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Expert view

Bridging the e-gap

Websites are actually information prisons, says Richard Stacy | Page 2

Francis Maude leads pioneering approach for government to help SMEs | Pages 8-9

E-government

The power behind decisions

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SEPTEMBER 2013

How are you being served?

16-page report on E-government


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Business Technology September 2013

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Opening shots Richard Stacy BACK IN THE good old days, about five years ago, the concept of digital was relatively easy to understand. It meant websites. Websites were nice tidy places you could create on this thing Top Gear presenters called The Interweb, the idea being to then encourage the people you needed to deal with to visit you there. This was because it was either easier, cheaper or trendier to deal with them here than it was in the real world. But things have changed. Digital has split in two: a transaction-based element and an information-based element. And the information bit has become so big, messy and interactive that it transcends the ability for it to be contained or managed within the places we know as websites. Information has become a space, rather than a place. This presents two challenges for government. The first is simply to recognise this fact and also to acknowledge that totally different approaches are needed for each bit of digital. The second is to work out how to operate in the new digital information space. Let’s look at this second challenge. The problem here is that Google is king of this world and we all have to pay homage at its court. Five years ago, people used Google to find websites, but now they use it to find answers to questions. Google has extended its dominion beyond the homepage and into the information that shelters behind it. What is more, it has shown us that websites are actually information prisons and that places such as blogs, forums,

It’s hard to tell what the government is thinking, digitally speaking communities and status updates are much more accessible places for information to live within. Governments don’t like this, because they don’t like their portals being breached and also because they are reluctant to cast the pearls of state-sanctified information among the uncontrollable swine of Twitter, which is what you need to do to operate effectively in the world of Google. This takes us to the other challenge: recognition and acceptance. Governments are, by inclination, centralist and controlling and they create all sorts of excuses for why this is necessary. In the old-fashioned digital context, this inclination is reinforced by the vested interest represented by IT contractors and the limited expertise of civil servants. This approach can sometimes still work in the world of transactional digital: witness the success of HMRC self-assessment. But it doesn’t work in the world of information: witness the failure of Directgov. Has the

Richard Stacy is the author of Social Media and the Three Per Cent Rule

government realised this? It is hard to tell. It has appointed an old-fashioned webby person, Martha Lane Fox, to chair its digital advisory panel. But, on the other hand, if you look at the way the Government Digital Service is actually operating, it is clear this group knows how to liberate information. In fact, I use the GDS site in my training courses as a classic example of how an information hub should operate. Perhaps one story sums up the issue. I recently had reason to deal with a particular government agency, with whom you can only transact via post or phone. The reason I knew this, and the reason I knew the number, was because this information lived in Google. And when I rang the number, it was answered within three rings. Now is that Digital by Default? I don’t know – but it works.

Arrive on time… Agile software delivery for government

Product & Software Engineering. Empowering Innovation.

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Whitehall pursues digital as balance of power switches to the citizen By Bonnie Gardiner

JUST two years ago, there were a whopping 2,000 government websites. Today, the Cabinet Office has streamlined those into one central domain – gov.uk – but this is only the beginning. With this act of centralisation, the UK is beginning to truly harness the benefits of a well-thought-out digital strategy, offering services that are quicker, more convenient and cheaper to use. “Until now, government services have stood out by their failure to keep up with the digital age,” says Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.

“[Gov.uk] is a reflection of the government understanding how to communicate with the country in a way that works” – Deyan Sudjic “While many sectors now deliver their services online as a matter of course, our use of digital public services lags far behind that of the private sector. For example, while 74 per cent of people use the internet for car insurance, only 51 per cent renew car tax online.” Gov.uk has even won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award 2013, with Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, calling it “the Paul Smith of websites” that puts user needs at the heart of service design. “It’s a reflection of the government understanding how to communicate with the country in a way that works. It’s simple,

direct, well mannered, all the things that we would like to take for granted from the government, but in a sea of red tape and jargon usually can’t.” As part of its “Digital by Default” reform, the government is determined to make everyday department transactions digital, leading to estimated savings of up to £50 million annually for taxpayers and anywhere between £1.7 and £1.8 billion each year for the government. Individual departments will be publishing their own digital strategies later this year, setting out how they will improve their services and reduce costs by 2015, with the help of the new Digital Advisory Board, headed by IT champion Martha Lane Fox. In its heart, the government ICT agenda is citizen-centric, as the current administration concedes that the internet revolution is bringing about a decisive shift in the balance of power between citizen and state. To harness new technology efficiently, authorities need to rethink the way public services work. This includes bringing technology to the people instead of making the people come to technology hubs, with four out of five people in the UK online. A recent report by think tank Policy Exchange – Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger – looks ahead to the second half of the decade, recommending strategy to make government up to 8 per cent more efficient by 2020, with predicted annual savings of £24 billion. The report pushes for the eventual switch from “Digital by Default” as its basic framework to “digital, full stop” – eliminating the need for costly travel and paper interactions. There is also a call for stronger digital and data skills in Whitehall, to ensure

VIDEO BONUS Martha Lane Fox See Page 12

Internet pioneer Martha Lane Fox is spearheading the new government IT initiatives

future leaders can drive digital into the DNA of public sector organisations. A survey of public sector staff carried out for the report found only half currently agree that their organisation’s board or leadership understands what tools and technology people need to do their jobs well. Lastly, the report states that by 2020 government needs to have moved from “open data” to “total data”, with plans to open up all non-personal public sector data as a foundation for accountability and economic growth, while also buying more into big data analytics. This should require no dramatic push, as since entering government in 2010, both Maude and David Cameron have repeatedly stated their commitment to be “the most open and transparent government in the world”.

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an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Business Technology September 2013

ExpertInsight

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Spend reduction the smarter way Are you fully exploiting the smarter way to cost reduction? INDUSTRY VIEW

T

o reduce costs and tackle the UK debt, authorities can either apply internal “austerity measures” or reduce external costs. The latter should be the easier, for example, through the use of modern e-tendering platforms and more effective competition in supply.

e-tendering change across EU Some authorities are already using e-tendering systems; however, they are typically not yet e-enabling all phases – evaluations, for example, are still managed offline, and online reverse auctions are rarely used despite proof of significant savings. Other authorities have not started to use any platforms at all. The EU Commission has identified “overcoming inertia and fear” as the main challenges, and to shorten adoption lead-time, new directives are proposed to mandate essential phases of e-tendering across all member states. But authorities can already obtain modern solutions and modify them to their needs.

Opportunity for decision makers Savings from online reverse auctions

(online bidding) have been reported to generally exceed 10 per cent of spending across most categories, including complex services in construction. Still, very few auctions are managed across the public sector despite several central government initiatives. “Most economically advantageous tender” formulas may be set up in auctions so that bidders will see their respective positions considering all criteria, not only price. Of course, specifications need to be more detailed to “lock down” scope and quality to avoid risk of scope-creep induced by any significant price reduction, but that is also true in cases where auctions are not used. Any system and service provider managing competitive tender information should, of course, be secure. ISO 27 001 certification and HMG IA standards are well established in the UK, but it takes more to implement e-tendering and e-auction solutions. Decision makers are required to act to realise the full savings potential. Buyers may fear the risk of losing interest from perceived key suppliers, while suppliers, in reality, typically prefer transparency and e-tendering.

