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LGITU Local Government IT in Use M a r c h / A p r i l 2 01 0

Situation Critical - Ti m e t o i n v e s t i n , n o t c u t , I C T i n h e a l t h a n d s o c i a l c a r e

One Nation: One Address LGITU • March / April 2010

- Geoinformation still searching for one policy

ICT Silver Bullet - Pundits line up to offer advice on public sector ICT in advance of the election

L G I T U L i v e : Tr a n s f o r m i n g S e r v i c e s - Changing culture is the key to delivery and uptake of new online services and efficient processes P L U S : Vi e w o v e r We s t m i n s t e r, E m e r g e n c y S e r v i c e s , N e w s U p d a t e , F o c u s o n Change, Product Notes & Contract Round-Up








LGITU Local Government IT in Use

On the Cover ISSN 1368 2660

Editor & Publisher

Helen Olsen E: T: 01273 273941

March / April 2010

ICT in health and social care is on the critical list. See page 11. © Prokhorov

Contributing Editor

Tim Hampson E: T: 01865 790675

Special Correspondent Michael Cross E: Advertising & Circulation

Ann Campbell-Smith E: T: 01983 812623

Design & Layout

Informed Publications Ltd


DC Graphics

Editorial The Editors welcome editorial information on the use of Information and Communication Technologies in local government and the transformation of frontline services. Please submit relevant material or ideas in the first instance by email to Helen Olsen:

Published by: Informed Publications Ltd, PO Box 2087, Shoreham-By-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5ZF Publisher of: LGITU, the Tomorrow’s Town Hall newsletter and

© Informed Publications Ltd, 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, storage in a retrieval system or transmission in any form, of any material in this publication is prohibited without prior written consent from the Editor. The views expressed by the Editors and writers are their own. Whilst every care is taken, the publishers cannot be responsible for any errors in articles or listings. Articles written by contributors do not necessarily express the views of their employing organisation. The Editor reserves the right to edit any submissions prior to publication.

In this issue... Comment Total reform of the place. News Update


LGITU Live: Transforming Citizen Services Helen Olsen reports from LGITU Live’s latest panel interview discussing the use of next generation technology to improve services, cut costs, and make both staff and customer happy.


In Search of the Silver Bullet There must be an election on the way, says Tim Hampson, as pressure groups and watch dogs line up to offer advice on public sector efficiency


Situation Critical It is time to invest in, not cut, technology to deliver better, more integrated and efficient health and social care, says Michael Cross.


Special Focus: The Citizen, the State, and Change 12 Adobe UK MD, Alan Banks, ponders how government can engage with both citizen and staff in the cultural shift to online services. Digital Bickering 13 Tim Hampson is dismayed by the lack of digital competence at Westminster as the Digital Economy Bill wends its way into the statute book. Emergency Services 14 The latest performance reviews highlight technology gaps on the frontline tackling anti-social behaviour; plus problems ahead for regional fire and rescue centres in the latest news round up from emergency services. Product Notes Contract Round up

Advertise in LGITU t: 01983 812623 e: Subscribe Now - see inside back cover

March/April 2010


One Address Michael Cross looks at the open and shut case of the policy options for geoinformation.

The Editor welcomes manuscripts and illustrations for consideration for publication, but on the understanding that Informed Publications Ltd cannot be held liable for their safe custody or return.



Local Government IT In Use

15 15-17



Total reform of the place etter services, less cost to the public purse, less waste and happier citizens – the potential for Total Place thinking is vast. And, indeed, vastly exciting.


But how will this brave new world be forged? How will cultural barriers be eroded and physical service silos merged? The potential rewards for effective change are indeed great, but only if the people delivering this change engage with this brave new vision for local service delivery. And only if people are given the tools to not only retain their own sense of identity and self-worth whilst working collaboratively with new colleagues on this shared vision, but also to knit together the vast public sector ICT estate. A government press release post budget stated: ‘Budget 2010 set out how the government will protect key public service priorities while reducing the deficit. Total Place shows how this can be delivered in practice through a fundamental shift in the way public services are delivered that has never been attempted before.’ Detail was light on the tools that would break down the proprietary system silos in frontline service organisations to create the envisioned efficient Total Place service delivery machine. Local government is already expected to deliver savings of £2.1bn from areas such as greater collaborative procurement, increased back office efficiency and greater use of shared services, and up to £100m through reducing energy usage. All issues for which success will depend greatly on the effective use of technology. The conceptual step-change of Total Place towards a radical joining up of the frontline service delivery will also only be realised if underpinned by technology. The opportunity for change is huge. The risks of failure equally large. But the optimism and direction of conceptual thinking is to be applauded. Step forward public sector IT, your time has come. Helen Olsen, editor

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Total Place across the front line he government plans a radical transformation in the way local public services are delivered - and a hefty two percent saving – by rolling out the Total Place approach across England.


Results from the 13 pilots “provide a compelling case for a radical re-think in the way local services are provided,” said communities secretary, John Denham. “And government is responding with equal ambition by delivering the freedoms and flexibilities to make that happen.” A radical shift in perspective will see all local spending across all local agencies looked at as a whole in order to focus on designing services around the customer, cutting out waste and duplication, and ensuring that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely. Said Denham, “This goes way beyond individual authorities, it amounts to a significant and collective shift in the way that all public services work from health and social care to policing and children’s services... Local areas will need to demonstrate strong local leadership and work to find ambitious and innovative solutions that respond to the specific needs of their area and their residents.” Sweeping changes are laid out in the Total Place report, which presents a series of commitments that will ‘give greater freedoms and flexibilities to support a new relationship between government and places’. The new ways of working pioneered by the pilots will be replicated in all areas across England. The best performing authorities will be supported to go further and faster with new far reaching freedoms through a ‘single offer’, and a much wider group of local authorities and their partners will be encouraged to pioneer new working in policy areas where they are strongest via ‘devolved responsibility’. Added Denham, “The pilots have shown that it is possible to break down silos to work collaboratively to improve outcomes while making savings and we now want all areas to benefit from the Total Place approach, which will help to meet the challenge of continuing to drive up standards in public services in a tougher economic climate.” Chief secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, said that Total Place would “recast the relationship between local government and the centre. This report shows that giving local government greater freedom to respond to local needs delivers better services at lower costs. The message to local authorities is clear: if you perform well, you’ll get more freedoms.” The report sets out pilot evidence of the scope to radically reform local services: • Lewisham’s report acknowledges that Local Government IT In Use

most inefficiencies occur when people come into contact with different services and move between them. ‘Customer insight’ can be used to determine what people really need and want, bringing the potential to simplify and streamline services, making them more relevant and effective. • By redesigning services for the youngest children in Croydon, with better pre-natal care, family advocates, and family partnership teams working together, savings of over £60m are estimated by the time today’s four year olds turn 18. • Central Bedfordshire and Luton found just two percent of offenders cause nearly 30% of all crime locally and that it costs about £500,000 a year for each persistent and prolific offender. The cost of local crime was £147m. • Birmingham found that children in care two percent of its child population - cost £35m a year while each of Birmingham’s 6,400 crack addicts costs £833,000 in wider ‘social costs’ over their lifetime. • Kent estimated that a third of the current total cost of administering an unemployment claim could be saved by simplifying the system. • Leicester found that it spent £4.9m on alcohol interventions, and £13.4m on combating drug misuse - even though alcohol was a larger cause of crime.

Budget boost for e-channels otal Place, e-government and free data all featured in chancellor Alistair TDarling’s plans to cut the cost of running government, announced in last week’s budget. Along with headline cuts in IT expenditure by Whitehall departments. On the ‘Smarter Government’ agenda, Darling said that the government will “accelerate plans to drive more rapid transition to online public services and ensure that digital services will be universally accessible by delivering universal access to broadband and providing targeted help to people who face barriers to online access”. The long-talked about Tell Us Once project also received a mention. “Work has begun to implement Tell Us Once nationally, so citizens need only notify the government once of any birth or death.” Meanwhile, spending on IT programmes across government will fall by £500m by 2012-13, Darling said. The big cuts are £130m at the MoD and £100m at the NHS in England by applying “a more flexible delivery model” to the £13bn NHS National Programme for IT. This is a step back from the £600m in savings he proposed in his pre-budget report.

March/April 2010



Chattering classes wake up to e-government hanks to a series of well-placed leaks - and a bit of party political grandstanding - e-government is finally on the political agenda. In his ‘digital future’ speech the prime minister, for the first time, nailed his personal colours to the cause of public service transformation with the aid of new technology.


While the whole idea of online government appeared new to some of the commentariat, insiders will recognise a lot of old wine in new bottles. First, the appointment of entrepreneur and philanthropist Martha Lane Fox as head of a new digital public services unit revives the old role of ‘e-envoy’. It’s barely a year since the last relic of the e-envoy’s office, the E-Delivery Team, was shuffled off to the Department for Work and Pensions. Lane Fox brings it back to the heart of Whitehall. And while Brown announced a new emphasis on digital inclusion and “deliberative democracy” through the use of techniques such as online petitioning, the e-government programme announced is essentially a rehash of the 2005 Transformational Government Strategy. This originally set out the idea of replacing the first generation of e-government putting all government services on the web, which was achieved in 2005 - with a more personalised second generation.

