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ISSUE 28.2

Business Information for Local and Central Government FINANCE

THE LOCAL FUNDING PICTURE Has the local government financial picture improved, a year on from the pandemic striking?

PLUS: FACILITIES MANAGEMENT | FLEET | SUSTAINABILITY | TRANSPORT


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PENSIONS

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ISSUE 28.2

Business Information for Local and Central Government FINANCE

THE LOCAL FUNDING PICTURE Has the local government financial picture improved, a year on from the pandemic striking?

PLUS: FACILITIES MANAGEMENT | FLEET | SUSTAINABILITY | TRANSPORT

Remote council meetings to be abandoned Local authority meetings will have to be face-to-face from 7 May, under new guidance from the MHCLG. For the most part, the government is being very cautious in its roadmap out of lockdown. Although outdoor sports facilities are now open, entertainment, tourist and non-essential retail all remain closed until at least 12 April. Meetings of groups of more than six is unlikely before 17 May, and even then it is expected to remain capped at six indoors and no more than 30 outdoors. It is quite surprising then that the government has said that emergency legislation regarding virtual council meetings will not be extended beyond 7 May - earlier than the 17 May date mentioned above. It is also earlier than the 21 June date that MPs can continue participating remotely until. Although guidance has been updated to help them operate safely and securely, including using existing powers to reduce the number of faceto-face meetings deemed necessary, it is not surprising that many local government bodies, including the Local Government Association and the County Councils Network, have labelled the move disappointing.

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There are question marks over whether council chambers will have enough room to sufficiently distance all those present, raising the possibility of having to hire larger premises. As the CCN’s David Williams said, the decision is ‘illogical’ at best. Michael Lyons, editor

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Contents

Contents Government Business 28.2 07 News

14

Package of measures to revitalise high streets; multi-million pound scheme for zero-emission buses; and 25 areas to share £150m to develop new flooding responses

14 Finance

19

Despite the prominent role that local government has played in the response to the pandemic to date, the financial picture has not greatly improved , writes CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman as he provides a breakdown of the local government financial picture

16 Finance

What is happening with Public Sector Pensions in the next year? Shaun Tetley, chair of the Public Sector Specialist Interest Group at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, explains

19 Energy

Fabio Giunta, Digital & Data Associate at Energy Systems Catapult, explores how local authorities can tackle the lack of data and digital skills to move towards a low-carbon future

23 Sustainability

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a network of local authorities committed to climate action, explores local clean energy partnerships and the benefits of generating energy near to where it is used as we progress towards Net Zero

26

26 GB Q&A: City of Edinburgh Council

Following a number of measures to tackle climate change in the Scottish capital, GB talks to 
Adam McVey (AM) about plans to be a net-zero carbon Capital City by 2030 and creating a 
cleaner, greener and fairer future in Edinburgh

28 Waste management

45 53

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, says that as we begin to ‘build back better’, we need to think seriously about how we do this in a way that tackles a potentially more catastrophic global crisis - climate change

31 Facilities management

Peter Brogan, head of Research and Insight at the IWFM, provides a preview to the findings of the IWFM Market Outlook Survey, ahead of the launch of the full findings in the coming weeks

Government Business magazine

34 GB Q&A: Birmingham City Counil

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, speaks to Government Business about the council’s 2022 Commonwealth Games plans, getting active in lockdown and capitalising on culture in Birmingham

39 Communications

Simon Chapman, head of Solution Engineering at Scoro, explains why communication is the first step towards digital transformation of the public sector

43 Cyber security

Stephen Burke says that nothing could have prepared us for 2020 - a year that demanded a swift and dramatic restructure of corporate operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

44 Fleet management

The Energy Saving Trust look at some of the lessons learnt from each of the cities involved in the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme, and what other local authorities can learn from their work so far

48 Transport

Francesca DiGiorgio writes for Friends of the Earth about the design aspect of shifting local planning to deter unnecessary car journeys, as well as how the current situation impacts wheelchair users

50 Security

Iain Moran explains for Government Business magazine how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the future of the high street

53 G-Cloud

Jos Creese, CEO of digital consultancy business CCL, looks at why digital public services means a move away from ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions

57 G-Cloud

Managing a framework requires a very different set of management skills to a more traditional waterfall-based project, writes Romy Hughes

61 G-Cloud

Steve White explains why coronavirus marks a turning point in councils’ approach to new technology investment

www.governmentbusiness.co.uk Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

