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ISSUE 26.5

Business Information for Local and Central Government ENERGY

SHINING FOR SOLAR The role of rooftop solar in meeting the government’s net zero ambitions


BUSES ON DEMAND What a demand-responsive bus service could mean for the Tees Valley region


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ISSUE 26.5

Business Information for Local and Central Government ENERGY

SHINING FOR SOLAR The role of rooftop solar in meeting the government’s net zero ambitions





Mapping clean air policy in the capital

What a demand-responsive bus service could mean for the Tees Valley region

In one of her last policy moves as Prime Minister, Theresa May announced that the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050. PLUS: CONFERENCES & EVENTS | FACILITIES MANAGEMENT | FLEET MANAGEMENT

London, like most regions, is keen to be central to this and, as such, has seen many boroughs vocalise their efforts and plans to be deemed ‘leading the way’. But, which authorities are actually driving transformation for the environment, who is blowing out a lot of smoke, and who is yet to join the changing scenery? On the Government Business website, we are keen to answer those questions, and, between now and Christmas, we will be charting the Top 10 London Boroughs driving change and deserving plaudits for green ambition, as well as those who have been less vocal, less active and less likely to help bring about this much needed change. As we head towards an inevitable pre-Christmas General Election, we would all be wise not to let the environmental issues that have richly got just attention in recent months fall off of the radar.

Follow and interact with us on Twitter: @GovBusiness

On that note, also be sure to read the Solar Trade Association’s contribution to this issue on page 19, discussing the role of rooftop solar in greening local authority energy policy. Michael Lyons, editor

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Contents Government Business 26.5 07 News


12 December election battle begins; councils increasingly pessimistic about Brexit impact; devolution key to levelling up left-behind Britain; and Bristol could become the first city to completely ban diesel cars

19 Energy

Local authorities are driving the deployment of renewables across a range of scales. Here, the Solar Trade Association’s Jack DobsonSmith explains why rooftop solar can play a large role in delivering the government’s net zero ambitions

35 Play

Recent research from the Association of Play Industries shows that parents are increasingly concerned about the shift from outdoor play to indoor screen time. The association’s Mark Hardy writes for GB exploring the effect that the decline in public playgrounds is having on children

39 Christmas incentives How can you keep staff motivated in the run up to Christmas? On behalf of the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, Michael Dawson looks at how employers can boost morale and maintain staff productivity as thoughts begin to turn to Christmas

23 Facilities management 49 Conferences & events Poor indoor air quality can cause 29 32

symptoms and illnesses ranging from minor irritation of the eyes to nausea. In this FETA feature, Russell Beattie tackles the issue of indoor air quality and the importance of heating and ventilation systems in ensuring buildings are as energy efficient as possible

29 Fleet management

Growing public pressure has resulted in the government enshrining a Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 into UK law. Andy Eastlake, director of the LowCVP, writes about what the increased focus on our climate emergency means for those looking to green their driving experience

53 Technology

32 Buses

61 G-Cloud

Public transport can be a lifeline for those without access to a car. Heather Scott, of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, discusses what the region’s new ‘demand-responsive’ bus service could mean for residents in Tees Valley, especially in hard-to-reach communities


Nottingham is currently undergoing one of the biggest transformation programmes of any city in this decade. Marketing NG discuss the business event opportunities in Nottingham, what the meetings industry in the city can offer for public sector conferencing, and how the tourism landscape in the region is shaping up for the end of 2019 and beyond


Civica recently sat down with central government leaders to discuss whether the public sector is prepared for the artificial intelligence revolution and the ethics behind the technology. Steve Thorn, executive director of Civica, shares his views At the start of July, the Crown Commercial Service announced that thousands of small businesses had won the chance to bid to supply cloud computing services to government bodies through a major government procurement framework



Government Business magazine Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE



. B s i Chr

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12 December election battle begins Political parties are readying themselves for a ‘once-in-a-generation’ General Election campaign after MPs voted for a 12 December poll. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes the vote will give him a fresh mandate for his deal to leave the EU and break the current deadlock in Parliament, telling fellow Conservative MPs that it was time for the country to ‘come together to get Brexit done’. Labour is likely to attempt to turn the conversation towards austerity measures, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the election wouldn’t just be about Brexit, but

‘about what’s happened to our public services’. The Liberal Democrats and the SNP both see the election as a chance to ask voters whether Brexit should happen at all, with Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson reiterating that the poll was ‘our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit’, while reports claim that the Liberal Democrats are in discussions with Plaid Cyrmu and the Green Party, as the party stresses that ‘neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be Prime Minister’. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon views an election as another opportunity for the country to hold a second independence referendum, saying that a ‘win for the SNP will

be an unequivocal and irresistible demand for Scotland’s right to choose our own future’. The Green Party said the poll should be ‘a climate election’ and focus on environmental issues, while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage reiterated that ‘Brexit now has a chance to succeed’. The election arrives after the EU extended the UK’s exit deadline to 31 January 2020. It will be the first December election since 1923.



Councils increasingly pessimistic about Brexit impact

Recycling top public priority for council spending

More than 70 per cent of council bosses are expecting Brexit to have a ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ impact on their local economy. The New Local Government Network has found that Brexit uncertainty is taking a toll on economic confidence in local areas, as well as distracting councils from delivering key local services. The network’s latest NLGN Leadership Index reports that councils are increasingly pessimistic about the impact of Brexit on their local economy, with more than three quarters of respondents having had to divert resources from key public service priorities to prepare for Brexit. Alarmingly, about three quarters of upper tier councils with social care responsibilities have had to divert resources. Furthermore, there is some regional variation: as many

as 92 per cent from Yorkshire and the Humber indicated they had to divert resources, whereas only half of councils in the North East indicated they had to do so. The index also found that optimism in the local business environment has continued to decline and is now the lowest since the first Leadership Index survey in March 2018. The NLGN says that the findings should be a signal to the government that councils urgently need more support and certainty in order to make reasonable practical plans needed to cushion any further negative impact on their communities. READ MORE


Devolution key to levelling up left-behind Britain A new Centre for Policy Studies report has established the full extent to which wealth, talent, trade and investment are concentrated in London and the South East. A Rising Tide, Levelling up left-behind Britain, published by the think tank, offers a detailed blueprint to spread prosperity more widely, including greater devolution of powers, funding and responsibility through a new Devolution Framework offering a base level of devolution around the country, a levelling up of mayoral powers and clarity on the devolution offer for other areas. Furthermore, the CPS argues for further fiscal devolution, including return of decision-making for local authorities on council tax and examination of suitability of local income, corporation or tourist taxes, as well as localised transport and trade and investment policy-making, moving government departments and officials out of London, and the re-examination of the role of LEPs given their mixed record to date.

The gap between London and the rest of the country has widened to the point where no other region of the country, apart from the South East, is generating as much wealth per capita today as London was 20 years ago. London now attracts roughly three times more transport investment per head than the rest of the country; boasts the most successful education system and attracts the best talent; exports £100 billion more than any other region bar the South East; and attracts more than three times as much Foreign Direct Investment. To correct this, the report argues that the government should commit itself to a serious programme of devolution, predicated on the view that local leaders are best placed to know what is needed in their local area and reflecting the fact that healthy competition between areas will lead to better outcomes. READ MORE

A new UNISON poll has revealed that refuse and recycling are the services that people would most like to see their council spend money on. The study from the union found that 39 per cent of respondents say it would be their number one choice if the government were to give their local authority extra cash, followed by pavements (32 per cent) and homecare (30 per cent). Making up the top five spend areas for local authorities were parks (28 per cent) and public toilets (26 per cent). Jon Richards, UNISON head of local government, said: “From refuse collection to providing support for loved ones, public service workers keep communities running. They go above and beyond to deliver for the public. This is despite cutbacks meaning they’re working in challenging circumstances with fewer colleagues than before. These awards are a chance to highlight just how much council employees improve people’s lives. They’re a ‘thank you’ to the unsung heroes of our local communities.”




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Bristol could be first to completely ban diesel cars Bristol City Council is considering a number of recommendations to clean the city’s air, including a small area diesel ban for all privately owned vehicles and a charging zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs. Considering barring diesel cars from a centre part of the city in an effort to improve air quality could see Bristol become the first city in the UK to ban diesel vehicles. Under the proposal, diesel vehicles will be banned from entering a central section between 7am–3pm every day. The second, wider zone would then affect commercial vehicles, including buses and taxis. Further measures for tackling air quality through improving and prioritising public

transport options are also suggested, which support the Mayor of Bristol’s pledge to reduce the reliance on cars and increase the number of bus users. A car scrappage scheme would also be launched, which would help diesel car owners purchase an alternative vehicle. Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution so we meet legal limits within the shortest time, without disproportionally affecting citizens on lower incomes which would happen with a blanket approach to charging vehicles. “Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have

been carefully considered. If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.”




Labour would create carbon-neutral energy system by 2030s

Housing Secretary pledges £10 million for 10 new communities

The Labour Party is set to outline its fast-track climate strategy, with plans to create a carbon-neutral energy system by the 2030s, including enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches. Having adopting plans to work towards a net-zero carbon economy two decades ahead of the government’s legally binding 2050 target, the plan includes 30 recommendations to tackle emissions from the energy system, including home energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation and double glazing that will focus first on damp homes and areas suffering fuel poverty. A recent report from the Labour Party estimates that the investment in clean

electricity and home efficiency projects could create 850,000 new skilled jobs in the green industry and increase household incomes by two per cent by boosting employment, capital investment and labour productivity. The 30 by 2030 report identifies four goals to transform the UK’s energy supply and use: reducing energy waste in buildings and industry; decarbonising heat; boosting renewable and low carbon electricity generation and balancing the UK’s supply and demand. READ MORE


Local Industrial Strategy key to net zero goals A study has argued that the government must better support ambitious local industrial strategies to help local areas play their part in moving the UK to a zero-carbon economy. Two think tanks, Green Alliance and Localis, has warned that the slow rollout of local industrial strategy is putting local areas with the greatest need of economic revival at risk of missing out on clean growth development opportunities and imperilling the national net zero target. More than 230 English local authorities have declared climate emergencies in the past year. However, most have only just begun to consider the changes that will be needed to local energy and transport systems, and to transform the buildings and industries in their areas. The new report, The route to clean growth – using local industrial strategies to drive change, calls for the government to reaffirm its commitment to local industrial

strategies with clean, climate-resilient growth at their core. This could take the form of local and combined authorities having more powers to mandate greener building projects, contrary to the government’s renewed threat to ban them from doing so. The think-tanks also propose that a proportion of the forthcoming Shared Prosperity Fund is ringfenced for projects that enable clean growth by, for instance, supporting the grid infrastructure needed to expand renewable energy or improving public transport.


£10 million of funding will enable ambitious councils to develop locally-led proposals to deliver more new towns on the scale of Canary Wharf or Milton Keynes. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said that councils can submit transformational proposals to win a share of the new funding, which will aid projects that will be locally-led by the people who know their community best. The announcement reiterates Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to level up every place in the UK, with potential proposals able to kick start the delivery of thousands of new homes, boost local growth and deliver new jobs for communities after Brexit. Sir George Iacobescu, founding father of Canary Wharf, will advise the Housing Secretary on which project to take forward for further government support. Jenrick said: “We want to drive economic growth outside London and the South East. Our new development corporations will empower local areas to come forward with ideas for new towns that deliver jobs, houses and economic growth – creating the future Canary Wharfs of the North and Milton Keynes’s of the Midlands. That’s why I am announcing this competition to find major growth opportunities that will receive government support and investment.”






Bus funding cut by 40 per cent in last decade

Funding for buses in England is almost £400 million a year lower than it was 10 years ago, according to the Campaign for Better Transport. The charity has analysed government datasets and data obtained from Freedom of Information requests to all local transport authorities in England, and found that national

government support for buses is now £234 million a year lower than in 2009/10, and that local authority funding for buses is £163 million lower in real terms compared to ten years ago – a reduction of over 40 per cent. Arguing that the government’s promised National Bus Strategy must herald a change in the way buses are funded, with a multiyear revenue funding settlement as well as capital support for the transition to a zeroemission bus fleet, the new report also claims that more than half of local authorities have cut their financial support for buses by 50 per cent or more since 2009. The result has been that well over 3,000 local authority supported bus services have been lost or reduced in a decade; 243 in the past year. Future of the bus: future funding

arrangements is calling for: a single, ringfenced, long-term fund, replacing the Bus Service Operators Grant and the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme, aimed at rejuvenating England’s bus networks and supporting concessionary fares; capital support to accelerate the transition to zero emission buses, alongside a 2025 deadline for all new buses to be only electric or hydrogen-powered; and new revenue streams for local authorities to support the growth in public transport, such as Workplace Parking Levies, Clean Air Zones and a pay-as-you-drive road user charge to replace Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel duty. READ MORE



Council leaders join forces to tackle loneliness

Communities Secretary launches #MyTown campaign

The Local Government Association and the National Association of Local Councils are collaborating to help local service better tackle loneliness. As part of its Loneliness Strategy, the government called on the LGA and NALC to explore best practice in combating loneliness. The new Reaching Out guide is designed to help local government tackle one of the nation’s biggest public health challenges and outlines how councils and local organisations can work together to reach out and improve individuals’ wellbeing as well as relieving some of the pressure on already overburdened council and health services. Loneliness places additional pressure on already stretched services by increasing referrals to adult social care and visits to GP surgeries – the significance of this being likened to issues such as obesity and smoking. Although loneliness can often be

associated with older people who live on their own, it affects millions of people across the country and has far reaching implications. James Jamieson, chairman of the LGA, said: “Councils across all tiers are increasingly recognising the added value in reaching out and working together, because it is in our interests to tackle the significant impact of loneliness and other public health challenges. ”We are committed to continuing to strengthen good practice and learning across the sector and in actively seeking to make a real difference in tackling loneliness in our communities. Working together and toward a common goal we can build connected communities equipped and resourced to respond effectively to a wide range of needs.” READ MORE


Thousands set to benefit from new pocket parks Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has launched a new £1.35 million fund to provide thousands of people across the country with new pocket parks or the revival of rundown green spaces. Jenrick has opened bidding for the pocket parks programme, of up to £15,000 each, which helps support communities to transform unloved, neglected or derelict urban spaces into new green spaces. The announcement means that community groups can now bid for new parks or reimagined spaces that will be used for everything from children’s play areas, to vegetable patches and community events, benefiting the mental and physical health of people who use them. Jenrick said: “We want to improve the mental

and physical health of local people by providing a sustainable and affordable sanctuary away from the hustle of urban life. That’s why we have launched this fund to encourage projects led by community groups to renovate parks and encourage community activities of all kinds. “Establishing more pocket parks is part of our wider ambition to ensure that communities have a real sense of identity and place, and that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy green spaces nearby. This government is determined to protect our nation’s parks for future generations to enjoy.” READ MORE

The #MyTown campaign gives people a say in how a new generation of Town Deals, each worth up to £25 million, should transform the place they call home. Robert Jenrick, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, has launched the campaign in the hope of giving people in 100 places across England the chance to write the next chapter for their towns, as well as providing a platform for communities to share their proud history and ambitions for a bright future. The campaign builds on the government’s announcement of 100 places chosen to pioneer multi-million Town Deals as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. A total of 45 places across the Northern Powerhouse and 30 places across the Midlands Engine are among the 100 places invited to develop ambitious plans to transform towns across England as part of the government’s commitment to level up all regions. Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry added: “We are going further than any government before to level up every corner of our country. With our new £3.6 billion Towns Fund, we’re ramping up efforts to give local people power and money to decide what is best for their town. Wherever you live, getting involved in the My Town campaign is your chance to decide where this major investment should go.”




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League tables ‘punish and reward wrong schools’ The Northern Powerhouse Partnership has argued that secondary school league tables continue to misrepresent the performance of schools by failing to show the difference when pupil background is taken into account. The partnerships Fair Secondary School Index, alongside research from the University of Bristol, finds that once factors such as pupil ethnicity, deprivation and special educational needs are taken into account, a fifth of schools saw their national league table position change by over 500 places. As a result, 51 per cent of schools across England currently judged to be ‘underperforming’

would no longer fall into this category. The research looked at ‘Progress 8’, the headline measure used by the Department of Education to assess progress made by pupils during their time at secondary school. It was introduced in 2016 and compares GCSE results to Key Stage 2 test results, which the government argues takes prior attainment into account when judging progress. Whilst many secondary schools in the North are still lagging behind the rest of the country, when taking into account pupil background, many of these schools perform considerably better than the government’s own league tables

would suggest. In the North East, for example, schools on average were ranked 361 places higher using the adjusted measure. In the North West, schools of average were ranked 107 places higher. READ MORE



Multi-million investment in school buildings

£1bn mobile coverage fund to banish rural not-spots

The government has revealed that academies and sixth form colleges can now bid for a share of more than £400 million to transform their facilities and improve their school buildings. The annual fund can be used by academies and sixth form colleges to expand classrooms, upgrade facilities, such as sports halls or science labs, and address issues with the general wear and tear of school buildings. Applications will be subject to new criteria this year which will favour bids from schools with good governance and organised finances – including showing restraint on executive salaries. The strengthened criteria for next year’s Condition Improvement Fund will incentivise academies and trusts to improve finances and governance. Bids are assessed on a point based criteria and applicants will get a four-point deduction

if they pay two or more salaries in excess of £100,000 or one salary over £150,000, and have failed to take appropriate action in response to our high pay challenge. Teaching unions have condemned the money available as woefully inadequate, pointing to 2017 research by the National Audit Office which calculated that it would cost £6.7 billion to return England’s schools to a satisfactory condition or better. Among the critics, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said that ‘it is unacceptable that, in the 21st century, so many children and young people go to schools which have Victorian conditions’. READ MORE


Further £12 million boost for youth projects Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has said that youth projects across the country will receive a £12 million boost as part of the government’s commitment to level up opportunities for young people. The investment includes up to £7 million for a Youth Accelerator Fund that will expand existing successful projects, and address urgent needs in the youth sector by delivering extra sessions in youth clubs, and promoting positive activities in sport and the arts to help young people develop skills and contribute to their communities. A further £5 million will also be invested in the #iwill Fund to encourage 10 to 20 year olds to take part in social action, such as volunteering in their communities by funding groups delivering these programmes. The #iwill fund, also funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, has so far created over 500,000 opportunities for young

people since it was launched in 2016. Chancellor Said Javid recently announced a new £500 million Youth Investment Fund for the five years from April 2020, to give young people somewhere to go, something positive to do and someone to speak to. Half of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund will be used to fund new youth centres, refurbish existing facilities and create more mobile clubs, with the remainder funding a range of activities that teach important life skills, such as digital skills, culture, sport and social action as well as investment in the youth work profession so young people have a trusted person they can turn to. READ MORE

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced a £1 billion deal with the mobile phone industry to tackle poor mobile phone coverage and banish rural not-spots. The move will bring 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025 and be a huge boost for consumers. The government hopes that the investment will enable more people in rural areas to benefit from the speed and efficiency of services on the go - from booking travel, shopping online or speaking to friends and family. Morgan is supportive of a £530 million proposal from the UK’s mobile network operators for a Shared Rural Network with the potential for it to be matched by £500 million investment from government. This would be a world-first deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share. Under the proposal, the four operators will invest £530 million to open up and share existing masts and infrastructure to close almost all partial not-spots - areas where there is currently only coverage from at least one but not all operators. It would also mean additional mobile coverage for 280,000 premises and 16,000 kilometres of roads.




Advertisement Feature Written by Jeremy Payne, VP of Product Marketing, Enghouse Interactive

Is local government keeping pace with its digitally -connected citizens? The need for local government to keep pace with an increasingly digitally-connected public was one of the themes at a recent roundtable hosted by Enghouse Interactive and Government Business magazine, and chaired by Georgina Maratheftis, Programme Manager for Local Government at techUK

In delivering customer service, councils have to manage escalating demand and expectations from an ever-expanding user base. As digitalisation accelerates, they are having to deal with a more connected public who increasingly want to engage at any time, from anywhere, on any device. The event, ‘Digitisation within Local Government and Winning Strategies for the Contact Centre’, considered the challenges faced in meeting this demand and the potential opportunities if they get the approach right. Gauging the challenge To deal with public demand, councils are adding self-service offerings to their contact centre armoury and starting to bring in advanced automation, AI and robotics in order to drive efficiencies and increase customer choice. While the move to omnichannel is key to this, there will continue to be a need to provide voicebased interaction via a traditional fixed-line telephone call and even face-to-face. Not all citizens are digitally-savvy, after all. However, a growing number do want to engage through digital technologies like email, webchat and social media. Moreover, they increasingly want their problem resolved or query addressed instantly. As Richard Dooner, programme manager at the Welsh Local Government Association, puts it: “Customer behaviour is driven by lots of things and technology is just one part of it. Collectively, and individually, there are relationships that have to be worked with. The customer expectation is ‘Want, Click, Get’. This is why Amazon has done so well. “When we are talking about local government services, we should be in that place, and we should be providing our leadership with the options to be there, efficiently. Current technology, such as robotic process automation, is making that

more achievable. It’s certainly addressing some of the current issues with call centres.” From the council perspective, delivering on this means implementing a range of communications channels so that residents can interact with them in way that suits them best. Doing this is in itself not always easy. As Sharon Passmore, customer service manager at Somerset County Council, said: “We haven’t started with AI or robots yet. One of the challenges we have with transfomation is that we have a lot of legacy systems. If you want to transform and have digital end‑to‑end, there’s a lot of things that you need to change. It’s like turning the oil tanker. “We are approaching the problem in a different way, getting the right foundation of infrastructure, the building blocks if you like, to enable us to move forward in the areas we can and to migrate from legacy systems when the contracts allow.” Jenny Pan, ICT manager at Hambleton District Council, said: “The challenge for local councils often lies in systems integration in the back office. You can buy a highly-functional CRM system, for example, but to ensure that you get the benefits across the entire operation, you need to make certain it is integrated with every service area and that can be costly and time-consuming.” So, integration is a clear challenge if councils are to successfully roll out new digital offerings to their residents. But even implementing new systems will not be sufficient in itself. Councils need to ensure that technology helps rather than hinders them. Too many channels can simply result in more confusion. Poorlythought through processes can exacerbate problems by causing mistakes that increase call volumes with more time and effort spent untangling issues and concerns.

ls Counci o need t ey th ensure d what an understs want from er custom teraction and any in e customer map th correctly up journey front



Focusing on the customer experience A major part of the problem is a lack of understanding of the customer journey. Councils need to ensure they understand what customers want from any interaction and map the customer journey correctly up front, before layering in the additional channels they think are going to add value. Most customer journeys run horizontally across the organisation from start to finish. There’s a natural friction as one department hands off to another. The customer, or in the case of local government, the citizen, doesn’t see that. If your citizens have issues with their accommodation, they might call the council for advice. They may have issues with their rented accommodation, problems with council tax and housing benefit payments for example. To the resident, it’s a single problem. To the council it goes across multiple departments. So, the citizen sees this seamless A to B journey, but inside the council it’s a horrible hand off between every single department, and every time, there’s a hand off, that falls into the gap. Understanding the customer journey At Enghouse, when we sit down with people in the public sector, we always look at the top five citizen journeys: for example, revenue, payments, costs, lawsuits, regulation. We prioritise them and get those top five working brilliantly, then cut out the steps and smooth it out, using technology where appropriate. It sounds easy but the biggest problem with this is a cultural friction from department to department. Once you start layering in technology, people start to become defensive - i.e. what does this mean for my job? The people part, or the cultural part, is the fascinating piece of the puzzle. Often, the picture is complicated further by the need for central government agencies to play into it. As David Lewis, senior business transformation, and digital technology executive of the Government Digital Service, comments: “These hand offs are bigger than local. You have the Central

Striking a balance – Is there an optimal use of bots in councils today? Part of the issue councils face is relying too heavily on self-service. Ultimately, you can have a largely self-service model, but councils also need escalation paths. After all, they may have someone who can work their way through a self-service process no problem. But someone else might get halfway and then get stuck. Now what happens? It’s at that point

you need an escalation path to someone in the contact centre. Ideally, the context of what was done in the self-service channel is pulled over, so the customer isn’t asked to repeat answers. It’s a balance of how you shape the customer journey, and how you think about that in the design process. You

provide more information to staff. We don’t want our staff using printed documents. We want them to look at a screen, type a word, and be presented with a pathway, which they follow through, enabling them to provide help, without having to train them in the way we currently do.”