This second generation now has a headline-grabbing name, Mygov. The idea (borrowed from local government) is to provide a single-sign-on web page that works across the public sector. It also has a philosophy that is lifted more or less word-for-word from a David Cameron speech: “Mygov marks the end of the onesize-fits-all, man-from-the-ministry-knowsbest approach to public services.” Although the prime minister didn’t go out of his way to credit his predecessor, this is very much on Tony Blair’s Transformational Government timetable. Back in 2005, Transformational Government predicted that ‘Beyond 2011 should be a period of further radical change in the delivery of public services, enabled by technology.’ However it set five assumptions for this radical change to take place. They were: public confidence in government’s ability to transform itself in radical ways; a massswitchover to new delivery channels; new (in 2005) technologies would have become mainstream; the culture of government would have changed to embrace datasharing; and new citizen expectations. Nearly five years on, only one of those foundations, the mainstreaming of new technologies, is in place.

tudent loans fail: Document scanning eorganisation squandering millions: failure caused the massive delays and More than £150m was spent on IT by S R disruptions to payments of thousands of government departments going through a student loans last year. According to the National Audit Office, there were major problems in the processing of student loans applications - with fewer than half new applications being fully processed by the start of term - and in communications with applicants. And it could happen again this year. According to the report, the Student Loans Company’s document scanning system was launched before being fully tested. ‘Its failure was critical, and the company’s contingency plan was both flawed and implemented late.’

process of restructuring but there is little evidence of any benefits, finds an NAO report. Between May 2005 and June 2009 there were over 90 reorganisations to central government and these cannot demonstrate value for money, given that most had vague objectives and that costs and benefits were not tracked. Since 1980, 25 central government departments have been created, including 13 which no longer exist. Most of the money was spent on staff but property and information technology costs have also been substantial.

at-trick of benefits from digital health and language project: A Digital Birminghamsupported project has helped Aston residents tackle the problem of diabetes, improve their English language skills and become more IT proficient at the same time. The Healthy Way To Learn IT software programme was developed by Digital Birmingham and Aston Pride. The win-winwin project came about from innovative thinking around 2004 research showing that 51% of Aston’s residents did not speak English as their first language - a figure rising to 72% for the Asian community – coupled with research showing diabetes to be particularly prevalent in Asian communities.


Save public sector IT he Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) is Timproving calling for the public sector to focus on standards of IT professionalism and for the safeguarding of investment in public service IT. Over six in ten (62%) of its members believe that government should accelerate investment in public service IT, not cut it. Sixty three percent also believe that IT and the internet are improving the delivery of public services. A similar number (60%) indicate that still more could be done for this to translate in to improved efficiencies for both local and national government. Most respondents believed that the way to facilitate this would be to improve standards of IT professionalism in the public sector (79%). Nearly six in ten (59%) also felt that the public failed to recognise the improvements in public services the IT industry has delivered.

Tory hit team for failing IT onservative plans for a brave new C world of technology include the creation of an elite IT savvy hit team. This ‘government skunkworks’, says shadow cabinet office minister, Francis Maude, will develop low cost IT applications in-house and advise on the procurement of large projects. The pre-election technology manifesto also includes plans to legislate to introduce a ‘Right to Government Data’ that will open up government data to the public, including detailed information on government spending. Other plans include extending superfast 100 mbps broadband across most of the population; publishing online every item of central government and quango spending over £25,000; creating a level playing field for open source IT in government procurement and opening up government IT contracts to SMEs by breaking up large IT projects into smaller components. etter information on debt and more B information sharing: The Department of Work and Pensions must improve its debt management information, says the Public Accounts Committee. “It needs to benchmark performance more actively with the private sector and assess the relative cost effectiveness of different recovery processes,” says committee chairman, Edward Leigh. The absence of a government-wide register of debts and debtors - which results in duplication of effort across central and local government - is making the problem worse. “We recognise that creating such a register would be an expensive and difficult undertaking,” said Leigh. However, the department should take the lead.


March/April 2010

Local Government IT In Use


Libraries dust down their image have been told to provide free Lfightibraries internet access and free e-books in a back against declining use and spending cuts. The conclusions of a two-year government review warned local councils that ‘the context in which libraries operate is changing starkly and at speed’. The review made headlines by suggesting that the likes of Starbucks should be allowed to set up coffee shops in libraries, to make them more welcoming places. But it also set out detailed changes to ‘grasp the opportunities presented by digitisation’, including: • Free internet access, from April 2011. A 1964 Act will be amended to ban charges. • Support and advice for users wanting to get online, as part of core ‘Library Offer’. • Contributing to efforts to get one million extra people online over next three years. • Urging local authorities to invest in JANET, the education network, to provide libraries with high speed broadband. • Free e-books, again by amending the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, to outlaw charging from remote location. • Allowing users to access social networking sites, such as Facebook, which are ‘valuable communication tools and part of our cultural infrastructure’. Margaret Hodge, libraries minister, said, “We are fortunate indeed to have good examples of really first-rate library authorities. No one can deny, however, that the model that has served us so well for the last 160 years will be the better for being brought into line with the needs and priorities of the 21st century.” Every town hall will be expected to have its ‘Library Offer’ in place by the end of this year, to be reviewed after two years.

arwickshire’s iPhone app: Warwickshire County Council is pushing the technology boundaries again with the launch or a new iPhone app to help people find out local information and the information and services available from the council, no matter where they are. The app re-uses existing information from the county’s website, taking advantage of the ability of the iPhone platform to understand location to push relevant information to the customer.


Total culture risk lack of joined up working across A Whitehall departments risks undermining the government’s Total Place initiative, says the New Local Government Network (NLGN). Billions of pounds of savings could be derailed because the project to join up local services is delayed by government intransigence and a reluctance to devolve its powers. Major change is needed at the centre to break existing top-down models and cultures of accountability and service delivery, which lead to significant inefficiency and wastage in public services, claims the NLGN report. In one Total Place pilot area the organisation uncovered as many as 50 different benefits each with their own form, rules and administrative machinery; another has calculated that it costs as much as £135m to spend £176m on economic development projects. NLGN’s report advocates setting up a new department for Devolved Government to subsume CLG and the Cabinet Office and the Scottish and Welsh offices to drive devolution across Whitehall and release greater freedoms and powers for locally elected politicians to coordinate activity and decide how and where services are delivered.

Deadly burden of children’s data collection hild safety is being put at risk as too much time is spent recording the same information, says the Local Government Association, as it calls for all staff involved in child protection to record information in the same way via the Common Assessment Framework.


The LGA warns that recent increases in rules and targets have led to overstretched child protection teams and risks weakening the safety net which keeps children safe from harm. Councils are now facing a £116m a year bill to improve child protection systems and social work teams are overloaded. Research by Loughborough University into Lord Laming’s report ‘The protection of children in England: a progress report’, has proposed a five point plan to ensure that social work reforms result in the best possible protection of vulnerable children. The emergency overhaul, which followed the case of Baby Peter, has led to social work teams feeling they are pushed beyond the number of cases they can reasonably manage, says the LGA.

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Cameron offers twotier transparency ocal authorities will have to operate to a higher standard of transparency than other parts of government in the Conservatives’ “post-bureaucratic age”, says Tory leader, David Cameron.


Under a Cameron administration, government bodies as a whole would have to publish online every item of spending over £25,000 - however local councils would be “asked” to publish everything over £500. In recent speeches in Wales and to local authorities, Cameron tried to steady his party’s nerves by emphasising a distinctive approach to public services. Under the catch-phrase “good government costs less with the Conservatives” he repeated his promise of a “genuinely postbureaucratic government”. However, while stressing “nothing is more important to this agenda than transparency”, he made no mention of the necessary technology. In local government, which he acknowledged as “officially the most efficient part of the public sector”, he promised three reforms. At the top of the list was the over £500 online disclosure. This would be accompanied by previously announced requirements for the publication of contracts and “details of all local government staff pay packages over a threshold of around £60,000”. Cameron also enthused about the potential savings of shared services organised on a peer-to-peer basis between authorities. He commended East Dorset District Council for creating “a clustering arrangement to share services and management with two other local authorities” and called on executives to: “Pick up the telephone, talk to your neighbours, find out every possible area where you can cooperate and share.”

echnology targeting potholes: Devon’s Tassault highway authority is planning an on potholes left by the worst winter for 30 years. Over six weeks a specialist team is taking to the streets to inspect Devon’s 8,000 mile long road network. The teams will identify the potholes, fix small ones and report major works. Each crew is equipped with tablet PCs, GPS location and mobile network cards and able to link into the information held in the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) - which provides the background information on all of the routes identifying every road, its class and its maintenance category. The data held in the NSG then helps to determine the priority for larger pothole repairs and permanent repairs for those tackled in the initial campaign.

Youth quits ‘unconnected’ countryside Dr Stuart Burgess, the government’s Rural Advocate, says that the lack of broadband and mobile phone coverage in many rural areas is hitting young people and businesses alike. According to his report, while 60% of urban areas can receive cable-based broadband, the figure slumps to 1.5% for villages and hamlets; and many rural areas suffer patchy mobile phone coverage. “For rural young people, exclusion is a double blow,” says Burgess. “Schools and colleges expect students to get internet help with homework. They are excluded from text messaging and online networking that plays such a big part in youth culture today.” Burgess says that the government’s delivery of Next Generation Access by 2017 must put rural areas with the greatest need at the forefront of targeted delivery, and equal attention should be paid to improving mobile phone coverage.

