Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

News Update -


									 COMMENT                                     NEWS UPDATE

Digital Britain                              Government databases ‘illegal’
     009 has not started well for

2                                            One in four governmentand should has
                                                                       databases           But data kept for council tax returns, the
     technology in the public sector:           been branded ‘illegal’           be        police’s National Fingerprint Database and
     government databases have been          scrapped.                                     the BBC’s TV Licensing system were all
branded ‘illegal’; ContactPoint is on                                                      judged ‘green’ and said to have minimal
                                             A review of 46 major state databases
hold; the role of ICS in child protection                                                  privacy concerns.
                                             found only six which were acceptable in
failures is being questioned; data loss      terms of their impact on individuals’         “There must be urgent and radical change
scares continue - to the extent that         privacy, says the Joseph Rowntree Reform      in the public sector database culture so
good data security becomes                   Trust. A quarter of government databases      that the state remains our servant, not our
newsworthy; and high profile criticism       in Britain should be scrapped or              master,” said report co-author, Ross
of public sector management of IT            redesigned because they are                   Anderson, professor of security
contracts makes the national news.           fundamentally flawed and probably illegal,    engineering at Cambridge University.
All of which, of course, builds on that      a report from the think-tank stated.          “Too often, computerisation has been
particularly memorable low point at the      Databases recommended for the                 used as a substitute for public service
end of last year when the DfT’s attempts     scrapheap include ContactPoint - a            reform rather than a means of enabling
at shared services were adjudged             planned index of all children in England,     reform. Little thought is given to safety,
‘stupendously incompetent’ by the            the National Identity Register, the           privacy and value for money.”
Public Accounts Committee.                   electronic Common Assessment                  ‘Database State’ was written for Joseph
But on to the good news. Councils are        Framework and the Audit Commission’s          Rowntree Reform Trust by the Foundation
delivering real efficiencies through         National Fraud Initiative.                    for Information Policy Research.
judicious use of technology -                Significant problems were identified in a
Hammersmith & Fulham claims it was           further 29 databases, which were
able to cut council tax bills by three
percent this way; mobile and flexible
working is becoming the norm; GIS is
                                             recommended for independent review,
                                             while only six won the green light as being
                                             necessary and legal.
                                                                                           ContactPoint halted: As LGITUwork totoroll
                                                                                              press, DCSF confirmed that
                                                                                           out the child database had halted due to
being used as the de facto way to                                                          ‘serious flaws’ in the system for shielding
analyse data; web self-service is            The databases were graded under a             details of up to 55,000 vulnerable children.
becoming a reality for citizens across       traffic light rating assessing whether they   Approximately one third of local
the country; green is becoming lean;         were illegal under human rights or data       authorities have allegedly refused to sign
and councils are running ahead with          protection law, or collected and shared       off the first phase of ContactPoint roll out
social e-inclusion in advance of             sensitive data without consent or a proper    over concerns about child protection.
government projects for a Digital            legal basis.
It is also worth noting that most of the     New powers to rate public service
highly public failures are associated
with central government.
Indeed, as can be seen above, local
                                             Primeaminister,information revolution as
                                                promised an
                                                             Gordon Brown, has

                                             part of wide-ranging public services
                                                                                           slow to make use of the enormous
                                                                                           democratising power of information:
                                                                                           “People take it for granted that they will
government, has some impressive - if         reform.                                       access other people’s reviews and ratings
as yet unrecognised by the broadsheets                                                     before buying something on eBay or
- successes.                                 Websites will allow people to compare
                                             councils and police forces, and patients      Amazon, and yet we do not yet have
As the recession takes hold across the       will be able to post comments on their        systematic access to other people’s
country, frontline services will not be      local GP services via the NHS Choices         experiences when choosing a GP practice
immune. The LGA reports that seven in        site. Child care services are expected to     or nursery.”
ten councils expect to make job cuts.        be open to similar scrutiny.                  A website comparing local council
Demand on services will inevitably                                                         services is due to go live in May. The
                                             Mr Brown said that he is “ushering in a
grow; and there is little hope of budgets                                                  government is also bringing together a
                                             new world of accountability” in which
growing to match.                                                                          national crime map for England and Wales
                                             parents, patients and local communities
Local government has built solid             shape the services they receive,              to be available online by the end of 2009.
technology foundations - possibly faster     “ensuring all public services respond not     Meanwhile, teachers will have to provide
than ingrained culture and attitudes can     simply to the hand of government, but to      parents with regularly updated online
                                             the voice of local people”.                   report cards for all secondary school
                                                                                           children by 2010 and all primary school
However, change is afoot. Shared             In a foreword to the document, ‘Working       children by 2012.
services are beginning to gain real          Together’, the prime minister promised an                  
ground as a means to delivering              information revolution, acknowledging        
efficiency. And the reality of secure        that the government had been much too
connection between local and central
government that GCSx brings could
open up new vistas of opportunity.
Doing more with less is nothing new for
                                              LGITU                                        Coming Soon: May/June 2009
                                                                                           • Digital Inclusion in Action
the public sector. The opportunity now,       To discuss advertising and other             • Information Assurance and Risk
however, is to deliver a dramatic step-       promotional opportunities - company            Management
change - by doing exponentially more          profiles, product spots and case study
                                              advertorials - within LGITU contact:         • Sustainable Communities
with what we already have.
                                                                                           • Technology bridging Health & Social Care
                      Helen Olsen, Editor     Ann Campbell-Smith
              Tel: 01983 812623          • Is NI14 Serving You?