Suppliers who are “incumbent” in their market segments may, on the other hand, gain by having less competition and transparency in tenders. To overcome any influences and buyer-team fear, decision makers in procuring organisations must set a policy on procurement, including the general use of e-tendering and also auctions where possible. Large private sector organisations, such as telecoms, have even set “reverse burden of proof” so that procurement teams must justify any omission of the final auction phase in tenders.

Expert ExpertInsight

Databases make a difference Open source software provides flexibility and lower costs, says Simon Riggs INDUSTRY VIEW

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ith attention on government IT projects that don’t deliver, and make the headlines for their significant costs and delays, it’s refreshing to see an alternative view. Simon Riggs, CTO and founder of 2ndQuadrant, discusses how a rapidly growing UK-based SME is providing an alternative to the databases from companies such as Oracle or Microsoft. Government IT projects often make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. How can we succeed more often? Cost overspends on bigger projects can occur because software architecture can have a large effect on long-term costs and is difficult to foresee. Flexibility is important so you can respond well when projects inevitably hit problems.

An end to database lock-in?

What choices can you make to reduce costs and improve flexibility? Open source software can help because you have zero licence costs, so you can

start instantly - without waiting for agreements for a budget extension and purchasing negotiations. There’s never an expensive procurement nightmare when you need more servers or the architecture grows or changes. It’s not zero cost in the longer term but you’ll have a choice of who provides support and assistance. So you won’t be locked in to a single vendor, which means better service and significantly better pricing. Governments in Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil have already mandated that the default choice is open source and only exceptional circumstances can change that. Our business has expanded significantly in South America as a result. Many large user companies sponsor new developments and then benefit from sharing within the community of users. Open source communities can provide free support and a pool of trained staff. But what are the risks? Verify the skill level of the people you talk to. “It said it on a blog” isn’t a

Online configuration First-generation platforms are designed as “one size fits all”, while more modern platforms allow authorities and companies to configure them to meet specific requirements, such as bespoke workflows, checklists and libraries of shared or own-standard PQQs and requirements. Online configuration also helps, creating “buy-in” to the solution implemented. info@eu-supply.com www.eu-supply.com

great justification for key decisions. Government and critical business functions will always require more solid support guarantees, such as 2ndQuadrant’s Platinum Database support. People want access to an expert within 15 minutes, day or night. Is PostgreSQL already used in UK government? Where does it shine? PostgreSQL is a client-server database that follows the SQL standard. It’s been developed steadily over more than 20 years, so it’s widely adopted and is packed with features. Experts in other databases can retrain in about five days. Healthcare Software Systems are replacing many of their Oracle installations with PostgreSQL. Leading e-procurement provider EGS is a long-term user and support very large workloads on their servers. PostgreSQL is widely used in Business Intelligence. EU research funding is extending capabilities beyond 10TB as part of the AXLE project, co-ordinated by 2ndQuadrant. PostgreSQL also offers the leading implementation for geospatial databases, including indexing technology not available in other systems. Ordnance Survey and the Met Office are users, as well as key sponsors of the forthcoming FOSS4G conference. See 2ndQuadrant at FOSS4G (stand B2) 2ndQuadrant.com/egovernment


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The inner geek

Moz & Bradders

Has the dam broken on government data? Report by Bonnie Gardiner THE government hopes to bring about a new open data culture. But what does this mean for Britain? Transparency and open data have been at the heart of the UK gover n ment ’s r efor m i ng a nd e-government agendas, with a plan to release more open data previously held within public bodies, helping to grow business, increase citizen participation and improve public sector accountability. “New technology means that for the first time individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses can now access and exploit public data in a way that increases accountability, drives choice and spurs innovation,” says Cabinet Minster Francis Maude. “Government will continue to be on the forefront of the open data revolution – putting more and more data in the public domain that will underpin new social and economic growth.” Since late June, the Land Registry has issued residential house price data from 1995 onwards, while the NHS has released data to promote life sciences research – all providing valuable digital applications. Data from the Department of Transport means commuters are already using apps to plan journeys based on realtime data released by rail and bus operating companies. The Open Data Institute currently

works w ith the government’s Data Strategy Board (DSB) to help businesses use public sector data to create new products and services. Gavin Starks, CEO, blogged last year about the concept of open data and what it means for society. “This concept of the web ‘breaking through the glass’ and becoming part of our physical world could not be more timely, and significant, to the work of the Open Data Institute: to catalyse the evolution of an open data culture that creates economic, environmental, and social value.” T h e gove r n m e n t reg u la rly publ ishes centra l and loca l government spending, sen ior sta ff sa la r y details and how t he gover n ment is doing against objectives. Meanwhile, data.gov.uk has 9,000 datasets, including local crime statistics, hospital infection rates and GP performance. Despite these efforts, the Institute for Government (IfG) claims in its first “Whitehall Monitor” report that assessing the overall effectiveness of government performance is an impossible task for any “armchair auditor” due to the data gaps and discrepancies. But the drive to make information available free of charge creates a dilemma for those public bodies that rely on their data to generate revenue, such as the Met Office, Ordnance Survey and Companies

The data stream free-for-all may affect the likes of the Met Office (inset)

House, who w ill be forced to undermine their business model. Taking on the funding obligations for these bodies would be an expensive option for the Treasury, but the longterm benefits of open data could potentially make up for it, with Met Office data predicted to cost £100,000 but garner a return of £50.8m over 20 years. Security risks, too, are raising some eyebrows, as stats released by ICO show more than half of the 335 data breach incidents in the first quarter of 2013 fall into the “disclosed in error”

category, covering everything from emails being sent to the wrong people to information erroneously included in freedom of information responses. A l so for people accessi ng data stored online, appropriate measures must be taken to ensure data is not stolen or manipulated. The Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT) is partnering with Thales Group to develop Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) for Cloud security. FHE could finally see secure high-security applications, such as those used in military, where the use of public clouds with standard

encryption algorithms is currently not an option. Citizens will be able to access their own data that the government stores about them in Cloud-based infrastructures, rather than going through a third party – for instance, having to visit the doctor to view your medical records. Overall, it’s the ends, as well as the means, that open data experts are urging us to focus on. Hugo Pinto, sector comms manager at Telefónica Dynamic Insights, writes on the ODI website: “Trust is one of the biggest issues when we speak about data. But it doesn’t have to be an issue. Using data adds more value than it creates risks.”