It is vital that residents can get the answers they need quickly and efficiently and that they don’t end up working their way through a complex process and finding that they have to abandon the interaction and start again have got to build the escape hatches back to the contact centre. Jo Holt, programme lead for Residents Access at Croydon Council, said: “The escape hatches, giving people options, letting the customer choose the best route for themselves, but making it as easy as possible, are all essential. It is vital that residents can get the answers they need quickly and efficiently and that they don’t end up working their way through a complex process and finding that they have to abandon the interaction and start again.” Building connections across the council Delivering a fast, effective service to council residents also involves building a connected customer service operation that helps agents resolve queries more quickly. As Holt explained: “We are looking at our CRM to

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Government picture (DVLA, Home Office, HMRC) that has to play a role here too.” Of course, in any discussion of the customer journey, the real-world experience of those customers that engage with the process is absolutely key. Somerset County Council, for example, focuses on getting feedback from local residents and staff to ensure that they are closely involved in ‘testing’ the whole process. According to Jan Stafford, strategic manager for Customers & Communities at the council: “We asked for volunteers, and it has been quite overwhelming the amount of people who want to do this. We don’t get them to do everything – we trial them and ask for their viewpoint. For instance, we might say: we are just about to launch our own website, can you have a go, tell us what it’s like? “Seeing the process through the customers eyes and trying to go through their journey was one of the most empowering exercises we’ve undertaken. For instance, when trying to apply for a concessionary bus pass we are not sure how many of our residents understand what the word ‘concessionary’ means, so we are looking to adjust some of the language we use to make it clearer as a result.”

There are other ways councils can build a more connected customer service approach such as using collaboration tools to triage calls out to domain experts in the middle and back office or out to the field. Also, bringing in new AI-driven technologies such as active listening applications, enables an automated bot to go off and pool information based on what it hears, effectively upscaling the agent in real time. According to Holt: “Local government service provision is hugely complex. At Croydon Council, we provide a wide range of services. It is all but impossible for a single agent to know and understand the intricacies of each and every one. As a result, any automated system that can learn and navigate all the complexity and help the agent find the key information the customer is looking for, will be indispensable.” E



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more informed service to the customer and answer queries more efficiently. As Hemali Cheema, customer contact centre manager at Croydon Council, says: “In our approach, we are looking at working with residents on early intervention and prevention, so how we deliver our frontline services will change considerably over time. “Frontline staff will be more knowledgeable and better able to deal with different requests from residents. That will change the way which we design our technology too.” Looking ahead Technology can bring far-reaching benefits across local government. But there is great pressure on councils to get it right. If something goes wrong in local government, it is inevitably very public and widely shared. As they implement new digital strategies, there will inevitably be challenges in the

way of councils who often have to deal with tight budgets and navigate complex legacy infrastructures. But as they evolve their service provision, councils can plot a positive route forward by focusing on the experience residents have in engaging with them and ensuring the customer journey is front and centre of their whole approach. They need to prioritise those top citizen journeys and get them working efficiently across the whole operation, with technology playing an appropriate and targeted supporting role. If they get that right, they will be a long way down the road towards efficient and effective service provision that meets the needs of their stakeholders and of every resident in their specific local area today. L

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 The connected enterprise approach is also about initiating an organisation-wide collaboration in order to provide a better service to the public. As the local authority starts to put more routine interactions through an automated or self-service mechanism, by definition what is left is awkward and ugly, as the customer will have tried to solve it themselves and couldn’t. Now they’re calling the council, and often, the only way the council can fix the problem is to collaborate – either within their organisation, sometimes with third-party suppliers and obviously with the citizen themselves. How do you pull all those people together in a collective dialogue? Councils need to understand how they address that awkward problem when it arrives as it inevitably will. Is it just emailing people? Is it getting everyone together in a meeting room? Is it using a popular and fast-growing collaboration environment like Microsoft Teams? There are lots of potential benefits here. But the key element for councils is whatever the ultimate choice, what’s the plan for today and tomorrow? Whatever the ultimate choice, the role of the frontline agent is likely to change. They will need new skills to handle different interactions and queries, to draw relevant information from the back office and from automated systems in order to provide a


There are other ways councils can build a more connected customer service approach such as using collaboration tools to triage calls out to domain experts in the middle and back office or out to the field



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Think you have exhausted all cost saving options? Have you done enough to reduce building energy overheads? Fronius Renewable Energy Solutions discuss how you can reduce them even further and protect your organisation from future price hikes for years to come

It’s not surprising that energy costs are a significant portion of an organisation’s overheads. Workstations, machinery, lighting, air conditioning, EV charging, the list of energy hungry appliances is exhaustive, but despite the development of more efficient technologies, we continue to encounter constant energy price increases and the emergence of new electricity-reliant innovations. Facility and energy managers are already on the case when it comes to renegotiating contracts and switching energy providers, or at least they should be. But it is possible to significantly reduce the business’ electricity costs much further, whilst also protecting it from rising energy costs. What you can achieve Installing Solar PV allows you to achieve immediate savings by producing your own green electricity, but with a considerable initial investment required and payback period that could take years, this has often led to companies considering the investment, but putting it off or deciding against it entirely. This is where leading solar inverter manufacturer, Fronius, has a solution. With their short and unique leasing model it is possible to achieve huge savings from day one, with zero upfront investment. Unlike Power Purchase Agreements, this model simply allows you to lease the equipment required to generate your own green electricity over a 15 year period,


with the option of ownership thereafter. Specialising in the highly efficient and intelligent conversion and control of energy for over 70 years, Fronius has partnered with some of the UK’s biggest brands to deliver financial savings, carbon reductions and energy independence. Beate Ruebig, managing director of Fronius UK, said: “We recognised that the upfront cost associated with a Solar PV installation was prohibiting companies from achieving enormous savings with the technology. Our vision is to see a future powered 100 per cent by renewables, so we wanted to open up the opportunity to businesses so they can produce their own green electricity and this spurred the creation of our unique lease offering that offers customers savings from day one and greatly reduces their carbon footprint.” Throughout the duration of the lease, the monthly fixed payments will be lower than the cost of that same electricity if purchased from the energy supplier at today’s rate kWh for kWh. (This is based on consumption remaining as per the original calculations in the quote and the accuracy of data provided to us). This enables you to make huge savings from the outset and protects you against increasing energy prices for years into the future. Furthermore – there is a production guarantee for the duration of the contract. This means that if the system produces less than guaranteed, a reimbursement will be issued for the underperformance – a risk-free arrangement.


Gone are the days of feed-in tariffs where the aim was to send as much electricity back to the grid as possible in exchange for a nice sum. Instead, the system should be sized to generate as precisely as possible the amount of electricity required to run the building within peak hours during the day. After completing a thorough analysis of the roof or land space available and current electricity usage, the optimal size and set-up can be established. A certified Fronius Service Partner will install the PV system to the highest specification. High quality engineering drives everything that Fronius does, so you can rest assured you’ll be getting the highest quality products from the very best manufacturers. There are no ongoing maintenance costs, this is all included. You won’t need to worry about maintenance or insurance of the system throughout the duration of the lease. It really is a win-win. Please note, the lease does not replace your electricity bill completely. Although the system is optimally sized for your building’s consumption, electricity required above that generated, or used in non-daylight hours will still be taken from the national grid and billed via the energy supplier. The message here is clear: Don’t miss out on the benefits of photovoltaics for your organisation because investment priorities lie elsewhere right now. More about Fronius Headquartered in Austria and established almost 75 years ago, the technology company has over 1,200 granted patents and over 4,760 employees worldwide. In the UK, Fronius has a large technology centre in Milton Keynes that houses their warehouse, tech support team, classrooms, product showroom and offices. The vision of the company is ‘24 Hours of Sun’ – with the goal to create a future where 100 per cent of the energy needs of the planet come from renewable sources. Dedicated to building products that will last a lifetime in the harshest conditions, all Fronius products go through extensive tests. Its high standards have named them quality leader in solar electronics since 2002.

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Energy Written by Jack Dobson-Smith, Solar Trade Association

Local authorities continue to shine a light for solar Jack Dobson-Smith explains why rooftop solar can play a large role in delivering the government’s net zero ambitions While national government continues to writhe in the quagmire of Brexit, local authorities are driving the deployment of renewables across a range of scales. From prolific deployment across the rooftops of homes and schools, to grand projects on iconic buildings, and large, subsidy-free solar parks which produce significant sums of power and revenue, innovative councils are leading the charge with projects of all shapes and sizes.

Borough Council, which is developing two at sites in York and Hull, with a combined capacity of 60.4MW of sun tracking bifacial solar panels – the first time this technology has been deployed in the UK. The York site will also feature a 27MW battery storage facility, the largest co-located solar and battery project in the UK so far. The £62.34 million project will produce enough clean electricity to power over 18,000 homes, supply the Many lo borough itself with 100 c al authori Raising revenue per cent green electricity with solar parks and cut its bills by turning ties are t o For starters, many local £2 million a year. l a scale so rgeauthorities are turning The Warrington l a r p arks as potenti to large-scale solar parks project is being funded al sourc as potential sources of by a Power Purchase o f i n come es income, in addition to their Agreement (PPA) where penchant for cutting carbon the local authority signs and energy bills. However, a long-term agreement to accolades for the most innovative buy the electricity generated project so far go to Warrington by the solar park to power its

own operations. This secures a revenue stream for the project to get financed, with no need for any government subsidy, and guarantees zero carbon electricity is being used by the local authority. Similar PPAs are being considered in many local authorities, including the City of London. However, for it to contribute to additional carbon reduction it is important that the PPA is for electricity from a new renewables development. There are many renewable PPAs being offered that effectively contract electricity from existing sites, which will not displace any fossil fuel generation and therefore not contribute towards meeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Solar parks are typically based on the lowest grade agricultural land, or brownfield sites. Several are being developed on repurposed sites unfit for human habitation or farming, such as Torfean Council’s 3MW project set to be deployed on a disused rubbish tip, following closely in the footsteps of West Sussex County Council, which unveiled the UK’s first truly subsidy-free solar park this time last year. The 7.4MW array is sited on a former landfill site and includes 4.4MW of battery storage. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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 Cutting energy bills with solar roofs Various projects making use of public roof space have sprung up over the years, including Hounslow Borough Council’s Western International Market which has the largest rooftop array put up by a local authority at 1.73MW plus 240kW of battery storage, and Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Bristol City FC, where a 117kWp array was funded by Bristol City Council a PPA. West Sussex and Portsmouth City councils win plaudits for prolific deployment, having put solar on more than 130 schools between them, with many others, such as Wokingham Borough Council, looking to follow suit. Tackling rising fuel poverty is a challenge that rests high up the agendas of many councils, and alongside energy efficiency approaches such as insulation and double or triple glazing, some have turned to solar technologies to help households cut energy bills. Hackney Borough Council has bold plans to deploy solar PV on 15,000 council houses following the formation of its very own ‘publicly-owned municipal energy company’, which intends to drive the supply and generation of renewable energy in the area and offer ‘significantly cheaper, clean energy to residents and generate income for the creation of a ‘social dividend’ from which all of the borough’s residents will benefit’. Nottingham City Council continues its roll-out of EU-funded hyper-efficient Energiesprong retrofitting, with another 155 homes to benefit in 2019 following a successful pilot scheme in the previous year. These homes feature well insulated roofs with integrated solar PV, enabling households to generate their own electricity. In other, harder to reach areas of the country, connecting to the gas grid costeffectively can be a challenge. One in three social homes in Mid-Devon District Council lack such a connection, and the local authority has turned to solar thermal in order to provide heating and hot water to almost 100 of these. Additionally, more

With climate change and the need for rapid decarbonisation to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 firmly in the hearts and minds of the public, many local authorities see solar as a solution than a third of social homes have had solar PV installed to cut electricity bills. For existing, privately owned homes, councils in London, Manchester and East Anglia have facilitated collective purchase schemes under the name Solar Together to deliver solar PV to thousands of households at below market rates. Dutch group buying experts iChoosr works with the local authorities to establish the level of interest in getting solar, then use this to inform and run a reverse auction. The economy of scale works in everyone’s favour – local authorities have solar deployed in bulk which cuts the carbon emissions tallied up in their locality, solar companies are able to factor in demand and bid for a significant batch of work, and homeowners get the most competitive deal possible on a new solar PV system, enjoying from savings made from ordering wholesale, and the assurance that their system is being installed by well-established and trusted businesses. Driving building standards and the EV future More than half of all local authorities have utilised planning powers to enforce building standards higher than those set by national government. One in six of these local authorities have designed policies which go well beyond national building standards, encouraging the development of properties that have considerably smaller carbon footprints than the average home. These new dwellings are less expensive to run owing to higher energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy technologies, such as solar and battery storage. Examples

of these standout new build developments can be found across the UK, in the likes of Plymouth, Milton Keynes and Nottingham. Councils are also increasingly looking at the challenge of decarbonising transport. Dundee is driving this agenda by investing in three electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs to power the 130 electric taxis, and their fleet of electric cars and vans, which is the largest of any local authority in the UK. These hubs, which are solar powered and feature battery storage, provide 300 charge points across the city, providing the infrastructure necessary for the impending EV revolution. Similar projects are in development in York and Braintree, which are set to gain the UK’s first ever solarpowered EV forecourts, which will have rapid charging points capable of taking modern EVs from zero to 100 per cent in 10 minutes. With climate change and the need for rapid decarbonisation to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 firmly in the hearts and minds of the public, many local authorities see solar as a solution. This affordable, popular and proven technology is increasingly being used by councils to cut carbon and energy bills, drive innovation and the transition to new technologies such as EVs and battery storage, raise revenue, and inspire a wealth of households to take their own action on climate change. In this subsidy-free era, the economics increasingly stack up. The opportunity is there for the taking. L FURTHER INFORMATION



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Effective, efficient, high performance lighting Streamlight® Inc. is a leading provider of high-performance lighting devices, offering a range of high-quality products especially for law enforcement, military and sporting goods

From the very beginning Streamlight ® Inc. has been defined by their innovation. They have delivered effective, efficient, high performance lighting solutions featuring the latest technology, unmatched performance, durability and incredible value. Streamlight earned their reputation one customer at a time. Listening to their customers is a key feature that reflects many decades of invaluable insight and understanding; this approach led to new ideas and the ‘Brilliant Thinking’™ that sets Streamlight apart. Knowledge and experience combined with their technical capabilities have allowed them to consistently lead the industry. Their performance lighting is trusted by law enforcement and military personnel the world over for a simple reason… It is the best. Streamlight’s innovative products have outstanding performance, the features that professionals need and the durability they can depend on. Streamlight understand that for law enforcement and military applications it is vital to have clear vision, not only to see what is in front but also what may be lurking in dark corners and along the peripheries and this is why they have developed bright lights that cast wide beams to illuminate entire areas. The Iconic Stinger was unleashed in 1993 and is the industry’s first category defining compact rechargeable flashlight. Its combination of size, performance and durability has made it the first choice of law enforcement professionals across the world. Streamlight’s Stinger series has continued to go from strength to strength and these high-performance lighting devices offer a range of high-quality products built with precision and performance especially for law enforcement and military personnel.


Streamlight Stinger LED HL® Streamlight Stinger LED HL is compact and extremely powerful. These rechargeable flashlights offer three microprocessorcontrolled intensity modes, strobe and the latest in high power LED technology. The Stinger LED HL has more lumens for brightness and a wider beam that lights up a whole area from side to side making it possible to see dangers hiding in the darkest corners, tunnels or alleyways. The Stinger LED HL has an unbreakable polycarbonate lens with scratch resistant coating and is O-ring sealed. The Stinger Switchblade® The Stinger Switchblade features an articulating blade that includes cool white LEDs for bright area illumination; High Colour Rendering Index (CRI) LEDs with the Streamlight proprietary Colour-Rite technology to better see the colour spectrum; and a UV LED for leak detection. The light can stand on its tail end with the light bar angled in any position. The Stinger Switchblade’s weighted base includes magnets for attaching the flashlight to metal surfaces for task-specific lighting. Two handy hooks, including an integrated retractable one, allow for different hanging options. Michael F. Dineen, Streamlight Vice President, Sales and Marketing, said: “The Stinger Switchblade is a multitasker’s dream work light. It’s five lights in one, including a drop light, hands-free light, bright white light, UV light and a colour matching light. you’ll use this light for everything.” The Stinger Switchblade uses cool white LEDs to deliver 800 lumens of bright white light; 90 CRI colour matching LEDs that offer 600 lumens; and a 390-400 nanometer UV LED that provides 500 mW. The new light uses a lithium ion 4400


mAh cell battery that can be recharged via a USB port or with any existing Stinger charger. Run times are 3.75 hours on both the cool white and 90 CRI LED settings, and 15 hours on the UV LED setting. The Stinger Switchblade offers a head‑mounted push-button switch for easy access and a rocky stipple texture for a sure grip. Manufactured of impact‑modified nylon, it also features a replaceable hard-coated polycarbonate lens. Weighing 17.1 ounces, the light measures 17 inches with light bar fully extended. When the bar is folded for compact storage, the light measures 9.8 inches. Featuring an IPX4-rated design for water resistant operation, the Stinger Switchblade is impact-resistant tested to one meter. USB Rechargeable products In addition to this, Streamlight also provides some of the newest trends in flashlight technology for law enforcement and Special Forces personnel to consider. This includes USB Rechargeable products that allow for maximum reliability and flexibility. USB rechargeable torches let you charge on the go from almost any USB power source, first responders can simply connect to a USB port, AC wall adaptor or use a USB charger that plugs into a patrol vehicle on board USB Port. The Streamlight 18650 USB lithium ion battery with an integrated micro USB charging port re-invents rechargeability by letting users change the battery outside of the flashlight, eliminating the need for a separate charger base. Flashlights that accept ‘dual fuel’ or multiple source battery back-ups are also a growing trend, offering the convenience of using either lithium or alkaline batteries, depending on availability or user preference. Streamlight continually enhance existing and introduce products, so law enforcement, tactical and other personnel should upgrade their flashlight products every two-three years to take advantage of these improvements. Doing so can make a real difference in terms of efficiency, productivity and safety on the job. All come with Streamlight’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. L FURTHER INFORMATION For additional information, visit or connect with us on; and

Facilities management Written by Russell Beattie, chief executive at FETA

Ensuring all buildings are as efficient as possible Russell Beattie tackles the issue of indoor air quality and the importance of heating and ventilation systems in ensuring buildings are as energy efficient as possible It is often said that a good football referee is We are now more than a decade on from one that is barely noticed during the game. We the introduction of the smoking ban, which could apply a similar logic to indoor air quality made it illegal to smoke in all enclosed work (IAQ), which refers to the air quality within places in England. Many office premises and around buildings and structures and how had already voluntarily banned smoking it affects the health and well-being of building years before amid public fears over passive occupants. Whether we are in an office, smoking, but the Wetherspoons pub chain factory, hospital, supermarket or restaurant, received a mixed response to its decision we expect the air we’re breathing to be fresh to make its pubs go smoke free in 2005. and clean, keeping us healthy and alert. If the It’s worth remembering that smoking indoor air is maintained at an appropriate indoors was once commonplace in the UK, not temperature, filtered and suitably just in pubs. Some seasoned journalists humidified, we are comfortable. may hark back to the days of If it is not, however, the signs working in busy Fleet Street are soon noticeable. newsrooms clouded in smoke, We strongly 20 years ago we and anyone who has visited thought nothing of the Churchill War Rooms that bo believe t h walking into a pub will have a reasonable i n door and ou or restaurant and idea of how key decisions t d quality oor air experiencing the thick during the Second World should aroma of fresh cigarette War were made from b c e onsider smoke mixing with the dark, largely unventilated linked i ed as old, stale fumes of the bunkers beneath the streets ssues past, with the smell still of London, during a time lingering on our clothes when you were more likely to when we got home later. be considered in the minority if

you didn’t enjoy a cigarette at your desk. We can confidently conclude therefore that IAQ was not particularly high on the agenda when it came to workplace design, compared to its growing significance today. Smoke, however, is not the only factor that can affect IAQ. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for IAQ, developed under the coordination of WHO/Europe, address three groups of issues that are most relevant for public health: biological indoor air pollutants (dampness and mould); pollutantspecific guidelines (chemical pollution); and pollutants from indoor combustion of fuels. Effects on health Poor IAQ can cause symptoms and illnesses ranging from minor irritation of the eyes to nausea. For many people, these symptoms may be little more than inconveniences that make them feel unhappy with their place of work or employer. For others, it can lead to more serious problems. Asthma sufferers are particularly vulnerable to many of the active factors that cause what is commonly known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), when people in a particular building or part of it feel their health is being affected by the building’s environment. These may include inadequate fresh air ventilation, uncontrolled temperature or relative humidity, emissions E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Taking responsibility There is a responsibility on employers to maintain good IAQ by reducing the number of potential sources of pollutants and by eliminating as much pollution as possible close to its source through adequate indoor air treatment. Studies have found that as much as 90 per cent of the day is spent indoors where the levels of some air pollutants are often far higher than outside. Consider the heat output of office equipment; all electrical equipment is marked with the electrical power it uses, which gives an indication of the amount of heat it will generate while in use. If possible, select equipment that has a ‘sleep’ mode which automatically reduces power consumption during periods of inactivity. There are simple, practical steps that we can all take to reduce our exposure, such as ensuring buildings are adequately ventilated, and making informed choices about the products we use: make sure that ozone filters are fitted to equipment where appropriate; specify soft furnishing and carpets with low emissions of volatile organic compounds; dedicated extraction equipment should be used to control fumes and emissions. The location of the exhaust vents should ensure that the fumes are not drawn back in to the building through the ventilation system.

Asthma sufferers are particularly vulnerable to many of the active factors that cause what is commonly known as Sick Building Syndrome, when people in a particular building feel their health is being affected by the building’s environment Consider using printing equipment that can use reduced solvent or solvent free inks; ensure any HVAC plant that recycles air is fitted with suitable filters to remove any pollutants that could have a detrimental effect on IAQ; and when specifying equipment, consider the ease of access for cleaning and maintenance, and also the ‘cleanability’ of the equipment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations with regard to maintenance and cleaning. By committing to cleaner technologies and making behavioural changes we can reduce the threats to health significantly. In our article last year on IAQ we explained the complexity in the regulation for IAQ, with various departments and organisations, including the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), Public Health England, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department for Transport (DfT), the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Education all collaborating on the issue, but with no real obvious lead responsibility being taken. Clean Air Strategy There was encouraging progress last year with the Clean Air Strategy consultation. The Clean Air Strategy consultation took place between May and August and invited views on actions to improve air quality by reducing pollution from a range of sources. Responses were submitted from 393 organisations and 207 individuals as well as 111 campaign responses and the finalised Clean Air Strategy was published by DEFRA on 14 January 2019, with a foreword by Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Although the Clean Air

Facilities management

 from office equipment and fluorescent lights, chemical pollutants, painted surfaces and synthetic furnishings. Other well known allergens in the workplace include dust and dust mites from carpets and office furnishings, dusts from wood, grains, leaves and other substances in a factory or shopfloor environment as a result of the manufacturing process, and also allergens carried into the workplace by other employees. Improving the quality of indoor air in the workplace means improved wellbeing and better health not just for asthma sufferers, but for everyone in the building. Studies on SBS have indicated a relationship between ventilation and air conditioning systems and the prevalence of SBS symptoms. Natural or mechanically ventilated buildings that do not use air-cooling or humidity control tend to have among the lowest recorded occurrences of SBS. This suggests that poorly maintained air conditioning systems may have an influence on SBS, possibly due to microbial growth within humidifiers and cooling units.