School admission by txt round 70 Birmingham parents opted for instant text notification on Monday 1 March of the success - or otherwise - of their children getting into the school of their A choice, in a pilot by Digital Birmingham and GES Connect Digitally. The texts were sent at 12.05 am - the earliest possible time the admissions could be announced. Parents in the trial praised the speed at which results were delivered compared to post or email notifications. Said the mother of 11 year old Amrit Shoker (pictured), “The majority of children at his school received their offers in the post the day after, and with parents at work, many didn’t find out the result until the evening, so children weren’t discussing their results until Wednesday, two days after Amrit’s results.” Amanda Derrick, GES programme director, said, “GES Connect Digitally is excited by the innovative approach that Birmingham has developed with SMS text messaging and school admissions. This is a good example of a local authority making services more accessible to families through the use of technology.” 5

March/April 2010

Slightly Better Connected ive years on from the rush to make Fdevelopment public services available online, the of local authority websites has run out of steam. The latest instalment of Socitm’s authoritative annual survey, the ‘Better Connected 2010’ report, shows ‘little evidence that councils have invested in their sites over the last 12 months’ to enable self-service government. ‘Overall, there has been little improvement since last year and there is an increasing gap between the best and worst performing websites,’ the report by Socitm Insight concludes. Martin Greenwood, Socitm Insight programme manager and author of the report, said, “Given the urgent need for councils to deliver more for less, it is really disappointing that the performance of this lowest cost service delivery channel seems to have stagnated over the last year. This should not be taken as a criticism of web managers, many of who do an excellent job with limited resources. Rather, responsibility lies with councils’ top management, many of whom still do not recognise the key role of the website in reducing corporate costs through the efficient management of customer enquiries.” ew campaign to get excluded online: N Older people and the less well-off are to be the target of a campaign to get 7.5 million new internet users online by 2014. The government has set itself the target of a 60% reduction in the 12.5 million people who are not currently online in the UK. The target underpins a new drive to reduce the digital divide in the government’s National Digital Participation Plan. Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms, said, “Bringing people online for the first time and enabling people to interact more creatively will enrich our society and we will ensure no one is left behind.”

Local Government IT In Use


Sunderland wins Britain Works underland has won £10m of training vouchers for its citizens in Microsoft’s Britain Works Challenge. Barnsley and Milton Keynes came second and third in the competition to devise effective programmes to address unemployment and availability of digital skills in the local community.


As winners, Sunderland will receive 100,000 Essential Skills vouchers, 7,000 Business Worker and Technical Specialist vouchers and exams; and 200,000 free training places. The total cumulative commercial value of the top three places is £18m. The judges singled out Sunderland for its concept of the family being the root to getting citizens back out to work. Sunderland faces specific economic and social challenges, such as higher than the national average unemployment. Focusing on the family as an entity therefore formed a central part of Sunderland’s proposal. Helen Gilroy, head of local and regional government, Microsoft UK, said; “This campaign is about ensuring citizens have the right skills and training to get them back into work. It’s been a tough decision process as all three finalists showed a real desire and passion to help local communities and overall we received some fantastic entries. “Sunderland was a clear winner for us because of its comprehensive understanding of its local unemployment challenges and it had a very clear and strategic plan to tackle these issues.”


eb can empower the public: ‘The truth is out there’, a new discussion paper from the Audit Commission, poses questions such as ‘What information will capture the public’s imagination?’ and ‘How will the public know what information to trust?’ Commission chief executive, Steve Bundred, said that web technology has made ours an information and communication age, but that this will work only if the information in the public domain is accurate, understandable and trustworthy.

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MA calls for halt on e-records: The BMA has written to the government calling for a suspension of the programme to upload summaries of patients’ medical records in England to a national database. Patients can opt out of having a record created, but the BMA believes they are receiving insufficient information about the choices they can make. The BMA is concerned that the roll-out of the Summary Care Record has been accelerated before sufficient independent evaluation of pilots has taken place.


-auctions get set for growth: The Office of Government Commerce’s Centre for e-Auctions aims to save the public sector up to £270m by the end of 2011/12. Its Forward Plan for e-Auctions comprises a 24 month rolling schedule of e-auctions influencing over £900m of public sector spend. OGC has also established a dedicated online e-auctions facility which includes online forums and access to best practice guidance.


School and council yoke street lamps to Wi-Fi cloud state secondary school in Greater Manchester has become the first in England to A provide its students with free home access to its own broadband internet network. Broad Oak Sports College in Bury launched the first of nine wireless internet zones as part of a £140,000 scheme co-funded with Bury Council. Installed by Pennine Telecom, the first Wi-Fi cloud covers around 120 households but once complete the network will reach around 1,000 homes. Net@BOSC feeds off a 100 Mbps ‘fat pipe’ hub serving a mesh of transmitters located on and powered by street lights. “Net@BOSC is an incredibly efficient way to bridge the digital divide because the running costs are minimal and the administration light,” said Broad Oak’s head teacher, Neil O’Connor. Thirteen year old Larrissa Burton (pictured) had no internet access after her brother left home in August 2009. Now, having also secured a free laptop from the school via the Home Access scheme, her life has changed. “I get home from school and go straight on the internet. I use the Wi-Fi for Facebook, homework and games. Before I would have to use the school library to find things out for my homework but now I can research on the internet. Without it life would be a bit boring too.”

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Local Government IT In Use

January/February 2010



Transforming Citizen Services LGITU Live’s latest panel interview discussed how next generation technology can be used to improve services, cut costs, and make the customer happier. Helen Olsen reports. he London Borough of Southwark is building on its successful One Touch Gov service to give citizens the chance to ‘self-serve’ over the web. Astonishingly, the 65-plus intelligent forms to deliver this new capability were “developed in a matter of days”, says the council’s head of client services, Dominic Cain.


The public sector is currently caught between a rock and a hard place. Faced with budget cuts and spiralling demand – driven by both an aging population and a nation in recession – IT managers in frontline public service organisations are ‘Stretched to Breaking Point’ according to Socitm’s latest IT Trends survey. With this backdrop our latest interview set out to explore whether ‘next generation’ technology could help councils transform operations and deliver cost effective, online services in a Digital Britain - and meet the government’s aspiration to make online the ‘service channel of choice’ by 2012.

Service with a single touch Southwark is the largest social landlord in the south of England with an eclectic mix of demographics to deliver over 200 services to. Unsurprisingly, it has a high housing benefits case load – over 39,000 claimants for over £200m in housing benefit a year. As anyone involved in housing benefits will know, the claim process is complex and long-winded. “A 40 page form and a widely complex approach to delivery,” says Cain, explaining why Southwark looked to eForms to develop a new, One Touch, approach to service delivery. “We were looking for a solution that not only met the process of housing benefit but could also deliver a wide range of services at that ‘first contact’ when people move into the borough. We wanted to capture all the information we needed in one call – council tax, council tax and housing benefit, free school meals, school clothing grants, registering for housing entitlements and so on – so that the customer didn’t need to ring up three or four times.” Indeed, in many cases the citizen might not even be aware that a service existed, let alone that they might be eligible for it. He explains, “We used an Adobe solution to deliver what is a very intelligent eForm. Housing benefits has something like 2000 7

MArch/April 2010

different variables that we needed to capture in an easily understandable and flexible way. And that is where LiveCycle came in.” It enabled Cain to capture information “in a very straightforward, easy to use form so that the people delivering the service did not have to trawl through the different back end systems”. The front facing solution for customer representatives easily identifies what services the customer is eligible for.

Faster services, happier customers The form integrates into all Southwark’s relevant back end systems and its CRM. It uses intelligent questions and a dashboard to help customer service reps deliver the service and outline what the customer needs to do for their part – for example take in a certain form of identity to an agreed appointment at one of the one-stop shops. Oh, and the system also automatically generates confirmation letters and reminder texts for the citizen, triggered by key events during the application process. Says Cain, “What’s really nice about it is that it links to all the other systems. So we don’t have the big problem of double keying into systems. We capture the information once; and it integrates automatically with all our key systems.” The results are impressive: the process of successfully applying for housing benefit has been reduced from 36 days to two or less – indeed, in some cases just a matter of hours. And yes, says Cain, this does make the customer happy. “Especially when they are also offered seven or eight different services at the same time.” Southwark is putting these intelligent forms on the web for customer self service in order to “give customers an easily accessible, DDA compliant, easily usable web service”. Sixty-five eForms have been converted for self-service in “a matter of days” and are due to go live as LGITU goes to print. As the prime minister announces plans for every citizen to have their own web page and an increased focus on online service delivery, Cain would appear to have his timing spot on. However, he does not underestimate the Local Government IT In Use

The Panel Dominic Cain, head of client services, London Borough of Southwark Mike Casey, IT director, Mid Essex NHS Trust

Alan Banks, managing director, Adobe UK

Interviewer: Helen Olsen, managing editor, LGITU, Tomorrow’s Town Hall and

importance of the cultural change that accompanies such a move. “We wanted to enable as many people as possible within the service to help develop the web forms… we encouraged service users to input to the design so that what we are offering suits them as well as the customer reps. We encouraged usability testing!”

Underpinning transformation Mike Casey, IT director at Mid Essex NHS Trust, is also using next generation eForms and secure electronic workflow processes to transform operations – in this case to underpin the trust’s vision of a being a “patient-focused, financially sound and efficient organisation delivering excellent clinical services”. This ambitious project revolves around the building of a brand new hospital. The hospital is a mid size “£200m turnover” site with over 4,000 staff in Broomfield, Chelmsford. Casey explains that - seizing the opportunity presented with a move to a state-of-the-art new hospital - he was looking for a “huge change engine”. He wanted “a mechanism that could emulate documents that the trust was familiar with and go through a stage process of changing those documents – and the underlying business processes – over time, to deliver transformation.“ Casey believes that “You need to have the building blocks in place to deliver a complete process redesign.” In a hospital the primary focus is on “moving patients through the hospital more quickly, more safely and giving clinicians more time in front of the patient.” He adds, “I see IT’s role as giving back time to clinicians by making the processes more efficient overall.”