Business Technology September 2013

an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

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Reform is needed if online democracy is to be effective By Bonnie Gardiner

ELECTRONIC petitions have ushered in a new age of democracy, but research shows the current system needs more citizen engagement to take effect. Online petitions have been a fi xture of central government since 2011, when the e-petitions website went live. The first year saw a total of 17 million visits, with 36,000 petitions submitted attracting 6.4 million signatures. At the launch of the website, the then Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young said it could provide a “megaphone” through which the public could make their views heard, and that the site would “build bridges between people and Parliament” and increase public engagement following the expenses scandal. If an e-petition gets 100,000 signatures, the Parliamentary Back Bench Business Committee will consider whether it merits a Commons debate, but overall only around a dozen have earned the right to be debated. A research team from Oxford University has found that 99.9 per cent of e-petitions fail to reach the threshold needed to trigger the prospect of a Commons debate, claiming nearly all e-petitions are doomed to become “digital dust” if they don’t attract a large number of signatures in their first 24 hours. Westminster think tank The

The e-petitioning system needs to be re-examined to promote greater public involvement

Hansard Society also published a report on e-petitions last year, warning that the system is too closely controlled by the government, and arguing that public engagement is a two-way process, which is not reflected in the system. “If the House of Commons is to be responsible for responding to petitioners’ concerns, then it should take over the running of the system from the government,” writes Dr Ruth Fox, director of the Hansard

Society’s parliament and government programme. “A new petitions committee should then respond to petitioners’ concerns and engage them in the parliamentary process.” Recently an e-petition set up by Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May to stop the badger cull has reached almost 300,000 signatures – more popular than the petition to stop benefit payments to convicted London rioters, which reached 258,270. The online call for full disclosure of all government documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster reached 156,215 signatures, and the

release of government papers in 2012 is seen as a response to a large-scale demand made partially through an electronic petition. Of course, some will note the frivolity of some requests, including the call on the 10 Downing Street site that TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson should be made prime minister, which won 50,000 supporters. Meanwhile, there are some online petitions we’d probably all like to see happen, but know that they won’t, such as the call for Iain Duncan Smith to live off £53 a week on Change.org, which has so far racked up a whopping 479,604 supporters.

Paperless offices could save government departments £70bn

Public sector IT skills set to sharpen up

RESEARCH by Policy Exchange predicts that Ministers could save £70bn by 2020 if they adopted plans to ditch paperwork. The think tank report states that in order to fully transform government to suit the digital age, all Whitehall services must be carried out online, removing the option for non-digital transactions completely. The Crown Prosecution Service currently prints a million sheets of paper every day, and the equivalent of two articulated lorry loads of letters and paperwork

THE Information Commissioner’s Office is helping to close the government data skills gap. With current government efforts to incorporate open data for the sake of transparency, the ICO has collaborated with the University of Manchester to create the UK Anonymisation Network. Accessed online, the network is provided for public and private sector officials to learn about the freedom of information and data protection laws, as well as sharing skills and good practice.

are delivered daily to the driving and vehicle licensing agency. All government services should be provided online unless face-to-face interaction is essential, the Smaller, Better, Faster, Stronger report stated. This change would mean the government must accept electronic proofs of documents as a means of identification. The move to Digital by Default by the Government Digital Service’s saw a significant shift in HMRC, which has seen more than 80 per cent of tax returns submitted online.

The use of different channels like SMS and email for alerts has also played its part in reducing paper.

Business Technology

“We’re aware that there are still some skills and knowledge gaps in the public sector,” says ICO head of policy Steve Wood. “So the network is helping people to understanding how to better anonymise datasets to make them safe when they contain personal information.” Public bodies must now consider the consequences of data breaches, as just last month the ICO fined Islington Council £70,000 for inadvertently releasing personal details of 2,375 residents online.


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September 2013

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INDUSTRY VIEW

T

oday, there is a smart, patented technology that enhances customer choice and uses a communication channel embraced by us all – the humble SMS. Boomerang SMS provides the ability to automate twoway exchanges between an organisation’s software and its key stakeholders, irrespective of the number of messages, or order of reply. This enables the automation of common processes such as scheduling, workforce management, inbound requests and many more. While public sector organisations have been steadily investing in Customer Relationship Management systems, they often miss a trick, as ultimately they do not connect effectively with the end user – their customers and stakeholders.

By Bonnie Gardiner

A greater choice

sales@boomcomms.com www.boomcomms.com

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Bridgin the go

SMS: old dog, new tricks

By harnessing Boomerang’s foolproof next generation SMS technology, organisations in the public and private sectors are able to provide customers and stakeholders with greater choice; improving customer experience, while substantially reducing organisational costs through automation. Boomerang is already being used, with great success, by some of the country’s biggest names and most progressive businesses, across a wide range of industries. Clients such as JP Morgan, Fidelity, BAA, Victim Support and a number of local councils and public sector bodies are yielding significant benefits from this technology. It is a cost-effective and highly sophisticated solution for both private and public sectors to offer customers, as a simple and user-friendly way to communicate with them. Seek out Boomerang in the G-Cloud.

an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Francis Maude has overhauled government IT spending; (below) a good opportunity for SMEs; (below right) Chloe Smith, minister for constitutional reform

SMALLER tech players are urging the government to keep on track to reaching its target of 25 per cent total spend on SME procurement by 2015. Efforts to widen the public sector procurement market to SMEs in the tech sector have seen some positive results, as 63 per cent of July contracts from G-Cloud were awarded to SMEs. But, according to the technology sector, not enough is being done to encourage this strategy. “There are still a lot of government departments that are just paying lip service to this agenda,” says Mark Taylor, chief executive of Sirius Open Source, and former SME panel chairman for the Cabinet Office’s New Suppliers to Government working group. “Though Francis Maude really should be credited with making a big difference so far.” Despite the fact that 99.9 per cent of the UK’s businesses are SMEs, an incredible 70 per cent of government IT spending between 1997 and 2010 went to just seven large companies – a system which completely locked out SMEs from the public services procurement system, with dire consequences for the economy, innovation and competition. “The government was spending something like £20bn pounds a year on technology, which is an outrageous amount. That’s one per cent of the total UK GDP; it’s more than we spent on the Foreign Office, on the Ministry of Justice, and three times more than we spent on the army,” says Taylor. “That was way too much money being spent on the ‘cosy oligopoly’ of suppliers, which could have been saved and spent in public areas.” When speaking at this year’s procurement briefing: Transforming Technology Procurement through SMEs, cabinet minister Francis Maude said of the old procurement approach: “There was, for too long, a misguided conviction in Whitehall that big was beautiful.” He added, “This was bad for the taxpayer and service users, and bad for businesses and growth.” Recent data from the Cabinet Office’s Two Years On report shows government has increased its direct spend with SMEs from 6.5 per cent in 2009/10 to 10.5 per cent in 2012/13, on top of 9.4 per cent of indirect spend on SMEs via large suppliers.