Strategy is about air pollution as a whole rather than just IAQ, it is evidence that the impact of poor air quality on people’s health is being given the attention it merits, and Section 6: Action to reduce emissions at home, goes into some detail to raise awareness of the causes of indoor air pollution. This chapter highlights the main forms of indoor air pollution: particulate matter (PM) and Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOCs). PM is produced by many forms of cooking and home heating, most notably from combustion in open fires and stoves. NMVOCs are emitted by a wide variety of chemicals that are found in carpets, upholstery, paint, cleaning, fragrance, and personal care products. While we commend DEFRA for focusing on the issue of outdoor air quality, we strongly believe that both indoor and outdoor air quality should be considered as linked issues. EVIA’s ‘Call to Action’ We have spoken previously of our support for the European Ventilation Industry Association’s (EVIA) hard work to push for the development of an assessment method for determining the impact ventilation systems have on IAQ. EVIA has recently produced an infographic and an eight-page EU manifesto titled ‘Good Indoor Air Quality Is A Basic Human Right’. The manifesto has been produced ahead of the EU elections being held in May with the aim being to raise the issue of IAQ with prospective new MEPs and Commission officers. Government correspondence In December 2018 FETA wrote to various government departments, including MHCLG, BEIS, DEFRA and PHE, to bring attention to an internal group created by FETA which aims to determine how we, as industry, can contribute to making real improvements in tackling some of the issues surrounding IAQ. This is undoubtedly a complex issue but we are pleased to see that, as part of the forthcoming review of Part F of the Building Regulations, the government is planning to review the evidence on indoor pollutants (such as non-methane volatile organic compounds and smoke from domestic burning) and recalculate ventilation rates to reflect any changes in this evidence. We are also pleased to see the formation of the Office for Environmental Protection, which will, we are told, hold the government to account for meeting air quality standards. L FURTHER INFORMATION



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Fleet management Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Written by Andy Eastlake, managing director of the LowCVP

A changing climate for fleet managers

possible. Against this backdrop one would maybe expect a significant ramping up in policies designed to accelerate the electric vehicle market, and indeed the CCC was very clear that this must be the case if we are to make the rapid progress needed. Some recent policy has been pulling in the opposite direction; when the continued freeze on fuel duty and unambitious VED decisions, combined with reductions to the Plug-in Car Grants were announced in late 2018 and we Andy Eastlake, managing director of the Low Carbon saw overall plug-in car sales rates drop in Vehicle Partnership, looks at what the increased focus on the first half of 2019 we were not surprised. our climate emergency means for those looking to green While sales of plug-in electric vehicles have been running at only around two per cent their driving experience of the new car market in recent months and while we are aware of restrictions You’d need to have been on a long retreat, Linked to the Net Zero 2050 objective, in supply and long delivery or avoiding the news (understandable, the government (in its Road to Zero times, we know that Growin perhaps, in the current circumstances!) strategy) has already announced there are a lot of new public p g not to have noticed the increased focus that it expects that the large products coming on tackling the climate and air quality majority of new cars and vans to the market. has resuressure emergencies over recent months. Greta sold from 2040 to be zero Manufacturers l t e d in the gov Thunberg’s zero carbon voyage across the emission vehicles. At the are also e r enshrin nment Atlantic, the school strikes and Extinction recent Conservative Party under intense Rebellion protests have coincided with further conference, the Transport pressure to Zero gr ing a Net eenhou stark warnings from scientists about the Secretary mooted the meet European se gas emissio state of our climate, air and planet and the prospect of bringing that targets to n prospects for humans and other species. target forward to 2035. reduce average for 205 s target 0 into Growing public pressure has resulted in Even the language new car CO2 UK law the government adopting proposals from around climate issues is emissions to 95g/ the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) changing. One leading national km by 2020/1. These and enshrining a Net Zero greenhouse gas newspaper has announced it will regulations offer extra emissions target for 2050 into UK law as henceforth refer to ‘global warming’ as credits for the sale of plug-in well as committing to a new Environment ‘global heating’ and rather than ‘climate cars and, if they are to avoid fines, bill. Some other countries are following change’ the preferred terms will be ‘climate the manufacturers will have to raise sales suit and Scotland and Wales have either emergency’ or ‘climate breakdown’. volumes considerably. Independent analysts declared, or are in the process of evaluating, So, what does all this mean for fleet suggest that this means that manufacturers the implementation of earlier Net Zero managers and business vehicle operators? are gearing up to ensure that around five targets. While it’s unlikely to make the It’s clear that change is coming fast… per cent of vehicle sales are of the plug-in General Election manifesto, delegates at this and it may come faster than you expect. variety in 2020, rising to 10 per cent in 2021. year’s Labour Party conference voted for the Indeed, many voices are calling for it It was a great blessing then, when the introduction of a 2030 Net Zero target. to happen faster than currently seems recent announcement on Company Car Tax E


To be more competitive, make sure you get fleet fit

The challenges involved in managing the company fleet have never been more complex; and yet the responsibility for doing so will often fall upon executives without any specialist knowledge or experience. Finance directors, HR directors, general managers can all find themselves tasked with maximising the efficiency of car, commercial or often mixed fleets. When the common corporate objectives are to improve fleet performance while reducing costs and maintaining a car policy that will attract and retain staff, where do fleet managers start? How do they analyse their current fleet efficiency and develop a strategy that will deliver a higher-performance fleet?

The answer could be available from Daimler Fleet Management which is introducing a new level of fleet management support called “Fleet Fit”. The service incorporates a complete Fleet Fitness test that will review every aspect of a company’s current fleet performance to identify areas for potential improvement and savings. According to Daimler Fleet Management’s managing director, Patricia Wolfe: “We have a highly experienced team of fleet management specialists. They act as personal fitness coaches who will work with our customers to review the results of their fitness tests and create bespoke development programmes to improve their fleet performance and make them even more competitive.”

These Fleet Fitness coaches use the independent and highly rated Deloitte software as part of their testing and also to establish the financial savings a company can achieve, especially in terms of whole life costs. They then provide ongoing coaching to help the company implement their fleet development programme. As Patricia Wolfe explains: “When a company becomes ‘Fleet Fit’ they will have the agility and capability to respond better to future changes in legislation, taxation and technology, while maintaining maximum fleet efficiency.” Working with their fitness coaches will also enable fleet operators to increase their fleet management skills and better understand the new vehicle technologies and opportunities available. Daimler Fleet Management believe that Fleet Fitness helps to reduce fleet costs and risks, increase fleet reliability and make fleets more efficient. Whatever the size of your fleet, if you want it to become leaner and fitter, perhaps you should look at getting Fleet Fit with one of Daimler Fleet Managements fitness coaches. For more information and to book a fitness test, visit FURTHER INFORMATION

Is your fleet performing at its best? Get in touch with our mobility experts and get your fleet fit for tomorrow. #befleetfit



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Fleet management

 meant that zero emission models will pay no tax in 2020/1, one per cent in 2021/2, before returning to two per cent in 2022/3. This coincided with the delivery of a plethora of Tesla Model 3’s into the UK market which culminated in pure battery electric car sales effectively doubling in August and September and overtaking the plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) for the first time in five years. The benefits of driving electrically have long been understood by the passionate minority but now seem to be gathering mainstream traction with traditional motoring media and, hopefully, with the public at large. The LowCVP is working with other stakeholders to help ensure that car buyers can appreciate the significantly lower costs of vehicle ownership which, in many cases, can more than offset higher purchase prices or monthly lease costs. Already, for many people, an electric car is the best environmental and financial choice. In addition to the Plug-in Car Grant, there are a range of incentives to encourage the installation of effective recharging facilities which is perceived as one of the major barriers to uptake (though growing vehicle range capabilities are now somewhat offsetting this concern). Of particular interest to employers with sizeable fleets will be the Workplace Charging Scheme and, possibly, the Electric Vehicle Home Charge Scheme. There are also specialist grant schemes to encourage the uptake of greener buses (the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme) and for infrastructure to support for taxis and private hire fleets (ULEV Taxi Infrastructure Scheme). We now also have the first trucks eligible for the extended Plug-in Van Grant and, under Clean Air Zone (CAZ) schemes, funding to support the retrofitting of existing vehicles to reduce emissions to Euro VI levels. The official support available for vehicles of all types is probably now greater than it has ever been (and likely can’t last forever!). For infrastructure, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has been running a consultation to inform a strategic view of what a national electric vehicle charging network

should look like. The findings are due to be published this Autumn, but we can speak from a position of knowledge that there is a joined-up and strategic approach underway to build an energy system to support a future of mass electric vehicle uptake. Leading from the front Given this public pressure, government policy and support, fleet operators working in the public sector will be expected to lead from the front. Last year’s Road to Zero strategy set out a commitment to make all central government cars electric by 2030, electrifying at least 25 per cent of the fleet by 2022. Many local authorities, regional public bodies and others are making their own commitments based on local circumstances. The Welsh Government, for example, has set a challenging ambition to have a zero-emission bus, taxi and private hire vehicle fleet by 2028. National incentives are increasingly being backed up by local measures, many of them targeting local air pollution but driving fleet operators and car buyers in a similar direction. London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been successfully introduced with what seems only minimal opposition. The first four months of the scheme have resulted in a third fewer polluting vehicles entering the zone than in the same period before the scheme’s introduction. There have been administrative delays in the introduction of the first planned Clean Air Zones (CAZ) which will charge for access in Leeds and Birmingham, but these are likely to be enforced next year and other low emission and Clean Air Zones that will limit access to older and dirtier vehicles are likely to be coming down the road. Operators of fleets needing access to these areas need to stay abreast of these and related local developments or, better, ensure that they are future-proofed by operating vehicles that meet all the likely requirements which, in several cases, could be zero emissions in the medium-term.

For some operators, particularly of commercial vehicles, the cost of introducing new vehicles before the normal replacement cycle may be prohibitive. Operators needing, or likely to need, access to the ULEZ, CAZ or other low emission zones should consider the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS) which has been designed by the LowCVP and which is operated by the Energy Saving Trust. With so much choice and change afoot, it can be daunting for fleet managers to know what options might best fit and when to make the jump. This is where the LowCVP guides its members and experience (and our colleagues in the Energy Saving Trust team) can help. Our role in developing the evidence for government policy gives us a unique insight into how different technologies actually operate in the real world. The LowCVP’s Clean Vehicle Technology Guide provides an in-depth explanation of the proven retrofit technology solutions and suppliers that have been approved under the CVRAS, demonstrating - over a robust and representative test cycle - that they can help existing vehicles achieve Euro 6/VI-equivalent emissions levels. For van and taxi operators the LowCVP has produced similar guides to support operators and inform them about the options available. The Low Emission Van Guide and Low Emission Taxi Guide, for example, are both available through the LowCVP website, providing links to the key sources of information. Coming later this year will be our guide to renewable transport fuels, an often overlooked but potentially very significant contributor to reducing carbon impact in the very near term because of its application across the entire road vehicle fleet. So, change is coming and likely to come fast. There are many good reasons to make the transition and significant support for those who take the initiative to do so as soon as they reasonably can. L FURTHER INFORMATION




Tees Valley: Buses on demand Heather Scott, cabinet lead for Transport for the Tees Valley Combined Authority, looks at what the new ‘demandresponsive’ bus service could mean for the region Public transport can be a lifeline for those There is also the problem of getting reliable, without access to a car. If those people live regular services to rural areas. We need to in an isolated or rural community, regular make sure each and every one of our residents bus services are vital to help them go about can get to work, education and attractions, to their day-to-day lives. We are looking to be able to live a successful, rewarding life here. revolutionise bus travel in the region, with a Additionally, there are issues surrounding new demand-responsive service which will a complex fares and ticketing system across serve the third of our residents currently not different operators, which can deter people within walking distance of a regular service. from using buses, alongside worsening Tees Valley is an area made up of five congestion impacting on punctuality and boroughs – Darlington, Hartlepool, reliability. Further integration with other Middlesbrough, Redcar & transport types and operators Cleveland and Stockton-onwould only strengthen our offer. Further Tees – consisting of major integra urban areas giving way to t dramatic coastlines and other tr ion with beautiful countryside. types a ansport However, with these nd o dramatic views come would perators rural villages and strengt only isolated residents. h Tees Valley Combined our offeen r Authority aims to drive an additional £2.8 billion into the region’s economy and support the creation of 25,000 jobs by 2026, transforming our region. Led by the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, we are doing just that, with powers over transport, strategic investment, post-19 education, employment and skills and business support. It’s all well and good creating jobs and taking control of a £29.5 million budget for adult education but it means nothing if our local people can’t access these opportunities. For context, some 31 per cent of all households in Tees Valley do not own a car. By comparison, 94 per cent of the population is within walking distance of a bus service, and 66 per cent is within walking distance of a regular bus service. Buses are the main mode of public transport in the region, with around 19,000 people relying on them to get to work. There is a huge scope and responsibility to not only make sure our bus services work for the residents that need them most, but also encourage people to leave their cars at home. High quality, reliable and affordable bus services can do this, reducing traffic levels on main routes into our town centres and cutting harmful vehicle emissions. While 90 per cent of bus users are satisfied with the service overall, only 76 per cent stated they were satisfied with punctuality and this figure is decreasing. So is the amount of journeys taken by our residents, with 28 million, or around 600,000 per week, in 2017/18, a drop of 13 per cent since 2012/13.



Ten-year Strategic Transport Plan Luckily, we have the powers to do something about this and deliver a more punctual, affordable, integrated, cleaner and modern service for all. As part of our devolution deal with government, we were given control over transport in the region, so that decisions for local people can be made by local people, with money spent on local priorities. In January, the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority Cabinet agreed a £588.2 million, ten-year Investment Plan, including £256.7 million to transform our transport infrastructure. To deliver this, we developed a detailed ten-year Strategic Transport Plan which sets out our vision for transport in the Tees Valley. This plan not only covers buses but also every aspect of getting around, from roads and rail to air and sustainable travel. It views transport as a means to an end, not an end in itself, with interconnectivity at its heart. It examines major themes of national rail, major roads, connecting centres, unlocking key sites, and local journeys while delivering social equity and protecting and enhancing the environment.

The first way in which the plan is addressing our issues is by introducing a three-year pilot for a new ‘Uber-style’ demand-responsive bus service, announced by the Mayor earlier this year. It covers rural areas of Darlington, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar & Cleveland and will allow passengers to book a journey in advance on either a smartphone app, via a website or over the telephone. Algorithms then match passengers travelling in the same direction and schedule vehicles in real-time to find the optimal route for their trip. The service will use small high-quality minibuses and, unlike a traditional bus service, there are no fixed routes – important when not all of our residents live on or near

bus routes. Instead journeys are determined by where passengers want to go within a predefined geographical service area. The technology will also help provide more public transport options for passengers going to and from Teesside International Airport, which was recently brought back into public ownership and has a ten-year rescue plan of its own. A provider has now been procured for this, with a view to be running early next year. If successful, there is the potential to extend the service into other rural and isolated areas. A more comprehensive network While we look to plug the gap in more distant communities, we’re continuing to work with bus operators to develop

a partnership agreement to improve the bus service offer for the residents of Tees Valley. By working alongside operators and local authorities, we’re striving to deliver a more comprehensive network, an improved ticketing offer across all operators and co-ordinate services between timetables, including rail services, as well as activity between authorities outside of Tees Valley. Targeted investment is key to getting more people on board. This includes funding for our road network, specifically at major delay points to improve reliability, and cash to improve facilities such as bus stops and shelters and better provide bus information at those stops. Most of all, this funding must be consistent to provide continuity. It must not be stop-start. Improving key pinch points along our road network will benefit drivers too. We have identified our own 888-mile Key Route Network. This is central to economic growth. Work is currently progressing to enhance the current major north-south and eastwest routes which serve key sites within our region, including a new crossing on the River Tees to lighten the pressure on the A19, a key trunk road. This scheme was hugely well received at public consultation level, and we’re very close to submitting a business case to government for funding to make it a reality. We are working to upgrade our rail network for both passengers and freight. The Tees Valley Mayor has pledged £45 million to kick-start the redevelopment of Darlington and Middlesbrough rail stations to increase capacity for local, national and freight journeys and futureproof them for potential projects such as National Powerhouse rail. More support for greener, healthier local journeys will accompany our commitment to create good-quality, accessible and integrated cycling and walking networks. This will not only make them safer and better maintained, but encourage healthier travel choices, improve air quality and add to our leisure offering for visitors. For those still finding transport a barrier to employment, we have committed £180,000 to a ‘Wheels 2 Work’ scheme. This offers scooter and electric bike hire as well as training at reduced rates to help people get to work. It has proven to be a huge success and is growing in popularity. Plans for the future of our bus network, and wider transport aspirations, have not been developed in isolation. We have carried out a lot of research, alongside our many strategic partners and five local authorities. Following our public consultation, the Strategic Transport Plan will be published early next year. Buses on demand will play a huge part in our new and improved transport network for those in the most isolated communities. This will sit alongside partnership working with operators as part of an innovative and joined-up transport network that our residents, businesses and visitors deserve. L


There is a huge scope and responsibility to not only make sure our bus services work for the residents that need them most, but also encourage people to leave their cars at home




A company with a Vested® interest in their customers ISS has adopted the Vested® principles to develop closer working partnerships with their customers by delivering mutual benefit to both businesses As a company that constantly seeks out innovation, ISS has adopted the Vested® principles to develop closer working partnerships with their customers by delivering mutual benefit to both businesses. This approach fits nicely with the close working partnerships that are so essential within the public sector. Vested® is a business model based upon award-winning research conducted by the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration and funded by the U.S. Air Force. The methodology has been claimed to have a transformational potential that can rival that of Lean and Six Sigma. These are bold claims, but ISS took the principle that if they are working in true partnership with their customers, the approach should be ‘What’s in it for We’ not ‘Me’. This means working on some common understandings.

expertise to develop solutions that create efficiencies without degradation to services.

The what and not the how ISS’ ability to innovate is borne from a sense of empowerment, allowing everyone to come up with great ideas without any fear of criticism. Their vast experience across the World, in so many different sectors, allows them to apply their expertise to benefit the client body or department.

manage the progress of the desired outcomes together and on an ongoing basis, rather than the traditional contractual relationship that relies on the customer spending effort on managing the contract provider and not enough on their joint desired outcomes. Adopting Vested® principles has helped ISS create a culture in which the promotion and recognition of behaviours that support their joint objectives with their customers can be celebrated. ISS works hard to ensure that their employees understand the joint expectations. This helps to reduce the occurrence of issues and ensure that the local management team address those that arise promptly, in collaboration with the customer’s staff and key stakeholders.

Agree on clearly defined and measurable outcomes It is important that both parties jointly define their desired outcomes so that everyone can focus on measuring what matters most to the service delivery, not the traditional measures that create significant activity but not enough value.

Honesty: For any partnership to be productive, cohesive and ultimately successful, trust in one another is essential. ISS want their customers to be able to count on them, so they welcome and value open and honest feedback every day. Only by doing this can they continuously improve their productivity and deliver exceptional services.

Pricing models with incentives that optimise the business Both partners need to see a fully transparent pricing model with incentives based on overall cost, not just price. ISS’ approach is to create the right behaviours and cultures for the local team. This achieves lasting and sustainable efficiencies that are not detrimental to the quality of service.

Transparency: Every day, using these principles, ISS provides key information relevant to their services. Tapping into their global R&D opportunities ISS has developed for a 24/7 near real-time reporting dashboard that can deliver key information to keep important service indicators on track and provide their service users timely and responsive services. The partnership can then use the data for trend analysis as a platform for continuous improvement. This approach can also be applied when having to look at efficiency savings or cost reductions, allowing the company’s

Improvement: As a service market leader, with over 35 years’ experience of working within the Public Sector, ISS has developed a unique, award-winning style in working in partnership to deliver their customers’ needs now and into the future, adapting to the changing environment. This has led to high levels of customer satisfaction; their last Customer Experience Survey produced a Net Promoter Score of +67 (when +40 is considered world class). This has been built on understanding the customer’s purpose: that purpose is then adopted completely by ISS. Through their Touchpoints@ISS tool, they map the service users’ journeys at each location and design their delivery with enhanced user experience at every service touch point. L

Focus on outcomes, not transactions By creating a shared vision and jointly defining high-level desired outcomes, the partnership can focus their efforts on creating appropriate service user, staff and visitor experiences and not on measuring traditional contracting inputs.

Insights vs oversight structure By basing the partnership on mutual respect and accountability, both businesses can jointly



Loyalty: To ensure a long-term success, the Vested® principles expect the partnership to remain invested in the customer’s purpose, in this case, the best Hard or Soft FM delivery that are relevant to the customer’s business environment. ISS again works hard to instil loyalty in every member of their team, ensuring they view the customer’s purpose as their own. Commitment: A successful partnership demands a highly motivated, goal-oriented management and service delivery team that work together as a single unit, committed to excellence, delivering the customer’s goals daily.


Play Written by Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries

Investment needed in public outdoor play provision New research by the Association of Play Industries shows that parents are increasingly concerned about the shift from outdoor play to indoor screen time. Here, Mark Hardy explores the effect the decline in public playgrounds is having on children Today’s children are facing an entirely new childhood experience. Movement for many is minimal in comparison to previous generations, particularly free, unstructured outdoor play. Movement and play are essential for normal development and for children’s physical and mental health. We are facing a shocking rise in childhood obesity and mental health problems in young people. The API’s Nowhere To Play research in 2016 and again in 2018 showed an alarming decline in the number of public playgrounds in England. By 2020/21 there will have been a decrease in spend on play facilities of 44 per cent since 2017/18. Since 2014, local authorities have closed a total of 347 playgrounds across England.

