A £100m council drive to improve customer service moved a step closer this week when town hall chiefs nominated their choice to take on the project.

Capita Group Plc is on the verge of being awarded a seven-year contract to modernise communications within the council and to radically overhaul information technology to improve customer access.

The project, which is expected to create a substantial number of new jobs in the area, would involve the transfer of a number of existing services and some council staff to Capita.

It includes creating an advanced customer contact centre which will provide one-stop shop access to all council services including education, housing, social services and environmental services.

Council departments will be better integrated by an upgraded IT infrastructure.

Council leader Hugh Malyan said: "Croydon is leading the way forward in the implementation of e-government to enhance people's experience of the council and its services.

"We believe this project will put us at the forefront of customer responsive public services and will transform service delivery for the benefit of the community and everyone working for and with the council."

Council negotiations are continuing with Capita to finalise partnership and contractual arrangements.