                                                       Local Government IT In Use                                                March/April 2009   2
          NEWS UPDATE

      Council outsourcing drives £8.5bn spend                                                          Data sharing
                                                                                                       clause dropped
                   sector is          attractive
       The publicthesoftwarethe -mostservices
          market for          and IT
                                                        PAC has identified more than £8.5bn worth
                                                        of new outsourcing contracts that are set
       vendors in    UK in 2009 with local
       government outsourcing programs a key
                                                        to be awarded by UK local government
                                                        organisations over the next two years.
                                                                                                            government has
                                                                                                       Thesharing across thedroppedsector -
                                                                                                          controversial Clause 152 – enabling
                                                                                                       data                    public
       driver for growth.                               The largest single opportunity will come in    from the Coroners and Justice Bill the
       Faced with a recessionary one percent            Essex, where the council has short-listed      week before a vote on it in parliament.
       negative growth in software and IT               two consortia, led respectively by IBM and
       services (SITS) across the UK as a whole,        T-Systems, to outsource ‘any or all’ public    In what appears to be an extraordinary
       major IT and back-office outsourcing             services as part of a deal potentially worth   victory for privacy and liberty campaigners
       programs in the local government sector          up to £5.4bn.                                  – including doctors and the Bar Council -
       are expected to drive a 3.7 percent                                                             parliamentary under-secretary of state for
                                                        The Essex deal will follow other recent        justice, Bridget Prentice, said that the
       increase in public sector SITS spending in       large council outsourcing engagements,
       2009.                                                                                           government had “decided to remove
                                                        including South Tyneside (£300m deal with      clause 152” so that there could be “further
       Figures published by Pierre Audoin               BT Global Services), Glasgow (£256m deal       consultation”.
       Consultants (PAC) and TechMarketView             with Serco) and Birmingham, which is
       find that public sector SITS will be the         aiming to save £1bn over ten years through     Added Prentice, “I hope that we shall be
       fastest-growing vertical market. One of the      a deal with Capita.                            able to look at how we can draft a more
       key growth engines will be investment in         “With other government IT programs such        appropriate clause, not necessarily under
       new outsourcing and shared services              as FLIS, MIDAS and Ocean also in the           the Bill, but at some further stage, so that
       programs by local government as they             pipe-line, PAC expects many SITS               we can put in place a proper data-sharing
       respond to central government mandates           suppliers to offset pressure in the            provision.”
       to deliver improved levels of public service     commercial segment with an increased
       despite a reduction in tax income resulting      focus on public sector opportunities,” said
       from the recession.                              PAC’s Dominic Trott.
                                                                                                                       too         A majority of UK
                                                                                                       IT contractorsfindscostly:research fromare
                                                                                                         organisations feel that IT contractors
                                                                                                       too expensive,        new
                                                                                                       Morse and Vanson Bourne - 52.5 percent
       C   PA success: The number of top-
           performing English councils has almost
       tripled since Comprehensive Performance
                                                        N   ew CAA: Inspection and reporting on
                                                            the performance of English public
                                                        services has changed. From 1 April six
                                                                                                       of IT departments feel that the amount
                                                                                                       spent on contractors is not justified by the
       Assessment - the Audit Commission’s              inspectorates - Audit Commission, Ofsted,      skills and experience on offer.
       annual measure of English councils’              Care Quality Commission and HM
       performance - was introduced in 2002.            Inspectorates of Probation, Prisons and
       CPA ends this year with 62 councils
       achieving four star status, having started
                                                        Constabulary – will be working together to
                                                        make joint assessments about services -
                                                                                                                             down costs: Just
                                                                                                       Technology drives housing specialists
                                                                                                          over half (51%) of
                                                                                                       say that ICT can help local authorities to
       in 2002 with just 22. This year’s total is a     including children’s services, health,         drive down costs further in 2009. Over half
       record over the life of CPA, which has also      social care, waste and recycling, fire and     (53%) believed introducing standardised
       seen 30 councils make substantial                police. Results of these Comprehensive         systems and processes organisation-wide
       improvements and leap two or more star           Area Assessments will be published             was important for efficiency gains; 40
       categories.                                      online.    percent felt shared services was the key.

