Corrections emerges winner from tight competition

Entries from Linz, environment ministry and internal affairs department highly commended

An extraordinarily large number and a very high standard of entries set up a tight contest in the Excellence in the use of ICT in Government Award this month.

The judges had a great deal of difficulty separating the four finalists to come up with their decision.

The finalists were the Ministry for the Environment, for its Land Use and Carbon Analysis project, Landonline for online property search technology, the Department of Internal Affairs, for its online births, deaths and marriages project, and the Department of Corrections, for its world-first prison cellphone blocking project.

A special mention also went to the Ministry of Economic Development for its Video Service Relay Trial, which uses video-conferencing to allow deaf people to communicate by sign language.

A cocktail function at Te Papa was addressed by sponsor Hewlett-Packard’s managing director, Keith Watson, before director of government and defence for HP Enterprise Services, Steve Griffin, presented the award.

And the winner was: Corrections, which stepped up to face the challenge of precise blockage, so the cellphones of prison neighbours weren’t affected.

The objectives of the project were to stop prisoners communicating with non-authorised people, using mobile phones to communicate with external associates with a view to escape or orchestrating crime, while also ensuring prison security is maintained.

The project was a joint venture with Telecom and Vodafone because they own the spectrum. The telcos provided information to allow jamming to be successful on their networks and audited the installation to ensure leakage was identified and resolved.

The success of the project is now attracting international attention.

Of Corrections’ entry, the judges said, “Australian prison administrators did not believe the project would be successful but are now exploring the use of the same approach in Australian prisons. Officials from other countries including England, Scotland, Germany and Thailand, are seeking help and advice from Corrections about implementing this approach.”

Of the other finalists, they were equally full of praise. They said:

• Land Information NZ

“The judges consider that LINZ deserves credit for driving 100 percent compliance to the use of Landonline as part of the longterm transformation from manual processing. The LINZ approach demonstrated both vision and fortitiude.”

• Department of Internal Affairs

“The judges commended DIA for demonstrating the power of commercialising public information in a judicious and credible manner. This is a paradigm shift.”

• Ministry for the Environment

“The judges believe that LUCAS should provide an excellent case study demonstrating the combination of creativity, science, ICT and business – a great example of NZ Inc.”

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Tags HPDepartment of Internal Affairsdepartment of correctionsministry for the environmentland information nz

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