Hertfordshire parents can now use the latest digital technology to apply for free school meals.

Families entitled to education benefits can now apply via a digital TV service, smartphone, web enabled mobile phone or via game consoles such as Xbox, Wii and PlayStation.

Hertfordshire County Council is the first local authority to incorporate new technology into this application process.

Cabinet member for education and skills, Frances Button, said: “We want to tap into the latest technology to help even more families to apply quickly and easily for the benefits to which they are entitled.

“Having a healthy, balanced lunch makes a real different to children’s welfare and their attainment in school.

“I hope this new scheme will encourage everyone who is entitled to free school meals to put in an application, and that other local authorities will follow in our lead.”

Digital TV users can make applications via The Community Channel on Sky channel 539, or Virgin channel 233.

Smartphone users can apply by searching ‘lookinglocal’ on the Android Market or the iTunes App Store.