        Next generation corridor                                                                            cuts:         councils in England
                                                                                                       Jobseven inHalf ofanticipate furthermonths
                                                                                                         have axed jobs in the last few
                                                                                                       and         ten
                      is to pilot ‘next generation’ broadband in a bid to drive economic
        Manchesterupsocial and healthcare sectors in the communicationsgrowth
            and open a whole new range of opportunities for
        across business,
                                                                                                       redundancies. A survey of 129 council
                                                                                                       leaders by the LGA reveals the tough
                                                                                                       decisions that town halls are having to
        Funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency, work is due to start in the
                                                                                                       make as the recession bites and they are
        summer on this £500,000 first step in creating a new digital infrastructure for the city.
                                                                                                       forced to balance budgets and keep
        The project will directly connect 500 businesses and 1000 homes in the Oxford Road
                                                                                                       council tax down. A regional breakdown of
        area with fibre optic lines which will increase broadband speeds by up to 100 times
                                                                                                       job losses that have already been made
        current service.
                                                                                                       shows that councils in the south are the
        Sir Richard Leese, council leader, said, “Even at this time of economic downturn               most likely to have made cuts.
        Manchester has ambitious plans for its knowledge economy. We are committed to
        delivering Digital Britain and next generation broadband, and this new advanced
        infrastructure will help create exciting innovative new applications for the internet
        which will benefit our residents and businesses.”                                              Sharedinhighways: Dorset, Bournemouth
                                                                                                          and Poole highway authorities have
                                                                                                       invested a shared service to improve
                                                           Corridor Manchester brings together         road maintenance across the area and
                                                           Manchester City Council, the                meet requirements of the TMA. Using Exor
                                                           University of Manchester, Manchester        software the three councils, led by Dorset,
                                                           Metropolitan University and the             are able to coordinate services throughout
                                                           Central Manchester University               the region far more efficiently and
                                                           Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to           effectively. As Paul Moon, highway
                                                           build on the partners’ investments in       systems manager at Dorset County
                                                           the 243 H Oxford Road area of               Council, explains, “The shared service
                                                           Manchester and to generate further          model offered clear opportunities not only
                                                           economic growth and investment.             for economies of scale but opened up the
                                                                   door for the delivery of consistent and
                                                           Picture: Ove Arup and Partners              enhanced services across the region.”

3   March/April 2009                                              Local Government IT In Use
                                                                                                                     NEWS UPDATE

Citizens doing it for                           Pupils put digital
themselves                                      technology to the test
    lmost half of the UK population has
A   used the internet in the last year to
access public services or completed a
                                                Pupils from fourand evaluatingschools will
                                                   be reviewing
                                                technology developments and
                                                                               the latest

