Cabinet Office
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People show Government a better way

People show Government a better way

CABINET OFFICE News Release (CAB/105/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 10 November 2008

Recycling will become much easier for millions of people thanks to the winner of the Government's Show Us A Better Way competition.

The winning idea, Can I Recycle It, will tell people what the recycling facilities are in their area, based on their postcode.

The competition asked people to invent a website that provides a useful public service using information already held by the Government.

Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson, who spearheaded the competition, said: "This is a world-leading competition that has attracted entries and praise from as far away as Australia, India and the USA. Show Us A Better Way has really captured the imagination of people in their own communities. This is about taking service design out of Whitehall and to the people who use it.

"By trusting the public and throwing it open to them to put forward their ideas, the solutions are of real, practical use. Ultimately, this is about building something from the bottom up rather than having Whitehall dictate from the centre."

The winning entry will now be taken forward by a team of developers funded from part of a £60,000 prize fund. Four runners-up ideas to plan cycling routes, show the boundaries of school catchment areas and find the nearest postbox and public toilets, will also be built.

Five other entries will be given help developing their ideas and making a website, with funding supplied by Communities and Local Government. Four other ideas will share £20,000 for not only coming up with an innovative website, but also for building it themselves.

Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson said: "I am delighted by the winning site, Can I Recycle It. This ingenious idea is a simple map showing you where recycling facilities are and what they will accept, so you can quickly and easily find out where to take your rubbish."

Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears, said: "The positive response to this competition rightly highlights the power and benefits when local people have their say, have access to good information and have the enthusiasm and the chance to make a difference locally. I am pleased that extra funding from CLG will help take some of these creative ideas forward and help encourage the use of new technologies and community media. Access to information - which these awards aim to promote - is an important part of empowering communities."

Michael Wills, Minister for Democratic Engagement, said "The Government is committed to encouraging people to get involved in civic activities within their communities and across the country. Show Us A Better Way highlights the innovative ways in which people can do this."

The winning entry was created by Adam Temple, aged 26 from London. He said: "Each area has a different recycling scheme with different capabilities, so it is not surprising that households are unsure what can be recycled. Local information may be of some use, but there are a million and one things that people want to know about recycling.

"Having put in their postcode, the householder will get an easy-to-read version of what is recyclable and what is not in their area. After that, they could type in keywords for the specific piece of rubbish that they are concerned about. If it is in the database, the householder would get an immediate answer. "If not, the question could be forwarded to the appropriate person in the local council. That person could then amend the database, and that way the website would gradually get more useful."

Show Us A Better Way attracted more than 450 entries from around the world, with around 70,000 people visiting the website over the summer. The total prize fund was worth £80,000.

Notes to Editors

* The competition was funded by the Cabinet Office (£20,000) the Department for Communities and Local Government (£40,000) and the Ministry of Justice (£20,000)

* Show Us a Better Way was a world-leading competition launched by the Cabinet Office that has attracted global interest. It asked ordinary members of the public to help take the design of public services out of Whitehall and onto the internet. The competition offered one prize fund of up to £60,000 to help people develop their ideas, and a second prize fund of up to £20,000 to give as a cash prize to the person behind the best working prototype.

* The winners were chosen by the members of the independent Power of Information Task Force, which is chaired by Richard Allan. Richard used to be a Liberal Democrat MP, and is currently head of governmental relations at Cisco UK.

* On October 20 the judging panel met in the Cabinet Office to decide on the winner. They each brought a shortlist of their five favourite ideas, and there was also a "people's shortlist" of five with help from the Free Our Data Campaign.

* More information can be found on:



* The full list of winners are:

Websites to be built:

* UK Cycling

* Can I recycle it?

* Catchment Areas

* Location of Postboxes (in rural and residential areas)

* Loofinder

Ideas to be developed:

* Road Work API

* Oldie Net

* Free Legal Web

* Allotment Manager

* Where does my money go?

Prototypes to be developed further:

* UK Schools Map

* School Guru

* Where's the path

* Wreck Map

For more information contact the Cabinet Office press office on

Cabinet Office Press Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH Tel: 020 7276 2533

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