Posted by Brian on 27th April 2007 at 11:05 PM
MANCHESTER FORGES NEW DIGITAL ALLIANCE
Manchester will join forces with the nine other local authorities to promote digital technologies and become digital champions following announcement by Government today on the results of its Digital Challenge
Angela Smith MP, Minister responsible for e-Government specifically praised Manchester for its bid submission, describing it as containing the ‘wow’ factor and emphasising that it had come an extremely close second. She singled out the plans to work in close partnership with the Cooperative, promoting digital technology within local communities.
The ONE-Manchester partnership was one of ten regional finalists asked to submit bids for £3 million of funding to use digital technologies to tackle social and digital exclusion.
A key element of the ONE-Manchester Bid is to tackle social exclusion and give residents, particularly those living in deprived communities the knowledge, support and equipment they need to maximise their potential using digital technology.
In addition to the Digital Challenge, ONE-Manchester is seeking to deliver free basic wireless access over 400 sq miles of the city region. The Partnership has asked businesses to provide information and comment on their proposals in order that they can positively contribute to its successful delivery.
Following a tough bidding process, the Department of Communities and Local Government awarded the top prize to Sunderland council but also announced provision of £2.5 million funding that will allow all 10 Digital Champions to work collaboratively to promote digital inclusion across the UK.
Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Sir Richard Leese, said: “This is a great opportunity for Manchester and the other regional winners to realise some of their ambitious and innovative plans in using digital technologies.
“We have forged innovative, strategic and unique alliances with The Co-operative and with Microsoft as well as with local authorities and the local community which will result in significant benefits to the City Region. It is vital that we do not lose this momentum, by working together regionally and nationally, we can ensure digital technologies are used to stimulate economic growth across the UK and used effectively to tackle social exclusion.”
Under the Government proposals, all 10 regional finalists will join forces and become ‘Digital Challenge 10’ or DC10. They will work jointly to take forward ideas in all 10 bid submissions exchanging knowledge and best practice that will contribute to the Government’s overall digital and social inclusion agendas. Cllr Neil Swannick, Executive Member for Planning and Environment and lead member on e-government said: “We can significantly improve the quality of live for people living and working in the City Region by fully embracing and harnessing digital technologies.
“It is not simply a question of greater access to the Internet, it is using digital technologies such as mobile phone and text messaging to maximise benefit to those who may be excluded. Our progress may now take longer to deliver but we will continue to work with our partners, locally, regionally and nationally to share our vision and innovative ideas to really maximise the potential of digital technology.”
The announcement of the creation/support of the DC10 was made by Government Minister Angela Smith today, March 13 2007 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
To learn more about Digital Challenge click here
To view the ONE-Manchester bid click here
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