form or process online, according to new        applications at school and at home in a
Ofcom research. But it appears to be the        new programme by Digital Birmingham.
half that does not live in deprived areas.      “The best people to contribute to the
Forty-two percent of people interviewed         development of new technologies are
said that they had looked for information       those who are actually going to be using
online about a government or local council      them,” commented Birmingham’s deputy
service, or used services such as paying        leader, Cllr Paul Tilsley (pictured with children at the scheme’s launch).
their road tax or registering for Child Tax     “The Digital Schools project will provide us and our partner companies with valuable
Credits online.                                 feedback and advice on implementing new technologies, and will help us equip our
Among people who have the internet at           schoolchildren with the latest learning opportunities.”
home, this rises to 55 percent who have         Pupils will feed back their impressions and opinions to Digital Birmingham and its
used these services online. However, only       partners, including Microsoft, BT and the BBC.
15 percent of people from areas of multiple
deprivation have used similar information
                                               Invest in self service websites
or services online.
                                                                                               UK onlineshare theirUK online centres
                                                                                                  has named ten Community Media
The majority of people (70% of the online
sample; 60% of the general population) say     Councilstoshould adopt a new strategic
                                                  approach to self-service websites in
                                               response the economic crisis.
                                                                                               Beacons to           tips and
                                                                                               experiences with the rest of the UK online
                                                                                               centres network, inspire more projects,
that the internet has made it easier to
engage in citizen participation activities,    Better connected 2009, Socitm’s eleventh        and eventually get different online
such as contacting an MP or signing a          annual survey of local authority websites,      communities working together. The aim is
petition. But in areas of multiple             states that the current crisis should be a      to establish replicable models and
deprivation less than half of people           call to action for those not yet committed      demonstrate the wider value of this work,
interviewed agreed (42%) and                   to self-service - a low-cost means to meet      and together develop a national strategy for
20 percent disagreed.                          growing demand for council information          the UK online centres network to lead the
                                               and services when resources are scarce.         way on community and social media.
However, 31 percent were unaware of
online citizen participation opportunities –   The report presents evidence that the web
and this lack of awareness increases to        is already the most used channel for             BT First Contact
72 percent among those in areas of             accessing council services, and yet
multiple deprivation.                          between 12 percent and 31 percent of web
                                               enquiries end in failure, leading to costly
A recurring theme throughout the               avoidable contacts being generated for           How much are you losing
research was a desire to keep traditional      other, more expensive-to-serve channels.         in translation?
face-to-face methods of contact. Indeed,
63 percent of people living in areas of        Report author, Martin Greenwood, said,
                                               “Given the current economic crisis, the          BT First Contact can help you to:
multiple deprivation expressed this view.
                                               time has surely come for major investment        • Deal with non-English speakers in
Next generation e-government                   in self-service.” He urged councils to             a far more efficient and cost
                                               “become obsessive about making online              effective manner
    fcom has cleared the way for
O   companies and organisations to invest
in super-fast broadband services for UK
                                               journeys”, especially the ‘top tasks’, and to
                                               have a “ruthless approach to content” that
                                               focused on what customers actually want.
                                                                                                • Reduce your reliance on expensive
                                                                                                  interpretation services
homes and businesses.                          If the online service failed, he added, “an      • Enhance citizen engagement and
Next generation broadband can deliver          avoidable contact will have been created”.         interaction
speeds of up to ten times the level of         Web guru, Gerry McGovern, advised                • Deliver equality and consistency
today’s broadband services - enabling          councils to focus on making the most
simultaneous services such as two-way          popular tasks work properly and give               across public sector services
video calls, improved data retrieval and       citizens back time: “If you save time for        Want to know more?
more opportunities for home working.           citizens you will save money for your
                                                                                                To find out more about how BT First
The replacement of the copper access                                                            Contact can help your people to
networks with fibre is essential, says         See feature on Digital Britain, page 15.         communicate with non-English
Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards:                                                             speakers and save valuable time and
“Super-fast broadband represents one
of the most important developments in
                                                                            The Central
                                               Government web review: guidance on
                                                  Office of Information has launched a
                                               consultative review of draft
                                                                                                money - as well as how it has the
                                                                                                potential to serve emerging local
modern communications for many                                                                  authority partnerships in a
decades.                                       measuring the quality and value of
                                               government websites. Produced in                 consistent, high quality manner -
“Our message is clear: there are no            coordination with the Cabinet Office, the        please email
regulatory barriers in the way of              guidance will create a common framework
investment in super-fast broadband; we         for government departments to measure
want to promote investment but also            the cost effectiveness and performance of
ensure that there is fair and effective        their websites.
competition for the future.”                      

                                                          Local Government IT In Use                                              March/April 2009   4
          NEWS UPDATE

