollution, support the visitor economy and enhance user experience, by using the data provided. You can view the project here.

Electronic ID for citizens and was presented by John Grundy, Verisec. This project arose from the struggle some people face to prove their identity and where they live. It may be that they don’t possess a driving license or passport, they may not have a utility bill and they are struggling to keep their birth certificate or other documentation safe. Often support projects need to record exactly who the person is and can spend too much of their time processing the identification. It can mean that the citizen is sent away to find documentation but often they don’t return and therefore don’t get the support they need. You can view the project here.


interesting event hearing how other local authorities are being innovative in approach to deal with the challenges we all face

Maureen Keegan

Knowsley MBC

After a short break, the second set of workshops included:

North Yorkshire Connect, Community Services Directory and was presented by Anne-Louise Arkle & Sarah Foley, North Yorkshire County Council. The North Yorkshire Connect project was created in order to provide residents of North Yorkshire with a single information repository in accessing details of services, support organisations, activities and things to do within North Yorkshire. Some of this information was already available online, albeit in a variety of hosted websites and the information was presented in multiple different formats, providing an inconsistent customer experience and also being time consuming. The cost of hosting these websites and the resources spent on updating and maintaining the information was not sustainable and it was agreed that a new approach and a new product was needed for residents to provide them with a consistent user experience, up-to-date information and a one stop- shop for finding out what community services were available within their locality. You can view the project here.

CCTV Transformation Programme and was presented by Nicky Shaw, Trafford Council.  In 2017, Trafford Council and Salford City Council embarked on an innovative joint business venture to co-locate public space CCTV monitoring and emergency out of hours call handling services. The project stages were; collaboration between Trafford Council, Salford City Council ICT services and Synectics Ltd to create a shared network infrastructure at a reduced cost. Trafford Council’s undertaking of a comprehensive mapping exercise to rationalise camera stock and plan an upgrade programme for the camera. The introduction of shared management arrangements and reciprocal staffing rota’s and the procurement of a shared CCTV camera purchase and maintenance agreement. You can view the project here.

Really enjoyed learning in more detail about all the innovative projects. Great to meet people from across the country and discuss new ideas and practice

Rosie Rees-Bann

Manchester City Council

The day continued to inspire delegates as they got to choose which workshops they could attend, the third set of workshops on the day included:

The Tameside App was presented by Tim Rainey & Nicola Smith, Tameside MBC. The Tameside App began life in 2014 as part of the Council’s drive to increase levels of recycling. It was simply designed to remind residents the night before their weekly waste collection date which colour of bin needed to be presented. With ten’s of thousands of downloads in the first 18 months, the App was being used by more than 1 in 6 households in Tameside. Since then the App has been further developed to support “in cab” functionality. iPad’s have been installed across the refuse fleet. Issues such as “pull out and returns” are flagged to the driver and residents can now report missed bins directly to driver on that round so they can return if practical and also provide notifications back to the resident. The App has now been extended to include reporting Street Scene issues such a litter, grot spots & graffiti. Each report is GPS positioned & photo’s can be uploaded. A map provides details of all reports across Tameside & once resolved notifications & “after photos” to show the issue has been cleared are sent. This functionality is being expanded to include pot holes and street light issues.

The Accessibility Matters project was presented by Michael Carter & Lawrence Shaw, Sitemorse.  Rochdale Borough Council has worked with Sitemorse who had been instrumental in helping us deliver a more accessible website, improve reputation and build confidence in their site. They used Sitemorse’s automation tool that helps to improve the digital experience by identifying website errors. It also replaces sporadic and often manual assessment of inefficiency resulting in an improved customer experience of the website. Sitemorse is the only recognised independent sector benchmark auditing service of UK council websites; the results are published through a Sitemorse INDEX. After investing resources into using both Sitemorse as a product and their excellent, speedy and knowledge support service Rochdale Borough Council were able to significantly improve their website and retain their 4* Socitm rating and you can view the project here.

The Government API Standards project was presented by Paul Davidson, iStandUK. API’s allow different applications to talk to each other. In government, we have had difficulty sharing information because API’s were not standardised. Also due to interoperability problems, departments and local councils were often limited to which applications from the public sector they can reuse. The API Standards project has involved cross-government, both central and local, collaboration (as well as with the wider public sector like NetworkRail) to create a common set of API standards. This will allow more reuse of information and technology in the public sector, ultimately saving the taxpayer cost and you can view the project here.

iNetwork allows you to share challenges and opportunities, making your working practices more efficient whilst developing a great support network from across the public sector

Sarah Bullock

St Helen’s Council

The final round of workshops included:

The Learning Disabilities & Autism, Flexible Procurement System project was presented by Elizabeth McKenna & Grace Power, STAR Procurement. STAR’s Flexible Purchasing System (FPS) is a ground breaking procurement initiative based on Greater Manchester (GM) Adult Social Care Strategy ambitions for Learning Disability (LD) and Autism, providing twenty multi-agency Health and Social Care organisations an efficient ‘one-way’ approach to procuring LD and Autism services across GM. The FPS delivers a sustainable market resource to co-design integrated services and offer new opportunities to market test/select providers, enabling commissioners to meet expectations of GM citizens. The FPS is flag-flying for innovation, co-design and service user engagement. STAR now has a platform for all future GM procurement’s and this approach is being shared beyond the region as an exemplar of improvement and innovation and you can view the project here.

The Extreme Low Energy (ELe), Brighter Cleaner Future project was presented by Mark Buchanan, Extreme Low Energy. Bradford Council working with ELe had agreed a target of 20% for energy for delivery of its own functions to come from renewable sources and for a 40% reduction in council CO2 emissions by 2020 and have already implemented solar panels and biomass boilers at a number of its properties. The team at ELe have designed a method of distributing the DC power safely and efficiently through a building using Ethernet cabling. ELe has also developed an advanced lithium-ion battery storage (independently tested by University of Manchester) to enable even greater energy savings to be achieved by avoiding energy usage in peak rate periods, triad fines and levy avoidance along with the ability to store excess and you can view the project here.

The day finished with a networking lunch allowing delegates and speakers to share best practice, make new connections and provided the scope to replicate projects. The day was informative, inspiring and successful in celebrating the best projects in the local public sector and you can view all the fantastic projects that were nominated for the Innovation Awards 2018 in the Showcase Brochure.

The Showcase was also a great opportunity to announce the opening of the iNetwork Innovation Awards nominations 2019. You can now submit a nomination for an iNetwork Award by 15 September and if you would like further information visit Awards 2019.