Some awards you actually have to pay to enter. Not these ones. The New Statesman very generously throws its doors open with its New Media Awards. Here are some of the sites that didn't make it past the in-house Simon Cowells.
Aboutmyarea.co.uk is an inviting web address, promising to tell us everything we needed to know about our area. Unfortunately, its definition of "our area" only extends to those living in the HP22 postcode, namely Aston Clinton, Weston Turville, Stoke Mandeville and environs. If you do live in HP22, it is (probably) the best online guide you could find. Alas, I don't - although I am considering moving.
BackToTheTable.co.uk is a campaign run by Raisingkids.co.uk to encourage families to sit down and eat together by highlighting the benefits of family mealtimes. Families that eat together apparently communicate better and build stronger bonds. Stirring stuff, although I never seem to see my family often enough to tell them this useful fact. Unfortunately the campaign was in 2004 and BackToTheTable.co.uk must now make do with redirecting to its bigger brother at Raisingkids.co.uk. There must be a great blog here somewhere ("Tuesday: Jemima still won't eat her broccoli!").
Cambridge City Council's CCTV System monitors 162 cameras in Cambridge, Ely and Soham. Most are high performance cameras able to read a 2ft x 3ft "A" board advertisement at over 200 metres. Members of the public can text the control room if they want a camera to pan onto their square metre of pavement. CCTV cameras have been of real benefit to people in tough situations and at preventing crime. It is just a shame that we need to text a camera to get the authorities to notice us.
When the Child Support Agency (csa.gov.uk) was nominated, we had to check we had the correct CSA. The nomination has the CSA as delivering a "more efficient and effective" service in tackling child poverty and ensuring "more responsibility from non-resident parents." Clearly a different CSA to the one described in a recent BBC story headlined "Child support reform 'a disaster'" or "MPs attack Child Support Agency failings" (The Guardian). Taxpayers will get an £850m bill for reforming the CSA before it starts to be replaced next year. Perhaps its nomination for the "modernising government" award was a slip of the mouse? Also nominated for "modernising government" was the Small Business Service site Businesslink. gov.uk. As it was recently judged by the CBI to have missed four out of seven of its own targets to stimulate small business development, our mouse quickly moved on.
Savethechildrengordon.org.uk is an engaging site that didn't quite make the final cut. It aimed to track down all 841 Gordon Browns in the UK and get them to tell him - on camera - to back free healthcare in Africa at the recent G8. This fun site showcased some pretty whizzy video technology. But getting 800+ Gordons to parrot a line about poverty becomes a little wearing to watch after the 17th Gordon. Or was it 18th?
Sliversoftime.com has an inviting URL, but less inviting was the quaint idea that "employers" might get an "ultra-flexible, motivated, pool of top-up workers who can be booked at short notice." The site is "for anyone with spare hours to sell to local employers" and who will end up being "economically trained". Hmmm... This must be a bold new policy initiative from Communities and Local Government, which provides funding for the site.
Domystuff.com also ploughed a similar theme where anyone looking to "outsource chores, errands, or projects" can find someone to do said chores, errands and projects. Unfortunately, the judges were prevented from going further into entries on the site such as "Find me a roommate, Garnerville, NY" or "Do my laundry, Parsippany, NJ" by rules which stated the projects had to be in the UK. Shame.