A toxic cocktail ‘pushed’ away from outdoor play because The dominance of digital culture of the decline in public playgrounds. has created a strong Our latest research shows that inducement for children parents are worried about how to stay indoors, and, at their children are spending The rea l i t the same time, there their leisure time. The API y i s that, is a dramatic and commissioned a survey of i na heavily sustained reduction 1,111 parents through urbanis in public outdoor Mumsnet – the UK’s ed society, public play provision. As biggest website for playgro unds re the overwhelming parents. Parents with ally do matter majority of UK children aged between an children live in two and 12 were asked must std play urban areas, this about their children’s ay is a toxic cocktail; screen time and outdoor play children are being ‘pulled’ habits and the survey revealed indoors by screens and that nine out of 10 parents who E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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The dominance of digital culture has created a strong inducement for children to stay indoors, and, at the same time, there is a dramatic and sustained reduction in public outdoor play provision  were not close to a playground said that having access would make their child play outside more. Of those with access to a playground, 61 per cent said it does make their child play outside more and over half of parents (53 per cent) said more access to playgrounds would make their child more active. Almost half of them said that their child prefers screen time over other activities and said they find it difficult to persuade their child to leave their screen. Meanwhile, 69 per cent of parents of 10 to 12-year-olds said their children preferred screen time over other activities. The impact on children’s mental and physical health The survey also showed that parents are worried about the impact the lack of outdoor play is having on their children’s mental and physical health. 72 per cent of parents of children with health issues such as obesity said that the lack of outdoor play facilities in their area has played a role in their children’s problems. Over a quarter of parents surveyed with children experiencing mental health problems said that the lack of outdoor play facilities in their area has played a role in their children’s difficulties, and 26 per cent of parents with children who have sleep problems say that a lack of outdoor play facilities in their area has played a role in their children’s sleep difficulties. Children are hardwired to play. From their

early years, they naturally gravitate towards movement, play, activity and fun. It is how children learn about themselves and the world around them. Without it they are missing something fundamental. However, the freedom of outdoor play is being replaced with sedentary, solitary and prolonged screen time. In one of the most densely populated, urbanised countries in Europe, with evershrinking opportunities for children to play outdoors, playgrounds play a crucial role in improving children’s movement levels and, in turn, their mental and physical health. Playgrounds uniquely provide a safe, traffic-free environment in and around our towns and cities and for many children they represent their only chance for outdoor play. Urban playgrounds are essential Playgrounds have been an integral part of the childhood experience for generations and have perhaps been taken for granted. Increasingly however, playgrounds are being closed and more often than not, when a playground is lost it is lost forever. Unless there is urgent and sustained investment in public play provision, we are in danger of extinguishing one of the primary ways children can benefit from movement. The provision of safe, accessible and stimulating playgrounds is not a luxury; for millions of children they are essential to their current and future health. For policymakers, the funding of public

playgrounds should be a priority because they are both prevention and cure; playgrounds fulfil a unique role in improving children’s movement, social interaction, fitness and physical and mental health. There is a bank of research supporting not only the importance of outdoor play for health, but the central role playgrounds have in providing these opportunities. A recent European study of four to 12-year-olds concluded that physical and social environmental factors determine children’s physical activity and outdoor play hence ‘playgrounds are important requirements for being physically active.’ Playgrounds were also found to ‘constitute important settings for children to play, experience and interact with their social and physical environment, recognise and test their own abilities, and develop social, physical, and motoric skills.’ The researchers reinforced another aspect in that playgrounds ‘facilitate positive experiences’ such as fun, self-efficacy, social interaction, creativity, and physical ability and may contribute to ‘increased levels of energy expenditure in children.... In summary, playgrounds seem to be places for boys and girls to be physically active and to interact with other children ... they could benefit with respect to their ... health outcomes.’ (Reimers et al 2018). A study on the link between outdoor play and ‘internalised mental health symptoms’ among 29,784 students aged 11–15 years, found that even spending (on average) more than 30 minutes a week outdoors was associated with a 24 per cent lower rate of ‘high psychosomatic symptoms.’ (Piccininni et al 2018). Playgrounds – the only chance for play As we lose community playground provision it is ever more incumbent on us all to halt the decline. The majority of children live in urban areas and for these children playgrounds represent their only opportunity to play outdoors freely, frequently and safely. As schools squeeze break times and chances for outdoor play decline, public playgrounds are taking on an even greater significance. The Play Must Stay campaign’s objective is clear – urgent and sustained investment from government to reverse the decline in outdoor play provision and secure its future for generations to come. Play Must Stay As a resource to foster the positive physical and mental health of children – through movement and outdoor play – the role of playgrounds in the community should not be under-estimated. For a relatively modest investment now, the health and well-being of children would benefit greatly for years to come. The reality is that, in a heavily urbanised and digitally dominated society, public playgrounds really do matter and play must stay. L FURTHER INFORMATION



Christmas incentives

How to keep staff motivated in the run up to Christmas On behalf of the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, Michael Dawson looks at how employers can boost morale and maintain staff productivity as thoughts begin to turn to Christmas shown that December is actually the most stressful time of the year for 42 per cent of workers, while another survey found that 23 per cent of UK employees feel more stressed in the run up to Christmas. This is partly due to the fact that December is one of the shortest working months, with as few as 20 working days, due to Bank Holidays. This, coupled with the fact many workplaces are closed between Christmas and New Year, means employees are often under huge pressure to get all their work done and ensure targets Why is motivation particularly are met before the end of the year. low around Christmas? It’s also likely that many While it may be that some of the people face increased decline in productivity around financial worries over Researc Christmas can be attributed the festive period, h has sho to people entering holiday with the average w n that Decemb mode, it’s important to bear household spending e in mind that there are also an extra £500 the mo r is actually s t a number of other, more in December s t r es time of serious, contributing factors. compared with the yea sful r for International research has other months. 42

per c of work ent ers

And with public sector employees less likely to receive a Christmas bonus than their private sector counterparts, they may feel forced to turn to credit cards, savings or even payday loans to cover the additional cost. So, what can be done? In order to improve staff morale in December, employers should look to introduce measures that will specifically tackle these issues. Offer incentives Incentives and rewards are a great way to improve employee motivation and combat stress in the workforce over Christmas, helping to keep morale and productivity high. Research we carried out found that 65 per cent of UK workers would be motivated to work harder if they received an individual cash bonus or gift card from their employer. So, what are the most effective incentives and rewards? Well, research has shown almost half (47 per cent) of UK workers stated that they would most appreciate E


Written by Michael Dawson, CEO at One4all Rewards

It’s well known that maintaining workplace productivity in the run up to Christmas can be challenging. This means that employers must work even harder to find ways to keep staff motivated, productive and engaged throughout December. In order to establish which perks, incentives and rewards can really make a difference, it’s important to first take the time to understand exactly what contributes to lower productivity over the festive period.


Modern-day risk: ensuring safe and prompt building evacuation The days of taking a tick‑box response to managing health and safety risk are over. Buildings and the way they are being used are changing and there are also emerging risk factors such as technological innovations, the growth in inclusivity, and even terrorism. All of these developments are prompting changes to the way in which organisations prepare for and manage health and safety risks, and specifically for the emergency evacuation of buildings. Safe evacuation – Contrary to popular belief, the safe and prompt evacuation of any building is not the responsibility of the emergency services, instead it is a designated ‘responsible person’ who must ensure that every occupant within a building is able to exit the building safely in the event of an emergency. Clear leadership and ownership of emergency planning and evacuation is

essential to ensure that planned procedures are effective in protecting the health and safety of a building’s occupants, including those with mobility issues. Strong leadership and clear communication are fundamental when it comes to changing behaviours to address emerging risk scenarios because they facilitate the preparation of inclusive evacuation plans

and ensure that everyone is clear about their role and responsibility. in the event of an emergency. Adapting to the changing nature of risk – It is important to ensure that people are at the heart of the plans. Emergency evacuation is not a ‘one-size’ fits all approach, it needs to cater for all of the different needs of the building’s occupants – especially those who are mobility-impaired. A site assessment to identify risks and recommend the best approaches to evacuation should always be the starting point. Best practice should be imbedded into the culture of an organisation in order to highlight the benefits that effective planning can have on both internal and external business reputation. It is also important to ensure that awareness of the evacuation procedures are widely communicated and understood. FURTHER INFORMATION

Motivate, inspire, reward

Employee incentives are proven to increase motivation, improve morale and boost performance and loyalty.

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Incentives and rewards are a great way to improve employee motivation and combat stress in the workforce over Christmas, helping to keep morale and productivity high  a bonus or reward not linked to their performance at Christmas. Gift cards and vouchers, which remain as popular as ever amongst consumers according to a 2019 report by the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA), can be a great alternative to cash, which is more likely to be swallowed up by other everyday expenditures. Gail Cohen, director general at the UKGCVA, explains: “Gift cards and vouchers offer an ideal solution for employers looking to motivate their staff by acknowledging their effort and hard work. They are particularly effective at Christmas, when budgets are stretched, as they give staff the opportunity to treat themselves to something fun without having to worry about the impact on their finances. “Finding a reward to suit every employee can be difficult, with some wanting experiential rewards, and others preferring physical gifts, for example. Multi-store gift cards easily overcome this issue, giving staff the freedom and choice to redeem their reward as they wish. By offering a card that can cater for a wide range of tastes, employers are effectively providing a reward that is unique to each recipient. “More and more employers are beginning to recognise the value of gift cards as a reward, with our latest State of the Nation report revealing that the UK’s B2B gift card market has grown an impressive 20.5 per cent year-on-year, reflecting their popularity amongst workers.” If particular focus is needed – say a certain target needs to be hit, or a specific team needs a push, it is worth setting clear targets relating to these in the run up to Christmas, which are challenging but achievable – although it’s worth noting that bonuses or gifts given to staff in exchange for meeting targets aren’t eligible for HMRC’s trivial benefit exemption. Christmas reward schemes should also be communicated clearly to all employees via a variety of channels, including in meetings and via notice boards, as well as with emails and newsletters, to ensure maximum engagement.

How to keep staff motivated in the run up to Christmas Organise a Christmas celebration. A work Christmas party can be a nice way to let people unwind, bond, and make them feel valued. Although socialising with colleagues may not be for everyone, one survey found that 65 per cent of UK workers enjoy attending their annual Christmas party, and 69 per cent say that it helps them to build friendships with co-workers. Despite this, while around two thirds of private sector employers provide their employees with a Christmas event, just 33 per cent of employers in the public sector do likewise. This could be due to budget cuts, but a celebration doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive – lunch in a local restaurant followed by festive drinks can be just as fun as an evening do in a fancy venue. Encouraging employees to get into the festive spirit for the rest of the month can also help to improve employee engagement. This could include decorating the office, running best decorated desk competitions, organising team lunches, putting on a festive fancy dress day or setting some friendly Christmas-related competitions, like the best cracker joke. Plan in advance to ease pressure As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. While rewards and incentives can be a really effective way to boost motivation during the festive slump, managers should also look for ways to stop productivity from falling in the first place. An increased workload in the run up to Christmas can be very dangerous for morale; if not planned for adequately, it can result in many employees needing to stay late or work overtime. With so many social engagements and other commitments likely taking place in December, this can easily lead to resentment among staff, and low levels of productivity. Luckily, unlike other busy periods which can crop up unexpectedly, Christmas offers the benefit of foresight. This means that, with some careful planning and teamwork in the preceding months, the pressure can be eased

Allocate annual leave fairly Annual leave can be a real bone of contention around the Christmas period. There can be fierce competition over days off, with many people understandably wanting to take as much leave as possible in order to spend time with family and friends, while others may be frantically trying to use up any holiday entitlement they have left before it expires at the end of the year. This leaves those who are not off to pick up the slack, further adding to workloads. In order to prevent staff feeling demotivated, the Christmas annual leave policy should be made as fair as possible. It may be necessary for managers to restrict leave in December, to prevent departments from being short-staffed. If this is the case, it should be communicated to staff earlier in the year, so that they have enough time to organise social plans accordingly. When it comes to allocating leave, it can be almost impossible to please everyone but there are a few approaches that can help to minimise any bad feeling. Managers should try to ensure as many people as possible have at least one day off, and it may be fair to offer those who were not granted leave the previous year first refusal this year.

Christmas incentives

for everyone. The earlier preparation starts, the better, as it will enable managers to distribute tasks fairly, over a longer period of time. This should make it easier to meet targets without the need for anyone to stay late.

Consider flexible working Research has shown that people spend an average of 270 hours preparing for Christmas, and much of the activity takes place in December, with shopping to finish, nativity plays to attend, and family members to visit. If annual leave is tight, then it can be difficult for people to balance getting ready for Christmas with their work-related responsibilities. Flexible working policies could provide an ideal solution, enabling individuals to complete their work commitments while also factoring in their personal obligations. Leaving early, starting late or having longer lunch breaks can help employees manage their festive arrangements, get their Christmas shopping done, recover from Christmas parties, and spend extra time with their family and friends. This means that they are more focused and productive when they are at work. It’s also worth considering cutting the working day short if possible, particularly on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, in order to boost morale amongst those who weren’t able to book the time off as annual leave. While special treats at Christmas can go a long way to boosting motivation, it’s also important to bear in mind that staff should be treated well all year round, with a comprehensive rewards and incentives programme in place. This will lay a solid foundation, making it more likely that staff will be happy to support each other and work as a team when the going gets tough. L FURTHER INFORMATION



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London Build Expo

Celebrating a festival of construction in London London Build has firmly established the reputation as the leading construction show in the UK. Taking place on 27 November at London’s Olympia, Government Business looks ahead to the show Homes England has agreed funding deals widening the use of smaller builders on worth £38.2 million with six local authorities publicly owned land. to speed up the construction of at least New sites set to benefit from LAAC funding 2,072 homes across the country. Awarded include land at Locking Parklands, Westonthrough the government’s £350 million Super-Mare, where North Somerset Council Local Authority Accelerated Construction will receive over £9.8 million of LAAC funding (LAAC) programme, the funding will be for infrastructure to bring forward 425 used by the local authorities to invest in new homes, at least 30 per cent of which infrastructure, enabling works to get 13 sites will be affordable. Another of the sites, in ready for the development of new homes. Winsford, Cheshire, will benefit from over Local authorities awarded funding are £4.5 million LAAC funding to accelerate encouraged to use both local SMEs and the construction of 310 homes, including modern methods of construction a 60-home extra care scheme. (MMC) – from factory fabricated components to 3D modular London Build London construction – on London Build is free to Build fo their sites, to reflect attend and features c u s e s on show the government’s more than 500 the adv casing commitment speakers, 350 to investing in exhibitors, 25,000 being a antages of infrastructure and registered attendees, wom co

nstru an in to have ction, and str iv a line-up strong females e in it programs content me

a Festival of Construction and extensive networking opportunities. Packed full of content, knowledge-sharing, entertainment and networking opportunities, the show offers the opportunity to network with thousands of buyers, senior decision makers and influential industry experts, as well as generate thousands of new contacts who have purchasing power and business to place. London Build is the only event of its kind where you can find detailed information about the latest trends in global construction and of upcoming projects in London and the UK across all project stages. The interactive event also offers visitors the exclusive chance to see and experience the newest product innovations unveiled to the market. Split into eight summits, the highlight is likely to be the Sustainability Summit, given the ongoing focus given to becoming cleaner and greener in all areas of British industry. E



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Training for those using load handling equipment

With 11 state-of-the-art training centers in North America, an online course library with over 1,200 hours of content including engineering courses for personnel involved in load handling and 14 experienced instructors that travel to customer locations across the globe, Industrial Training International (ITI) has been a premium provider of load handling equipment training for customers around the world. Leveraging technology to continually improve the delivery of training, ITI now offers virtual reality (VR) simulations to create immersive experiences for crane operators and personnel working around construction sites.


ITI VR and Serious Labs have partnered to deliver the most robust Crane Simulation Library in the world. The ITI VR Crane Simulator offers seven different crane types and over 1,000 scenarios to train and assess operators of all skill levels. The new VR Industrial Skills Library provides practical assessments to ensure personnel can identify proper use of equipment and construction hazards before ever stepping on to the worksite.


Chaired by the Passivhaus Trust’s Yogini Patel, the Sustainability Summit will also showcase a discussion on the Future of Social Housing, looking at Agar Grove. This will be followed by another case study session on Sutton Secondary School and how Passivhaus has been implemented to good effect. The Building Zone The Building Zone attracts thousands of building and construction professionals across the UK to learn about the latest developments, strategies and opportunities in the building industry; to learn new product innovations, to participate in conference sessions and workshops; and to win new business. The zone will feature a high proportion of London Build’s 350-plus exhibitors, hundreds of speakers and more than 25,000 quality attendees, covering contractors, architects, engineers, developers, government and more. The knowledge program features highly established speakers renowned for their contribution to the industry. Enhance your set of skills and leave feeling fully inspired to drive your business forward. Topics that will be discussed include: opportunities for the UK’s building industry in 2020 and beyond; opportunities from new technologies and innovations; bridging the skills gap; local councils and their 2050 vision; opportunities and challenges in light of Brexit; well-being in the workforce; and whether off-site is the future of construction.

Councils need to go further in adopting the techniques and technologies that will make a real difference, with the SEA arguing that social housing can raise the bar and set the standards for all housing provision

Women in Construction The UK’s largest ever meeting of Women in Construction took place at London Build 2018 and show organisers Oliver Kinross are already gearing up for an even bigger event at the upcoming edition. London Build is currently working with a large team of influential industry ambassadors, who have made a significant impact in the industry, to ensure that we continue to drive change in the built environment. The Women in Construction session is free-to-attend for all and offers the chance for professional individuals operating in this market to network and feel inspired. Learn from a panel of established experts discussing the untapped opportunities for women working in construction, diversity and equality. The event will be examining the issues of gender imbalance and inequality within the built environment. London Build focuses on showcasing the advantages of being a woman in construction, and strives to have a strong female line-up in its content programme. This mission to ensure that businesses within the construction industry have every opportunity to thrive, by telling inspiring and motivating stories from exceptional women, is something that we encourage industry professionals to become a part of. You can get involved by joining industryleading names such as Christina Riley, Angela Brady, Alison Coutinho and Angela Dapper in becoming a Women in Construction Ambassador. By promoting the Women in Construction Networking Event and London Build to your contacts, you’ll have a WIC Ambassadors’ badge, priority seating at the conference, first-hand introductions during the networking event to help you gain an active role in promoting the WIC initiative and keep striving to make incredible change in the UK’s construction industry. Taking a more animated approach to the event, the Humans of Construction exhibition will display photography featuring the most influential and inspiring professionals working in the UK’s built environment. The gallery will provide an artistic and educational insight insight into the diversity, character and fabric of the UK’s construction industry in 2019, on a scale never attempted before. The individuals featured in the photographs will come from a fascinating range of backgrounds in the industry, including; visionary CEO’s that have risen to the top; pioneers that have innovated the industry; architects that have designed iconic landmarks; people/individuals/ humans that have broken down barriers in this traditionally mono-cultured industry; students showing incredible promise; selfless charity workers; unsung heroes; leaders of the future, and more. Beneath each photograph will be snippets of the life story of the human in the photograph to provide the story behind their face. L

London Build Expo

 Following an opening remark from Graham Edgell, director of Sustainability and Procurement at Morgan Sindall, the emphasis on day one of the show will be on the Sustainable Built Environment panel discussion. Taking part in the discussion are Mehrdad Borna, Environmental Design Lecturer at the University of Westminster, Alan Somerville, director of Building Performance Group at BRE, Marion Baeli of PDP London, and Angela Dapper, from Grimshaw Architects. In the afternoon of the first day there will also be a panel discussion on redefining sustainability across the sector. At the end of September, the Sustainable Energy Association published a new report to demonstrate how social housing can lead the way to net-zero. The Leading the way to net zero paper argued that the ambitious target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 requires substantial commitment and government action, but current steps are not enough. The Sustainable Energy Association says that in the residential sector, which currently accounts for 22 per cent of UK emissions, ‘business as usual’ will not go far enough to meet net-zero. As such, councils need to go further in adopting the techniques and technologies that will make a real difference, with the SEA arguing that social housing can raise the bar and set the standards for all housing provision.




Homes 2019

Homes 2019: Exploring the future of living As the only event to unite decision-makers from every stage of the property lifecycle, Homes 2019 will drive the collaboration and discussion necessary to deliver high-quality homes for all. Government Business looks ahead to the show It has recently been announced that £10 million of government funding will enable ambitious councils to develop locally-led proposals to deliver more new towns on the scale of Canary Wharf or Milton Keynes. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said that councils can submit transformational proposals to win a share of the new funding, which will aid projects that will be locally-led by the people who know their community best. The announcement reiterates Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to level up every place in the UK, with potential proposals able to kick start the delivery of thousands of new homes, boost local growth and deliver new jobs for communities after Brexit. Sir George Iacobescu, founding father of Canary Wharf, will advise the Housing Secretary on which project to take forward for further government support. A consultation has also been launched to ensure development corporations have the legal powers they need to deliver high-quality new communities at the right speed.

Jenrick said: “We want to drive economic growth outside London and the South East. Our new development corporations will empower local areas to come forward with ideas for new towns that deliver jobs, houses and economic growth – creating the future Canary Wharfs of the North and Milton Keynes’s of the Midlands. That’s why I am announcing this competition to find major growth opportunities that will receive government support and investment.”

home building and maintenance community meet under one roof to drive collaboration and discussion necessary to disrupt, converge and successfully diversify portfolios. The event hosts a high-level audience of housing professionals from across the sector, including representatives from all of the G15 housing providers, 91 per cent of the London councils and 561 other housing providers, housebuilders and developers.

The Keynote Theatre Following the landmark Raynsford Review of Planning, the opening session of the conference programme, presented by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Nick Raynsford and Victoria Hills, will explore what still needs to change to deliver better outcomes for local communities. The Keynote Theatre is perhaps the central hub of content across the two days of the show, with expert opinion being shared on numerous topics. For example, also speaking on day one of Homes 2019, Mary Parsons of Places for People and Wayne Hemingway will consider the societal benefits of designled development and how we can tackle the challenge of poor-quality design, before the affordable housing crisis will be examined and challenged How by Shelter’s Polly Neate. do we The UK is in the grip of an affordable housing crisis, so in partn work e r the session, moderated by s h ip? What is the Chartered Institute of s u c c essful regene Housing’s Melanie Rees, r

Homes 2019 Taking place on 27-28 November at the ExCeL, London, Homes 2019 will look at the entire ecosystem of home building and maintenance for every type of accommodation in the UK, from affordable to market sale and the rapidly growing build to rent, student, co-living and retirement sectors. The show’s content is delivered from seven theatres, by more than 350 expert speakers, detailing the innovations in the way we design, deliver and maintain homes in communities where people want to live. Homes 2019 is the place where the entire

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Homes 2019

will explore the policy changes and practical solutions needed to radically increase the amount of decent, affordable homes. To help address this challenge, delegates will also hear from the City of Vienna as international leaders in social housing policy. How can we create harmonious communities with a high quality of life and affordable rent for all? The government is also involved in this year’s Homes conference. Andy von Bradsky, representing the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, will discuss designing and delivering great places to live, alongside the University of Reading’s Lorraine Farrelly. On day two of the event, remaining in the Keynote Theatre, Rachel Fisher, deputy director regeneration and infrastructure at MHCLG, will be part of a panel discussion bringing together a variety of perspectives to discuss essential questions such as: how do we drive quality community engagement? How do we work in partnership? What is successful regeneration and how do we measure it? Housing Minister Esther McVey will provide the closing keynote speech, outlining the government’s vision for delivering more and better housing to address the UK crisis.