Delivering change Casey is also an advocate of “change by stealth” rather than the big bang approach. “Broomfield hospital is running flat out, every day. Clinical excellence is the key focus. The technology change must not be disruptive to the smooth flowing of the hospital or disrupt the way clinicians work.” To that end, says Casey, “The electronic documents look similar to the paper forms that they are replacing.” The form must become “a natural part” of clinicians’ and support staff’s work. “Then, a few months later, we can make subtle changes and reroute work via electronic processes. This may seem like a longer approach, but the overall result will deliver change faster – with the benefit of having taken clinicians with you along the way.”

Security paramount Keeping citizen data secure is a major issue for all parts of the public sector – but there are obvious benefits to sharing, not least in the areas of health and social care. In the NHS there are strict governance guidelines about transferring patient information around. Casey wanted a way to adhere to these but improve efficiency – and reduce the costs – in the creation, administration and distribution of discharge letters to the 62 GP practices they deal with. He has used Adobe LiveCycle to “transmit this very important information in a secure format to the extent that when it appears in the GP’s intray we know that they have received it and opened it.” Adds Adobe’s Alan Banks, “LiveCycle is not just a form. It provides a secure vehicle to capture and deliver data; it allows you to automate processes, to populate databases and back office systems – and draw data out of those. It allows you to store the physical document, to audit the route that document has been on, and to wrap access rights around who can view or print the document itself.” With both the Southwark and Mid Essex projects, he says, there are multiple back office systems over which they have “placed a secure layer that automates essential processes”. But the technology, says Banks, is not an island. “It was always designed to draw and utilise data from back office systems. But, importantly, it was also designed to deliver abstraction between the back office system and the user – in many cases the user is alienated from the processes by the complexity of the systems involved. This level of abstraction removes that barrier.” Casey, for example, chose to improve a standard letter writing system “behind the scenes” by using Adobe LiveCycle to fix an encrypted ‘sending’ mechanism to the back end of the familiar system. Now proven, this enhancement will be deployed to other trust systems. As the trust spends £12k a

month in stamps alone, significant cost savings can be made - as well as efficiency improvements to meet 24hr targets for discharge letters.

Engagement with change Not all change can be ‘by stealth’. So how do you get both the staff delivering a service and the end user of that service to engage in necessary change? The key, according to Banks, is to create an experience for all which is both natural and comfortable to them. He says that Adobe’s heritage, rooted in engagement technologies, can help: “Pretty much everything you view, read or use offline and online is ‘touched’ by Adobe technology somewhere. Ninety eight percent of all desktops use Flash and Acrobat. From the BBC iPlayer to YouTube – 70 percent of all online video is based on our technology. “We worked with James Cameron on Avatar to create this very different cinematic experience. All this work is around engaging with an audience. We’ve built an enterprise business that looks at business problems from the customer as the starting point.” He adds, “You shouldn’t think of a form as a static document – it is a vehicle to capture the data, to automate the processes and to ensure security.” Southwark’s One Touch Gov ‘dashboard’ is a prime example of this – albeit Cain finds it “weird to think that we use the same technology as a film like Avatar!”.

A starting point However, as Cain adds, “We need to get better at delivering more with less.” And, indeed, time and budget are both increasingly in short supply to the public sector. So looking for, and rationalising, commonalities can be a useful exercise. Take forms – they are involved at some point in the vast majority of public sector services. Indeed, more often than not a form will trigger the process of service delivery. Banks quotes the National Audit Office report that found over 21,000 forms of varying types in the public sector – only 10% of those were online, with only half of those transactional. As he points out, “most business processes are started by filling in a form so it makes sense to make these services more efficient and engaging from the outset”. He is quite right, however, when he adds that there is still a long way to go before central and local government achieve the goal of more efficient online self-services.

Building for the future Southwark, says Cain, is using National Indicator 14 to “understand the reasons behind service failure – to pinpoint where these occur in the process and to then improve them. Local Government IT In Use


“What is really important for us in Southwark is that we are developing a platform for future development. We are creating the building blocks so that we can easily, flexibly bring these changes to different services and free up the specialists to do the work that they – and we - want them to do. Take social workers, for example, we don’t want them filling out forms when we can do that up front – and free them up to focus on improving the service to the customer. “Future proofing. That is exactly what we are doing. We are building the web platform for the future – to bring more services and e-enable more processes via eForms and integrated IT.” But with a future heading off in to the clouds is this certain? Yes, according to Alan Banks; not only is technology like Adobe’s firmly in the cloud but “an architectural approach allows expansion over a period of time – whether you are developing in-house or in partnership with a consultant or outsourcer.” He also emphasises the importance of adhering to evolving standards and choosing proven platforms with a track record.

Change for the better No one is pretending that change is easy, or that it does not take investment in both time and money. Never has the business case and solid metrics been more important. Admittedly, these things are difficult to do but the panel was unanimous in pinpointing two major areas of focus: efficiencies and productivity. Banks told the panel that, talking recently at a financial services dinner he “brought up Southwark Council as one of the most amazing examples of efficiencies. It is the utopia of commercial companies to crosssell products to a customer - which is exactly what Southwark has achieved. The benefit of having a single contact to achieve four or five outcomes is tangible.” It is not often that the public sector is held up as an example of excellence to the private sector – especially for efficiencies and productivity. “We’ve had over 65,000 customers contact us through One Touch and attracted the use of different services at the first point of contact,” says Cain. “That is incredibly important for us, and incredibly important for the customer. If you listen to the people and our staff, the feedback is all very, very positive. “If you have a happy customer, you generally have happy staff.”

View now on LGITU Live Coming soon: • 19 May - Culture change, efficiency and service improvement • 9 June - Online only: the switch from 2012 March/April 2010



In Search of the Silver Bullet There must be a general election coming up, says Tim Hampson, as pressure groups and watchdogs line up to offer the politicians advice on how to make local and central government more efficient. upermarkets offer the best practice model for public sector purchasing, says one bosses’ organisation. Indeed, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD) the public sector is squandering resources through badly organised procurement and outsourcing.


At least £25bn of annual efficiencies could be made within three years through a farreaching restructuring of public sector procurement and a greater use of shared services and outsourcing, says the IoD. According to the IoD, ‘this is because most of the public sector still organises itself on the corner shop model’, with the majority of purchasing organised in small scale silos - local authorities, NHS trusts, small central government departments, each doing their own thing. The consequences are an overspend of at least £15bn and massive duplication of resources. ‘There is constant reinvention of the wheel. Instead of integrating their buying and outsourcing, hundreds of public sector organisations are each wading through a morass of contract terms and conditions, procedures, processes and interpretations of procurement law,’ states the IoD report. The IoD is calling for an integrated public sector procurement and outsourcing structure and the establishment of centralised buying organisations that handle all key supplier relationships and all national and major contracts on behalf of the whole public sector. Miles Templeman, IoD director-general, said, “There has been much improvement in procurement under the leadership of the Office of Government Commerce. However, public sector procurement remains a legacy of its past and a prisoner of its structures. A step change is long overdue in the way public sector procurement is organised and managed. Its complexity does not excuse looking to the best private sector models for example, companies like Tesco.”

Making the pips squeak Meanwhile the CBI wants the government pips to squeak and urges politicians to take urgent steps to raise public sector productivity to help rebalance the public finances. Launching ‘Leaner and Fitter: Boosting Productivity in Public Services’, the 9

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business group argues that better workforce management - making more effective use of existing resources and new technology - is needed to improve the public sector’s performance. There has been huge investment in public services in recent years, but in the decade since 1997 productivity has declined by 3.4%. According to the CBI, a public sector productivity rise of just 1% a year – roughly in line with the private sector – would have resulted in savings of £31bn a year for taxpayers by 2007-08. Susan Anderson, CBI director of public services, said, “Despite the huge amounts of investment poured into the public sector, taxpayers are not getting value for money. “Given the massive budget deficit, the public sector must raise its game and take urgent steps to address its poor productivity record. That means getting the best out of staff, and making the most of all available resources from buildings to new technology.”

Cultural revolution needed Major changes are needed at the centre to break existing top-down models and cultures of accountability and service delivery, which lead to significant inefficiency and wastage in public services, says the think tank, the New Local Government Network. A lack of joined up working across Whitehall departments risks undermining government attempts to modernise. The NLGN says that major benefits could be unlocked by a more collaborative approach to public sector assets and building services around the citizen at a local level.

© Ottley

delivered. “The concept of aligning all public resources in an area around the needs of its community is simple and commonsense. Putting it into practice, however, remains a major challenge not just for local areas but also for Whitehall,” said Keohane. “The changes needed go way beyond merely removing a few ring-fenced budgets or performance targets. Our cultures of governing and our current systems of funding and accountability cut through and undermine our focus on what the citizen needs.” Reforms, he says, must include greater freedoms, responsibilities and resources at the local level.

Squandering millions on IT But reform and restructuring doesn’t just happen with a flick of the hand, and in the last three years more than £150m was spent on IT by government departments going through a process of restructuring. With little evidence of any benefits. Between May 2005 and June 2009 there were over 90 reorganisations to central government and these cannot demonstrate value for money – not really surprising, given that most had vague objectives and that costs and benefits were not tracked, says the National Audit Office (NAO). The watchdog warns that central government bodies are weak at identifying and securing the benefits they hope to gain from reorganisation. This is bad news for all those that advocate change through reorganisation.

NLGN researcher, Nigel Keohane, says that billions of pounds of savings could be derailed because the project to join up local services is delayed by government intransigence and a reluctance to devolve its powers.

“There is no standard approach for preparing and assessing business cases setting out intended benefits against expected costs. By not identifying anticipated benefits clearly, public bodies run the risk of carrying out reorganisations unnecessarily,” says Amyas Morse, head of the NAO. “A more deliberate and carefully planned process is needed.”