5


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News

PLANNING

Package of measures to revitalise high streets

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced a package of measures to revitalise England’s cherished high streets and town centres. The new rules allowing commercial premises to be converted into homes will help support the creation of much-needed homes while also giving high streets a new lease of life – removing eyesores, transforming unused

buildings and making the most of brownfield land. The government’s package also introduces a new fast track for extending public service buildings, including bigger extensions to existing public buildings including schools, colleges, universities and hospitals. This will help deliver more classrooms and hospital space by enabling them to extend

further and faster, as we emerge from the pandemic. This will mean that vital public buildings will be expanded more quickly through the planning system with a faster, more streamlined planning process. Ministers hope that allowing unused commercial buildings to be changed into homes will encourage more people to live near local high streets and come to the area for work and leisure, helping cement our high streets and town centres in their rightful place at the heart of communities. The new homes will be delivered through a simpler ‘prior approval’ process instead of a full planning application and will be subject to high standards, ensuring they provide adequate natural light and meet space standards. READ MORE

BUSINESS RATES

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Business rates relief boosted by £1.5 billion

New guidance on safe use of council offices

The government has announced a new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by coronavirus outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have not been paying any rates during the pandemic, as part of a 15 month-long relief which runs to the end of June this year. Now, the government will provide a £1.5 billion pot across the country that will be distributed according to which sectors have suffered most economically, rather than on the

basis of falls in property values, ensuring the support is provided to businesses in England in the fastest and fairest way possible. The £1.5 billion pot will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by coronavirus. Local authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards. READ MORE

CIVIC PRIDE

Union flag to be continuously flown on government buildings The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has instructed for the Union flag to be flown on UK government buildings every day. Currently, Union flags are only required to be flown on all UK Government buildings on designated days. However, new guidance will ask for the flag to be flown all year round, unless another flag is being flown – such as another national flag of the UK, or a county flag, or other flags to mark civic pride. The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to all councils In England to raise awareness of the guidance and encourage them to fly Union flags on their buildings.

He said: “Our nation’s flag is a symbol of liberty, unity and freedom that creates a shared sense of civic pride. People rightly expect to see the Union Flag flying high on civic and government buildings up and down the country, as a sign of our local and national identity. That’s why I am calling on all local councils to fly the Union Flag on their buildings – and today’s guidance will enable them to do that. We’ve also cut red tape, allowing councils to also fly their county flag at the same time.” READ MORE

Updated guidance on the safe use of council buildings has been published, following confirmation that emergency legislation regarding virtual council meetings will not be extended. Luke Hall has written to all council leaders praising them for their extraordinary efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, including ensuring vital council business was able to continue by adapting to virtual meetings at short notice last year. The Local Government Minister also confirmed that, given the significant progress of the vaccination programme and the roadmap for lifting restrictions, the government has decided not to bring forward the primary legislation needed to extend the current regulations at this time. In order to support councils, guidance has been updated to help them operate safely and securely, including using existing powers to reduce the number of face-to-face meetings deemed necessary. Hall said: “Councils continue to play a vital role in our response to the pandemic and I am grateful for how they have used emergency powers introduced a year ago to continue to operate at a difficult time. “As the vaccine roll-out continues and restrictions are lifted, councils holding faceto-face meetings from 7 May are being given the support and guidance they need to do so in a safe and secure way. I am keen to hear from councils and local residents about their experiences of virtual meetings so that we can properly consider whether to make these a permanent option.” READ MORE

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

7


News

TRANSPORT

Multi-million pound scheme for zero-emission buses

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched a multimillion-pound scheme to enable local transport authorities to roll out zero-emission buses. The Department for Transport says that up to £120 million is being made available through the zero-emission-buses regional area (ZEBRA) scheme, which will allow local

transport authorities to: bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses; reduce the carbon emissions from their local public transport; and improve air quality in towns and cities across England. It is hoped that the funding will deliver up to 500 zero-emission buses, supporting the government’s wider commitment to introduce 4,000 zero-emission buses. The investment comes from the wider £3 billion fund announced by the government to improve bus services in our national bus strategy published on 15 March. To ensure the funding from the zeroemission-bus fund is used quickly to help provide British bus manufacturers with an

injection of orders, the government is calling on consortia of local transport authorities, energy companies, bus operators and manufacturers to come together to work up strong cases for funding. This will help make sure that buses are built, bought and being driven on our roads efficiently to the benefit of local economies and communities. Bidders will have until 21 May 2021 to submit expressions of interest for a fasttrack process that will allow local transport authorities with well-developed proposals to move quickly in their bid to secure funding. READ MORE