Brexit Would it be possible to have a conference stream without a focus on Brexit? Helen Evans, Network Homes and chair of G15, Ian Mulheirn of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Joe Beswick, from the New Economics Foundation, and LSE’s Kath Scanlon, will combine their knowledge to consider the future of the housing market over the coming year in light of recent political and economic events. Alongside Brexit, although not to the same extent, ageing is an issue that is at the top of most agendas. But what is the relationship between our ageing population and housing? Following the

Housing Minister Esther McVey will provide the closing keynote speech, outlining the government’s vision for delivering more and better housing to address the UK crisis

APPG’s report on Rental Housing for an Ageing Population, Lord Richard Best, of the Affordable Housing Commission, will explore this emerging crisis and share recommendations for increasing the supply of affordable rental accommodation for older people. Lord Best will be joined by Anna Dixon, from the Centre for Ageing Better, to explore how we can increase the supply of decent, affordable and accessible housing for an ageing population. Ellen Vernon, from the One Public Estate at Local Government Association, and Philip Glanville, of London Borough of Hackney, will examine the important role of local authorities in increasing housing supply and how they can use opportunities such as the lifting of the HRA cap. Their session will also explore what support is needed to enable them to achieve their ambitions. L FURTHER INFORMATION

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Marketing NG discuss the business event opportunities in Nottingham, what the meetings industry in the city can offer for public sector conferencing, and how the tourism landscape in the region is shaping up for the end of 2019 and beyond

visitor centre, managed by the RSPB opened in 2018, providing a dramatic modern gateway to this ancient forest. Nottingham Forest FC have also announced ambitious multi-millionpound plans to redevelop their city ground stadium, introducing a variety of new worldclass facilities, including conference facilities, and increasing the capacity to 38,000. The ideal business hub Visitors can explore the area with ease by using the award-winning and comprehensive public transport network, which has long been a source of great pride for the city. In 2010, Nottingham was named England’s least car-dependent city, with its award-winning bus services, a European-style embrace of the tram and a bias against out-of-town shopping centres cited as powerful incentives for visitors to Nottingham to leave their cars at home, according to a report by the Campaign for Better Transport. The growing tram network is the most used per head in the country, and Nottingham City Transport has the largest bio-gas double deck fleet in the world. This enables rapid access and congestion free movement, making it an ideal business hub, and all local amenities are within walking distance throughout the compact city centre, making travel even easier. Nottingham Beach returns Nottingham is the biggest business centre in the East Midlands and is the region’s only Core City. It is home to major brands like Experian, Boots, Center Parcs, Speedo, Wilkos, Capital One and Paul Smith. These businesses, along with a new generation of creative enterprises, E


Image: ©David Baird

Steeped in legend and history and famed into the top six UK retail centres, strengthen as the home of iconic outlaw Robin Hood, the local economy, create thousands of Nottingham is emerging today as an jobs and attract more visitors to the city. It innovative, forward-thinking and fast-growing includes a transformed intu Broadmarsh city. It is currently undergoing one of the shopping centre, state-of-the-art Central biggest transformation programmes of any Library, new bus station, retail units and city in this decade, with £2 billion spent a new ‘City Hub’ college campus, and the on the Southside area set to enhance its surrounding developments will provide reputation as a world-class destination. This office space, accommodation units, creative compact city is filled with world-class visitor trade floorspace, hotel and retail space. attractions (such as Sat Bains, the UK’s best Overlooking Southside from its vantage restaurant according to TripAdvisor) and point on top of Castle Rock is the iconic unique conference venues, all connected by Nottingham Castle, which is also undergoing an award-winning public transport system an unprecedented £30 million regeneration consistently hailed as the UK’s best. It to transform it into a world-class heritage was also recently revealed to be the UK’s destination. The enhanced visitor experience friendliest city following research by giffgaff, will include an interactive, virtual reality Robin so leisure and business visitors alike and the Rebels experience, guided can be sure of a warm welcome. cave tours, a new visitor centre, Nottingham’s Southside is ambitious landscaping, a undergoing an ambitious unique passenger lift through In 2017 £2 billion development Castle Rock and new Notting programme, which will exhibitions and collections. h a m w as nam revitalise the entry Over in Sherwood top city ed the into the city from Forest, a £5 million the railway station. busines for small The regeneration outperf s growth, of this unique 0.5sq o wider e rming the mile area is set to conom boost Nottingham y

Conferences & events

A city in transformation: Nottingham


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Smart Employee Eyecare – Essential for health, well-being and productivity Part of the Duncan and Todd Group, Smart Employee Eyecare (SEE) was founded and launched in 1992, by opticians who know and understand that good employee eyecare is essential for people’s health, well-being and productivity, as well as for improving safety and reducing risk at work Passionate about improving the health and well-being of employees across the UK, SEE provides smart, proactive optical care for UK workforces that comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 act. Operating with a network of more than 3,000 specialist GOC-accredited opticians, registered to provide comprehensive corporate eyecare, SEE works with a broad range of sectors and includes brands such as Marks & Spencer, Facebook, BrewDog and The Royal Household. Primary services include VDU, Safety and Driver eyecare. The corporate eyecare provider also offer onsite services for employers such as screening, on-site testing and well-being days. We caught up with Jamie Ramage, contracts and relationships manager at SEE, to better understand why employers should take their employees’ eyesight and well-being more seriously. Jamie said: “Having worked for a number of years with computer screens before beginning my career with Duncan and Todd Group and SEE, I had never before been aware of DSE regulations and the support that companies should be offering. “However, for almost 30 years, all employers must by law provide an eye test for a DSE user if they request one and, where an eye test shows that an employee needs special glasses prescribed for the distance the screen is viewed at, these should also be paid for by the company. Backed by these regulations, SEE was started in the early 1990s as part of the Duncan and Todd Group. The manufacturing lab in Aberdeen was getting a lot of enquiries from oil and gas companies at the time about prescription safety eyewear and as a result,


“Duncan and Todd introduced a corporate department to deal with those enquiries. Soon after, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also approached us regarding a corporate eyecare scheme. We put a network of opticians together for a voucher scheme that RBS staff could use throughout the UK to make them compliant. The rest, I suppose you could say, is history. “ What is DSE related problems and why do they matter? “Typical symptoms of DSE related problems include tired and dry eyes, blurred vision, temporary short-sightedness and sore heads. Failure to comply with regulations to limit and manage these symptoms, can result in a £20,000 non-compliance bill. “Promoting good eyecare in the workplace can support the overall health and well‑being of staff. Not only does frequent eye tests and suitable treatment try and reduce the amount of people that are having blurred vision or headaches at work, but the early detection of illnesses can also be picked up through an eye examination. “Although bosses may understand that eye care can assess the optical health of their employees, few are aware of the wider health issues that can be picked up during a trip to the opticians. A high number of conditions can be detected early and non-invasively. These include potentially serious illnesses like diabetes and cardio vascular disease. Being able to spot these changes early and provide the right treatment can actively reduce and help better manage sick absence at work. “In addition, employers offering and promoting these types of healthcare benefits can recruit and retain the best employees; boosting morale and improving


company culture whilst benefiting from a more productive workforce. “In today’s competitive job market, health and well-being packages such as corporate eyecare can make your organisation stand out from the crowd. Many job seekers now look for attractive perks above salary when looking for a role. How does SEE work for me and my employees? “In the early days of SEE, it was about opticians going to offices and doing everything on-site whereas now it is a user-friendly, voucher‑based scheme. Whether that’s an easy to reach high street optician, or the local independent down the road that they’ve gone to for years. We’re proud to offer a choice of opticians. Of the 3,000 opticians signed up to the scheme in the UK, it is split quite evenly between multiples and independents. “At the core of our business is the easy‑to‑use voucher system, accessed through an online portal. As a registered member of the portal, employers can buy vouchers or safety credits to build tailored vouchers for their employees’ specific requirements: giving you complete control to manage your corporate eyecare budget. “Everyone we speak to praises how easy is to use and the cost-efficiencies of the scheme. We run a ‘no-noise’ contract because we manage everything for them with our online portal. Employers don’t have to answer any questions or deal with queries. Most clients agree, that if you’re not using it, you don’t know what you’re missing.” L FURTHER INFORMATION

Nottingham venues The Meet in Nottingham team will introduce organisations to the wealth of world-class venues in Nottingham; events can be hosted in anything from a cave to a castle and a church to a courtroom or a science centre. There are a wide range of venues of all shapes and sizes, from the 10,000seat Motorpoint Arena to Grade II listed 450-seat city centre conference centre Nottingham Conferences, to a plethora of intimate meeting rooms, as well as a fantastic collection of unique and inspiring venues. Many of the venues have won prestigious awards: De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre (Best Large Conference Space at the CHS Awards 2019), NTU Events & Conferencing (Best Exhibition Space at the CN Academic Venue Awards 2018) and Nottingham Conferences (Best Outdoor Space and Best Marketing Campaign at the Academic Venue Awards 2018). Nottingham’s conference hotels and residential venues

offer first-class event facilities and accommodation all under one roof, enabling event organisers to create the best possible package for delegates and visitors. Broadway Cinema Business and leisure visitors alike can enjoy Nottingham’s world-class attractions, extensive shopping, fine dining, its eclectic mix of cultural and entertainment options and lively nightlife scene. Visitors can experience live theatre, musicals, operas and dance performances, amazing sightseeing such as the National Justice Museum, City of Caves and the Robin Hood Town Tour, or enjoy a cocktail in one of the city’s famous underground cave bars. Nottingham has over 300 restaurants offering a mix of international cuisines to suit all tastes and budgets, from the highest rated UK restaurant on TripAdvisor, Restaurant Sat Bains, to the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, to the UK’s only pub with a canal running through it, the Canalhouse. Nottingham is one of the few cities to be accredited with a Purple Flag award for its variety, safety and cleanliness, so guests can be sure of an enjoyable visit to this thriving, vibrant city. Meet in Nottingham can book leisure packages for business visitors, with activities such as wine tasting, spa sessions, golf and much more. L FURTHER INFORMATION

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University of the Year Nottingham is home to two world-class universities; the University of Nottingham, known internationally for the excellence of its research, and Nottingham Trent University, which was awarded the accolade of Times Higher Education’s University of the Year for 2017 and the Guardian University of the Year 2019. The universities have supported various major projects in Nottingham, such as BioCity: an ambitious business incubator supporting the growth of life-science businesses, one of the first of its kind. The city has played host to several major conferences in Nottingham in 2019, particularly in the healthcare sector. Thousands of business visitors attended conferences including the Rotary Club’s national showcase weekend, the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons’ 66th annual international congress and the UK Clinical Research Foundation Annual Conference, while later in the year the city will host the Oncoplastic and Reconstructive Breast Surgery International Scientific Meeting and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Trent Division Annual Conference.

These conferences and many more are delivered with the support of Meet in Nottingham, which provides a range of event services and support, acting as a single point of contact with venues and hotels to make planning and delivering events as easy and hassle-free as possible. The team is always on hand to assist with ideas, rate negotiation and familiarisation tours to help event organisers to find the best venue for their requirements - and offer all of these services completely free of charge.

Conferences & events

 place Nottingham as a major centre for business growth; indeed, in 2017 Nottingham was named the top city for small business growth, outperforming the wider economy. The city has fast-growing FinTech and life science sectors and was identified as one of the top 10 creative cities by CBRE in 2018, which recognised the growth of employment within the creative and digital sectors in Nottingham.

Thames Barrier The View Conference Centre Unique meeting rooms with views of the River Thames and London. Our rooms are light and spacious and offer various room layouts to suit all occasions. With a range of audio visual equipment. Meeting, event hire for up to 60 people with catering. Please telephone 0208 305 4188 or email us at for more details. Please note there is no access onto the Thames Barrier Structure.



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Solving a data centre puzzle Chris Wellfair, Projects Director at Secure I.T. Environments Ltd, looks at the latest entry into the modular data centre world, the shipping container It can be a real puzzle to juggle budgets, priorities, and sometimes just the sheer logistics of where to place a data centre facility. Modular internal and external data centres meeting BS476 / EN 1047 test standards – regarded as the benchmark standard for data centres – have helped clients in the public sector to overcome many of these challenges, when both upgrading and expanding. They can be cost effective and provide LPS 1175 secure facilities within an existing building or at an external location. A modular room can facilitate the location of data centres in creative ways, where it would be inappropriate to have a new build, either because of planning laws or space. But there is now an alternative adding a new perspective to the modular option. You’ve probably heard the term ‘containerised data centre’ and associate it with huge data centre projects, such as those run by the public cloud vendors with tens of thousands of servers and the need for constant growth. In those instances, they are chosen for speed, cost effectiveness and ease of installation, but those benefits are not only true when working at scale. There are several scenarios where a containerised data centre might be just right for you, even if you are a much smaller business. Containerised solutions allow for compact data centres helping resolve space, deployment time, build complexity and cost challenges.

They are very flexible and can perform very well in both low- or high-density server applications. By designing them correctly to ensure concurrent maintainability and energy efficiency, return of Investment can be achieved within four-five years. In an emergency, containerised solutions can also shine as part of a disaster recovery plan, fitted out and ready to be rapidly deployed into operational use. Speed is of the essence If you need your data centre built quickly then containerisation can substantially shorten delivery times. Many companies offer them in standard ‘ready to load’ configurations, mainly for disaster recovery, but you are also able to have containers bespoke manufactured to meet your own specific mechanical and electrical energy efficient requirements. Site suitability In some locations it is simply impossible to house a new a data centre. This could be due to footprint, budget or even local planning regulations. Often in these situations, a container can be a solution accepted by all and that implemented with a minimum of fuss or raised eyebrows from the CFO. Construction must be offsite There could be many reasons why you can’t build a data centre on site, for example, if it is a high security area, or the data centre is

A modular room can facilitate the location of data centres in creative ways, where it would be inappropriate to have a new build, either because of planning laws or space

only needed in a disaster recovery situation such as a flood, so you want to keep it offsite. An energy efficient containerised solution can be fully designed, fitted out and integrated systems tested at an alternative location. It could even be fully operational providing a mirror image of the IT hardware actively in use within the primary site. There are a couple of misconceptions about containerised data centres, the first being that they really are just a temporary solution and are not really fit for purpose. To a degree this is understandable, after all they do look like an upcycled shipping container, but the technology in them is the same as that which would go into a ‘normal’ data centre build. If you pick the right partner, then your container will be custom designed and built from the frame up, and will carry the enviable Lloyds Register structural warranties to give you peace of mind. The other reasonable question that any data centre manager will consider, is about the ability of a containerised data centre to maintain effective cooling and achieve strong Power Usage Efficiency ratings – the misconception is that they will fall short. Our own experience has shown that they can deliver the same high standards for IT equipment as modular or traditional data centre builds irrespective of the cooling demand. As outlined above, this is because they use the same equipment, including monitoring systems – they are an ideal solution for high density applications where heat can be an issue, precisely because of the way containers are configured. Also, where there are particularly stringent security requirements it is not uncommon to have a second container for the accommodation of switchgear and UPS batteries. Containerised data centres are not a replacement for a modular room or bespoke data centre build, they are simply another option to help solve the puzzle. As we have seen above in certain situations their advantages may make them perfectly suited to the challenges that you are trying to overcome. The important thing is to consider each option on its merits and select the solution that meets both your strategic IT goals, as well as the future plans of your organisation. L FURTHER INFORMATION




Can we trust artificial intelligence in government? Civica recently sat down with central government leaders to discuss whether the public sector is prepared for the artificial intelligence revolution and the ethics behind the technology. Steve Thorn, executive director of Civica, shares his views from the event By 2035, artificial intelligence (AI) is estimated How is AI changing the to add £630 billion to the UK economy. In government landscape? many ways, AI is already a key feature of One of the key AI challenges identified at our everyday lives and its capabilities are the event was data and the risks it poses if expanding quicker than ever. From spotting not handled responsibly. Our own research lung cancer before a doctor is able to identify has shown that 43 per cent of citizens don’t it to better predicting traffic routes, as trust the government to handle their data. demonstrated by Highways England. Organisations looking ahead to AI is undoubtedly improving explore how AI can enhance UK citizens’ lives already, citizen-facing services will but its adoption doesn’t have to tread carefully One of the come without challenges around their use key cha l l e across all sectors, and of citizen data. n g artificia es of the UK government Early adopters l i n t elligenc is data is no exception. are now deploying e and the We’re already ‘assistive AI’ i t p o ses if n risks looking ahead with our in back-office partnership with the systems helping to handled ot University of Bath training improve productivity respons the next generation of AI whilst containing ibly leaders and Professor Eamonn AI to smaller, lowO’ Neill from the University risk deployments. As was in attendance at the event. we’ve seen in the private

sector, AI represents a huge opportunity to drive cost savings, efficiencies and improve services – but we must acknowledge that it comes with considerable responsibilities. Perhaps this is why there is some reticence within central government when it comes to implementing AI along with the largely unknown potential of the technology and also the risks around job losses. Confined assistive AI deployments are removing those fears and helping employees feel more optimistic about their jobs. Looking ahead, measures are already in place, such as the National Retraining Scheme, to help reskill employees whose roles will inevitably change. Can we trust machines to make decisions? Another increasing area of concern for central government is around AI and ethics. What do we trust these ‘robots’ to do? How much freedom can we give them to gather and analyse sensitive data? E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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National AI lab to be established for NHS The government has announced that £250 million to be invested in artificial intelligence.

Trust in the government is as difficult to win as it’s easy to lose, so departments must ensure they are clearly communicating how and why they are using citizen data  How do we prevent bias creeping in to automated systems? For most government organisations the 2017 UK Digital Strategy is still a major digital guide, however it only states that ‘we must ensure citizens and businesses can trust the outcomes of processes that use AI technology’. Less well known is the recent guide to using AI in the public sector published by the Government Digital Service, covering how to assess AI, help meet user needs and how to implement AI ethically, fairly and safely. As we saw last year from Amazon’s sexist AI recruitment tool, bias can creep into any stage of the deep learning processes, discriminate and affect people’s lives. From data collection, preparation, training, modelling and analysis, it is especially difficult to detect with existing computer science and so the responsibility must lie with the users. To tackle this, governments must create environments for unbiased decision making and set an example on how to tackle bias in algorithms - be it through more diverse recruitment practices or developing an ethical framework for AI. Pushing ahead with an AI strategy The AI adoption challenges facing the public sector are well documented. Organisations shouldn’t let this stop them from pressing ahead with technology innovations. Professor Eamonn O’Neill and I have outlined three AI strategies to help government departments better prepare for AI in the next five years: Firstly, assign a data steward into a data governance framework. Building access models within and across departments can take time, especially given the majority hold vast amounts of data. Without a strong data environment, organisations will not be able to drive meaningful insights or value from their AI implementation. A data

framework, embedded into an organisation through a steward will layer in the necessary practices and ensure data is robust and the responsibilities and risks are well defined. Secondly, trial AI as a decision-support technology. AI is already stripping out repetitive tasks and automating processes, helping to improve capacity and supporting better human based decisions. Find use cases where systems can support decision making at work, enabling lowrisk deployments without taking away employee decision making responsibilities. Lastly, gain citizen trust early. Trust in the government is as difficult to win as it’s easy to lose, so departments must ensure they are clearly communicating how and why they are using citizen data. Getting citizen buy-in during the early stages of implementation will help to maintain trust in public-facing services. Outline the benefits clearly and early on, making sure there are no major surprises. Supporting the AI journey Following the roundtable, there was a consensus that central government departments need to invest more time in understanding their data maturity. Ensuring data is accurate, secure and has been gathered with consent is still an enormous challenge for central government departments. Departments can start preparing for more advanced AI deployments today by focusing on people, skills, technology and a robust data foundation underneath it all. The roundtable reinforced the fact that there is no silver bullet with AI. Whilst the technology opens up incredible opportunities to enhance our day-to-day lives, clients are now taking advantage with low-risk assistive AI deployments to support capacity and decision making. Before there is widespread adoption in the public sector, we should all better understand the potential, the risk and the ethics. As an innovation-first nation, we undoubtedly

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the £250 million will be spent on improving the role of AI within the health service, ‘boosting the frontline by automating admin tasks and freeing up staff to care for patients’, as well as advancing care. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a self-confessed tech enthusiast, says that AI has ‘enormous power’ to improve care, save lives and ensure doctors had more time to spend with patients. The AI Lab’s work could: improve cancer screening by speeding up the results of tests, including mammograms, brain scans, eye scans and heart monitoring; use predictive models to better estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices or surgeries; identify which patients could be more easily treated in the community, reducing the pressure on the NHS and helping patients receive treatment closer to home; build systems to detect people at risk of post-operative complications, infections or requiring follow-up from clinicians, improving patient safety and reducing readmission rates; upskill the NHS workforce so they can use AI systems for day-to-day tasks; and automate routine admin tasks to free up clinicians so more time can be spent with patients. Boris Johnson said: “The NHS is revered for the world-class care it provides every day – a treasured institution that showcases the very best of Britain. But it is also leading the way in harnessing new technology to treat and prevent, from earlier cancer detection to spotting the deadly signs of dementia. “The funding is not just about the future of care though. It will also boost the frontline by automating admin tasks and freeing up staff to care for patients. My task is to ensure the NHS has the funding it needs to make a real difference to the lives of staff and patients. Transforming care through artificial intelligence is a perfect illustration of that.”

have a duty to evolve our services alongside new technologies and continue to discuss how we design and build an ethical AI-led future. If we don’t someone else will? L FURTHER INFORMATION



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The Department for Education - Cloud Journey Nimbus assisted and led the successful delivery for the Department for Education resulting in the migration of 94 per cent of its business and IT services to public cloud infrastructure, significantly reducing its on-going IT operations hosting costs

Nimbus has worked with the Department for Education (DfE) and its families for several years, which has resulted in the migration of 94 per cent of its business and IT services to public cloud infrastructure, significantly reducing its on-going IT operations hosting costs. The DfE is a ministerial department, supported by several agencies and public bodies, which is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and more extensive skills in England. The DfE is the third largest UK government department, by spend, with an annual expenditure of circa £90 billion (Institute for Government 2016/17). Five years ago, we worked with Skills Funding Agency’s (SFA’s) Chief Technology Officer (CTO), to develop the SFA’s Hosting Strategy to migrate its business and IT services to the cloud in line with the government’s Cloud First Policy, in order to reduce the SFA’s ongoing IT operations hosting costs. During the implementation of the strategy, we assisted and led with the migration of several of the SFA’s services from traditional on-premise infrastructures to the Microsoft Azure Platform. Over the last five years we were instrumental in the successful migration of all of the SFA’s and Education Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA’s) Business and IT services to the cloud including supporting the redevelopment of the SFA’s Funding and Contracting Service; leading the migration of the SFA’s Data Collections and Learning

Records Services; supporting the digital re‑development of the Apprenticeship and the National Careers Services; re-platforming of the SFA’s Identity and Access Management Service and leading the migration/ transformation of the SFA’s legacy Funding and Finance Systems from its co-location facilities to the Microsoft Azure Platform. During this period, we have migrated circa 1,500 workloads to the cloud enabling the SFA/ESFA to realise cost saving of over 50 per cent over the return on investment period. Béatrice Lightfoot, Education and Skills Funding Agency Director of Central Services, said: “We chose Nimbus to assist and support us as we continue on our digital transformation journey. They provide us with highly skilled cloud professionals who complement, strengthen and help to upskill our internal delivery teams. The way Nimbus works as a supplier is exactly what the Education and Skills Funding Agency values – suppliers who can deliver, provide value for money and work collaboratively using agile techniques.” Success Following the successful competition of the migration of the SFA’s legacy Funding and Finance Systems, Nimbus, were invited by the DfE Deputy Directory for Technology Group Delivery to undertake an impartial technical assessment of the DfE’s Datacentre Closure Programme in June 2017. The Datacentre Closure Programme was launched by the DfE’s Technology Group to rationalise the DfE’s hosting contracts. Similar

to SF, the key objective of the programme was to reduce the DfE’s ongoing hosting costs. The programme had been running for approximately 18 months; however, by June 2017 a significant number of its key line of business applications still needed migration from its managed private cloud facilities by November 2017. Using our experience and technical skills, we were able to quickly understand what was required to ensure a successful migration. In August 2017 Nimbus was commissioned to undertake the migration which resulted in us successful migration circa 500 servers by the November 2017, enabling the DfE to realise costs saving of circa 35 per cent over the return on investment period. Our approach was based on our deep understanding of the challenges involved in migrating complex line of business applications. We put in place an Agile technical delivery team based in our offices in Coventry, where we could house a colocated team for the duration of the delivery. We were also instrumental in ensuring a new governance structure was put in place to ensure key senior stakeholders, across the DfE, were informed at all stages. Building on the successful migration of the applications within the DfE’s managed private datacentre, we subsequently successfully migrated/decommissioned a further 600+ servers, hosting key legacy line of business applications, from the DfE’s on-premise datacentres in their London and Sheffield offices to the cloud. Again, we collocated key resources from the DfE and their 3rd Party IT suppliers with our Agile delivery team within our offices in Coventry, significantly improving communication and collaboration. Professional and straight‑forward company Paul Martin, Department for Education Technology Group Delivery Director, said: “I have found Nimbus to be a professional and straight-forward company to work with. They have a good mix of technical skills and business acumen, which has prevented disruption through critical business cycles. With these skills, they have managed the successful delivery of two physical datacentres’ migrations on to the Microsoft Azure Platform for the Department for Education.”L FURTHER INFORMATION