He advocates creation of a new Department for Devolved Government to subsume CLG and the Cabinet Office and the Scottish and Welsh offices to drive devolution across Whitehall and release greater freedoms and powers for locally elected politicians to coordinate activity and decide how and where services are

So there we go - more power to local areas and running the government like a big supermarket all point to the fact that the arguments on how to make service delivery more efficient will undoubtedly continue.

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One Address Michael Cross looks at the open and shut case of the policy options for geoinformation.

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stensibly, it was one of the fastest examples of top level decisionmaking in recent years. Less than three working days after the close of a consultation into policy options for geographical information from Ordnance Survey, the prime minister was ready with a decision.


In his ‘digital futures’ speech on 22 March, Gordon Brown announced that “following the strong support in our recent consultation”, from 1 April, “a substantial package” of Ordnance Survey data would be made freely available to the public, without restrictions on re-use. An alternative interpretation of Brown’s quick reaction would be that the government had made up its mind well before the consultation closed, let alone before the responses had been read. Brown’s speech contained several items of welcome news on open data and e-government. Correcting a long-standing absurdity, he promised to release core reference datasets for all 350,000 bus stops, railway stations and airports. Brown also announced that in the autumn the government will publish an inventory of all non-personal datasets held by departments and arms-length bodies “a ‘domesday book’ for the 21st century”. The programme will be overseen by a new open data board. However the surest clue to how much attention the prime minister had paid to the consultation was his failure to mention the open data question raised most passionately in the responses. This was the near-universal demand for something to be done about the lack of a national address register. When asked for views, nearly all respondents said this should be created urgently. Socitm, which urged that Ordnance Survey’s MasterMap database should be included in the OS Free offering, said that a single National Address Register should be based on the existing National Land and Property Gazetteer. Like other respondents, it notes that the consultation paper ‘barely touches on’ the question of how the address register might be created. More forthright criticism came from the government’s own advisory body, the Advisory Panel on Public Sector

Information (APPSI). It commented: “It is a national scandal that we do not have a definitive single national address register when most of the components have long resided in the public sector, not least when an integrated solution already exists in Northern Ireland.” APPSI was in little doubt about whom to blame: “The commercial interests of different organisations, all directly or indirectly answerable to government, have prevented there being a single national address register. This has caused confusion, lost opportunity and unnecessary cost.” As an example, it cited the £10m that ONS expects to spend creating a one-off register for the 2011 census. “A major complicating factor is that the Royal Mail has its own intellectual property right interests in this matter through having compiled its Postcode Address File (though we note that local authorities are the street naming authorities). OS provides a coordinate for each PAF address. The result is a tangle of rights which have proved impossible thus far to untangle.” Independent respondents were even more forthright. Robert Barr, local councillor and professor of geographical information, described a national address register as “the single most important, and valuable, contribution to the national economy that a national geospatial strategy can deliver”. He described the current impasse as “nothing short of a national scandal and an example of extreme indecision and weakness in government”. The behaviour of all three partners in national addressing [local government, Royal Mail and Ordnance Survey] “has been outrageous and appears to have been motivated almost entirely by a desire to profit from a monopoly core reference geography”. Barr accused CLG and the Land Registry of being “collectively responsible for a culpable lack of leadership” in previous attempts to resolve the situation, the Acacia and NSAI programmes. “HMLR failed to deliver a settlement from the Acacia project and CLG threw in the towel in delivering NSAI, both major national failures of geospatial leadership.” He proposes that the time has come to remove the ownership of PAF from Royal Local Government IT In Use

Mail. “It is entirely unacceptable for Royal Mail to be in a position to undermine the Making Public Data Public initiative for what appear to be short sighted, selfseeking commercial motives.” Meanwhile, Christopher Roper, founder of Landmark Information Group, was scathing about the consultation’s wording. “It’s all so tentative.” Addressing is the key to resolving the biggest problem raised by the government’s local strategy – the geospatial linking of records in official databases. And while departments can manage without an address register he likens the situation to the Treasury sticking with notched tally sticks for centuries after the invention of double entry book keeping: “It worked, but it wasn’t rational.” The obstacles presented by the consultation to a national address register are “particularly limp” and could “be easily overcome with political will”, says Roper. As for the consultation document’s assertion that ‘different parts of government are working hard’ in collaboration with Ordnance Survey and other interested parties to seek a resolution: “Words fail me... They have been ‘working hard’ for a decade without making any progress. Executive action, rather than hard work is required, requiring political will that has been conspicuously absent from the equation.” Roper proposes inviting public and private sector bodies to tender for the creation of a single shared register and to compensate existing players in exchange for their cooperation. Summing up the responses in his blog, Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google (and a former senior executive at Ordnance Survey), says, “For a knowledge economy this is the equivalent of trying to run railways before a single standard time was introduced.” APPSI, at least, sees some light at the end of the tunnel. It welcomes the news that DEFRA has taken over the leadership in re-examining a National Address Register. “We trust that the many reports on this over the last ten years will lead to speedy action and hope to see a programme timetable for this as soon as possible.” The ball is in the prime minister’s court. March/April 2010



Situation Critical It is time to invest in, not cut, technology to deliver better, more integrated and efficient health and social care, says Michael Cross. hisper it very softly, but there are signs that visions for computerising the NHS are returning to respectability. The driver, blazingly obvious to anyone involved in health and social care, is the need to provide more integration between acute and community care.


After seven years of tribulations with the NHS National Programme for IT, the spirit of rehabilitation does not reach quite to the summit of politics. It is notable that in his 2010 Budget, chancellor, Alistair Darling, confirmed the need for the NHS to make efficiency savings of up to £20bn a year by 2014, including £3.5bn through raising staff productivity and £2.7bn by transforming the lives of people with long-term conditions without mentioning the technology that is crucial to success. The only reference to IT came in the formulaic announcement that £100m could be saved from the national programme by offering hospitals more local choice in systems. The opposition, meanwhile, sees NHS computerisation as a convenient stick, rather than an opportunity for improving healthcare. Astonishingly, the Conservative Technology Manifesto makes no mention of healthcare informatics, a field where the UK still has an international lead. In the world of think tanks, however, healthcare IT is beginning to become respectable again. Two recent independent reports even speak up for aspects of the national programme, urging that babies aren’t thrown out with bathwater. The first, the ‘Online or in-line’ report by the RSA’s 2020 Public Services Trust, makes a case for continued ICT investment despite the financial crisis, which has brought urgency to the case for reform. Just as no successful private business would run without well-informed sets of management information ‘no local authority should attempt to run the essential business of securing good health, education, regeneration or public safety outcomes without good quality information (including user feedback and other performance data) that tells it whether its resources are achieving its aims.’ Note the priority on health. Further in, the report paints a ‘self service’ vision for the future of the NHS. This involves online access for every patient to their ‘personalised NHS’, including their 11

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individual health and social care records. People living with long-term conditions would have ‘a range of multi-channel lay, professional and peer-supported health coaching... based on a combination of digital and telephone channels’. To make such a revolution happen, the authors (who include Tim Kelsey, chair of Dr Foster Intelligence) concede that several important building blocks must be put in place. Not least is that citizens must give consent to more data sharing. However recent research suggests this may not be such a hurdle as some commentators assume: ‘When asked which organisations they would most trust to hold personal information such as medical records securely, 65% chose public services, while only 6% opted for private companies and 5% for charities and voluntary organisations.’ Perhaps of more immediate interest to beleaguered health and social care IT project managers is the call by another ‘2020’ organisation, the centre-right think tank, 2020health. ‘Fixing NHS IT – an Action Plan for a New Government’, makes an informed warning about the risks of a freeze in IT investment after the general election. Author, John Cruickshank, a veteran of NHS IT project management, sets out a rescue plan for the programme. While agreeing with critics that the central organisation needs to be radically reoriented and downsized, he says that the potential long-term benefits of electronic health records are too important for their development to be subject to politically convenient whims. In particular, he argues against the widespread perception that the problem can be fixed simply by axing the programme and localising everything. This approach would “only make things worse”, Cruickshank says. For a start, he points out that parts of the national infrastructure put in place by the programme, including the N3 broadband network, have been a success. Work should continue on electronic records that can be shared between GPs and community care organisations. Hospitals and primary care trusts should be free to make their own choices of technology provided that their systems meet nationally agreed standards. However the Summary Care Record, subject of a long-running dispute with the British Medical Local Government IT In Use

© Prokhorov

Association and of questionable clinical value, should be “reviewed”. The immediate priority is to bring acute hospitals up to the level of electronic information handling that is now the norm in primary care. This is where the national programme, with its central procurement of two standard hospital systems, has most spectacularly failed, says Cruickshank. “The programme’s most significant failure lies in acute hospitals, where centrally provided solutions have been very late because the NHS does not conform to a ‘one size fits all’ model, and for a mixture of contractual, software delivery and deployment reasons.” Overall, the report makes 30 recommendations; all to be carried out within 12 months of a new government taking office. One strong emphasis is the use of telemedicine in caring for people with chronic conditions. But perhaps most valuably, Cruickshank reminds readers that electronic health records are not a sudden political or commercial fad. He quotes the 2006 Royal Society report on Digital Healthcare: ‘Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to transform radically the delivery of healthcare and to address future health challenges. ‘For example, patients may be able to monitor chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes in their own homes using modified mobile phones to access and process their data, which may give greater convenience and better management of their conditions and reduce the need to visit their local health centre. Electronic health records (EHRs) should allow healthcare professionals access to patients’ data wherever they are in the country and potentially worldwide. This should allow the many different healthcare professionals with whom an individual interacts during their treatment (who are often in different locations) to share information and make better informed healthcare decisions.’ The message is timely. Politicians who talk about efficiency savings and improving the lives of people with long term conditions, and of revolutionising public services through Total Place type arrangements, should be investing more in IT, not cutting back.