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September 2013

Business Technology

E-government | 9

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ng the e-gap between overnment and SMEs Chloe Smith, minister for political and constitutional reform, stated that “these figures are encouraging, but clearly more needs to be done to reach our 25 per cent aspiration”, while Taylor feels that focusing on indirect expenditure is a “very dangerous path”, as it leads to SMEs working under insecure contracts, squeezed margins and delayed payments. “The difference between direct spending and indirect spending with SMEs has been conflated, yet there is a big difference between the two,” says Taylor. “To say, hey, we’re now spending 25 per cent of our money with SMEs – because somewhere down the line that money trickles down to an SME – that’s very different. Does the local company that provides sandwiches for board meetings count towards the government target? Yes, they do.” Since the initial pledge, there has been greater visibility of opportunities for SMEs through the Contracts Finder website, as well as online publication of procurement plans over the next five years. The procurement process has also become faster, less bureaucratic and more open. Central government departments are now mandated to consider Cloud options first in any IT procurement, encouraging the use of G-Cloud and the SMEs that feature in CloudStore. One such company featured in CloudStore is The Bunker, a cloud security

outfit that hosts datacentres in actual nuclear bunkers around Britain. The Bunker’s chief technology officer, Phil Bindley, believes the success of the G-Cloud initiative remains to be seen. “Fundamentally it’s a fantastic initiative and it will drive huge cost savings if departments start actively going and procuring from UK-based SMEs. But that’s only if they don’t run back to the big players and services that they have in the past that horribly burned them,” Bindley says. Also cautious is Naureen Khan, who heads the public sector programme for Intellect, the trade association for UK tech sector, of which 500 members are SMEs. “The feedback I get from our SME members is that it’s still difficult to navigate around G-Cloud. If you think about the way you and I would buy something on Amazon, if you’re a government department you should be able to navigate around CloudStore in the same way,” she explains. “I spoke to an SME founder recently, and he said he had to pay a consultant to get his business onto CloudStore just because it was too much work and too bureaucratic.” A collective of SMEs, called the 10 Per Cent Group, has claimed that the G-Cloud security and accreditation process is limiting the chances of SMEs to win more G-Cloud contracts, claiming that the initiative “still has a long way to go”. Intellect has

“The government was spending something like £20bn a year on technology, which is an outrageous amount. That’s more than we spent on the Foreign Office, on the Ministry of Justice, and three times more than we spent on the army” – Mark Taylor

partnered with the Government Digital Service (GDS) in running an accreditation camp, where ministers explain the process, take feedback from the market, and improve their approach. “That’s a huge issue – how the government is communicating with SMEs. That’s actually getting out there, speaking to the market, speaking to the technology sector, and saying yes, we want to do more business with you,” adds Kahn. Meanwhile, Taylor believes that one of the most effective changes has been the GDS leading by example, by spending more on SMEs, encouraging a more cost-effective open-source agenda and recruiting private sector champions to help with their strategy. “It’s one thing to say at a policy level – but actually doing it, and creating an exemplar, it not only gives confidence to the market, it also sets an example,” says Taylor. As more and more departments slowly begin to follow suit, the industry watches on hoping they can see that the success of the GDS approach is saving money, while averting any major disaster. “The way they used to talk about it, you’d think someone might die if they relied on SMEs, because what if the project fails? Yet look what happened to the NHS – they spent £40bn, they worked with the largest providers in the world,” says Taylor. “It was a disaster.”


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Business Technology September 2013

ExpertInsight

10 | E-government

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Security by default is foundation of any digital system Cyber defence needs the right skills INDUSTRY VIEW

I

t’s reasonable to assert that cyber maintains a high profile, even in austere times. The government programmes around digital transformation and Digital by Default generate column inches, and in recent weeks have seen luminaries such as Howard Schmidt (former member of Obama’s exec office responsible for cyber) appearing on mainstream news programmes to discuss the implications of these issues. For practitioners of cyber defence, IA, information security and the like, the question remains: how do we ensure we position ourselves correctly to be the enablers of this new high-profile movement? How can vendors such as McAfee work to make our propositions valued, simple to understand and relevant, as well as technically compelling? How can we demonstrate to all of our stakeholders that, in an austere setting, security is more critical than ever, rather than an afterthought? The answer, I believe, lies in offering a simple proposition: security by default. The logic runs thus: austerity means headcount reductions; austerity forces the pace of digitisation to reduce transaction costs. The increased pace of technological change (the iPad was

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Poorly secured data is a security risk better prevented than cured; (below) Graeme Stewart, McAfee

three years old on 3 April, 2013 – consider how far it has come since its release) means that practitioners in the main have to focus on the data rather than the device and OS. Or in layman’s terms, make it automated, make it cheap, and don’t worry about what it runs on. The only way we are going to live in this world is by insisting that security becomes the foundation of any digital system. If you deploy security as the starting point of a system, you don’t have to retro-fit it. Retrofitting anything is more expensive than building it in from scratch. Security by Default allows you ensure that security enables the system, rather than hamstrings it. How many times have you heard stories about security breaches on systems where the actual technology solution to solve it was simply and cheaply available? Healthcare organisations losing USB sticks that weren’t encrypted, local authorities getting breached by malware, and military types leaving poorly secured laptops on trains all reek of systems where the people/process/ technology mantra had been poorly worked. And my betting is that the scrambled retrofit of a technical solution costs more than deploying it properly in the first place. There is any number of resources available to

A force to be reckoned with?

T

he government’s G-Cloud programme, despite all the hype about cloud computing, is not just about utilising new technologies, it is also a new way for government to consume and procure ICT and related support services. When the tenets of G-Cloud are followed, the selection and procurement of ICT services can be quick and easy; a clear break from the quagmire and stagnation of traditional government procurement. This is demonstrated through the uptake

by government agencies and local authorities, whose management have found the G-Cloud to be a significant enabler in terms of speed of purchase, implementation and reduction in costs. Large organisations, with entire procurement directorates, lag behind the curve. The embedded cultures of extended processes and vast lists of requirements, which can stifle innovation, have started to creep into what little use of the G-Cloud they do have, stretching the G-Cloud’s short route to fit their lengthy internal practices. The lack of uptake is compounded

Graeme Stewart is director of public sector strategy and relations, UK & Ireland for McAfee Graeme_Stewart@McAfee.com

by elements, such as accreditation, often blamed as a barrier by consumers due to suppliers not having it and by suppliers as difficult to get, despite that fact that with the early engagement of suitably qualified experts, it can also enhance the service. It must be noted that though the Pan Government Accreditors are doing sterling work, their numbers are few. Without rapid expansion of their team or the use of US-style independent third-party accreditors, the delays in G-Cloud accreditations will continue. With Denise McDonagh no longer directing the programme, and G-Cloud having moved to the Government Digital Service, there is a fear that the rapidly growing idea will wither and die without substantial support and leadership.

Tony Richards discusses whether G-Cloud is a force for good or a storm in a teacup INDUSTRY VIEW

start you on this journey, including documents from CESG such as Ten Steps to Cyber Security, and McAfee has produced a companion piece to be published shortly, illustrating practical paths that need to be taken to achieve these steps. But there is a key element I’d like to highlight here, and it is the skills required to deploy security. McAfee has spent years refining and improving its partner programme, and we stand firmly behind it as an exemplar of partnership that delivers. Technology is only as good as those installing it, and we believe that for Security by Default to work, it needs organisations that understand the logic behind its premise, have experience in multiplatform systems and a foot in the real world (as well as the cyber one). People, process, technology in action seems to sum it up nicely. Digital by Default is going to offer a genuine solution to many issues right now, but offers a shiny clean canvas for both nefarious cyber-activity as well as old-fashioned error. The opportunity, indeed the explicit demand of us, is to ensure we deliver Security by Default, and do so in such in a manner that breeds utter conviction in its success.