Creating an energy efficient and sustainable future A sustainable conference programme The conference, for all professionals involved in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability, is split into four conferences. Theatre One is looking at training and best practice. In addition to the technical expertise and data analysis, sites, and encouraging cycling by installing 55 the role of the energy management team new cycle parking stands in the city centre. is evolving. Influencing and negotiation, For most organisations energy is a cost communication and stakeholder that has grown significantly in recent years. engagement skills are becoming ever And yet, as demonstrated by Cambridge City more important. The theatre covers a vast Council, there is considerable potential within range of energy management strategies most organisations to make large energy cost and experiences across various sectors, and carbon emission savings through the providing you with knowledge and skills installation of energy efficiency measures. on how to build a robust business case EMEX, taking place from the 27-28 for investment in energy efficiency and November 2019 at ExCeL, connects all renewable energy projects, and gain industrial and commercial energy consumers buy-in from senior stakeholders. with leading experts, policy makers and A session from this theatre on cutting suppliers. EMEX is more than just an carbon at universities, led by the University event. It’s a platform where practitioners of Reading’s Dan Fernbank, will focus and experts from various on how university energy managers backgrounds and sectors meet increasing expectations to are coming together to deliver carbon reductions in a share their knowledge One of large, complex organisation. and experiences the pot The panel discussion, from successful e n t ial key con including representatives implementations of t r i to our f butors from the universities of energy efficiency Aberystwyth, Keele and strategies. carbon uture lowecon Glasgow, will focus on

EMEX is the UK’s must-attend energy event for all professionals wanting to create a low carbon, energy efficient and sustainable future in their organisation. Government Business looks ahead to the show Cambridge City Council recently revealed that carbon emissions from the authority’s buildings, vehicles and services have fallen by just over 25 per cent since 2014-15. The fall in the council’s emissions means that the council’s target of a 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2021 has been reached two years early. The council’s annual climate change report outlines the work that the authority has been doing to reduce its own carbon emissions, including energy-saving projects introduced by the council and a shift from coal-fired power stations to renewable energy sources nationally, which has reduced the carbon emissions from the electricity used by the council. Other council projects highlighted in the report include installing solar PV arrays on eight large council buildings, installing electric vehicle charge points for taxis across the city, energy efficiency improvement to the Guildhall and Mandela House, including installing low-energy LED lighting at both


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the challenges and opportunities faced by energy managers at universities with the government’s Net Zero target in mind. Following the UK government’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2050, many public sector organisations have declared a ‘climate emergency’ to help deliver tangible benefits through local sustainability and environmental projects. A session on delivering energy efficiency in the public sector will focus on the challenges and opportunities that are faced by those tasked by the delivery of the carbon reduction targets on daily basis. Taking part in this session are Dr Lowell Lewis, SHEQ Manager at Coventry City Council, Julia Blackwell, energy officer for Huntingdonshire District Council, Lord Rupert Redesdale, CEO of the Energy Managers Association, and Wendi Wheeler, Energy & Carbon Strategy Manager at Network Rail. NHS organisations find themselves under increasing financial pressure, and the need to reduce energy spend in order to offer more funding on patient care has never been greater. A panel session, hosted by NHS Improvement’s Fiona Daly, will focus on the challenges of energy efficiency in the NHS with a focus on Net Zero services by 2050. Covering sustainability and climate change, Theatre Two provides a unique opportunity to learn about effective techniques and opportunities for change from leading professionals creating our low carbon sustainable future. Explore a range of common challenges, work themes, opportunities visions and strategies, from company reporting to climate change adaptation. The built environment Tackling the big issues in the built environment, including the growing importance of technology, the third theatre will explore the challenges thrown up by modern business practices and presents a vast array of solutions. It also showcases new tools, and innovative technologies available in other fields and explains their relevance to the energy professionals. A highlight among the speaker selection in this theatre is Charlotte Owen, policy officer at the Association for Decentralised Energy, who looks at the future of heat networks. As climate change climbs ever higher on the global agenda, we find ourselves in the unenviable situation where the simple process of heating our homes is responsible for almost a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions. The session, which will also involve contributions from Francis Ugboma, head of Energy Services at Islington Council, will discuss the importance of how, with stringent environmental government targets in place, it’s vital to focus on developing the low-carbon technologies and solutions that will make a significant contribution to decarbonising heat. One of the potential key contributors to our future low-carbon economy are district heat networks that operate from decentralised energy systems to supply low-temperature heating. Efficiency and cost are the drivers behind district heat, but in terms of reality and the governments targets for 2050, what does this look like?


Following the government’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2050, many public sector organisations have declared a ‘climate emergency’ to help deliver tangible benefits through local sustainability Today there are approximately 500,000 District Heating connections, with the need to rise to at least 18 per cent of domestic connections by 2050 to meet UK carbon targets – this is the equivalent of connecting eight million properties. Finally, the fourth theatre is aiming to simplify the regulatory maze and equipped attendees with practical and critical information on how to comply with new regulations. Energy reporting is in the spotlight in 2019, with the ESOS Phase 2 deadline looming and the new Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) framework commencing in April. ISO 14090 launched in 2019, developed with wide international consensus and as a UK-led global standard. The UK national expert attending the meetings, Doogie Black, will talk EMEX visitors through what’s inside ISO 14090 and how ISO 14090 can be used by organisations to create a resilient business now and into the future. The session, with BSI input, will also discuss related standards and guidance in development on Climate Change Adaptation, including the important role of adaptation pathways. L FURTHER INFORMATION

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G-Cloud 11

It has never been easier to choose and buy cloud computing services At the start of July, the Crown Commercial Service announced that thousands of small businesses had won the chance to bid to supply cloud computing services to government bodies through a major government procurement framework The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) brings increasing savings for the taxpayer by policy, advice and direct buying together centralising buying requirements for common in a single organisation to: make savings goods and services and bringing together for customers in both central government smaller projects; and leading on procurement and the wider public sector; achieve policy on behalf of the UK government. maximum value from every commercial Frameworks are a shortcut to access relationship; and improve the quality of a wide range of products and services service delivery for common goods and available directly from hundreds of different services across government. suppliers, helping companies Working with over 1,400 and organisations navigate organisations in the public through the rules and In May, sector, CCS’s services are regulations, saving both it was rev provided by more than time and money. eale that tha 2,600 suppliers. The t the CC d GDS we S CCS is responsible G-Cloud 11 re revie and for: managing the G-Cloud 11, live on w t h ing e origin procurement of the Government’s First po al Cloud common goods and Digital Marketplace, licy, wh services, so public has in excess of 4,200 ic came in h to force sector organisations suppliers, 90 per cent with similar needs of which are SMEs. Like in 2013 achieve value by buying the ten iterations before as a single customer; it, G-Cloud 11 allows UK improving supplier and contract public sector bodies to choose management across government; and buy cloud computing services.

More than 31,000 services will be available for customers to access, subject to a process of additional assurance, with the agreement giving central government, local councils, NHS trusts and other public sector bodies a way to purchase cloud-based services such as web hosting from a single, central website. The agreement runs for 12 months but may be extended up to a maximum of 12 months from when the initial agreement is due to end. As usual, any call-off will have an initial maximum duration of 24 months, with those using the framework allowed two extension options of up to 12 months each and must specify this in the initial contract terms. The benefits of using G-Cloud 11 is listed on the Crown Commercial Service website as providing access to over 30,000 services and over 4,000 suppliers, alongside a quick and easy route to market. Furthermore, it provides reduced costs and reduced total cost of ownership compared to running your own service in house and scalable services, meaning that users pay for what they use, and increase or reduce what they need easily. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 Since 2012, more than £4.79 billion of cloud and digital services have been procured by public bodies through G-Cloud, with almost 45 per cent of that spend going directly to SMEs. G-Cloud 11 categorises its products and suppliers over three Lots. Lot 1 covers Cloud Hosting: IaaS and PaaS services that can help users deploy, manage and run software, with the provision and use of processing, storage or network resources. Lot 2 is for Cloud Software: Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, usually accessed over the internet or private network and hosted in the cloud. Meanwhile, Lot 3 covers Cloud Support to help set up and maintain cloud software or hosting services. Cloud First policy Through the introduction of the Cloud First policy, the government confirmed in 2013 that purchases through the cloud should be the first option considered by public sector buyers of IT products and services. In a bid to drive wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector, Francis Maude, the then Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that public sector organisations should consider and fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first when procuring new or existing services. This approach is mandated to central government and strongly recommended to the wider public sector. Departments remained free to choose an alternative to the cloud if they could demonstrate that it offers better value for money. Maude said: “G-Cloud brings a step change in the way government buys IT. It’s quicker, cheaper and more competitive, open to a wider range of companies, including a majority of SMEs, and offers more choice and innovation. Many government departments already use G-Cloud, but IT costs are still too high. One way we can reduce them is to accelerate the adoption of cloud across the public sector to maximise its benefits.

The Cloud First policy will embed the skills a modern civil service needs to meet the demands of 21st-century digital government and help us get ahead in the global race.” Cloud First to be re-evaluated In May, it was revealed that that the Crown Commercial Service and Government Digital Service were reviewing the original Cloud First policy, which came into force in 2013. It states that all central government departments must take a public cloud-first stance on all new technologies purchases, as set out in the GDS’s Technology Code of Practice. Departments were free to choose alternatives to cloud services if they could demonstrate that they offered better value for money, but has since seen that option removed, first through cloud native, and then through the instruction that all cloud purchases must be made through the G-Cloud procurement framework. Since its introduction, the way in which both public and private sector organisations have adopted cloud services has increased, provoking better efficiency of service and reduced costs. Some more traditional organisations may, however, lack the capacity and expertise to select the right product for their needs, implement it securely and manage it effectively. In particular, the cost and effort of moving to cloud solutions and the skill sets required to manage them effectively should not be underestimated – particularly where multiple suppliers are involved. Consider Cloud First It has now been revealed that an update to the policy is likely to be introduced in the New Year, taking into account how the public sector’s attitude to cloud has changed since the initiative was first introduced. CCS has said that, having ‘worked though the digital transformation journey with many central government departments and wider public sector organisations, it

G-Cloud 11

The benefits of using G-Cloud 11 is listed on the Crown Commercial Service website as providing access to over 30,000 services and over 4,000 suppliers, alongside a quick and easy route to market

has become apparent that one size does not fit all’. The two departments, CCS and GDS, agreed to draw up revised rules for data storage procurement at a workshop this Summer, alongside new guidance on the practical steps departments should take as they embark on digital transformation programmes. This will also likely result in a name change, with reports suggesting that Cloud Smart could be used, although it is believed that Consider Cloud First is more favourable with each organisation. CCS is also looking to create a new commercial agreement covering cloud hosting services. The framework, which will likely launch next year and will initially sit alongside the more generalist G-Cloud vehicle, is set to feature three lots, respectively addressing hyperscale hosting, smaller hosting environments, and related services. The Technology Innovation Marketplace For many years, there has been a strange disconnect which has made it difficult for organisations in the public sector to bring on board technologies which are truly cutting edge. Let’s be clear - that’s not because innovation was a dirty word in the public sector. Far from it: the UK government has been very active in funding product development which makes the UK a world leader when it comes to emerging technologies. But what the CCS conceded that is has not been so good at is providing a route to market for those customers within the public sector who wanted to access such technology once the products were developed. Spark: The Technology Innovation Marketplace was launched in April to address exactly this issue - identified through conversations the Crown Commercial Service held with its stakeholders. CCS helps organisations across the entire public sector get the best deals on the goods and services they need to run their organisations and we have been at the heart of Spark’s development. CCS wants its customers to have access to the latest products and services, and for innovative tech companies to work with the government and the wider public sector. Spark does all of this as part of a suite of wider government initiatives to bring cutting edge technology into the public sector: it compliments the GDS government technology innovation strategy, the GovTech Catalyst challenge and other similar projects. It was designed to encourage new, but proven technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI); wearable tech; and the internet of things - where everyday objects can send and receive data. Spark will enable true innovators, who have developed products through catalysts or catapults, to commercially exploit them by opening them up the entire public sector - a market worth approximately £14 billion. Spark provides a flexible yet compliant route to market which adapts and scales as capabilities change. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE



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Crown Commercial Service is looking to create a new commercial agreement covering cloud hosting services, which will likely launch next year and initially sit alongside the more generalist G-Cloud vehicle defined fields that have been developed in partnership with customer input. The emerging technologies selected are those predicted to have the largest impact over the next five years: the internet of things; AI and automation; simulated and enhanced environments; engineering and materials science; data; wearables; transport, and security. There are further sub-categories within each field and products outside these cannot be offered within the DPS. In order to gain a place suppliers also need to provide a contract example, corroborated by a customer, to demonstrate their capabilities and show how their products meet our definition of innovation by detailing its novelty, usefulness for the customer, and impact. The customer must also have access to any relevant pre-existing intellectual property, either through ownership or licencing. As with all CCS commercial agreements, customers remain in control throughout the process. The department recommends pre-market engagement with all potential suppliers - asking how they can solve their problem and allowing them to innovate.

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 So how does it work? First of all, it’s a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) which allows it to remain continually open to new suppliers. This has several advantages, including: suppliers can apply to be part of the marketplace at any time; an unlimited number of suppliers can join; and far less work is required up front by suppliers to join a DPS than would be the case with a framework agreement as suppliers only need answer selection questions. The DPS has an inbuilt matrix to assist customers and suppliers match capabilities to needs, and all this is married to a proactive programme of customer and supplier support to make using it as straightforward as possible. Totally market-led, Spark developed from work within CCS’s Technology Products and Services category, and has been designed with customers and suppliers in mind. By speaking with customers, CCS identified a need for a more open, flexible approach to our emerging technology suppliers. They said that they wanted to trial technologies in a small, agile manner with a compliant route to market once they were ready to scale. Once they get easier access to the public sector market, successful Spark suppliers may then ‘graduate’ on to other frameworks. Ultimately, citizens benefit through the step changes in service provision that such technologies can deliver. But suppliers won’t be able to sell just any new tech product or service. The core ‘backbone’ of the DPS will be a filter system so customers can search for products within

Using new suppliers Spark’s simple DPS sign-up and buying features encourage public sector customers to use new suppliers and adopt their innovations. The sign up process is quick and easy for customers. They need only to register as a buyer by completing their contact details, confirming acceptance of the terms and conditions and clicking ‘register’. By completing this they are submitting an access request to CCS for approval. This means that from the homepage customers can reach the page where they apply their filters to shortlist suppliers for their further competition in no more than four steps. That’s an innovation. CCS is confident customers will want to use it, not just because it is so easy to use, but because it is intended to attract the best new technology innovators through an open and supplier-friendly agreement. Spark will remove the barriers which have prevented the true public sector exploitation of innovation, by taking a more flexible, open approach than may have been the case with traditional frameworks. For example, the supplier application process for Spark is very simple E



The start of the cloud In February 2012 the CloudStore was launched, marking a big step change in the way that suppliers and buyers do business on ICT services in the public sector. Operating like an App Store, it meant that a full selection of over 1,700 services, from some 257 suppliers, became available for everyone to see in a user friendly and easily searchable catalogue. In his blog post detailing the launch, Chris Chant, programme director for the programme, who then retired that following April, said that CloudStore was very much just the first version of the organisation’s plans for cloud procurement, suggesting that it would possibly be seen in the future as the ‘Alpha release’. Even whilst celebrating its launch, Chant and his team were already looking ahead to the next version of the G-Cloud framework, writing that he was aiming to make developments that were ‘more dynamic, allowing monthly refreshes to bring onboard new services or new suppliers’, and make high speed change possible. Just before announcing his retirement, Chant wrote in a blog on the government’s G-Cloud website that chief information officers (CIOs) and fellow civil servants were ‘hiding behind the comfort blanket’ and had to change how they buy IT. Citing himself as an example, Chant said IT leaders had been taking the ‘easy path’ for years, by agreeing expensive contracts with big IT suppliers, therefore ‘failing to innovate and thereby causing end users to suffer’. Chant was not only the only one criticising methods. Despite the G-Cloud plan calling for 50 per cent of new government IT spending to move to cloud computing services by 2015, and aiming to reduce government IT costs by £200 million per year, a report released in May 2012 claimed that the government may miss its cloud computing targets because of a lack of enthusiasm from public sector IT staff. CloudStore prided itself in its infancy on making it cheaper and easier for public sector organisations to choose and buy ‘off the shelf’ IT services, such as email, word processing, enterprise resource planning and electronic records management, but Smart Savings 3, G-Cloud Progress, commissioned by VMware, showcased how 59 per cent

of the IT staff surveyed for the report said they were undecided on whether to use CloudStore to buy cloud services. The main reasons were fears for being tied in to existing contracts, concerns about security and a lack of understanding about cloud technologies. Tracking changes in the cloud’s past The Home Office’s Denise McDonagh took over from Chant at the start of May 2012, with G-Cloud team planning to launch the second version of the cloud within that time frame (Gii). The change would incorporate a new approach where the department would be able to add new suppliers and services on a quarterly basis at a minimum. Built as part of the government E-Marketplace and using an existing government platform, the catalogue was still made up of the services from the first iteration and included the services from the first round of the G Cloud OJEU. In mid-May, the benefits for buyers were outlined as improved search engine capabilities that allowed for free form search alongside the ability to filter on G-Cloud attributes, plus the ability to view supplier service definitions, terms and conditions, rate cards and other useful documents, compare services and standard configuration prices side by side, and purchase through the store (if you’re registered to use the eMarketplace). For suppliers, it meant the ability to make changes to CloudStore entry directly, a more open and fairer marketplace through side by side service comparisons, and quicker and easier payments. Furthermore, the value of the total procurement possible through Gii was increased from £60 million to £100 million and would run for 12 months not six. Although the limit of the contracts remained 12 months, contracts could run up to 24 months in exceptional circumstances. Once it opened for business, Gii had over 3,000 services available from 458 suppliers, double that of the first version. Of the 458 suppliers,

75 per cent were SMEs, a key part of making supplying to government simpler and opening up a more competitive marketplace. The first agreement, Gi, closed on 13 November 2012.

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 and quick; suppliers should not need a bid writer to apply for them. If it works, CCS will see a £20 million spend in the first year with 70 per cent of that spend being with SMEs. We should also see the seven suppliers we had at launch growing to 100. But Spark is seen as just a starting point - the first step on a greater journey which will enable CCS to onboard innovative technologies for our customers at speed, and improve their approach to exploiting new technology. Spark is the first time CCS has targeted an emerging market and so also the first use of a DPS for this market. Previously, DPSs have been used for established supplier markets only. The approach being taken is an innovation in itself. CCS will learn from the process, good and bad, and plans to iterate and improve the agreement.

Covering buyer needs The government announced that it would be carrying out a review of the effectiveness of government ICT framework agreements in October 2012, meaning that all new planned frameworks, including proposals for Giii, were paused. At the start of 2013, the green light was given to G-Cloud. Both the G-Cloud framework and the CloudStore celebrated their first birthday in February 2013, although plans to produce Giii by April are already looking unlikely to be met. McDonagh again reiterated that G Cloud was ‘a game changer for the way government buys, manages, delivers and operates IT’. Discussing 12 months of operations, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “In just 12 months, G-Cloud has shown itself to be a model for efficient public sector IT procurement, establishing a dynamic marketplace for cloud-based IT services. We have simplified the procurement process through G-Cloud to make it more accessible to a wider range of companies, leading to more choice, better value for the taxpayer and growth for the economy. Suppliers are asked what they can offer government, rather than being issued with complicated specifications that stifle innovation. This is the way we want government IT to be – simpler, quicker, cheaper and focused on matching solutions to business requirements, reducing waste and cutting costs.” Having survived its first year, sales then appeared to increase with nearly 1,000 invoiced purchases, sales of over £18.2 million to the end of March 2013 and McDonagh writing in May that the Home Office alone was putting through more than £6 million of orders due to the success of the CloudStore. With E

If Spark works, the Crown Commercial Service will see a £20 million spend in the first year with 70 per cent of that spend being with SMEs



No longer stand alone Now that Giii was live, Denise McDonagh, the government’s G-Cloud director, signalled that it was right for G-Cloud to continue moving to ‘business as usual’, especially now that there had been three procurement frameworks successfully launched, as well as the CloudStore improvements, acceptance of the Public Cloud First mandate across central government and sales rising close to £22 million to the end of April 2013. Therefore, responsibility and instruction for G-Cloud moved across to the Government Digital Service (GDS) at the beginning of June 2013. The previous month had seen the publication of the Major Projects Authority’s (MPA) annual report, revealing the performance of the government’s most expensive and important projects for the first time. Amongst other things, the report highlighted some concerns about how the G Cloud programme was resourced, leading to GDS to increase the budget for the programme and to nearly double the size of the team working on the next iteration of the service - G-Cloud 4. At the start of August 2013, the Cabinet Office and GDS announced that G-Cloud 4 had been launched and welcomed the next procurement round for applications to join G-Cloud. In a blog post to mark the launch, the Digital Marketplace team said that improvements in the new agreement included clearer instructions on how to apply for suppliers new to G-Cloud, as well as clearer instructions on how to carry forward services for suppliers already on Gii or Giii. The department also highlighted the benefits of the Government Procurement Service (GPS) eSourcing suite for responses to mandatory questions to meet procurement regulations and the GDS Service Submission Portal to make it easier for suppliers by ensuring documentation is a mandatory upload so there is no possibility of suppliers failing compliance for non-submission of documents. This made the process of uploading documents to the CloudStore simple. The opening of G-Cloud 4 also marked a further increase in sales. By the end of October 2013, there were 1,183 suppliers, 83 per cent of this being SMEs, as well as more than 13,000 services, and an impressive £44.7 million in sales up to September the same year. Approximately 63 per cent of these contracts were agreed with SMEs. More milestones paving the way for 5 October 2013 also saw the CloudStore reach another milestone, with sales figures having

exceeded the £50 million mark, reaching £53.5 million by the end of the month. The percentage of spend on SMEs rose again, up from a reported 55 per cent to 58 per cent in the space of six weeks. A further rise of £10 million was recorded in November, with just shy of £63.5 million held in sales. In total, 70 per cent of the number of sales were through central government; with 30 per cent through the rest of the public sector. Total sales recorded towards the end of December 2013 reached £78 million. The end of 2013 also revealed the share of public sector IT business SME suppliers win, with 56 per cent of total public sector spend by value through the G-Cloud framework going to SME suppliers. The SME percentage share of central government IT spend including through G-Cloud was even higher at 68 per cent. This is in stark contrast to the 10.5 per cent of central government spend in 2012/2013. As well as sales, a Digital marketplace blog of the same time predicted that savings of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent are not uncommon when using SMEs.

The next challenge Both the CloudStore and the Digital Services Store were to be replaced by the Digital Marketplace, providing one place for the public sector to buy digital and IT services and be the new home for G-Cloud services. The idea of the Digital Marketplace was initially conceived to simply replace, feature-for-feature, the existing CloudStore, but as G-Cloud developed the brief and requirements also progressed. With total sales reaching over a quarter of a billion pounds, the next iterations of the G-Cloud and Digital Services frameworks were given a launch date of the end of October, with the aim of getting the new frameworks in place as early in 2015 as possible (February 2015). The lots for G-Cloud 6 (G6) remained exactly the same as they were for all previous iterations, looking at Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service and Specialist Cloud Services to support transition to SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

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 the Public Expenditure Cabinet Committee having agreed to put in place a Public Cloud First mandate for central government, whereby departments had a target to achieve 50 per cent of new IT spend on cloud and 25 per cent use of SMEs by value by 2015, G-Cloud iii went live on 4 May alongside the launch of a new CloudStore. With the commencement of the third procurement iteration, the CloudStore now offered more than 800 suppliers and more than 7,000 services across all types of cloud service models, including public, private and hybrid.