The Citizen, the State, and Change How do you engage both the citizen with the switch to online only services and the civil servant with this change in working processes? Alan Banks, managing director of Adobe UK. t a recent debate with analyst group, IDC, over two dozen senior officers from both central and local government and other frontline organisations identified cultural change as “the key” issue for the immediate future.


All agreed that the outlook for public sector finances is bleak. And indeed, the current financial situation puts the sector in a difficult position – spiralling demand for services, cuts in budget and a workforce that is itself beginning to feel the effects of recession. Participants felt that recent media reports of impending job cuts in frontline service organisations, whilst startling in their severity, were greatly under estimated. Technology undoubtedly has a role to play in delivering efficiencies, but that was secondary in importance to how the underlying processes could be changed to improve service delivery. This, in turn, was less important, said participants, than culture. How to change culture within the sector to enable processes to be improved and technology to deliver efficiencies? Inevitably, delivering efficiencies and meeting budget cuts will lead to either a decline in the volume or quality of services delivered or falls in the number of people delivering the service. Technology and change, therefore, are often perceived as a threat – which can make the necessary buy-in from internal and external users alike difficult to gain. This is often exacerbated in the process of creating a solid and credible business case for change. Baselines on time taken to process an application, the amount of paper or postage used and so on can be calculated relatively easily. But building a solid definition of the future is harder as so much depends on intangibles, such as the enthusiasm with which staff adopt the new approach to delivering the service and the speed at which citizen or business chooses to adopt the new delivery model. I believe that the importance of engagement here cannot be emphasised enough. Change management without goodwill is nigh on impossible – and in a sector facing increasing industrial unrest as the recession finally takes its toll, goodwill may be thin on the ground. Whether you aim to drive change slowly, in a piecemeal fashion, or push it through in a big bang transformation, the key to


success is taking people with you – by creating an experience that is both natural and comfortable to all those involved in the service transaction. An interesting issue raised by senior officer on the web side was language. He suggested that a thesaurus was needed “to guide the citizen through public sector speak”! The ensuing discussion identified a ”culture and communications gap” between the sector and the people they serve: “The words we use don’t make any sense to the public,” said one participant. Indeed, historically, public services have been run for the convenience of those working in the public sector. We have a tendency to replicate the structure of existing organisations in electronic form – creating electronic silos along the way. The Total Place approach to public service delivery offers a major opportunity to break down those silos. Not necessarily by physically moving people and assets around but by using the latest platform independent technologies to knit the information held in these silo systems together – securely - to give ‘one view’ of the citizen or business and the services they need. Taking this overall view of public service delivery – the Total Place perspective – was indeed seen as important in moving successfully through this time of crisis. However, “trying to find commonality” between organisations with fundamentally different cultures and disparate processes was recognised as difficult, to say the least. But by deploying next generation technologies organisational boundaries can remain, if that is easier culturally. Virtual cooperation and coordination is now possible if people have enthusiasm for delivering real change and begin to truly look at public services from the end user’s point of view. There was also significant debate around the concept of “customers” in the public sector. Many felt that the term - taken from the commercial world - was overused and often inappropriate. “Is the concept really the same? Does customer loyalty really apply in the courts service or for parking fines?” Respect, dignity, high quality services, yes, but the term ‘customer’ suggests an element of choice in the transaction and the provider. And, in truth,

a large part of the services provided by the sector are required by dint of the citizen being in distress, or trouble. In fact debate participants felt strongly that, as a whole, the sector needed to change its fundamental view point: “Instead of asking ‘how do we implement’ a solution we must ask ‘why are we doing this?’” The public sector must focus more on generating trusted, engaging and innovative new service delivery methods to meet the real needs of citizen and business. In the current financial climate it must also recognise that some transactions matter more than others transactions around bereavement, for example, matter far more than irritations over bin emptying schedules. Keeping the human touch within these processes enables such subtleties to be recognised. “Removing the human completely takes value away from the experience.” Managing expectations and inviting - and listening - to feedback “can lead directly to savings from doing the right things”. But yet again, culture was identified as a key inhibitor to progress. Trying to push through change, said one, “is like herding cats”. I am, naturally, an advocate of my company’s technology. But this is not a technology issue; it is an issue of cultural change and engagement. Of viewing things from the personal point of view. Adobe is not a system developer. In fact its heritage is in media and design – in other words, its roots are in the industries where understanding and engaging the consumer is everything. And LiveCycle is an extension of that concept; it is an enterprise extension of the capability to engage. Our technology has always been ‘platform agnostic’. Having a 98% reach on connected PCs it is also ubiquitous and thus offers a bridge between individuals and organisations. It is indeed time to change the culture around public service delivery. But change can be intuitive and natural and processes can evolve in line with managed user and customer expectations – the old days of rip and replace or bulldozing through major change are gone. The next generation of engaging technologies is here.

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Digital Bickering Tim Hampson is dismayed by the lack of digital competence at Westminster as the Digital Economy Bill wends its way into the statute book. hile Chelsea was being stuffed one nil at Stamford Bridge by Inter Milan the House of Lords passed the controversial Digital Economy Bill and kicked it back to the House of Commons.


The Digital Economy Bill is now expected to be toe-poked through the commons before the general election – it includes plans to free library data and stop the illegal sharing of files. And now the government must decide if it red cards the Lords’ amendments and gives courts the power to block websites which are allegedly infringing copyright. So what does the Bill tell us about parliament’s ability to deal with digital issues? Well the day after the debate turning to parliament’s own website - didn’t much help. Politicians twitter, tweet, blog and give lip service to transformational government, and the Electoral Commission might be calling for the widespread adoption of electronic voting, but have any MPs ever turned to this site to look for information? The site is stuffed to the brim with data. But finding a way to penetrate it and find out what actually happened to the Bill was nigh on impossible. If this is the public face of digital government then I’m going to willingly volunteer to join the ranks of the digitally excluded. Indeed, the debate on the Digital Economy Bill has been as confused and cluttered as the parliamentary site. The controversial Bill might have moved a step closer to becoming law after the Lords approved the proposals – but that doesn’t stop it being a rag bag. One of the most contentious parts of the Bill is the three strikes rule to cut off internet access for alleged file sharers. (Perhaps anyone fearing for their data should put it up on the parliament site – that should stop it being seen by anyone let alone shared.) Labour peer, Lord Larry Whitty, was particularly critical of the three strikes rule. He said that the Bill is undemocratic 13

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and had put “police powers” on ISPs which are reluctant to accept them. “We have threatened several millions of our citizens with exclusion from the internet by administrative decree, with dubious means of identifying who was actually the perpetrator of the alleged infringement,” he said. Part of the problem with the Bill is that warring between two vested interests – the music industry and internet freedom fighters - has rather clouded what the legislation was supposed to be all about. The Lib Dems, always the masters of sitting on their own and other people’s fences, got well and truly caught out when they tried to amend their own amendment. The contentious Clause 17 – which has now been watered down – would have given the secretary of state the power to update copyright law without parliamentary debate. The clause was diluted after howls of protest. But this then only triggered further accusations that it could give the courts the power to shut down popular websites, such as YouTube. The debate nearly descended into farce though when it came to light that the Lib Dem amendment to their own amendment used words similar – if not the same – to those contained in a document published by the music industry’s trade association, the BPI. But, the whistle went before stoppage time was up. The Bill’s reading was closed and the debate is likely to resume again as the Bill returns to the commons. I use the word ‘debate’ advisedly as the government looks set to fast track its remaining stages and stifle any opposition to its progress. It is looking to make law – be it good or bad – before the election is called.

© Greg Panosian

less than two hours to decide the legislation which will impact the digital economy for years to come. This is not a law for the digital economy but one of unintended consequences. So what will the legislation contain? High courts will be able to tell ISPs to close down sites they do not like, if they think file sharing is taking place – while thousands will continue downloading illegal files. According to Talk Talk, a vocal opponent of the legislation, 80% of youngsters will continue downloading regardless. A tax will be placed on people who have telephone lines and ISPs will have to police their users while racking up costs. The principle of innocent until proved guilty will have been at the click of a mouse put in the recycling bin. However, the row over the measure that most affects councils - that allowing cultural institutions to apply for a licence to use so-called ‘orphan works’ - appears to be over. Well that is until we get to the consultation period later in the year and someone wises up to the fact that libraries and museums could be sitting on a digital goldmine. There are conservatively estimated to be 25 million orphan works in the public sector. They are photographs, personal letters, films, drawings and oral histories, where there is no prospect of tracing the copyright owner - or so they say. Despite a Lib Dem attempt to place restrictions on councils which might want to charge people for material which they think should be in the public domain others think differently and are rubbing their hands at the prospect of the tills ringing.

The move left some of the good peers crying foul – fully aware that the pass back to the commons would avoid further scrutiny of the proposed legislation.

So the Bill might be close to completing its passage through parliament – but somehow it seems unlikely it is that it will be the last time MPs and peers discuss the issue.

So here we are: a commons, filled with people preparing for retirement or expecting defeat at the polls, is to have

As Lord Clement-Jones warned at the end of the debate there is “many a slip between cup and lip”.

Local Government IT In Use


New technology and e-voting to tackle crime Police lack n the latest crackdown against crime the Home Office is promising that police and community support officers (PCSOs) will spend more time walking around communities rather than sitting in offices filling out forms.