BUSES

Greater Manchester to have local control over buses Andy Burnham has made a landmark decision to take control of buses in the biggest shake-up to Greater Manchester’s transport network in over 30 years. The decision from the Mayor of Greater Manchester means that the region will be the first city-region outside London to have buses that are under local control, allowing local leaders to set routes, frequencies, fares and tickets. By the end of 2025, this will allow Greater Manchester Combined Authority to fully integrate buses with the rest of the transport network, as part of a passenger-focused network with easy end-to-end journeys. Franchising, or local control, will deliver passenger benefits, including simpler fares and ticketing, with the ability to offer price capping for journeys across both buses and trams, including a daily cap, so passengers never need to pay more for their journey than they have to. It will also mean a ‘one-stop shop’ for travel information and

customer support, as well as consistent standards for a high-quality passenger experience across the network. It is hoped that bus franchising will also enable GMCA to set environmental standards for a cleaner, greener bus fleet, helping to meet

the city-region’s targets to tackle the climate emergency, reduce harmful emissions and clean up the region’s air. READ MORE

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Labour calls for electric vehicle revolution Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband is calling for an electric vehicle revolution for every part of the country.

In his speech from Labour Party headquarters, Miliband called for an ‘electric vehicle revolution’ in every part of

the country, setting out ambitious proposals to back Britain’s car manufacturers, create jobs, and make owning a zero emission vehicle an option for all. Labour’s plan to secure the industry’s future includes part-financing the creation of three new, additional gigafactories by 2025, providing greater security for the sector and shoring up Britain’s global leadership in the electric vehicle market, as well as making electric vehicle ownership affordable by offering interest-free loans for new and used electric vehicles to those on low to middle incomes to remove the upfront cost barrier. READ MORE

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

9


At the forefront of Spend Recovery Services

VISUALISING THE INVISIBLE What’s the hidden cost of COVID-19 in terms of Overpayments to Suppliers? Challenges faced during COVID-19 Impact of furlough on employees and suppliers

Need for upfront payments to secure products and services

Working from home challenges

WHAT HAS CHANGED? Urgency to procure goods and services (i.e. PPE)

Poor internet connection

Scanning issues resulting in processing errors

Potential Solution – 10 DAY TARGETED REVIEW (COVID-19 PERIOD ONLY) NEW VARIATION to existing CCS Framework, Spend Analysis and Recovery Services 2 (RM3820) Created by: Crown Commercial Services / Confirmed by: The Cabinet Office FIXED PERIOD / FIXED RATE REVIEW of invoices and transactions processed during the COVID-19 period This variation provides all public sector bodies with a means to review the short period of commercial transactions that concern COVID-19.

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3 - Reporting (1 day) High level report on findings

Review performed by specialists

Risks/types of errors highlighted Best practice solutions provided

Sample of duplicates validated with clients

Recommendations on next steps

Findings confirmed

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News

FLOODING

25 areas to share £150m to develop new flooding responses tailored to local communities. These include plans to restore sub-tidal habitats like kelp beds, oyster reefs and sea grass near South Tyneside, as well as the installation of specialised property flood resilience measures and an app for local residents to tackle the threat of groundwater in Buckinghamshire. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We’re investing a record £5.2 billion in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences over the next six years – but with the effects of climate change already being felt it’s vital that we combine this with long-term approaches to improve communities’ resilience. These 25 projects will not only help to inform future approaches to prepare communities for flooding and coastal change across the country, but also help reinforce the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation and new technology as we build back better.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has announced the 25 new flooding and coastal resilience projects across England that are being awarded funding. The pioneering projects, led by local authorities and delivered over the

next six years, will receive a share of £150 million from Defra as part of the government’s new Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme and will be managed by the Environment Agency. The schemes will trial a wide range of different approaches to resilience

RECYCLING

WASTE

Recycling reforms include Deposit Return Scheme

Half a million tonnes of recycling rejected at point of sorting

Landmark reforms that will boost recycling, tackle plastic pollution and reduce litter have taken a step forward as new proposals to overhaul the waste and resources sector are revealed. Powers in the government’s landmark Environment Bill could be used to make manufacturers more responsible for the packaging they produce and incentivise consumers to recycle more. This includes a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, whereby consumers will be incentivised to take their empty drinks containers to return points hosted by retailers. Every year across the UK, consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, nine billion drinks cans and five billion glass bottles. The scheme would cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a separate scheme already under development in Scotland. Environment Secretary George Eustice also said that the government will also introduce consistent recycling collections for all households and businesses in England. This will also be going out to consultation shortly. READ MORE

The Local Government Association has revealed that non-recyclable materials being placed in the recycling bin contributed to more than half a million tonnes of household recycling being rejected at the point of sorting last year. Councils and households are working together to increase recycling rates, with plastic packaging collected by councils doubling over the past decade. However, packaging manufacturers are still not doing enough to stop producing non-recyclable packaging or contributing to the evergrowing costs of disposal.