The G-Cloud 11 agreement is set to run for 12 months but may be extended up to a maximum of 12 months from when the initial agreement is due to end Entering the new year, Francis Maude gave a speech at the Sprint 14 event setting out plans for a further £100 million to be spent with SMEs offering digital services by the next General Election, which happened to be in may the following year. Despite the obvious successes, and plans for G-Cloud 5 (G5) beginning to take shape, research carried out by the 6 Degree Group in early 2014 claimed that nearly 90 per cent of local authorities had still not heard of G-Cloud. The GDS therefore set about sharing success stories from users and increasing awareness of G-Cloud across the wider public sector. G5 started accepting submissions in February and went live in May 2014 with 1,132 suppliers. The lots remained the same as previous framework iterations: Lot 1: Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS); Lot 2: Platform As A Service (PaaS); Lot 3: Software As A Service (SaaS); and Lot 4: Specialist Cloud Services (SCS). G5 brought the total number of suppliers on CloudStore to 1,518 and over 17,000 services, 9,236 of them new and 88 per cent of which were SMEs. By July, G-Cloud sales figures broke the £200 million barrier with a total spend of £217,455,674.39. CloudStore revealed that £116 million of this was with SMEs. The same month it was announced that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead would be the first UK local authority to move to an entirely cloud-based infrastructure, with the authority spending just £100,000 setting it up. The solutions used to establish this included services bought through the G-Cloud framework.

At this point G-Cloud had been a resounding success, delivering a ground-breaking commissioning framework that provides businesses of all sizes the same opportunity to offer commodity cloud services to government. It helped create a transparent and competitive market that opened up barriers to entry for small and medium-size businesses. In August, sales continued to grow at a fantastic rate and hit £314 million. £168 million (53 per cent) of sales were with SMEs. The previous July, when G-Cloud moved into GDS, monthly sales were averaging £8 million. By August 2014, monthly sales have increased to £27 million – nearly two and half times more. The Crown Commercial Service also introduced a new tool (BravoSolution) as part of G6 to improve the G-Cloud procurement. This iteration saw 1,453 suppliers, up by over 15 per cent on G5 applications and 10,827 new services added to the Digital Marketplace. It also saw 516 new suppliers added to the framework, bringing the total number of suppliers on the Digital Marketplace to 1,852 (87 per cent SMEs), with 19,966 services available. By the end of the year, sales reached over £345 million, averaging £27 million a month. Nearly three yers on from the introduction of G Cloud, the department prided itself on the knowledge that 53 per cent of total sales by value and 61 per cent by volume had been awarded to SMEs. Crown Commercial Service then opened submissions for G-Cloud 7 (G7) at the end of August 2015. The G6 framework was due to end at the beginning of February 2016, but was extended several times to ensure that existing suppliers had time to apply to be on the G-Cloud 8 (G8) framework. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Foundation Trust for £1 million of undisclosed cloud services. This was followed by a £530,000 deal between the Ministry of Justice and Liberata, as well as a £400,000 contract between Maindec and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. The G-Cloud framework agreement continued to offer off-the-shelf, pay-as-you-go cloud solutions which span the same four ‘Lots’: infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service, and specialist cloud services. Infrastructure as a Service covers the provision of processing, storage, networks and other fundamental computing resources that allow the consumer to deploy software, such as operating systems and applications. This is effectively providing organisations with the capability to control their own operating systems, storage and deployed applications, without managing the underlying cloud infrastructure. Platform as a Service operates slightly differently, in that it provides the consumer with the capability to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools

supported by the provider. The consumer has control over the deployed application and possibly configuration settings for the application hosting environment, but does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure, which includes network, servers, operating systems and storage. Software as Service provides consumers with the capability to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. These applications are generally accessible from various devices through a client interface, such as a web browser (think web-based email), or a program interface. Consumers may have limited ability to manage userspecific application configuration settings, but the underlying cloud infrastructure, including network, servers, operating systems, storage and most individual application capabilities, are controlled by the provider. Lot 4, Specialist Cloud Services, continues to support the design and implementations of cloud based services and is split into a number of sub-categories: business analysis, legacy to cloud rationalisation, design/ consultation, transition management and service management. E

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 New suppliers keep arriving G7 services went live on the Digital Marketplace on 23 November 2015, meaning the public sector now had access to more services and suppliers of different sizes across the UK. G7 attracted a higher number of new suppliers than any previous iteration of the G-Cloud framework. Crown Commercial Service now boasted of 709 new suppliers on the G7 framework, 95 per cent of which were SMEs. There were 516 for G6, 89 per cent of those being SMEs. The total number of suppliers on the G-Cloud framework (G6 and G7) now stood at 2,566 and the public sector now had access to 22,080 services. The Digital Market Place also began working more closely with Crown Commercial Service and the Government Legal Department (GLD) to find an efficient, legally compliant way for G-Cloud suppliers to update their services. As of March 2016, the total sales made through G-Cloud since its inception four years ago surpassed the £1 billion mark. This total was helped by a significant number of sales, totalling £47 million, for the first month of 2016. This continued use of G-Cloud suggests that the public sector was becoming increasingly involved with cloud based services, products and consultancy, quashing previous views regrading adoption, and also proving that government organisations had become accustomed to choosing the framework to procure these. The average deal made in January 2016 was £14,329, with the largest deal made between Deloitte and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS

During their journey to the cloud, public sector organisation IT departments will need to refine their IT delivery models, based on an improved understanding of cloud technology and its potential

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Increased procurement confidence August 2016 saw the 8th version of G-Cloud (G8) go live on the government’s Digital Marketplace. Targeted at easing the procurement of cloud computing based information technology services by public-sector bodies, the G-Cloud consists of a series of framework agreements with suppliers, from which public sector organisations can buy services without needing to run a full tender or competition procurement process. It aims to offer simplicity and ease the procurement burden. Suppliers sign up to frameworks on the Digital Marketplace, a government online procurement store in kind, from which anyone in the public sector can select their services accordingly. The development of the G-Cloud was the government’s response to the potential efficiencies of the cloud and the need for the public sector to achieve more

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 Business analysis is the provision to offer skills to identify and analyse organisational needs and how transferring some or all existing IT systems to cloud based systems could increase efficiencies and savings. Legacy to cloud rationalisation is where suppliers offer the skills to identify which parts of a legacy system or infrastructure could be migrated onto a cloud based system. This kind of service is usually reserved for organisations that have identified potential efficiencies in moving to the cloud, but require some additional support in how to design and implement this transition. The provision to offer cloud based system designs inclusive of iterative design, development and ongoing maintenance of existing cloud services falls under the design/consultation sub-category of Lot 4. These designs can include the specification of what a solutions could/should look like, and consumers can then purchase that solution ‘off the shelf’ via other Lots or designed by teams and development sourced from other frameworks. Once a customer had a system design in place, they could then call on suppliers to handle the transition management, in which they manage the actual transfer of services onto the cloud based system, including the the on boarding and off boarding of data, the migration of existing services between data centres and end user training. Customers could also use the G7 to find a supplier that offers continuous service management of their cloud solutions. This would likely include service integration, management of multiple cloud solutions and the integration of cloud and noncloud services. Additionally, cyber security consultancy is also available on the framework, but this service varies considerably between suppliers based on their area of expertise, meaning that consumers should carefully consider if a supplier matches their specific needs. Services excluded from the G7 framework include co-location services, non-cloud related services, products or consultancy, bespoke digital project build services and hardware.

Although any large-scale IT transformation will undoubtedly cause some disruption, for those public sector organisations looking to make the move, a sound migration strategy will be vital to success while spending less money. According to government statistics of the time, G8 attracted the largest number of suppliers since the creation of the G-Cloud, with 94 per cent of the 757 new suppliers being a SME. Over half of the £1.3 billion spent through the G-Cloud has gone to SMEs as of June 2016. On Cloud 9 The G-Cloud 9 framework agreement, launched in May 2017, was the latest iteration of the framework which allows UK public sector bodies access to cloud computing services via a compliant procurement vehicle. New iterations of the framework were considered at a varying frequency of six-12 months, depending on the demand for and/or availability of new services as the IT cloud market develops. Launched with 2,847 suppliers, G9 underwent several changes with the aim of providing a more flexible maximum contract length. Earlier versions of G-Cloud were designed to run parallel with its predeceasing agreement by design. However, G9 was run as a single framework, requiring all aspiring and existing suppliers to have registered to offer services. This means that buyers and suppliers would be able to use one set of contracts for all their G-Cloud services. G7 and G8 were removed from the Digital Marketplace when G9 service went live. Meanwhile, Tony Singleton, best known for creating and developing G-Cloud, announced the day before G9 launched that he was to leave the civil service after 35 years. In a blog post on the Government Digital Service he said he would be looking for ‘new challenges’ that would involve ‘helping the public sector turn ideas into reality’. Singleton said his period in government had seen ‘incredible change’ that continues to gather pace, but that more dynamism is needed. Mike Bracken, the former head of the GDS, called Singelton ‘the man who, more than anyone, defined the digital transformation for public servants’ in a Twitter message. Node4 was one of the companies awarded a place on G9, with the N4 Private Cloud, Cyber Security Services, NetApp Private Storage as a Service (NPSaaS), Storage as a Service (STaaS), Backup as a Service (BUaaS), Disaster Recovery

as a Service (DRaaS), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) powered by Cisco and Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions listed on the framework, making these available to UK public sector organisations. Paula Johnston, head of Public Sector at Node4, said: “A number of public sector organisations are increasing their use of cloud services due to its flexibility and cost savings. G-Cloud 9 makes it easier for organisations to check which types of suppliers meet the CCS approval criteria and readily engage with them. Being a G-Cloud 9 supplier means that public sector services have better access to Node4’s solutions to run mission-critical systems and services.” UKCloud was another vendor that celebrated its approval to the agreement. The company committed to delivering more for less on G9, offering further cost reductions across its service catalogue, including its Cross Domain Security Zone (CDSZ), which predicted price falls of up to 50 per cent. Simon Hansford, CEO, noted: “As a committed supporter of G-Cloud, we welcome the latest iteration which promises to be the best yet, thanks to the comprehensive consultation process undertaken by the Government Digital Service and CCSe. As a supplier to the framework since the very beginning, we are delighted to continue our tradition of releasing several new and enhanced service offerings on the innovative new G-Cloud 9.” Reaching for G-Cloud 10 The 3,505 suppliers on the G-Cloud 10 framework, which expired on 2 July 2019, gave central government, local councils, NHS trusts and other public sector bodies a way to purchase cloud-based services such as web hosting from a single, central website. There were 649 more suppliers than featured on the previous iteration of G-Cloud 9 (this time there are more than 700 new suppliers on the new iteration). G-Cloud 10, which would eventually prove to be worth £600 million, remained for use by the UK public sector to buy cloud computing services covering hosting, software and cloud support on a commodity based, pay-as-you go service. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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Moving all your IT systems to the cloud may be appealing, but in practice, this is unrealistic. Many applications and services are still not optimised for virtual environments, let alone the cloud  Alongside the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework, the G-Cloud framework is transforming government procurement. These two frameworks mean government can buy the right technology and services from the right suppliers at the right price. By making procurement clear and simple, they are opening up the marketplace to suppliers of all sizes and from all parts of the country. They are creating a level playing field that means that all private sector enterprises can be involved in helping government work better for everyone. Discussing the G-Cloud 10 framework agreement last year, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, delivering innovative solutions in partnership with the public sector, fuelling economic growth and supporting the delivery of efficient, effective public services that meet the needs of citizens. The success of G-Cloud demonstrates how we are breaking down the barriers for SMEs who want to supply to government.” Cloud adoption Analysis of cloud adoption across councils, public bodies, universities and emergency services at the start of the year revealed slow progress and hurdles to climb. The report by Eduserv and Socitm raised concerns that progress in the public sector still faces some serious challenges, six years on from the 2013 launch of the government’s Cloud First strategy. The research, based on data from 633 organisations and interviews with IT leaders across the public sector, found that universities top the public sector cloud rankings, with 36 per cent storing at least 10 per cent of their data in the cloud, followed by public bodies (29 per cent) and local authorities (21 per cent). Meanwhile, 91 per cent of public bodies still use on premise data centre storage, compared to just 34 per cent of local authorities. This figure rises to 61 per cent of emergency services and 72 per cent of universities.

In terms of having a cloud infrastructure policy or strategy, public bodies lead with 79 per cent having a strategy in place, followed by universities (55 per cent), emergency services (51 per cent) and councils (44 per cent). Andy Powell, CTO at Eduserv, said in January: “As the report highlights, the journey will start on-premise and will almost certainly transition into a hybrid phase, possibly for quite some time, as many organisations are insufficiently mature in their IT management and information governance. During their journey to the cloud, public sector organisation IT departments will need to refine their IT delivery models, based on an improved understanding of cloud technology and its potential, new governance models and opportunities of information and data. There is no better time to start thinking about those issues than right now.” Cloud migration With the widespread adoption of mobile devices and flexible working practices, the public sector is increasingly turning to the cloud seeking greater IT agility, scalability and business continuity. Cloud migration - the process of moving data and applications from IT infrastructure on-site to the cloud - is a key priority for many organisations. Slow cloud adoption within pubic sector Yet, despite recognising the multiple benefits of cloud-based IT, adoption has been slower than anticipated since the launch of the government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy in 2013. Many organisations in the public sector have been hesitant to make the leap, primarily because of privacy concerns, shrinking budgets and complex regulatory requirements. The process of migrating IT systems to the cloud - while simultaneously ensuring ‘business as usual’ for staff, members of the public and local service providers - is not without its challenges.

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A robust strategy will allow local authorities to best reap the rewards, while making the process as efficient and straight-forward as possible. Strategy before action Moving all your IT systems to the cloud may be appealing, but in practice, this is unrealistic. Not everything can or should be moved. Many applications and services are still not optimised for virtual environments, let alone the cloud. You will also need to consider the order of migration and impact on operations and staff. Considering your unique needs is critical to unlocking the benefits of the cloud without compromising security, daily activities, existing legacy systems or wasting budget. Critical interim planning required The long-term plan may be to move 80 per cent of your applications and data storage to the cloud; however, in the short term, you will need to consider how you will maintain accessibility and security of existing data, hardware and applications during the migration. Third party suppliers can help maintain legacy systems and hardware during the transition to ease disruption and ensure continuity of services. Integration between cloud and on-site technology Public sector organisations must develop ways to integrate premise-based hardware with cloud systems to ensure data and applications can work in tandem, with smooth data transmissions between various information sources. However, this can be incredibly difficult. Cloud computing depends on a significant amount of oversight to ensure vendors are meeting service level agreements, keep budgets under control and avoid cloud sprawl. This vital work requires a different skill set, so you will need to consider upskilling and retraining staff. Careful disposal of legacy hardware Cloud migration will inevitably involve the retirement of some hardware. It’s imperative to ensure any stored data is secured to avoid the risk of data breaches. Many organisations underestimate hard drive related security risks or assume incorrectly that routine software management methods provide adequate protection. Reducing ongoing hardware costs Following cloud migration, as retained legacy IT systems age, dedicated hardware maintenance and operating system support strategies enable local authorities to reduce their costs compared to OEM extended warranties, while also accessing more flexible services. A third-party maintenance provider can provide required support for almost half the cost. Consequently, public sector organisations can free resources to support the systems that remaining in the on-site environment. Hardware maintenance plans provide a consistent source of fiscal and operational relief that makes it easier for local authorities to manage their data storage issues as they arise. E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 Sound migration strategy Although any large-scale IT transformation will undoubtedly cause some disruption, for those public sector organisations looking to make the move, a sound migration strategy will be vital to success. While some organisations are understandably hesitant about the impact of cloud migration in terms of operational disruption and costs, it’s worth remembering that, in the long-term, moving to the cloud will allow local authorities to unlock the potential of a more flexible, scalable and resilient IT system so they can focus on delivering improved public services and increasing innovation. Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 At the start of October, it was announced that 3,475 technology companies have been handed places on the latest iteration of Crown Commercial Service’s agreement for digital specialists This month, the Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 framework agreement officially opened for business. According to the Crown Commercial Service, 94 per cent of awarded suppliers on Digital Outcomes and Specialists 4 are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with the new agreement set to help public sector organisations find suppliers that can buy, design, build, test and deliver software, supporting the delivery of world-class public services that meet the needs of citizens. Public bodies have so far spent £1.5 billion through the three previous Digital Outcomes and Specialists agreements, with 32 per cent going directly to SMEs. The bulk of that spend

was during the last iteration, Digital Outcomes and Specialists 3, with spend from the first two versions nearly reaching £280 million. Additionally, more than £200 million has been spent with micro-SMEs since its inception. The framework was created in 2014 by CCS and Government Digital Service (GDS) to make government procurement easier and more transparent. Alongside the G Cloud framework, Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework means that government can buy the right technology and services from the right suppliers at the right price. By making procurement clear and simple, they are opening up the marketplace to suppliers of all sizes and from all parts of the country. They are creating a level playing field that means that all private sector enterprises can be involved in helping government work better for everyone. DOS 4 enables easy access to suppliers with

the right capabilities (compliant with the Digital by Default Standard), guaranteeing supplier capacity to deliver digital projects at multiple UK locations, as well as providing a flexible and speedy route to meet customers’ digital project needs. Niall Quinn, CCS Technology Director, said at the time of the launch: “DOS 4 will continue to help facilitate digital transformation for our customers while creating opportunities for collaboration with a wide range of suppliers. For this new version we have been able to enhance the framework and make some improvements to the Digital Marketplace in line with customer and supplier feedback, to improve their experience.” L FURTHER INFORMATION https://www.crowncommercial.

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Cloud technology

Looking to get your next cloud project signed off? Why does the public sector struggle to build a compelling business case for cloud? Romy Hughes, director at Brightman, explores the issue For nearly a decade, ‘Cloud First’ was the In the right context mantra by which all new government IT This is not to say the cloud is the wrong contracts were to be judged. If your new solution. In many instances it is still the right project was not in the cloud, you had to approach for the public sector. Cloud makes give a good reason for doing so. But despite absolute sense if you are thinking about true Cloud First’s dominance since 2013, the transformation. If your data is in the cloud policy is now under review. While specific and you can use the power of cloud compute reasons for the review have not been made to improve productivity, then it absolutely clear, I strongly suspect that the challenges makes sense. But this is about having a of measuring the ROI of cloud projects may long-term business plan and strategy first. be a significant factor in this decision. Successful cloud transformation (and ‘Cloud Forcing the public sector to use the cloud First’) in public sector only occurs when it is for every project, come-what-may, has approached strategically. Unfortunately, always seemed like a strange we don’t see this very often! approach. The ‘cloud’ is Instead, Cloud First has nothing more than a encouraged public sector Clo deployment decision. decision makers to be lazy First ha ud It is not a strategy in their decision-making s b een a distra in its own right. process because it has many o ction from No project – IT taken away the need to or otherwise start with the business questio f the very rea l n – should start with case. They certainly s t h a t should be aske a predetermination cannot be blamed d of an of how it will be for this. If you are told y n e w IT proje implemented. You you must use the cloud, ct define the problem first, and you have no strong build a business case for feelings why the cloud solving the problem, scope would not meet the objectives out the objectives and then of the project, why would you evaluate various solutions to achieve spend all that extra time building a those objectives. The cloud could be one of business case which evaluates non-cloud the proposed solutions, but only if it meets alternatives which might not be any better? all the objectives of the business case.

A distraction? Cloud First has been a distraction from many of the very real questions that should be asked of any new IT project – questions like ‘Is this the right project at all?’ What is the objective of the project? What is the business case? Or more fundamentally, ‘What is the role of this organisation and how can I advance its objectives?’ These questions are far more pertinent, and should come far earlier than ‘is this a cloud project or not?’ Too often I have seen cloud projects in the public sector mobilised for their own sake, instead of taking the customer-centric view and building the business case first. But this is not because the business case is not there; it is simply because it is much more challenging to build a business case for a cloud project versus a traditional one. There are a few reasons for this: 1. Cloud projects needs iterative funding, not ‘Big Bang’ One of the major benefits of moving to cloud is ‘evergreen IT’ and the ability to leverage Infrastructure/Platform or Software-as-aService approaches. With I/P/SaaS you can move away from the traditional, high risk ‘big bang’ approach and make more iterative, lower-risk improvements instead. The challenge is that iterative improvements E



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Cloud technology

 need iterative funding, which is very different to the ‘whole life cost’ ROI analysis typically required by a traditional business case. 2. Cloud requires a ‘as a service’ mentality and funding structure Building on the above point, traditional capex expenditure on hardware etc. becomes an opex cost, that may, in the long run, increase the overall cost of running a service. These potentially higher costs are all-too-often glossed over if your mantra is ‘Cloud First’. 3. Overall cost improvements are difficult to measure The increase in operational expenditure is often not measured against resulting improvements in productivity and efficiency (i.e. people costs may be lower as a direct or indirect result of the cloud, but this may be overlooked). Cloud First principles When compounded together these three points make the creation of a business case for cloud projects very difficult, but not impossible. But with Cloud-First now under review, it will be important for new cloud projects to take account of these nuances so they can build the business cases needed to get their projects over the line. Fundamentally, you need to go back to First Principles. Why are you doing the project at all? If you cannot answer WHY you should not move to the WHAT (i.e. an IT project) and HOW (i.e. cloud or non-cloud). If you cannot identify and articulate the WHY, you will never be able to build the business case, and if you can’t build the business case, why are you raising funds for the project in the first place? The review of Cloud First does not mean the public sector should turn away from the cloud. Cloud transformation remains a worthy goal for the public sector to pursue, but only when it forms part of a broader, strategic transformation plan.

Cloud transformation remains a worthy goal for the public sector to pursue, but only when it forms part of a broader, strategic transformation plan Is G-Cloud fit for purpose? What else can the government do to accelerate the digitisation of public services and improve its G-Cloud offering? From our analysis of the government’s procurement approach last year (Taking the brakes off: How SMEs can be unleashed to drive the rapid digitisation of the public sector), we shared our criticisms of the numerous framework agreements that have been established in recent years to make it easier for businesses to bid for government contracts. The UK public sector currently spends in excess of £200 billion on procuring goods and services from third parties every year, but despite its efforts, a disproportionate amount of this is still spent with the same large outsourcers. The government has committed to spending 33 per cent of public sector procurement directly with SMEs by 2022, and has launched numerous framework agreements to support this aim. The government can also be applauded for creating the Government Digital Service (GDS) – the Cabinet Office ‘centre of excellence’ which aims to drive the digital transformation of government across all departments. The government’s commitment to the digitisation of public services, and the democratisation of its procurement procedures are beyond question. However, with many businesses – and SMEs in particular – still locked out of most public sector contracts, we believe there is more work to be done. Improving the G-Cloud framework is a good place to start.