The new ‘Safe and Confident Neighbourhoods Strategy’ will also see increased use of online technology and promotion of the 101 non-emergency phoneline - to be rolled out nationally by 2012 - as an alternative to dialling 999. Local information on public confidence levels will also be made available online, building on the success of the national crimemapper website. People will also be able to access magistrate’s court

outcomes online via a new justice outcome web portal. Building on the government’s neighbourhood policing strategy, the new strategy will see a Community Cashback scheme reintroduced allowing people a say - including through online voting - on how a further £4m of criminals’ ill-gotten gains are spent. The strategy has brought together input from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Communities and Local Government and the Attorney General’s Office to ensure that the full range of local services are engaged in keeping neighbourhoods safe.

Regional fire and rescue centres in danger of being snuffed out

technology to manage ASB ost police forces do not have the technology to identify people who are regularly subjected to antisocial behaviour (ASB).


On the plus side, families now have access to more information than ever before about their risk from crime and anti-social behaviour, finds the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). But the report finds that more than half of England and Wales’ 43 police forces do not have the IT systems capable of automatically identifying repeat victims of ASB when they call the police. Denis O’Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said, “The lack of reliable data on anti-social behaviour is a very real cause for concern. ASB makes many people’s lives a misery, so HMIC is in the process of completing more work into assessing how forces deal with ASB.”

he government’s troubled attempts to upgrade fire and rescue services for modern terror emergencies may soon be extinguished.


That message was echoed by John Bonney, the association’s president, who also raised fears about the impact on the current control centres.

The £1.4bn scheme - which is already five years’ late - is without a friend outside Whitehall after a fresh inquiry by a committee of MPs.

Some were becoming obsolete because fire and rescue services were not upgrading equipment as they waited for the new centres to be built.

It was no surprise to hear the Fire Brigades Union lambast the project to axe 46 fire and rescue centres in favour of just nine regional command centres boasting ‘stateof-the-art’ technology.

The comments were made to the communities and local government select committee which has launched a second, snap, inquiry into the ill-fated project.

More worrying for ministers was the equally fierce criticism from the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Chief Fire Officers Association - both of which were previously supportive.

“We have also identified the need for HMIC to work with forces to improve the quality of crime data, how the police count crimes solved, our understanding of how well the police protect the public from serious harm and how they deliver value Ministers blamed “technical problems with for money,” said O’Connor. developing the IT system” and ordered the HMIC’s assessments will be available main supplier - EADS - to “give greater shortly on assurance on short-term milestones”.

The LGA’s Brian Coleman said he now believed that which ever party won the forthcoming general election would seriously consider “pulling the plug” on the entire project. And he added: “Fire authorities are reaching the point where they have no confidence in the project. If the technology doesn’t work, there is no choice but to scrap it.” hild safety database rolls out to police: Eighteen police forces in England and Wales are to take part in a pioneering telephone and online database trial that will help provide better protection for children from sex offenders. Home secretary, Alan Johnson, says that the nationwide scheme will “improve protection for children” by giving members of the public a formal mechanism to make enquires about people who are in contact with children. Four existing pilot areas will continue with the scheme, which will roll out to all forces by the end of March 2011.


It follows the surprise announcement, last July, that it had been shelved for ten months, which means that some areas Humberside, Kent, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire - must wait until the end of 2012 for completion.

At the committee, fire services minister, Shahid Malik, admitted that the project had not “started off very well”, but stuck to the new, delayed timetable.

utting data in our hands: A Facebook quiz that challenges perceptions of crime, and a website that gives the public the chance to feed into local neighbourhood policing boards, are just two of the innovative new ways that government data may become accessible to the public. The Home Office, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice recently opened their doors to 10 tech experts from who used and the web to develop tools and services that help people to feel safe and confident in their homes and neighbourhoods.


Local Government IT In Use

O’Connor said the police are providing the public with information about the risk they face from crime and antisocial behaviour where they live, how good their police are at tackling these risks and how much the police cost; but that more needed to be done regarding those who are regularly facing abuse.

onitor social networking sites: The Liberal Democrats have written to the home secretary calling for enhanced powers for the police to monitor social network sites. The party has called for the government to upgrade the Sex Offenders’ Register following the murder of Ashleigh Hall. Peter Chapman, 33, pretended to be a 17-year-old boy on Facebook to get Hall to meet him. He then raped and strangled her. A court has sentenced him to life imprisonment, where he must serve a minimum of 35 years. In his letter Liberal Democrats shadow home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, said that the failures and inadequacies of both conventional and internet monitoring had to be put right.


March/April 2010



On-street augmented reality




asternaut Three M X has launched an advanced camera

ampshire Fire and Rescue Service has neurin Bevan Health Board has invested in Hornbill’s Supportworks appointed LAN2LAN to design, supply H A Essentials to facilitate its IT helpdesk. The and maintain its wireless infrastructure.

phone application that enables digital images to be displayed together with associated business data. The Augmented Reality solution uses Layar Browser 3.0 technology, bringing point and shoot simplicity to accessing important data. It has wide application from tracking and identifying vehicles on busy streets or car parks to logistics, field services and engineering. By simply aiming the mobile phone camera at an object and using the screen as a real world window, the system displays an icon button to gain instant access to relevant data via secure Masternaut web services.

IT team is using Supportworks to log all technical incidents and requests from over 2000 users located at 50 stations and its head office.

eb-based reporting for police: W APD Communications has launched INCA Reports, a secure, webbased reporting tool designed for the emergency services sector. It provides police officers access to on-demand data and scheduled reports. By providing an accurate view of vehicle history, incidents can be reviewed more comprehensively. ocial care system up to the mark: OLM Systems’ CareFirst 6.9 has gained accreditation to requirements for the Integrated Children’s System (ICS) Phase 1C. The solution has been designed to be simple and return valuable time to frontline staff. Hytec, part of OLM Group, has also launched Integral mForms, version 2.8, a mobile applications toolset.


ocial networking for community S care: LAN2LAN has introduced Congrego, a new solution that takes a social networking approach to community care and disaster recovery. Designed for use by government agencies and support organisations it is a way of helping people to communicate and collaborate with one another as they cope with the effects of a traumatic experience.

est Midlands Police has selected an H3C enterprise networking solution W to help deliver improved services. New high performance H3C S5800 ‘flex chassis’ switches will boost the application delivery, capacity and reliability of its converged data, voice and video IP network.

EDUCATION road Oak Sports College in Bury has launched the first of nine wireless B internet zones – or clouds - as part of a £140,000 scheme co-funded with Bury Council. The network was designed and implemented by locally based Pennine Telecom. lasgow University has extended its use of Hornbill’s Supportworks IT help G desk software to provide a central logging and managing platform for all requests for information received by the university’s data protection and FOI office. ew College Durham has chosen Active Dashboards software from N Dynistics to retrieve information from the college’s existing disparate databases and allow blending of cross departmental information and KPIs.

The Trapeze WiFi based solution will support the board’s Clinical Futures programme which involves the construction of new hospitals and technology aimed at delivering improved healthcare throughout Gwent, Wales. iverpool Women’s NHS Trust has expanded its use of the Kaseya IT LAutomation platform to support 2,000 PCs for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. HS Nottinghamshire County is using a 21C system to manage general N practitioner appraisal and revalidation processes more efficiently against Care Quality Commission standards. HS 24 Scotland is extending its partnership with Clinical Solutions for N a further two years. The company will provide NHS 24’s core telephone triage software and decision support content and continue to provide related services such as technical support, project management, configuration and training. HS Christie Foundation Trust has chosen Active Dashboards software N from Dynistics to provide a visual graphical representation of key performance measures. It will graphically represent the resources consumed by individual patients from the time of admission until the time of discharge, plus key performance measures such as average length of stay, theatre time and contract performance.

HS Lincolnshire has deployed niversity of Portsmouth is providing a Aerohive Networks’ Cooperative N safer and more secure learning U Control wireless LAN architecture into 12 environment for its students as a result of installing Initsys Merlin ARC software


of its key healthcare facilities in support of an organisation-wide strategy to mobilise healthcare delivery in its community hospitals and clinics, and ensure secure, resilient connectivity.

onmouthshire Housing Association is M to implement TotalMobile and HS National Service Scotland is TotalRepairs from Consilium Technologies adopting InterSystems’ TrakCare N in a bid to increase customer service, connected health information system as reduce costs, and increase the efficiency and productivity of its field operatives. CT Homes has selected Asset4000 from R Real Asset Management to manage its stock of over 10,000 homes. oho Housing Association has selected S Sovereign Business Integration to provide assistance and advice on the procurement and implementation of an Electronic Document Management system.

the new national patient management system for Scotland. The contract is a national framework in line with Scotland’s eHealth Strategy that will enable any health board access to the system and associated modules over the next four years. TrakCare patient management system includes hospital and mental health patient administration, order communications, results reporting and clinical support tools.

repaid solution for self-directed niversity Hospitals Birmingham NHS P support: Boston Marks has launched wan Housing Group has selected Foundation Trust has deployed more U a combined payment solution enabling S Capita Software Services to provide than 300 Motion C5 tablet PCs in an effort councils to manage self-directed the web-based housing application, Capita support payment programmes safely and securely onto a VISA prepaid card, with a real-time audit trail of all transactions.


March/April 2010

Support, under a seven-year contract. Support officers will use digital pens to complete all housing support plans and assessments with information fed into one central holding point. Local Government IT In Use

to improve productivity. They will be used to help reduce medication errors, enhance the quality of data gathered at the patient’s bedside and improve the overall quality of patient care.