       ‘GCSx only’ for housing                                            Devon
                                                       E-Investigations:(SIU) hasCounty Council’s Newcastle City Council goes live this
                                                          Trading Standards Service special           month with an enhanced civil
       benefit data                                    Investigation Unit         adopted GC      enforcement programme in a move that
                                                       Mail via the Government Connect Secure           represents one of the most
       A   s LGITU goes to press DWP prepared
           to switch to Government Connect
       Secure eXtranet (GCSx) only for housing
                                                       eXtranet as its preferred communication
                                                       option over post, fax and non-secure
                                                                                                        comprehensive applications of the new
                                                                                                        Traffic Management Act regulations
       benefit data communications between             email. It is now exploring the new               since their introduction last April.
       itself and local authorities.                   opportunities secure email brings                Software from Imperial Civil Enforcement
                                                       investigators: sharing council tax, housing      Solutions will help manage an expected
       Only authorities that have achieved Code        benefit and electoral roll data with Devon       90,000 Penalty Charge Notices a year.
       of Connection (CoCo) compliance, or             councils; requests to police regarding           Close collaboration between the
       agreed an exemption with DWP, will be           previous convictions; registering court          council’s parking services and
       able now to access the Customer                 cases for recording purposes; VAT                environmental services teams has also
       Information System (CIS) database and           returns/references with HMRC; NHS
       deliver housing benefits to citizens.                                                            enabled the
                                                       related campaigns; beating scams,                authority to
       Confirmed DWP’s head of housing benefit         counterfeiters and rogue traders through         harness
       strategy division, Paul Howarth:                the exchange of sensitive information with       powers within
       “Authorities not compliant with the Code        cross-border councils.                           the 1990
       of Connection (CoCo) by the 31st March                                                           Environmental
       will be unable to access DWP data,
       including CIS, on 1st April unless they are
                                                       Data confidence plummets:security in the
                                                          from DQM Group finds public
                                                       confidence in personal data
                                                                                                        Protection Act
                                                                                                        to issue Fixed
       Three weeks before the changeover (11           public sector at an all time low. Trust in the   Notices for
       March) 102 councils were either live with       ability of a wide range of organisations to      certain
       GCSx or cleared as compliant and                protect the security and confidentiality of      offences such
       imminently due to go live. The vast             personal data and details has slumped in         as fly-tipping,
       majority (304) were working with DWP at         the last year. Even the most trusted             littering, and
       the CoCo assessment stage - a necessary         institutions – GPs and police forces – have      dog fouling.
       pre-requisite to connecting to the pan-         experienced a decline. By far the worst
       government secure system – with a               performers, however, were local
       significant number having agreed
       exemptions up until September 09 -
                                                       authorities (46% down to 23%) and central
                                                       government departments (45% to 19%).
                                                                                                                 support: Four out of    people
                                                                                                        Public surveillance powersfivetheir local
                                                                                                           are favourable towards the use of
                                                                                                        directed                      in
       predominantly on the basis that they are                                                         area, according to new research which
       involved in reorganisation as of 1 April.           afe ID: A pressure group has brought         criticises a recent report from the House of
       Four councils had yet to formally submit a
       CoCo, the consequences of which will not
                                                       S   into question the government’s ability
                                                       to securely store information on UK
                                                                                                        Lords Constitution Committee warning that
                                                                                                        surveillance risks undermining funda-
       be known until later this month.                citizens. NO2ID, which is a campaign             mental freedoms and privacy. According to
                                                       opposing the government’s plans for ID           a PSB study commissioned by the New
       DWP is fundamentally revising the way it                                                         Local Government Network, there is strong
       interacts with local authorities, with a core   cards and a National Identity Register, has
                                                       backed criminals to find a way around any        public support for local councils to use
       shift from postal data exchange to secure                                                        surveillance techniques such as covert
       electronic transfer of data via GCSx or         security measures which the government
                                                       would put in place.                              video recording to tackle anti-social
       GSx. From April, DWP will use e-Transfer,                                                        behaviour, drug-dealing and theft.
       a new Generic File Transfer System (GFTS)
       for secure data exchange.
                                                                    the unexpected:
                                                       Protectingthan ten thousand The deletion Identify that new toolExperian has
                                                          of more                     government
                                                       records in Australia by the drunken ex-     launched a
                                                                                                                        for local authorities
                                                                                                 to locate and link disparate citizen data
                                                       fiancee of an IT staffer highlights the need
           ob searching: Growth in the number of                                                        records for single citizen view projects.
       J   people looking for work in today’s
       economic climate has led to a huge jump
                                                       for protection of critical user IDs and
                                                       passwords. According to Mark Fulbrook,
                                                       Cyber-Ark’s UK and Ireland director, high
                                                                                                        QAS Identify uses Experian’s vast
                                                                                                        consumer data sources alongside
       in the use of digitally inclusive technology,   level administrator IDs, such as the one         advanced matching algorithms to match
       reports ‘Looking Local’. Last month, 26,000     misused, should have been protected by           citizen records. Each citizen record is
       people across the country used their TV         an authenticated protection system and           automatically cleaned and given a unique
       remote to search for jobs via local             the use of one-time transaction access           numerical key, which can then be used to
       government sites on interactive TV.             numbering (TAN) technology.                      retrieve all records held for a citizen and
                                                                                                        gain a complete view on every contact
               oogle Street View: Scores of pictures have been removed from Google’s                    they have had with the organisation and

        G      controversial new mapping application after a glut of privacy complaints
               immediately followed its launch last month. Street View allows users to access
         360-degree views of roads and homes in 25 cities and includes millions of photographs
                                                                                                        its various departments.

         of residential and business addresses, people and cars. Sophisticated technology was
         used to blur people’s faces before launch. However many people have been able to
                                                                                                                     council tax cut: Hammersmith
                                                                                                        IT deliversCouncil has cut council tax
                                                                                                         & Fulham
                                                                                                        bills by three percent saying it is saving
         recognise themselves – not always in                                                           money by using IT more efficiently. More
         situations/places they may have wanted to                                                      than £12m of efficiencies will be delivered
         be seen in perpetuity on the world wide                                                        in 2009/10 by making better use of IT,
         web. Security concerns have also been                                                          cutting red tape, reducing staff numbers
         raised – the site offers anyone                                                                and office space. The council is also
         reconnoitring a building for innocent, and                                                     improving customer access while saving
         not so innocent reasons, a useful guide to                                                     money, for example, by allowing people to
         access points and weak spots.                                                                  renew parking permits online.