Stormy skies: is the government’s G-Cloud programme stagnating?

Tony Richards is consulting partner at Information Assurance Consulting Services LLP 0845 519 6138 tony.richards@iacs-llp.com


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

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advised local councils to learn the lessons of the GDS digital by default approach; however it remains to be seen whether what works for central government would actually work for local, being significantly different outfits in terms of service delivery, application of ICT and local democratic accountability.

With the influx of data soon to become available online, the UK digital strategy relies strongly on the government’s ability to mould a service easily accessible on mobile devices. With research claiming that mobile web usage will have surpassed desktop browsing as soon as 2014, advanced mobile data transfer services take the spotlight. With last month’s roll-out of 4G with Vodafone and O2 – after a ten-month monopoly by EE – many members of the public have been questioning its relevance, with only 637, 000 out of 82m mobile phone users upgrading to the currently somewhat patchy service. But as 4G expands into new areas, and users rely more on online government services and systems, additional download and upload speed will not only seem relevant, but indispensable.

ExpertInsight

Edited by Bonnie Gardiner

But perhaps the biggest difference is financial, with the cost of ICT already burning a hole in the pocket of local councils, along with relatively larger cuts to local government than those applied to central. Local government has long been seen as ahead of its central counterpart in the way it redesigns and implements its ICT, so it would not be unheard of for the local authorities to simply draw up their own version of the digital strategy, tailored to what’s most important to their respective communities.

As you would expect, Dogberry is quick off the mark most days but the same cannot be said for broadband speeds in some areas of Britain. A survey by Thinkbroadband.com has revealed that, despite ambitious government targets, the country still has areas of pretty poor performance when it comes to megabits per second. This summer, the Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells recorded the slowest average throughput of 2.4mbps. Other slow areas included Kirwall & Orkney at 3.8mbps, Hereford at 3.9mbps, Inverness at 4.4mbps, and Wrexham at 4.9Bmps. Top dogs with the best average throughputs were Sutton at 19.8mbps, Cleveland at 18.7mbps and Watford at 16.8mbps. The UK average was 15.4mbps.

Government bloggers get their say The GDS has introduced the brand new blogging platform on gov.uk, providing civil servants with a space to write about what they’re up to. I can see it now: George Osborne whimsically tapping away to review the best burgers in his constituency, while Ian Duncan Smith diligently details his trial run on £53 a week and, though no longer in parliament, Louise Mensch shares on all matters fashion…oh, that last one is real. Only the GDS blogs will be less recreational and used more to

Business Technology

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Inspector Dogberry hile central government is striving to follow a new digital strategy, local councils are wondering what’s in it for them. The issue was first raised during a debate at last year’s Society of IT Management (Socitm) conference, when local government IT representatives from Birmingham and South Lanarkshire argued that the government digital strategy was too focused on transactions and has little to say about local government. Central government has

September 2013

communicate policy, provide updates on initiatives and open debate on ideas. So far, input from the DoH and the BIS has been described by GDS as “superb” – and if you decide you don’t agree, there’s always the unsubscribe button.

By Matt Smith, web administrator

u Editor’s pick Government Digital Service digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk The team in charge of delivering Digital by Default across the UK government’s services provides an insight into its work through this nicely presented blog. Weekly video updates of what’s been happening at GDS are a particularly nice touch, with members of the team taking you through their latest projects and ideas.

ForeSee Blog

Brookings.edu e-government

foreseeblog.com/tag/ e-government

www.brookings.edu/research/ topics/e-government

ForeSee blog’s e-government section focuses on the user experience for citizens, picking up on satisfaction figures and new trends in governmental systems such as the adaptation of online services for the mobile web. It also offers tips on best practices for e-government systems.

American think tank the Brookings Institution has an interesting back catalogue of e-government articles. Although posts can be a little sporadic, they’re worth the wait as they feature industry experts and tie in with big news like the NSA surveillance leaks.

eGov AU egovau.blogspot.com

Personal Parliamentary Planner FREE This interesting app brings parliamentary debates and business to a simple interface through RSS and ATOM feeds.

Surrey Police FREE A great example of how to make stats more accessible. The Surrey Police app brings live police updates, news and social posts to your fingertips.

Craig Thomler’s blog may examine the digital revolution from an Australian perspective, but the issues covered are relevant worldwide. It’s packed with thought-provoking visual content, including a visualisation of protests across the world from 1979 to the present day.

Mapping out a healthier future Ordnance Survey data is helping tackle obesity in children INDUSTRY VIEW

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ccording to the NHS, the number of people admitted to hospital because of obesity has more than tripled in five years. Among children the number has quadrupled in less than a decade. In Birmingham, an interactive map has shown how some schools are hemmed in by as many as 19 takeaway outlets in a 400 metre radius. The

map also showed that more than 70 per cent of primary and secondary schools in the city have a kebab shop, chip shop, pizza store or Chinese takeaway within the same distance. To create the map, Birmingham & Solihull NHS used geographic data supplied by Ordnance Survey under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement. Analysis by the Child and Maternal Health Observatory has shown that Birmingham currently has one of the highest levels of childhood obesity in the UK, with one in four children aged 10-11 classified as obese or overweight. The cost of treating diseases related to obesity or being overweight in Birmingham is £330m a year, according to Birmingham & Solihull NHS.

Birmingham NHS is mapping out teenage obesity Using the location data supplied by Ordnance Survey, the project team of councillors, planners, public health officials and other key representatives are now able to gain a reliable and accurate picture of the situation at any given time. Viewing the information on a map also enables the team to see at a glance where action should be targeted. As a result of the findings, new rules have been agreed to control the number

of fast food outlets clustered around schools and within local centres. If a proposed takeaway is within 400 metres of a school, the head teacher has to be consulted. Several applications have since been refused on these grounds already, in a bid to tackle some of the obesity problems facing the area. 0845 75 75 95 http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/psma/


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

12 | Business Technology September 2013

Business

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CBI: Martha Lane Fox http://bit.ly/17EJqYH The government IT czar and Lastminute.com founder discusses how SME internet usage is potentially worth £18m to the UK economy

E-government

Brazil

WHILE NORTH Korea’s isolationist policies prevent the use of mainstream internet technology, its southern neighbours are leading the way in digital government strategy. Last year South Korea ranked first in the biannual E-Government Survey 2012, drawn up by the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN). Out of 190 nations, the South Korean government received the highest scores on both the E-Government D e ve lopme nt I nde x a nd t he E-Participation Index for the second time, thanks to its e-government development, including the provision of cross-sector mobile applications, which made a powerful gateway to government services. The efforts of the Lee Myung-bak Administration have led Korea’s digital strategy to global exposure, with a growing number of countries now looking to use the Korean model as a benchmark, including Botswana, Mongolia, Romania and Azerbaijan.