CONTRACT ROUNDUP LOCAL GOVERNMENT shford Borough Council is virtualising its voice infrastructure with Mitel and VMware. “I can confidently say that we are the only council in the UK to do this at present. I am also positive that we will start a trend for other councils to adopt this strategy when they see the compelling cost-savings and reliability benefits to do so, which cannot be ignored,” said Rob Neil, the council’s head of ICT & customer services.


exley London Borough has adopted the Permit Gateway system from Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions in a bid to deliver improved customer service in the management and allocation of parking permits.


irmingham uses multi-channel messaging: Birmingham City Council has introduced a new Birmingham Community Alert messaging service to warn its residents and workers about emergency incidents from flooding and power failures, to major road closures, health risks and evacuations. Based on HTK’s multi-channel Horizon platform, the service automatically sends emergency messages based on postcode area, by email, SMS text, automated voice calls to mobile phone or landlines, pager or fax. Residents sign up for the free service and select their preferred methods of contact.


irmingham City Council, Warwickshire County Council, the South West Grid for Learning, Leeds City Council, and Cynnal have all selected Groupcall’s MIS SIF agent, to enable effective and secure data movement around the organisations. The SIF agent provides read and write capabilities to all major school MIS solutions, including SIMS.NET and Facility CMIS, and enables users to update and amend key data.


wynedd Council’s street lighting maintenance team is using HP IPAQ G pocket PCs, loaded with MAYRISE Street Lighting mobile software, to identify and record faulty street lighting units. The intelligent software includes a fully integrated mapping module, making it easier for council electricians undertaking night patrols to report back.

ottinghamshire County Council is using a personal ‘resource N management’ system from Masternaut Three X to give it a global real-time view of its fleet, plant and mobile staff, enabling it to enhance customer service levels, improve safety and reduce costs. The new fully-integrated system utilises Masternaut’s vehicle tracking, Lokate lone-worker personal communication and discrete Asset Track plant security devices.

olsover District Council has contracted 1st Touch to control support of over 50 mobile operatives across 5,400 homes via a PDA based system.


ambridgeshire County Council is improving service for citizens and increasing social inclusion with the help of a high-speed communications network from Virgin Media Business. New broadband connections are being deployed to 140 foster carers, children’s residential and short stay homes, children’s centres, care homes, residential centres and libraries across the county.


amden has implemented JBoss Enterprise Data Services Platform to create a more streamlined citizen data solution. Red Hat Consulting worked with Camden Council to create a solution tailormade to its business needs. The new platform has reduced customer enquiry time by two-thirds.


ornwall unifies revs and bens: Cornwall Council is using Capita Software Services revenues and benefits software. Now that data from the six district councils, which preceded unification, is combined on a single system, staff can process information about citizens across Cornwall from any of the council offices, enabling improvement and standardisation of customer service and processing methods. The new unitary is using the software to administer 53,622 live benefit claims, council tax payments for 252,675 properties and business rates payments for 27,273 properties. Mark Read, head of revenues and benefits at Cornwall Council, said: “Capita has been fantastic throughout the process, delivering on time and within budget. It’s been a real partnership exercise.”


heshire Peaks & Plains Housing Association is extending its Cybit Fleet Tracking use. Fleetstar will help to reduce fleet operating costs through real-time visibility of the mobile workforce by the organisation’s centralised control staff.


orby Borough Council has launched an online portal, MyCorby, from Firmstep to ease the pressure on staff to maintain the same level of service to a rapidly growing population. The portal integrates


Local Government IT In Use

with Corby’s Firmstep CRM system so that citizens can access and update personal information as well as track the status of enquiries in real-time. erby City Council has done a deal with Orange to supply 1,500 voice connections. Orange will also provide the council with dongles and BlackBerry devices for its employees who need to stay connected when out of the office, plus telemetry SIMs that will manage its road signage and car parking meters. Orange has also provided 500 3G dongles under the Computers for Pupils and Home Access Targeted User Group schemes.


urham County Council is implementing Limehouse uCreate and Limehouse uEngage to manage its Local Transport Plan 3, Housing and Economic Development Strategy documents.


ast Ayrshire Council is providing safe and controlled internet access and web surfing for its 16,000 users via Bloxx’s web filtering appliance.


ast Renfrewshire Council has selected GOSS Interactive to provide its fully hosted website and intranet, both managed with GOSS intelligent Content Management. This will enable the council to deliver more services via its website such as job and permit applications, revenue collection and problem reporting reducing avoidable contact and potentially improving online take-up, and in turn making significant cost savings.


dinburgh Council is using TextHelp’s BrowseAloud to make its website accessible for those with dyslexia, literacy difficulties or mild visual impairments.


reater Manchester Joint Transport Team – representing ten local councils dedicated to constructing an integrated travel framework for residents – is using Limehouse collaboration and project management software from Objective Corporation to help meet the deadline for a major public document, the Local Transport Plan.


artlepool Borough Council has awarded a contract to Vodafone UK for a fully managed mobile business solution, taking care of all the council’s BlackBerry smartphones and managing its BlackBerry Enterprise Server on secure premises.


March/April 2010





ighland Council has signed a £66m, five year ICT contract with Fujitsu. As part of its bid, Fujitsu is establishing a North of Scotland ICT centre of excellence in Inverness. Councillor Carolyn Wilson said that the contract would “offer the council and staff a number of exciting opportunities for new, improved and flexible ways of working in the future and allow significant investment in new ICT systems and infrastructure for both corporate and school curriculum ICT”. It is also targeting £6.76m in efficiency savings over the next five years – and to cut Highland’s carbon footprint through reduced carbon emissions and energy consumption.


pswich Borough Council is to route all public enquiries though a dedicated customer contact centre after entering into a three-year performance partnership with Northgate Public Services. The partnership will design and implement a centralised customer contact centre staffed by specialists.


athfinder North network, a seven-year, £70m contract part-funded by the Scottish Government, has gone live. The future-proof next-generation network, run on the Cable&Wireless Worldwide IP Virtual Private Network (VPN), connects 801 sites between five Highlands and Islands local authorities: Highland, Moray, Argyll and Bute, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands.


icensing partnership: Sevenoaks District Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Maidstone Borough Council have successfully consolidated their separate local licensing management processes into a single service. The innovative partnership comprises a central administration team based in Sevenoaks, with licensing officers and administration staff at the other two local authorities using an IDOX technology platform. The licence application process has been transformed, ensuring a faster and more efficient streamlined online service generating significant savings.



ull City Council has bought Certero’s IT asset management software, AssetStudio and Software Metering for Decision Makers to gain complete visibility of its 5,000+ desktop PC network.


pswich Borough Council has selected Real Asset Management’s (RAM) Series4000 software to improve the management of over £400m worth of fixed assets.




outhwark Council is using Pitney Bowes Business Insight’s web mapping technology, Stratus Connect, to overhaul the web mapping functionality on its website to enable fast and accurate access to information and services via location-based search. The product enables the type of uncluttered interface and simple zoom and pan functionality that users are accustomed to from web tools such as Bing Maps and Google Maps.


eterborough performance: Peterborough’s citizens will be able to get a real-time, all-round view of their local authority’s environmental performance under the Sustainable City Visualisation project – a collaboration between Opportunity Peterborough, Peterborough City Council, IBM, Royal Haskoning and Green Ventures. The aim is to build an online mash-up to monitor and analyse data on Peterborough’s energy, water, transport and waste systems and produce a real-time, integrated view of the city’s environmental performance. urbeck Council has helped Business Performance Optimiser to develop and ensure its Avoidable Contact Optimiser is able to collect ‘avoidable contact’ data for National Indicator 14.

otherham Council is using HumanConcepts’ OrgPlus for organisational planning. Implemented by RBT, the joint venture partnership between the council and BT, OrgPlus gives visibility of the organisational structure at all staff levels, as well as allows employee data to be viewed by management and senior personnel to support workforce planning. ushcliffe Borough Council has opted for Telephonetics VIP’s ContactCentre 59R solution that combines automation with live operators in one application and will last for five years.


alford City Council and Salix Homes have partnered with Northgate Public Services for its Integrated Housing solution.


outh Ayrshire Council has chosen ReadSoft, global provider of software solutions for Document Automation, to centralise and streamline its accounts payable department by enabling it to electronically capture every invoice on the day it arrives and immediately transfer it onto its Oracle E-Business Suite.




Local Government IT In Use

urrey Heath Borough Council and Peerless Housing Group have jointly S procured Cities Revealed’s Carbon Energy Mapping solution to help reveal CO2 emissions across the local area. The Carbon Energy Mapping model is also enhanced with heat loss information gathered from a thermal aerial survey. This enhanced data identifies specifically the additional energy and CO2 loss from the properties’ roofs as a result of loft insulation levels.

outhampton City Council has chosen Symphony iManage for its street gazetteer management. The plan is to integrate Symphony iManage with other systems, including the Confirm Street Works from Pitney Bowes MapInfo.


tockton-on-Tees Borough Council is using a new version of its Agresso finance system as part of a move to a new shared system with neighbouring Darlington Borough Council from April. The upgrade training, critical to the success of the shared service, involves introducing wide-ranging new business processes as well as new functionality to Stockton’s team and encompasses creation of a new e-learning system.


andridge Council is using GGP’s Gazetteer Management Software, GGP NGz, to create a consistent, up to date and accurate base for all property-based information within the organisation. GGP NGz also manages the import and export of data between the local authority databases and the NLPG.


hanet District Council has improved purchase-to-pay efficiency by implementing an intelligent data capture solution from COA Solutions. Invoice processing time has been cut by 12 hours each week.


ealden District Council has implemented a COA Solutions financial management system designed to ensure greater control over spend and automate procurement, reducing manual data entry of invoice information by 80%.


est Dunbartonshire Council and Capita IT Services have completed a £1m project to install LAN infrastructure and IP telephony into three new secondary schools. The infrastructures were installed in just six weeks to support 4,000 pupils and 460 staff.





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Local Government IT in Use - March/April 2010 issue  

Frontline services - Local Government, Police, Fire and Health - are leading the way in the public sector towards delivering the quality of...

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