5   March/April 2009                                             Local Government IT In Use
                                                                                                                                        NEWS UPDATE

Post Office - potential front office for government                                                        Billy Hayes, CWU general secretary. “It
                                                                                                           answers the needs of the financially
                                                                                                           excluded and will appeal to many in this
            Office has won a five-year
The Postmotorists with photographic
   contract to support DVLA in issuing
millions of
                                                 that it would renew the contract for the
                                                 post office card account, used by four
                                                 million people, and benefiting the retail
                                                                                                           time of economic uncertainty. The post
                                                                                                           bank will be a true people’s bank meeting
driving licences using new, world class          side of branches up and down the country.                 the needs of society and business alike
technology – highlighting its potential to       The new government sponsored Savings                      and will bring crucial security to the post
provide a national ‘front office’ service for    Gateway, designed to help people on low                   office network. The government must
government.                                      incomes save, will also be available                      move swiftly to endorse this timely
Welcoming the news, business secretary,          through post offices.                                     proposal.”
Lord Mandelson, said that the Post Office’s      Campaign for ‘Post Bank’                                  David Waltho, head of government affairs
trusted brand, unrivalled network,                                                                         at SAS and developer of the ‘Saving from
experienced staff and the new technology         Meanwhile a new coalition of trade
                                                 unions, business organisation, pensioner                  Poverty’ social enterprise – a proposal for
being purchased for the contract put the                                                                   an ‘electronic jamjar’ attached to POCA,
company in an excellent position to bid for      and pressure groups and charities has
                                                 launched plans for a new ‘Post Bank’ to                   allowing for weekly budgeting and debt
other work.                                                                                                repayment – welcomed the news: “SfP is
                                                 run as part of the Post Office Network. The
Said Lord Mandelson, “I am passionate            proposal, which has cross-party support,                  delighted at this campaign, which clearly
about the Post Office and strongly believe       would provide more financial services to                  shows both the strength of enthusiasm for
that if the right steps are taken there is a     people and businesses currently not                       the social enterprise delivery model and
positive future for the network. But             served by high street lenders.                            the need to address a gap in the market
nostalgia is not a currency that will enable                                                               for banking services for the financially
the Post Office to thrive.                       “The Post Bank is the right proposal at the
                                                 right time politically and industrially,” said
“It must innovate, look to future and
identify new opportunities and new ways
                                                     heffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has
of doing business.”
The government is providing up to £1.7bn
                                                 S   revolutionised access to patient records by
                                                 implementing a new virtual desktop development,
of funding to the Post Office, including         serving up to 2000 named users, which allows medics
£150m a year to help support a network of        to access patient records via the hospital’s bedside
around 11,500 branches to 2011. It has           entertainment system. Quest Software partnered with
made it clear that it will continue to support   ANS Group to deliver the Windows-based solution
the non-commercial network beyond this           that uses SmartiD authentication and Connecting For
date.                                            Health smartcards to turn interactive bedside systems
In November the government announced             into a full clinical desktop while the card is present.

                                                       Networking your people - Assuring your information

                        Secure Connections             The Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of data are critical to overcome the increasingly
                                                       complex threats to business reputation and the security of information. Whether provided
                        Reliable Data                  as an EADS service or operated in-house, EADS applies the same rigour to the design,
                                                       implementation, operation and management of your data networks as we do to our
                        Protected Networks             Aeronautical and Space solutions, thereby securing the data and protecting your organisation.

                                                           Local Government IT In Use                                                                      March/April 2009   6
                                                                                 EADS Defence & Security - Networking the Future
          NEWS UPDATE

       Bridging Welsh digital                                                plan: Derbyshire County
                                                            Derbyshire onbecome the first local No parking: Parking‘talk back’ to
                                                               Council has
                                                                                                                             bays in
       divide                                               planning authority to receive and process
                                                                                                           Basingstoke now
                                                                                                      visitors warning motorists not to abuse
                                                            100 percent of its own applications online
            elsh Assembly deputy minister for
       W    regeneration, Leighton Andrews, has
       announced a new initiative to tackle digital
                                                            through the government’s Planning Portal.
                                                            The council made the switch to electronic
                                                                                                                disabled parking bays and not to leave
                                                                                                                valuables on view in cars. Special audio
                                                                                                                parking units have been installed in two
                                                            submission in early 2008.
       exclusion in Wales.                                                                                      of the council-owned car parks in
       During the next six years the Assembly                                                                   Basingstoke as part of a 12 month pilot
                                                                                                                by Basingstoke and Deane and SFX
       Government will spend nearly £20m,
       including European Regional Development              Brentopened andtwo newBrentTwitter