THE BRAZILIAN government is receiving international praise for efforts to increase transparency, reduce corruption and enhance accessibility via an electronic government procurement strategy. By employ ing Comprasnet, a programme that achieved maximum efficiency standards in indicators for evaluating transparency in a 2006 World Bank study, Brazil’s federal public administration relies on electronic auctions for procurement. This new modality allows citizens to more easily act as co-participants in political decision-making, while ensuring a more economically and socially beneficial result. T he st rateg y prov ides equal opportunity to apply for government contracts, with both large and small organisations increasing participation, while the simpler method also means a reduction in administrative costs. With electronic bidding mandatory since 2005, substantial cost savings were accomplished almost immediately with

ExpertInsight

South Korea

Korea is forging ahead when it comes to e-government solutions

an additional R$1.8 billion in 2006 – about 14 per cent of the bid value – and R$477.4 million saved in 2007, about 12 per cent of the total investments. All stages of the bidding process in this modality can be monitored in real time by citizens and accessed via the Brazi lia n gover n ment ’s on li ne procurement portal. Every ministry also has a section in their web portal containing information on the expenditure of public money by the government, as well as data on those federal resources being transferred to states, municipalities, and the federal district. But information online is only useful if it’s easily accessible and understood, with many of the public left frustrated with a frenzy of vague hyperlinks. A number of initiatives, which have become mandator y for gover nment departments, aim to ensure accessibility by supplying infor mation in lay man’s terms, and enabling it to be retrieved without a thorough knowledge of government structure.

Taking a more Agile approach The government is responding to inefficient IT project management INDUSTRY VIEW

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overnment IT projects have a tendency to be large and expensive, and are often unsuccessful. Widely publicised project failures include the £12.6bn NHS National Programme for IT, which was scrapped in 2011, and the Home Office’s £1.2bn e-Borders programme. The Home Office sacked the main contractor over nonperformance in 2010 and was subsequently sued by them for damages in the amount of £0.5bn – the project has yet to be delivered. Despite these setbacks, there remains significant demand for new IT projects from a number of government departments and agencies. Their aim is to reduce cost and increase the government’s responsiveness to citizens’ needs by providing digital self-service as the default option when contacting a department. To satisfy this demand the Cabinet office has set out to break the dependence on a small number of large suppliers working on large, risky projects. They have adopted a modern approach to

Government IT contracts are increasingly being farmed out to smaller companies software development, one that relies on partnerships with a larger number of smaller suppliers who deliver more and smaller projects. In addition, the Cabinet office’s Government Digital Services division has begun a drive for the adoption of Agile development practices in a number of departments and agencies. The GDS’s Service Design Manual sets forth certain practices to be applied in projects that deliver digital services to citizens. The manual prescribes iterative development, continuous integration, automated testing and continuous user involvement.

These digital projects have four phases: Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live. The focus in Discovery is on understanding the needs of departments and citizens. The Alpha phase develops a minimal viable product. In Beta more feature-rich services are provided to small user groups for real use and in Live the digital service is developed for use by the whole user group. Each phase consists of a number of short iterations in which working

software is developed that incrementally grows to meet the user’s needs. My firm has been engaged on several such projects and currently applies the Service Design Manual practices at HMRC and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Even though the projects are still in Alpha or Beta, the benefits are already clear. Feedback loops drive Agile projects to ensure that they build features that are really needed, not necessarily those in the initial specification. Agile projects avoid expending effort that does not add value; the taxpayer buys more cost-effectively. Agile projects engineer quality into services through a strong focus on automated tests, so systems require less maintenance in use. Agile projects deliver working code at the end of every iteration, reducing risk and delivering sooner. These digital projects are run by small and highly effective teams, where government departments and agencies collaborate with suppliers on delivering features rather than negotiating contracts and change requests. Professor Wolfgang Emmerich, CEng MIET (left), is CEO of Zuhlke UK and Professor of Distributed Computing at UCL wje@zuhlke.com


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

September 2013 Business Technology | 13

World

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Estonia

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TWENTY YEARS ago, half the population had no phone line. Today, Estonia is one of the most connected countries in the world, often referred to as a trailblazer in public sector ICT. In the land where Skype was born, online government is rife with e-voting, e-health, e-schools, e-payments, free Wi-Fi no matter where you are, and all tax returns completed online in minutes. Indeed, for the citizens of Estonia the internet represents democracy and freedom. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia turned to Scandinavia for inspiration and investment. The tech-happy Finnish and Swedish businesses influenced the young nation, communicating by email rather than fax, and relying on paperless tactics for banking and business. Meanwhile, computers were also a way for to compensate for a tiny

workforce and a lack of physical infrastructure. The investments also fuelled competiveness in the Estonian IT sector, with the government relying on private companies to deliver its services. The UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Estonia last year to work together on digital government services. The UK government is particularly keen to mimic Estonia’s capabilities with open data and user identification, as central to Estonia’s’ projects is the digital ID card. Since its introduction in 2002, up to 90 per cent of the Estonian population now hold an ID card, which, when slotted into a computer or mobile, can be used by citizens to vote online, transfer money, or even see what information the state has on them. The card can also be used outside of the computer in matters such as travel tickets and the collection of medical prescriptions.

The Italian government is introducing controversial new e-invoicing laws

W hile the ID cards mean personal data is collected by the government, it also allows citizens to keep track of said data, including what is stored, when files are being accessed, and by whom. Not long ago, a policewoman was caught accessing information about her boyfriend, while a candidate during a recent election campaign was swiftly punished for accessing personal information about his potential constituents.

Italy OFTEN STRUGGLING to create modern e-government mandates over the years, the Italian government has this year left businesses in the lurch with its new electronic invoice project, coming into effect from June 2014. The Italian Economic and Finance minister authorised the use of electronic invoices for any organisation invoicing a public sector entity in Italy. But as the government defines this as a digitally signed XML file, this will surely impact on shares services and suppliers who rely on the PDF – the most widely used format for legal electronic invoices.

Suppliers will have to learn how to submit public sector invoices in the prescribed XML format themselves or through a service provider, and also introduce digital archiving for electronically submitted invoices. This arguably creates unnecessary hurdles in the process, when Italian archiving requirements are already more complex than those of any other European country. This potentially clashes with the EU’s directive on e-invoicing, which upholds equal treatment between paper and e-invoices, while also ensuring no additional requirements are imposed on paper invoices. Italian market participants are expected to query this decision, and how it truly impacts the Italian digital agenda.