The problem of design Now in its 11th iteration, a stated aim of the G-Cloud framework was to improve access for SMEs. While it started well – with 80 per cent of its suppliers said to be SMEs, this has not necessarily translated into proportionate sales for SMEs. From our analysis, the fundamental challenge of the G-Cloud framework is a technical one – it doesn’t support the way in which SMEs actually generate business (and likewise, how government customers like to find suppliers). As a platform, the G-Cloud is unwieldy, difficult to navigate, has an ineffective search engine and often fails to match contracts to the most relevant suppliers. At the same time, there is not enough of an incentive for public sector purchasers to use it, so a lot of business is still awarded outside of the framework anyway. It ain’t no Google… The G-Cloud struggles to manage the sheer volume of suppliers listed on the platform (2,847 were approved for G-Cloud 9 for example) with a search function that is largely ineffective at matching the most relevant suppliers for a given task. The G-Cloud therefore fails at its primary role as the matchmaker between buyers and suppliers. Government purchasers are often forced to enlist the services of a third party just to help them navigate the G-Cloud and find the right SME suppliers to solve their problem. If you have to hire consultants to use your own tools, clearly something has gone very wrong indeed! E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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Cloud technology

 Additional deficiencies in the search function include. Filters are either not relevant (e.g. sellers/resellers) or are not businesssolution focused, making it very difficult to find what you want. Common business and technology terms are not listed on the platform so buyers cannot filter for the solution they need. If you are looking for a change management expert to help manage the delivery of a major new system for example, you’re out of luck, because ‘change management’ does not exist as a category. The same is true for ‘digital transformation’. Such terminology is very broad and means different things to different people. The tendency is to assume that ‘digital’ just means IT when actually it can mean a large organisational change process involving not just the usual IT elements. Introducing a definition of the terms used might be a step forward towards consistency of use and understanding. Furthermore, search results do not appear to be in any discernible order. It is unclear on what basis the G-Cloud search engine algorithm prioritises its results, making it nigh-on-impossible for government buyers to use the platform to shortlist the most relevant suppliers. This is also highly detrimental for suppliers who invest significant time in building their G-Cloud listings when they do not know how effective their listing will be.

for the latest IT trends and terminologies to be reflected on the platform. This forces innovative suppliers to shoehorn their proposition into a category which is not truly reflective of their service offering, ultimately making them harder to find. The Government Digital Service is trying hard to get a consistent message out to public sector organisations, but with so many different framework agreements to choose from, each with their own flavour and terms, the choice for buyers and suppliers is too great. This leads to inconsistency of contract terms for the same work and a fall back to describing work in a particular way that

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only those directly involved in it can truly understand and perhaps, bid for successfully. Fundamentally, all of these factors mean the G-Cloud is currently failing to achieve its core objective of matching government buyers with the most appropriate suppliers for their needs. Reform is therefore urgently needed to not only help SMEs to break into the public sector, but to achieve the government’s own ambitions to drive the digitisation of the UK public sector as a whole. L FURTHER INFORMATION

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Summer-Browning Associates is an SME that provides an extensive range of consultancy and resourcing services to both public and private sectors through our direct capabilities and extensive network of associates. The main focus of our services are in: • Resourcing interim and permanent candidates with a niche in resourcing large multi millionpound government programmes • Delivery of complex projects and programmes • Delivery of large Public Contract Regulations compliant outsourced services contracts • End to end contract management. Our services to the public sector can be provided via three routes to market - G-Cloud - Digital Outcomes Specialists - Non Clinical Temporary and Fixed Term Staff Framework where we are a subcontractor to a global recruitment firm To find out more engage us directly via email: or call us on 020 7164 6649. Alternatively visit our website

Cloud technology

New public sector cloud framework launched The framew encour ork supplie ages forward rs to bring produc innovative ne t throughs and solutionw s ou the agr t the life of eement

NHS Shared Business Services has launched a new procurement framework that provides public sector organisations with a simple means of purchasing cloud solutions The innovative Cloud Solutions Framework, launched by NHS Shared Business Services, helps the NHS, local authorities, police, educational establishments, and any other public sector organisation, to access the highest-quality cloud services at best value-for-money from 24 carefully selected suppliers. The streamlined and OJEU compliant route to market enables any public body to simplify and quicken the procurement process via four different Lots, covering a wide range of cloud support that includes both bespoke and off-the-shelf solutions. Lot 1, ‘Solution Design and Consultancy’, focuses on the initial support ahead of cloud

implementation, including an analysis of an organisation’s ‘as is’ position, cloud readiness assessments, architecture design and migration planning. This is particularly useful for any organisation considering migration from outdated legacy infrastructure to public or private cloud, or where the first steps have already been taken and enhanced support is needed to move to the next stage of adoption. Lot 2, ‘Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS)’, covers public cloud and/or private and hybrid cloud hosting, processing, storage, networks and applications. The services here are

for organisations looking to source the core infrastructure for cloud computing with a range of connectivity options. Lot 3, ‘Cloud Support Services’, includes real time support, access to professional expertise, plus a wide range of ongoing or ad-hoc specialist support services. Organisations can access services that include everything from on-site management to light touch remote support, which enables the retention of in-house management. Meanwhile, Lot 4, ‘Endto-end Cloud Solution’, helps an organisation find a trusted partner that can offer complete start-to-finish support for its cloud journey. The framework runs until September 2021 E Issue 26.5 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Edge4Health To help NHS organisations meet Lord Carter’s recommendations that 80 per cent of addressable spend should be transacted via a catalogue, The Edge4Health enables suppliers to swiftly upload

Cloud technology

 and enables public sector users to make direct awards or run mini competitions to best suit their individual needs. To reflect the fast-evolving nature of the sector, the framework also encourages suppliers to bring forward innovative new products and solutions throughout the life of the agreement to benefit the public sector. Phil Davies, Procurement Director at NHS SBS, said: “In what is an incredibly crowded and complex market our aim was to significantly simplify the procurement process for the NHS and wider public sector. To ensure framework users have access to the very best cloud services at the most competitive price, we carried out a rigorous tender process and limited the number of suppliers on the framework to the 10 or 20 most outstanding in each Lot. The result is a specialist pool of 24 leading suppliers, which provide the greatest expertise and value-for-money to the public sector. “The framework is structured in a way that includes a full range of cloud support services. It means that regardless of where a public body is on its journey into the cloud, or how straightforward or complex its requirements, purchasing the right support is simple, cost-effective and OJEU-compliant.”

Regardless of where a public body is on its journey into the cloud, or how straightforward or complex its requirements, purchasing the right support is simple, cost-effective and OJEU-compliant product catalogues to a single platform, so that NHS buyers can approve pricing and place electronic orders with ease. The catalogue management system simplifies the interaction between suppliers and NHS buyers, reducing invoice discrepancies, enabling buyers to see clear, accurate product data and helping overcome some of the challenges of trading with the NHS. The technology, which has been used in retail for many years, has been adapted for the NHS through a partnership between NHS SBS and technology company, Virtualstock. The Edge4Health is being rolled out across several NHS trusts in England. Their procurement teams are now contacting suppliers to explain the change and how they can register, free of charge. Trusts, including

Portsmouth, Kettering General Hospitals and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, have already asked their suppliers to migrate their catalogues onto the new system, Edge4Health, with the support of colleagues from NHS SBS. Louise Hillcoat, head of Supplier Partnership at NHS SBS, said: “We recognise suppliers’ frustrations at delayed payments when purchase orders don’t match invoices and orders are placed against inaccurate product data or old, incomplete price lists. This cloud based system removes those blockages and puts the supplier in control of their own product information.” L FURTHER INFORMATION



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Ending chaos by adopting the Cloud to deliver digital government Gone are the days when automated intelligent solutions were only available to big organisations with significant financial resources and large IT department The largest taxi company has no taxis and the largest hotel network has no hotels. These are real examples outside the public sector where digitalisation has transformed the industry and is disrupting operating models of incumbent players. With austerity, taxpayers have been presented with a very unappetising choice between higher taxes or radically curtailed public services, or both. Is there an alternative, a way to use innovation to make public services cheaper without cuts? Governments are adopting the cloud because it delivers the most elusive goal of delivering more, for less. The challenges of today’s modern government leave professionals scrambling to respond to the needs of their colleagues, managers and citizens, whilst meeting the ever-growing workload. Both HR and finance needs to take seats at the strategic table, but that demands accurate data and the ability to demonstrate how information translates directly into results. Few would argue that we are facing a new world, one that demands new efficient ways of working. Austerity is forcing organisations to do more with less, fewer people and fewer resources. Finance and HR teams must identify how they can help drive an organisation’s ability to differentiate itself and operate effectively. As government gets on board with cloud solutions like BambooHR and SAP Business ByDesign it will deliver significant savings. Tired of spreadsheet chaos? A recent survey found 80 per cent of leaders are reporting ‘dramatically’ higher levels of stress. Downsizing means the megalith solutions implemented in the 1990s will no longer deliver people and finance related processes and arguably even more importantly to do more with less it often means both teams will need to perform at a fraction of the cost. Is the finance and HR consumed with putting out fires and handling transactions instead of contributing strategically, survey results tell us that ‘management spends less than 10 per cent of their time

on strategy and invest as much as two-thirds of their time completing routine tasks’. There is an answer If the HR and Finance teams are among the eight out of ten government professionals that are feeling the pressure, they need to know there is an answer. A modern cloud-based integrated HR and finance information platform will help them juggle growing responsibilities and avoid the tedium of error-ridden routine transactions, spreadsheets, and information requests. Imagine a scenario where information is entered once and then when there is a requirement to access data it is available instantly. Managers and employees can enjoy the convenience of self-service access, that’s protected and secure, GDPR compliant and available to only those it should be. Modern cloud solutions like BambooHR and Business ByDesign can store information, and it’s so easy to use, employees, managers and ultimately citizens can generate reports themselves.   Cloud is a nice idea, but … Gone are the days when automated intelligent solutions were only available to big organisations with significant financial resources and large IT departments. Solutions like BambooHR do not require big budgets or indeed IT teams to support it and buying through GCloud means gone are the days a big procurement exercise is required. Easy-to-use and readily affordable cloud solutions are delivering more for less.   What can Cloud HRIS & ERP do for you? The top reasons why companies choose the power and convenience of HRIS are: ERP and HRIS platforms free up time for more valuable use; it enables greater accuracy in capturing and using data; it reduces pointless administration allowing transactions to be processed faster ; it generates reports quickly; it supports compliance; enables data-sharing and collaboration across

organisational functions; it fuels efficiency by providing accurate information; and offers secure document data storage and access. Making Cloud ERP and HRIS an easy choice Unlike a traditional software-based in‑house software, a cloud platform enables professionals to enjoy the benefits of a robust online solution, with little investment, without the hassle of IT support. The systems reside online, is upgraded out of hours and combines the convenience and versatility to remove the avalanche of paperwork whilst reducing the reliance on error-prone spreadsheets. It will allow Finance and HR to focus on activities and contributions that deliver significant savings. BambooHR is the fastest-growing HRIS globally, it offers a cloud-based HR platform that provides simple and accessible tools for managing employee data and unlike expensive and complicated enterprise HRIS solutions. SAP Business ByDesign is a complete suite of integrated business software. It contains all the functionality even the largest company needs to run highly efficiently. SAP Business ByDesign allows you to choose from 35 fully integrated end-to-end business scenarios, from traditional order-to-cash to more complex third-party order processing scenarios. Business ByDesign and BambooHR connect every aspect of your organisation helping you streamline everything. Implemented in days offering an affordable, easy‑to‑use, configurable system that meets the needs of today’s agile government. L About the author Phil is responsible for growing Orchard House Solutions, an innovation fuelled and outcome-based business that delivers seamless experiences that are planned to go way beyond expectation. FURTHER INFORMATION



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ERG are a highly regarded and respected workforce partner to the public sector, assisting authorities and departments to drive efficiency savings through the deployment of key hires. We work with clients to improve and enhance the delivery of their services into the communities in which they serve. We view compliance as an essential ingredient to aid our clients and we work through the primary frameworks that exist to onboard interims, including NMNC, PSR, DOS, G-Cloud and MSTAR. Our consultants are grouped into vertical service streams aligned to the public sector; Central and Local Government, Healthcare, Blue light, Housing and Education. At the heart of what we do runs a spine of transformation and change. If you are a candidate that is regarded as an expert in your field and/or an organisation in need of a critical hire, ERG would love to hear from you.

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Fire safety is an important aspect in the management of buildings and passive fire protection (PFP) is a key component of any fire safety strategy. PFP is built into the structure of buildings to ensure they do not collapse and to prevent the spread of smoke and fire, allowing time for occupants to escape. PFP includes fire doors, walls, protection to the structural frame and fire-stopping. The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) offers a range of training courses and guidance documents to assist specifiers, building owners and installers. The ASFP Online Introduction to Passive Fire Protection provides a basic introduction to PFP and its role in the overall fire strategy of a building. The course consists of video modules covering key elements of

Remsdaq is a leading UK manufacturer of integrated security products, including the Entro access control and Sabre perimeter intrusion detection systems. EntroWatch is the management software at the heart of the Entro series. The software is easy to set-up and features intuitive screen layouts from which to configure, monitor and control up to 800 doors and 250,000 credentials. EntroWatch is designed to work with EntroStar and EntroNet access door controllers which provide two-door/four-reader and eight-door/16-reader in/out functionality. They are easy to install and allow fast and costeffective expansion using ‘plug n play’ modular technologies. Up to 100 EntroStar and EntroNet access door controllers can be connected on an IP network to provide door management up to 800 doors.

design, installation and inspection. It offers an excellent insight into the vital role of PFP systems. The ASFP Foundation Courses in Passive Fire Protection offer modules in fire science and different forms of passive fire protection, leading towards Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications provided by the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and recognised by regulators Ofqual and CCEA. Learners who obtain the IFE Level 3 Certificate are eligible to apply to join the IFE at Technician level enabling them to gain professional recognition and use the post nominal TIFireE.



Experienced designers of playground equipment Discovery Timber Play Ltd is a privately owned company, situated in the Cotswolds on the outskirts of the town of Stonehouse. The company has over 20 years experience in designing, manufacturing and installing exciting outdoor playground equipment for toddlers to teens. Discovery Timber Play is a trusted supplier to local authorities, schools and nurseries, community groups, leisure organisations and housing developments. The organisation’s passion is for wood, stainless steel and the best possible quality of materials to blend in harmoniously with the projects surroundings. The next inspirational elements are design and innovation, the many ways its products could inspire and help to improve users lives. This includes: social skills, imagination, creativity, sense of connection, health, fitness, stimulation,

education, problem solving, and enhancing inclusion, including people with disabilities. Discovery Timber Play has recently expanded its production facility so it can manufacture virtually any bespoke, wooden play equipment, both commercial and residential. The company’s current product range includes; Discovery PlayTowers, PlayBoat, Trim Trails, Swings and Zip-Wires, Bespoke Play Equipment, Safety Surfacing, Gazebos and Outdoor Classrooms, Shade Sails and Fencing & Seating.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01453 873300 www.discoverytimber

The installation can be single site or span multiple buildings. EntroPad readers, desktop readers, management kits and EntroPass secure credentials complete the Entro series. The Entro series integrates with HIKVision CCTV, IEVO Biometric readers and Sabre PIDS. Remsdaq is a Microsoft Certified Gold partner and manufactures products certified for government use by the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure). Company management systems are certified to ISO9001/14001/18001 and 27001.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01244 286 495


Commercial play equipment and safety surfaces A play area is a great way to keep children fit, active and healthy. Active Garden Ltd was established in 2004 and since then the company has been creating fun playgrounds in public areas, schools, nurseries, community centres, hotels, pubs, etc. As part of Active Garden’s service, it discusses with its customers what pieces of equipment and type of surface will best fit their budget and needs. Active Garden has its own in house installation team for equipment and surfaces, so customers can have a complete play area from one supplier. The organisation can also create more bespoke pieces in its workshop. Active Garden’s range of products includes wooden climbing frames, swing sets (including the most popular nest swings), adventure trails, clamber

stacks, playground springers, castles, seesaws, ships, tractors, recycled furniture, rubber grass mats, artificial grass, wetpour and bonded rubber bark. A new play area doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Active Garden has affordable and yet robust and durable play equipment, that complies with the current regulations for commercial play equipment (EN1176) and surfacing (EN1177).





Real digital parking enforcement has arrived

Enhance your fleet without the upfront costs

An increasing number of cities in UK are optimising their parking enforcement process with the PARKIUS Platform. PARKIUS invented and developed the concept of digital parking enforcement and built the first scan car with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) in Amsterdam. Then, the company added an intelligent data handling and business intelligence platform. Many councils want to cut costs and increase compliance. PARKIUS’ approach to digital parking enforcement dramatically increases the enforcement intensity and cuts costs at the same time by applying a highly efficient Spot-and-Follow-up approach. PARKIUS is the leading advisor and solution provider of digital parking enforcement working with the London Boroughs of Kingston Upon Thames, Richmond Upon Thames and Barnet following successful projects in cities such

Nexus Vehicle Rental is the largest corporate vehicle rental provider in the UK enabling mobility through its awardwinning, online rental booking and management platform, IRIS. With the largest vehicle supply chain in the country, Nexus Vehicle Rental offers daily, short, medium and long-term rental with access to over 550,000 vehicles, including 100,000 specialist and commercial vehicles and 50,000 HGVs across 2,000 UK locations. Nexus sources any vehicle, anytime, anywhere with unrivalled delivery lead times and is an approved vehicle rental provider on the CCS RM6013 framework for lots 1, 4, 5 and 6. Outright vehicle purchase is becoming less popular as legislation, such as the 2040 petrol and diesel ban, Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs), come into force. Rapid depreciation in asset value and additional tax charges are

as Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Lisbon, Stockholm and Antwerp. The PARKIUS promise is to share its knowledge and experience to guide organisations through the transition into public-friendly and highly profitable parking operations. Want to know how PARKIUS does it? Contact using the details below.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: +31 (0)6 2189 8901




compounding the ability to plan for the long-term. Rental is becoming increasingly popular as it provides the option to scale fleet capacity up or down quickly, enabling costs to be reduced as there is no commitment to longer contracts. Nexus’ unique rental system IRIS provides complete visibility of the entire rental journey from initial booking to final invoice, along with real time reporting, user profile management, costcentre split billing, customer service case handling, and full damage and fines management.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0871 984 1947


Constant & Co: Ethical Effective Enforcement

Heritage Square Bin for on-street recycling

Established in 1973, Constant & Co Ltd is a nationwide enforcement company specialising in the removal of travellers, squatters, rough sleepers, trespassers and tent encampments under High Court and Common Law. The company also provides a full range of clearance and security services to deliver a complete package to clients. An extensive client list includes solicitors, local authorities, commercial land agents, management companies and commercial landlords. The company is built on reputation and is well known in the industry as a leading provider of enforcement services. Over the years Constant & Co Ltd has been contracted to work on many high-profile evictions and has consistently met clients’ expectations. The organisation provides a fast-reliable service and the company ethos is Ethical Effective Enforcement.

With more than six out of ten of us now describing ourselves as ‘committed recyclers’, on-street recycling needs to gain apace to meet public needs. To help in this process that turns a waste liability into valuable assets, Leafield Environmental is launching its new Square Heritage Recycling bin range to assist waste stream segregation ‘in the street’. Proven and popular with local authorities, parish councils and urban landscape designers alike, the Heritage Square Bin can now be designated for the collection of specific recyclate streams. WRAP compliant, colour coded inserts with their ‘propeller’ apertures, along with explicit colour coded graphics, help identify the specific waste that should be deposited. Apertures can also be blanked off for bins to be used against walls. One of the most durable bins

Constant & Co Ltd certificated enforcement officers have a wide range of experience to draw upon from their backgrounds including former members of the police, armed forces, prison service and public sector. All employees are DBS checked, first aid trained and issued with full uniform and PPE. The company is ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO18001, Safe Contractor and IIP accredited. Constant & Co is a corporate member of the Civil Enforcement Association and is subject to the code of conduct contained within the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company.



available, thanks to the double wall construction throughout the entire bin, the Heritage Square’s outer walls now sport ridges to prevent unwanted fly posting. With a 110 litre capacity, diagonal hinged, slam-shut door for easy access, (no lifting required), the Heritage Square Recycling Bin will help meet the need for on-street recycling for many years to come.




What is the Disability Confident Scheme?

Overcoming Language Barriers

PCLR recruits staff across many areas, with an ethos on finding work for those with disabilities. Company director Chris has Cerebral Palsy. Being a disabled person, Disability Confident is very close to his heart, meaning that the company sees strengths not weaknesses within disabled people. The company works closely with companies that believe in its ethos and would like new companies who share the same passion as PCLR. PCLR Ltd, along with the Disability Confident scheme, wants to get people with disabilities into work. Everyone has a skill and the company wants to find it, pledging to work with companies every step of the way. Working and growing as a person is the best medicine, and Chris is living proof of that. PCLR finds appropriate jobs for appropriate people, helping at

The nature of the modern world is such that not only are we all different, we also speak different languages. We are clever that way. Speaking the same language is vital in many areas, none more so than areas in which local governments operate. Even people who do not need an interpreter in their daily life, require help to understand their rent account break-down, social services communications, legal advice or court proceedings. Come to think of it, most of us could do with a ‘translation’ of ‘legalese’ or even social care terminology. Burrellines Translations (Ines Burrell) has been providing translation services in the UK and interpreting services in the South West since 2004, translating social services reports, medical records, healthcare guidelines, court documents, police reports from English to Latvian and Latvian to English, as well as from Russian.

all stages of the process, giving you the best chance to enhance your skill and not be defined by your perceived ‘limitations’. PCLR is always ‘working hard for hard working people’.



Having worked in translation sector for almost 30 years, Ines Burrell offers invaluable expertise and experience, supported by the membership of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), as well as current DBS checks for your peace of mind.



Recognising the value of diversity in art and society

Shopping for artificial outdoor Christmas Trees

New Art Exchange is a contemporary arts space in Nottingham that celebrates the region’s cultural richness and diversity. The charity is the largest gallery in the UK dedicated to culturally diverse contemporary visual arts. Based in the Hyson Green neighbourhood of Nottingham, New Art Exchange’s rolling programme of exhibitions and events is dedicated to stimulating new perspectives on the value of diversity within art and society. Within its galleries, the charity presents the work of world renowned British and international artists. New Art Exchange’s contemporary RIBA award winning building is designed by acclaimed architects Hawkins\ Brown and houses a range of spaces for hire. Creative, flexible and inspiring – the spaces can be adapted for guests to explore

Stephen Evans, managing director of Christmas Tree World, says: “We get a lot of last minute enquiries for our Giant Artificial Outdoor Christmas Trees… And we’ve usually sold out by then.” A lot of these enquiries come from organisations that feel let down by the real Christmas Tree that has been delivered to them. Christmas Tree World has not only designed an artificial tree that looks real, but one that also does not require unsightly guy lines to support it. Whilst an artificial tree may seem to be somewhat of a luxury, a lot of clients have realised that they do not need delivery on a flat bed lorry, with a crane, nor do they need a socket in the ground, in order to secure the tree trunk. Sitting directly on the ground and being assembled piece by

new ideas, celebrate, learn together or just to enjoy time in a stimulating environment. The charity’s delicious world food menu, made in-house, can be tailored for your requirements. The building is accessible, with Wi-Fi, a range of tech and AV facilities throughout and technical team to support your event. Located just 10 minutes from the city centre, New Art Exchange is easily reached by Tram and close to the main transport routes.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0115 924 8630

piece, The Giant Outdoor Woodland Pine Trees have been placed on cobbles, carparks, in fields and one was even located in the middle of a roundabout in Christmas 2018. The trees can be ordered either unlit, or pre-lit. Having erected real trees for many years, the nightmare comes when taking the tree down - the lights are tangled in amongst the branches and you are forever having to cut away at the branches, in order to take the lights off. Using the pre-lit tree from Christmas Tree World meant that each branch section was removed, the lights were unplugged and then they were folded up, ready for installing again, next year.





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2CL Communications


Mrs Ines Burrell


Active Garden


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AEC People


New Art Exchange



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British Parking Association


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Padoq 76 Parking Ticketing


Parkius 94 PCL Recruitment


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Praxonomy 88 Premier Guarantee


Protecht 60 Qlick IT


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Remsdaq 93 Runibex 72 Safety Technology


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Softworks UK


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Trams 68

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ISS 34

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Shiftboard 88

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