READ MORE

Latest figures show 525,000 tonnes of household recycling collected was rejected at the point of sorting in 2019/20. Each tonne of waste collected from a household recycling bin that can’t be recycled attracts an extra cost of around £93 to dispose of through an energy from waste facility. This equates to over £48 million per year in additional costs. The LGA is calling for manufacturers of non-recyclable packaging to front the costs associated with this sorting and disposal. READ MORE

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

11


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News

DRONES

Drones and AI used in UK-first to tackle litter detailed litter maps, identifying hot spots and building an understanding of how the litter is travelling. The technology was used in the Italian town of Sorrento last summer, where it was hailed a huge success - enabling authorities to reduce litter by 45 per cent and cigarette butt waste by 69 per cent. This summer, BCP Council will be able to use intelligence from the drone data to inform the strategic placement of bins, street cleaning schedules and engaging interventions designed by Hubbub to encourage the public to dispose of their litter responsibly.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be the focus of a ground-breaking pilot scheme this summer which will see drone-based technology used to tackle the issue of litter. BCP Council is partnering with the environmental charity Hubbub and

McDonald’s to trial a unique approach which will see intelligence gathered from drone data to inform the future placement of bins, street cleansing schedules and behaviour change campaigns to encourage visitors to dispose of their litter responsibly. The initiative will deploy new drone-based technology to help tackle the scourge of litter in what will be the most scientifically robust litter survey ever undertaken in the UK. The technology will identify and categorise individual pieces of litter, to give unprecedented insight into what types of litter is being dropped where and when. The campaign will use drones, fixed cameras and mobile and vehicle technology to create

HOMELESSNESS

SOCIAL CARE

Lord Kerslake to chair new homelessness commission

Social care needs a ‘1948 moment’, says LGA

Lord Bob Kerslake is to lead a new independent commission which seeks to learn the lessons from the effort to support rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic. The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping will analyse what worked during the pandemic and the next steps required to further implement and embed good practice into future measures. This includes the work of the government’s Everyone In initiative which is believed to have supported more than 37,000 people into long-term accommodation. However, the total number of people who have been supported through the Everyone In scheme is almost nine times the government’s official estimate for the number of rough sleepers in the country, which stood at 4,266 in March 2020. The commission’s advisory board is made up of 17 members, including Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester; Bob Blackman, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness; and Tom Copley, deputy mayor for housing at the Greater London Authority. Secretariat support for this independent Commission will be provided by St Mungo’s. READ MORE

The Local Government Association has said that immediate action is needed on social care as part of a new long-term plan in the spirit of the post-war reforms. In a new pamphlet setting out the issues and priorities for social care in light of the pandemic, the LGA said we need to reimagine the purpose and value of great social care for all people in all our communities, with the same zeal and spirit of hope which led to the creation of the NHS. Council leaders say that the experience of the coronavirus pandemic has shown the consequences of underfunding and the often hidden nature of social care. The tragic situation in care homes, along with the disproportionate number of deaths of people with learning disabilities and those of BAME backgrounds in the care workforce, are just some of the ways that a historic lack of national attention has played out in our communities.

READ MORE

This year’s Spending Review and the government’s expected publication of its proposals for the future of care should also address some fundamental questions, including about what we want social care to be and what kind of care we want for ourselves and each other. Social care also should be recognised as part of the solution to building flourishing and connected communities, in the wake of the pandemic. The LGA believes that immediate priorities include funding to meet the continuing costs of coronavirus on social care, particularly on the care workforce and unpaid carers, as well as investment to tackle the funding gap between the cost of providing care and what councils pay. READ MORE

UNEMPLOYMENT

Youth jobs crisis to cost economy almost £7bn The Prince’s Trust and the Learning and Work Institute have warned that young people will increasingly bear the brunt of the unemployment crisis. The study shows how, while some areas of the economy might begin on the road to recovery, young workers are underrepresented in these sectors, and the industries that typically employ young people will be hardest hit in the long term. Based on new labour market analysis and surveys with employers and young people, the report also warns that the pandemic will continue to exacerbate pre-existing inequalities. The two organisations found that

the economic cost of higher youth unemployment in terms of lost national output is forecast to be £5.9 billion in 2021, rising to £6.9 billion in 2022. Additionally, the fiscal cost of higher youth unemployment, in the form of lower tax revenue and higher benefit spending, is forecast to be £2.5 billion in 2021, rising to £2.9 billion in 2022. Together, it means that the long-running scarring cost for young people entering the labour market in 2021 alone is forecast to be £14.4 billion over the next seven years. READ MORE