“Users need tools, not rules” enCircle’s founder Darren Woods offers key insights into “Digital by Default” INDUSTRY VIEW

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roviding a managed service to the Home Office Digital Team, enCircle is now forging ahead using Digital by Default and G-Cloud initiatives to accelerate the delivery of online services using open source tools with an agile development methodology. This has raised some interesting questions. Can Digital by Default and G-Cloud prevent multi-billion pound failures? Yes, if used correctly. It encourages learning and development by failing quickly and cheaply, remedied with an agile and accelerated development approach. Bite off small chunks and see if it works, otherwise try another way. No more endless rabbit holes and money pits. With slow change, costs easily spiral as business needs evolve, whereas taking small steps and delivering capability quickly means costs can be controlled in line with changing priorities. Could Digital by Default become a

smokescreen for the status quo? There is a risk that it could; “Big IT” must not be allowed to undermine these initiatives for their own ends. And as Helen Margetts, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute points out, centralisation is misguided yet gov.uk is striving to centralise all sites and services under a single domain. We work with departments to adopt the Government Digital Service (GDS) principles while avoiding the pitfalls and risks of centralisation. Distributed hosting gives resilience and means a sophisticated denial of service attack will impact just that server, or at worst, a single hosting provider. Who sets the priorities for digital services, business or IT? Business teams must define priorities; otherwise technology gets delivered instead of capability. This is analogous to the primary GDS principle of placing real user needs first in any service design. I see it like a facilities management department providing

filing cabinets to departments then dictating how each drawer and folder is used. Miscommunication and misinterpretation between technical and non-technical teams is a principal cause of failure. We need to give users tools, rather than attempting to design their services for them. Are gaps created when moving services to the open source cloud? Too often IT has been outsourced in a restrictive way; it stops business teams from moving forward. A business team wanting to use an open source cloud solution must fill gaps in their knowledge and skills so they can manage and maintain the service. Managed services fill the gaps and enable teams to break from traditional

IT, but with the confidence that services are robust, secure and reliable. So will traditional IT departments be needed? No, if they simply want to exploit their traditional knowledge, which is sadly what many outsourcing arrangements strive for. They have a role if they are prepared for the challenge and prepared to develop new skills. They must provide computing as a utility and a service rather than trying to dictate solutions and applications to fit legacy technology. It’ll be a great step forward and with the right will, the risks and hurdles along the way can be overcome. 0844 991 0109 gcloud@encircle.co.uk


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Business Technology September 2013

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The future

Operational services need to go digital

Data analytics for better decisions

Dave Cox, founder and director of InProc

Technological advances mean data analysis is easier and more democratic than ever

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cross public sector organisations, employees expert in areas such as fair trading, statistics, regulations, education, transport, finance and others need to explore data and analyse it in order to provide better public services, targeted to the right people. There is also an increasing urgency across these organisations to drive down costs, invest in optimal IT approaches and drive efficiency throughout departments. Powerful analytics capabilities and intuitive data visualisation tools are essential for enabling users to derive benefits from large, dynamic and diverse data sets. Early business intelligence dashboards initially made headway by providing many users with simple charts that analysed historical data. Today’s sophisticated dashboards have become much more intuitive, presenting

Data analytics are no longer the preserve of specialists

information in near real-time on a much wider range of computers and devices. They can now access data much more easily and discover hidden data relationships within a much greater choice of internal and external “big data” sources. What’s also new is the fact that these insights, once the sole preserve of IT and data experts, are now available to users on a self-service basis. Most of these professionals wouldn’t consider themselves to be “business intelligence users,” and certainly not professional data scientists or data analysts. Progressive solution providers such as Pentaho provide tools for data exploration, analysis and visualisation, which enable these non-technical users to make effective use of data and reduce their time to insight. These are just a few aspects of Pentaho’s business analytics platform that contribute to the critical interpretation and sharing of data, enabling governmental departments with limited technical capabilities to gain the most value from their data to improve service delivery and efficiency. Pentaho offers a wide selection of analytics and business intelligence webinars, seminars, and events to help you learn more. White papers and analyst research reports are also available, as well as information on its latest software announcements. 0203 004 9543 www.pentaho.com

In focus: Heads in the Cloud… Ronald Reagan

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away

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ne of the main challenges for the public sector today is achieving the full potential of the “Digital by Default” vision. This means not simply adding a fancy website, or having a Facebook page, but changing the way services within councils are delivered – replacing the old, inherently paper-based systems. Denis Kaminskiy, CEO of Arcus Global, says: “Councils need to look to the Cloud for new applications, not just infrastructure. Savings of over 80 per cent can be made, but most importantly the productivity benefits for the rest of the business will be enormous.”

A growing proportion of councils have already switched to using Arcus applications for key business functions. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) is one of the “vanguard” authorities identified by central government as pioneering and innovative, laying the path for local government UK-wide. RBWM was the first organisation to adopt a modern, infrastructurefree ICT strategy developed by Arcus Global in 2010. The borough has already enjoyed sizable savings from the strategy, deploying modern Cloud platforms, virtual desktop and Cloud

Windsor and Maidenhead council has adopted Cloud solutions software, among others. Arcus continues to partner RBWM, supporting major pilots and projects as well as the development of cuttingedge business applications. RBWM is on track to deliver

savings of over 30 per cent by 2015, while continuing to improve services to its users and residents. 0122 391 1841 www.arcusglobal.com

While the availability of technology to provide digital services is well understood within the technical community, the pace of change towards a new paradigm of service disaggregation and e-government is hampered by a lack of knowledge within supporting operational services. Traditional approaches to contract agreements, project management, procurements and suppler management no longer apply in the rapidly changing digital world, and while these issues are starting to be recognised within central government, town halls are still procuring by the traditional nondisaggregated approach and creating single sets of requirements for largerscale contracts and waterfall project delivery. This misses the opportunity to leverage business knowledge and rapidly evolving technology solutions. But why are these immediate cost-reduction and flexibility advantages, that a move toward scaleable, commoditised, cloud-based services would ensure, not being secured? Through its work with partners on new commercial models, InProc has found that local government is still finding it difficult to move away from traditional long-term service contracts because of a lack of up-to-date skills within supporting functions. To help local government procure digital services for citizens, dramatically reduce costs and cut lead times, supporting must be bolstered with additional commercial capabilities and enhanced skills. To take advantage of the move towards digital service provision, InProc provides the thought leadership and enhanced commercial skills government requires, alongside the experience of working in and with government. 0117 905 5008 www.inproc.co.uk


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

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E-government | 15

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The debate

The challenges facing e-government Roly Walter CEO Appraisd

Tom Taylor Head of technology enCircle Solutions Ltd

Ian Chambers Chief executive Linea Group

Scott Cunliffe Co-founder IVY Information Systems

Pushing public services online can save money, but it needs to be made mandatory at all levels of government for the cost savings to be realised. Across-the-board cost savings require a deeper understanding of traditional technology platforms, and working with approved SMEs through the G-Cloud, capable of designing innovative solutions and integrating cloud services to drive forward a more rapid transition to digital online public services. Perhaps the biggest problem is culture, which affects every aspect of government IT procurement. For example, government business managers still classify much of their information too highly, which means more falls into business impact level 3 (IL3) than really needs to. Gaining cross-government CESG accreditation, Memset has been able to cater for much of the government’s requirements using its existing facilities and systems, at the same marketleading, transparent pricing available to private sector clients.

There are technical hurdles and there are policy hurdles, but the biggest challenge remains the cultural shift that needs to take place. We need to change the mindset of government buyers from “nobody got fired for choosing IBM”. The G-Cloud concept is fantastic: fast access to a world of small, lean, nimble SME suppliers with highly innovative products that simply blow the SAPs and PeopleSofts out of the water when it comes to value for money and customer service. In the private sector I meet HR directors of large organisations who are thrilled by the niche products that small businesses are now putting forward – but government buyers are still way behind. From my perspective as an SME owner who’s worked with government for years, this is what’s holding e-government back. Things are changing – but very slowly. There are huge opportunities out there that could be a win for government and a win for British small businesses.

