Vodafone in local govt deal


4 Feb 2004

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Citizens will soon be able to receive text messages about planning applications, driving licence renewals and other local government services as a result of a new deal between the Local Government Computer Services Board (LGCSB) and Vodafone.

As part of the contract, SMS broadcast facilities are to be provided to all local authorities, allowing them to engage with the public by enabling agents to send and receive text messages from their desktops. The system was developed by Saadian Technologies.

In addition, while hosting the EU Presidency 2004 website the LGCSB will use Saadian’s Business2Mobile application to inform politicians about meetings and events as well as register their responses by SMS. Websites hosted by LGCSB will be monitored by automated systems and all issues and outages will be alerted to engineers via SMS. All traffic will be routed through the Vodafone network.

SMS will be used by local authorities for distributing automated update notifications to citizens on the processing of documentation such as planning applications and driving licence renewals. Local Authorities will also be able to use SMS to support the community-based Mobhaile project (www.mobhaile.ie) by allowing sporting bodies and community groups to communicate with their membership.

Describing the new service as “unique” to local government in Ireland, Tim Willoughby, assistant director, Local Government Computer Services Board, said: “In terms of the Mobhaile project, this offers huge opportunities for citizens to interact with local government and for community and voluntary groups to communicate more effectively and efficiently with their members.”

Commenting on the announcement, Owen Gibney, public service manager, Vodafone said: “We are delighted that the Local Government Computer Services Board recognised the immense value of SMS communications and embraced the technology in order to both increase the capabilities of the Local Authorities and allow the Board to effectively and efficiently manage to EU Presidency 2004 website.”

By Brian Skelly