BILBAO, Spain, April 22 /PRNewswire/ --

- Biscay government launches first-ever citizen services project that meets EU i2010 Agenda directives; creation of government innovation centre in Bilbao; Microsoft launches Business Value Framework to deliver taxpayer value for money across local government.

More than 300 local and regional government elites, IT professionals and executives gathered in Bilbao, Spain, this week for Microsoft Corp's third annual Local and Regional Government Solutions Forum. The forum coincides with two key announcements made by Microsoft including the launch of Microsoft's Business Value Framework for local government and Microsoft's partnership with the Biscay government to carry out one of Europe's most extensive IT infrastructure and citizen services projects, serving 1.2 million citizens and 112 municipalities. Full details of the Microsoft-Biscay partnership will be unveiled at the forum alongside the Biscay government's vision for modernising government services and the creation of an e-GOV Innovation Center in Bilbao, the Bizkaia European Microsoft Citizenship Services e-Government Center.


The forum will also demonstrate Biscay's capacity as an international showcase of the latest technology for citizen services, while providing essential benchmarking against the EU i2010 Agenda. The goal of this project is to bring government and citizens closer together, improve the level of services provided by the government, and drive operational efficiencies across the municipalities. Central to Biscay's approach to technology-driven citizen services is its commitment to apply the valuable principles of customer relationship management (CRM) to the delivery of local government and citizen services, while delivering value for money.

As co-host of the third Local and Regional Government Forum, I am delighted to showcase our work here in Biscay through the development of our citizen service platform known as Lantik TK, said Jose Luis Bilbao, president of the Regional Government of Biscay. This will dramatically change the way in which our entire region uses technology and it will revolutionise the way in which government operates within the region. Throughout the duration of the forum we will highlight the exciting range of services where technology can make a real impact, including our exciting plans for the e-GOV Innovation Center in Bilbao. Here in Biscay we are well and truly committed to using technology to revolutionise the delivery of local citizen services.

Microsoft's Business Value Framework: Revolutionising Local Government Business Value

A central theme of this year's forum is the economic and political challenge of measuring local government performance in terms of service delivery and value for money. As local governments face mounting pressure to reduce costs and demonstrate taxpayer value, they are also under pressure to support the wider political commitment of investing in jobs as part of the economic recovery programme. To help achieve this challenge, Microsoft's new Business Value Framework is helping local government in Spain and the United Kingdom achieve operational efficiencies across a range of governmental departments through better use of web-based tools, more efficient ICT operations and e-forms for many routine procedures enabling cost reductions. This leads to metrics to identify the following:

- Office cost savings, up to 6.4 million pounds Sterling in the case of the City of Edinburgh Council's Smart City programme, the restructure and refresh of the Council's computers, servers and software applications. This will deliver technologies that will enable BT, the Council's strategic ICT partner, to manage the Council's IT estate more effectively and save 8.5 million pounds Sterling over four years for Wakefield District Council through reducing office space by 33 per cent. - Increases in caseworker productivity and reduced travel costs by 36 per cent for Wakefield District Council. - Reduced CO2 emissions, up to 2,300 tonnes per annum for the City of Edinburgh Council. - Reduced ICT costs by up to 71 per cent for the City of Edinburgh Council.

The forum will discuss the implications of Microsoft's Business Value Framework in terms of realistic year-on-year cost savings for local governments. Key examples will include the Biscay Government (Spain), Edinburgh City Council (Scotland) and Wakefield District Council in Yorkshire (UK), where Microsoft's Business Value Framework has achieved significant cost savings, greater productivity and efficiencies across local government, resulting in net savings to taxpayers. In 2006-2009 the Business Value Framework has enabled Edinburgh City Council to achieve 12 million pounds Sterling in operational savings, resulting in a 9 pounds Sterling per year saving to council taxpayers.

The UK examples are illustrative of the pressures to deliver value for money as outlined by national government in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07) period (2008-09 to 2010-11), in which local authorities are required to collectively achieve 4.9 billion pounds Sterling in cash-releasing efficiency gains.

Our annual event brings together thought leaders from around the world in practical innovation for local and regional governments and public sector innovation, said Gordon McKenzie, director for Worldwide Local and Regional Government at Microsoft, speaking in advance of the forum. This year, we are delighted to be co-hosting this event with the Biscay government and to be taking such a revolutionary step forward with them in terms of transforming the way they manage their IT infrastructure and the services they offer their citizens. The forum this year will also showcase practical examples as to how local governments can meet the challenges of efficiency savings and a lower environmental footprint through some of the new solutions pioneered by Microsoft and our partners.

Further information about the third Worldwide Local and Regional Government Solutions Forum can be found online at

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