The Government Service Design Manual is a major step forward in corporate IT thinking, offering public and private sector organisations a huge opportunity to gain the flexibility needed to compete in a dynamic global economy. Some of us have been advocating similar approaches for decades so it is good to see these ideas becoming mainstream, at least within government. According to the manual, speed is of the essence. If the initiatives are implemented quickly and widely, government business teams will be using efficient, flexible tools while the private sector is still trapped by legacy systems and unable to respond as fast as global business demands. Effective implementation and widespread adoption of the manual would put government IT ahead of the private sector. Large enterprises could adopt these principles - a potentially huge boost for UK plc. Bringing together creative thinkers from diverse fields, the government now appears to be the thought leader. We should all listen.

Organisations can benefit significantly from the adoption of e-procurement. Sadly, too few have embraced the technology – perhaps because they have seen others fail to realise the potential benefits. This frequently reflects a failure to employ expert help in its installation. Experience shows that e-procurement is an essential element of any modern procurement strategy. It will not solve all of your problems overnight, but it will provide the catalyst for fundamental improvement in performance. To ensure success, organisations must: engage procurement, change management and process improvement expertise; develop and deploy a coherent procurement strategy; thoroughly review existing processes; assess the need and create a proper business case; define the appropriate procurement specification, aligned to the needs assessment; develop a project plan to ensure timely implementation and benefits realisation and communicate with stakeholders to create ‘buy in’ and overcome natural resistance.

The DWP’s Universal Credit proves that lessons are not being learnt – projects on a large scale are failing to deliver, therefore hitting the taxpayer. Cutting costs and reducing the amount of failed projects is essential, but in addition to this our clients are asking for improved integration between software, suppliers and architecture, lesser restrictions on the openness of data, and allowing improved citizen engagement. The government previously advocated “open standards” to be considered during any procurement process for a forthcoming IT project. For instance, integrating five applications are compounded by working with closed-source proprietary solutions from the “mega vendors”. Public sector bodies are then held to ransom with inflated maintenance contracts, interoperability and vendor lock-in. By addressing this, a government body will increase integration between solutions by selecting open tools and better commercially viable alternatives to these big vendors. This allows for better integration and improved publication of open data.

0800 634 9270 www.memset.com

roly.walter@appraisd.com www.appraisd.com

0844 991 0109 gcloud@encircle.co.uk

0845 680 1095 ian.chambers@lineagroup.co.uk

enquiries@ivy-is.com www.ivy-is.com

ExpertInsight

Kate Craig-Wood Managing director Memset

New remote healthcare promises to save millions Imerja MD Ian Jackson discusses the potential of “telehealth” INDUSTRY VIEW

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emote consultation and diagnosis has become reality, offering incredible potential to increase access to specialist services and help to reduce the burden on secondary healthcare, particularly at a time when A&E services are struggling. Polycom’s state-of-the-art

RealPresence Platform and Telepresence Solutions technology provides an efficient, convenient delivery of high quality care, dramatically speeding up the diagnosis and prescription process and enabling staff to devote more time to the delivery of other vital services.  The Cumbria and Lancashire Telestroke Network, operational in eight hospital sites across the North West, is a great example of the successful implementation of Video as a Service (VaaS) in healthcare. Developed by Imerja in partnership with Virgin Media Business and Polycom, the centrally hosted service is monitored and supported 24/7 to provide an out-of-hours remote stroke diagnosis service, allowing accurate prognosis

and appropriate treatment to be administered quickly, irrespective of the clinician’s location. With 4,000 people across the region suffering strokes each year, this innovation has significantly reduced the level of morbidity and mortality, saving the NHS an estimated £8m, and reported in its first year to have saved the lives of 24 patients. VaaS has been successfully implemented across a number of healthcare disciplines including paediatric neurology, renal care, speech therapy, paediatric transport services, optometry and cancer network MDT. Enabling access to telehealth services via personal and mobile devices would further close geographical gaps in access to services, allowing patients to

more easily communicate with healthcare professionals, decrease response times for emergencies, and reduce the cost of long-term aftercare. While personal, face-to-face contact could never totally be replaced, telehealth can help facilitate delivery of outstanding care and increase efficiency of healthcare services. 0844 225 2888 www.imerja.com


an independent report from lyonsdown, distributed with the sunday telegraph

Business Technology September 2013

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Mobile security risks must be addressed Security experts are challenged to keep pace with the new demand for enhanced transparency By Bonnie Gardiner

THE recent arrest of a man who managed to collect more than £100,000 in fraudulent UK tax rebates demonstrates that, as more sensitive data becomes available online, robust and unobtrusive identification methods must be employed. UK fraud prevention service Cifas announced at the beginning of this year that the fraudulent use of stolen or fictitious identity details is the biggest fraud threat, as hackers will seek to manipulate lost, stolen or intercepted ID information to gain unauthorised access to private files or finances. An increasingly mobile population combined with a greater supply of sensitive personal data online increases the risk that mobile devices are vulnerable to a multitude of attacks if lost or stolen. “People tend to be less security conscious in relation to their mobile device than they would be with their desktop computer,”

explains David Crozier, technical marketing manager for the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast. “Yes they’re aware of leaving it out in the open, but when they’re using their online government services, or sharing stuff on social media, they don’t put on screen locks, they don’t secure the data on the device… it’s quite a high security risk.”

Extra layer of security Two Factor Authentication, popular with online banking services, has traditionally provided an extra layer of security that requires not only a username and password but something that only the user can attain. This often takes the form of a physical token, security key or identity card, the downside of which is that tokens are usually small and easily lost, stolen or cloned. “Even if a person has an ID card, how do you know the right person has the right ID card? They could have borrowed or stolen someone else’s, there’s nothing to link

People take a more lax attitude to mobile security, say CSIT at Queen’s University (above)

an ID card to someone else,” says Crozier. “Ultimately ID cards missed the point in terms of using that credential for simpler and more secure use of services.” More solutions are starting to become available though, as new developments in biometric authentication techniques are expected to be integrated within a number of smart devices. Both Apple and Samsung plan to add fingerprint and gesture recognition functionality to their devices within the next year, while government investment through the Technology Strategy Board has launched a new company called Liopa – an independent provider of biometric authentication and verification services, spun out from the Centre for Secure

Information Technologies. Specifically, Liopa technology can verify a user’s identity by analysing the appearance and movement of their lips as they speak into a forward facing camera, known as their Viseme profile, which are highly speaker-specific, and are not hindered by environmental noise. So far , a one-size-fits-all approach to mobile security has yet to be developed, as not all mobile devices are equipped with advanced infrastructure and forwardfacing cameras. But, with the digital shift speeding up the pace of government service offerings online, the expectation is that new solutions, if proven to be better, will require new technologies that people will willingly adopt.


E-Government Report