                                                            communication for residents - a
                                                                                      channels of               Technologies. If the units prove
                                                                                                                successful they may be rolled out in car
       Fund monies, on a new digital inclusion
       programme to provide community groups,               account and a Facebook page - to make it            parks across the borough.
       social enterprises and individuals with              easier for people to get in touch and find
       support to use technologies.                         out what the council is doing. Brent is now
                                                            accessible through these fast-growing,
       The Welsh Assembly Government will also              social media sites in addition to its own
       establish a Digital Inclusion Unit, which            website and will be providing regular
       will take forward policy development, and            updates on policy, achievements and
       will coordinate and mainstream digital               events.
       inclusion activity, as well as oversee the
       delivery of the programme, named
       Communities 2.0.                                                       tweetosphere: Cllr
                                                            Councillors join cllrtweeps website, has
                                                               Tweeps, of the

       D   erry calls: Northern Ireland enterprise
           minister, Arlene Foster, has announced
                                                            confirmed that196 councillors from 129
                                                            councils are on Twitter and joining in on          Open publishedaimedTheensuringOpen
                                                                                                                      and twittering:

                                                                                                               Source software
                                                                                                                                a new policy on
       £80,000 funding to extend the Londonderry            the UK’s latest communication craze –
       Wireless Walls Project into the wider city           regularly telling the world what they are          maximum value for money for taxpayers.
       precincts. Part funded by Department of              doing in 140 characters or less. The site          A twitter from digital engagement minister,
       Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the             gets its inspiration from Tweetminster and         Tom Watson, just hours later, announced:
       European Union, the project tested the               all other public Twitter directories.              ‘The UK Gov on Open Source has been set
       usability and usefulness of wireless                 Currently 58 Lib Dem, 54 Conservative, 46          in stone since 2004. It’s just been updated:
       networks in environments such as                     Labour, seven Independent, six Green, four Would welcome
       government, education and business                   DUP, three BNP, three Residents’                   genuine views.’ In the official Cabinet
       groups. It offered tourists a greater choice         Association and one English Democrat               Office announcement, Watson said that
       of how to get information, via podcasts              councillor have signed up.                         the new policy ‘reflects changes to both
       and electronic tourist guides.                                          the Open Source market and the
                                                                                                               government’s approach to IT’ and set out
                                                                                                               ten actions that would ensure ‘a level
         Home access rolls out in Oldham and Suffolk                                                           playing field for Open Source Software,
                                                                                                               and encourage use of Open Standards’.
                                     visited Oldham             to
        Schools minister, Jim Knight,part of the Homelast the first families to
         receive their computers as                    Access
         The £300m Home Access programme, announced by the prime minister in September
         2008, aims to deliver equal learning opportunities to the 35 percent of families that
                                                                                                               Electoralmatched tohadOver 100 UK local
                                                                                                                  authorities have
                                                                                                                                      their Electoral
                                                                                                                                   the National Land
         currently have no access to the internet at home. The pilot will refine and test the                  and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) by
         process for awarding grants for computing packages to low income families in Oldham                   Intelligent Addressing (IA). To date, IA has
         and Suffolk before the planned national roll out in late autumn.                                      processed over 6.6 million individual
         Knight welcomed the news that over two thousand learners had already been                             addresses and reports a match rate
         awarded Home Access Grants by Oldham and Suffolk local authorities which are                          across England and Wales of 96.8 percent.
         administering the programme in partnership with Becta, the government agency for
         technology in learning.
         “It is impossible to overstate the importance of IT to today’s children,” said Knight. “As
         previous generations may look back fondly on inkwells and fountain pens, today’s
                                                                                                               Disability projects:accessibletotomake
                                                                                                                  technology more                 people
                                                                                                               with disabilities have been launched by
         children see laptops and                                                                              Welsh Assembly digital inclusion minister,
                                                            Jim Knight, minister, sees the new pilot scheme    Wayne David. The ‘Switched on
         memory sticks as their                             in action with help from ten year old Evan Cook.
         everyday materials for                                                                                Communities’ project will offer support and
         school.                                                                                               training to meet the technology needs of
                                                                                                               disabled users. The ‘Wales Remote Access
         “It is vitally important that we                                                                      Project’ will raise awareness of ICT
         close the digital divide and                                                                          opportunities available to individuals with
         do not allow it to swallow                                                                            disabling conditions via access centres.
         children from families who
         may not be able to afford a
         computer or the internet.”
         The programme forms part of
                                                                                                                         online: Broxtowe Borough
                                                                                                               Funerals is installing technology in its
                                                                                                               crematorium which will enable people
         Becta’s Next Generation                                                                               not only to view a service but give
         Learning campaign.                                                                                    eulogies and readings online. The cost of
         Approved suppliers for the                                                                            setting up a link for a relative or friend to
         initiative include XMA, 02                                                                            watch a service is expected to be
         and Toshiba.                                                                                          between £20 and £30.

7   March/April 2009                                                   Local Government IT In Use
                                                                                                                     NEWS UPDATE

National system would                           One-stop Budget                               Step into the 21st
improve child safety                                                      will be             century...
                                                coordinating one-stop information from
L  ord Laming has made more than fifty
    recommendations for improvements
needed to protect children at risk of abuse
                                                across government on Budget day -
                                                Wednesday 22 April – as news and policy
                                                                                              Councils areflexiblechangeonand aworking
                                                                                                 benefits of
                                                                                                             missing out the full

                                                                                              due to resistance to
                                                                                                                    and mobile

– including one for development of a            is announced.                                 ‘reluctance to let go of 20th century
national Integrated Children’s System           The government web portal for ‘central to     management thinking’.
(ICS).                                          local’ government news and information        Potential savings on buildings and
His second report, commissioned after the       covers news, policy and consultation          accommodation costs - as well as other
Baby P tragedy in Haringey, follows up the      updates and other information from more       benefits like higher staff productivity and
108 recommendations he made in 2003             than seventy government departments,          reduced CO2 emissions - are being
following the death of Victoria Climbié.        agencies and public bodies.                   missed, claims Socitm, through old
The principal conclusion was the need for       Brief summaries and comprehensive             fashioned management beliefs: ‘If I can’t
a national Safeguarding Delivery Unit           categories give ‘at a glance’ updates on      see my people, how do I know they are
reporting to the Cabinet and parliament.        latest information from the centre. Users     working?’
However, the report highlights significant      of the email alert service can also receive   Importantly, the problem is not a technical
failings of some ICS currently in use. It       reminders for ‘consultations ending soon’     one, since most councils now have the
finds that ‘Too much time and money is          to make sure that they don’t miss the         required infrastructure.
being spent at local level trying to correct    opportunity to have their say on policy
the failings of individual systems and          making related to their area of expertise.    Socitm’s briefing points out that
stronger national leadership of ICS is                                                        employment costs are the biggest item on
                                                info4local is managed by a partnership of
needed’. It recommends that DCSF should                                                       the budget of almost every public sector
                                                eight departments, including CLG, DCSF,
‘undertake a feasibility study with a view                                                    organisation and that flexible working
                                                Defra, DoH, DfT, Home Office, DWP, and
to rolling out a single national Integrated                                                   enables people to be deployed more
                                                Government Offices.
Children’s System better able to address                                                      effectively and efficiently. Research also
the concerns identified in this report’ or                                                    shows it makes them happier, more
better assert its leadership over local                                                       engaged with their work, and more
suppliers. The study ‘should be completed
within six months of this report’.
                                                             by GIS:
                                                Managingto,oforlocalNearly three-
                                                Europe plan
                                                                     authorities across
                                                                 have implemented,
                                                                                              “Now is a really good time to take action,”
Lord Laming said that children at risk had      geographic information systems in the last    says briefing author, Chris Head. “Any
to be identified earlier with greater sharing   12 months, according to Datamonitor’s         public sector organisation that isn’t
of information between the different            report, ‘Where in the City? Using GIS to      already looking for big savings certainly
authorities. He also called for greater         Manage Government Information’. From          will be very soon, when the decline in tax
training for senior managers.                   mapping crime rates, urban planning,          receipts, increasing benefits claims, and
                                                monitoring traffic patterns, to national      huge government borrowing will force
But he acknowledged the pressures that          defence, governments are looking for
social workers face, saying they deserved                                                     their hand.”     
                                                ways to leverage GIS in order to make
huge support with better training and           more informed management decisions and        See features on mobile and flexible working,
lower staff turnover.                           provide enhanced service to constituents.
                                                                                              pages 13 & 14.

                 protection in Scotland:
Enhancing childScotland toprotection
   A system allowing child
agencies across            share                Aspirations begin in Durham
information quicker and better to ensure
safeguards are in place for those at risk is
to be developed. The £1.5m Vulnerable
                                                Digital inclusion minister, Wayne David, says that “Durham is leading the way in
                                                 promoting social inclusion through ICT.”
Person’s System (VPS) will help agencies        David was visiting the county to see first hand the ‘Aspirations Begin at Home Project’
react faster to changes in a child’s            which aims to raise education standards and help young people achieve their dreams
circumstances in the future to keep them        for the future.
safe from neglect and abuse. The VPS -          The project has already helped to install computers and broadband connectivity in
which will also cover vulnerable adults -       around three hundred homes, enabling over nine hundred people to gain access to a
will initially allow police forces to share     PC and encouraging more families to engage in their children’s learning. The project
secure, accurate and up-to-date                 has evolved to also help adults develop IT skills through the introduction of flexible
information electronically but will be open     and adaptable broadband internet and comprehensive training schemes.
to other agencies in due course.

To top