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

13


Finance

Local government funding – where are we now? Despite the prominent role that local government has played in the response to the pandemic to date, the financial picture has not greatly improved , writes CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman as he provides a breakdown of the local government financial picture On the 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced the first lockdown to aid in the fight against the pandemic. At the time, it seemed the move to mass working from home was only set to last a few weeks – a few months tops. Yet here we all are, one year later, most of us in much the same position as we were that fateful day. Across sectors, all organisations have faced a variety of challenges, none more so than local government. The last 12 months have presented a once-in-a-generation obstacle to overcome. Across the board, local authority professionals have stepped up to deliver the services that communities need at this difficult time. While the government support that has been made available has been welcome, it has not been even close to sufficient to bridge the funding gap created by the pandemic. That’s not to mention the local government funding black hole that was already present following a decade of austerity and the increasing pressure on demand-led services like social care. When the pandemic began, the language used by ministers indicated that government would do whatever it took to support local authorities through the Covid crisis. Many took this to mean that any costs arising from the pandemic would be covered in full. However, by June 2020, language from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shifted to promising future financial support in the context of burden sharing. We saw this play out most clearly in the announcement that 75 per cent of income losses from fees and charges after the first five per cent would be covered, and the decision to defer losses from council tax and business rates over three years. The fees and charges decision still left a substantial £0.8 billion hole in council finances, particularly for district authorities, and the decision to defer revenue losses from council tax and business rates simply kicked the problem into the long grass. Overall, as of summer 2020, CIPFA estimated a total £1.2 billion gap in local authority finances.

been battered and bruised by Covid-19, this is the financial picture has not greatly improved. a politically uncomfortable choice to make The November Spending Review announced a at the local level especially when the 4.5 per cent increase in core spending national rhetoric was no tax rises. power. It should be noted that an The pandemic has increased increase of this nature would demand on services, and largely be absorbed by Overall those services need to the increased social care as of su , be paid for somehow. costs off the back of the m m e r 2020, C Yet at the same time, pandemic, this increase estimat IPFA making spending power was also contingent contingent on an already on local authorities £1.2 bi ed a total llion ga regressive, out of date raising the bulk of the p in local au property tax puts pressure revenue themselves by thority on those taxpayers least raising council tax to the fi n a n ces able to withstand it. maximum 4.99 per cent. CIPFA’s recent council tax At a time when many survey showed that that, across individuals, communities and the board, councils did not choose businesses have to raise council tax to this degree. The average increase across England and Wales came in at 4.3 per cent for 2021/22. There was also a stark contrast between regions, with a difference of two percentage points between the highest increases in Inner London (5.5 per cent) and the lowest (3.5 per cent) in the East of England. We estimate that this will result in a shortfall of around £217 million against the spending power that the government assumed in the 2020 spending review. This shortfall will need to be managed locally and, while the approach may differ across the country, in all cases hard decisions will be needed about services being provided.

The current state of play Fast forward nine months, and we’ve had the Spending Review, the local government finance settlement and a Budget. Despite the prominent role that local government has played in the response to the pandemic to date,

14

BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT | www.governmentbusiness.co.uk

Coronavirus recovery The Spending Review also saw the announcement of the government’s £4 billion levelling up fund. We have concerns that this is another fund oriented around bidding. Such funds run the risk of further entrenching the inequalities we would assume the levelling up agenda is intended to reduce. Bidding creates a system that pits local authorities against one another, with those that have the resources and expertise to create the best


Finance

bids often coming up trumps. These tend to be the larger, wealthier authorities, such as those in London and the South East. Such funding mechanisms do not necessarily allocate funding in line with need, meaning those areas that need it most and don’t have the time, money and manpower to facilitate the best bid lose out. While the prospectus for the fund announced at the Budget this month outlined a number of priority areas, that’s no guarantee they’ll benefit the most. The success of the levelling up agenda and the UK’s ability to tackle regional, economic and social inequality will be contingent on funding being aligned with greatest need. Since the turn of the year, the government’s rhetoric has a renewed focus on recovery, with the chancellor’s spring budget pledging this time to do whatever it takes for people and businesses rather than for public services. If anything, the restart grants and tapering arrangements for business rates relief, while undoubtedly welcome for businesses, create administrative burdens for local authorities already under strain from demand on services and additional financial reporting to MHCLG. Further, while we would not have expected the Budget to set out proposals for large scale reform, it was disappointing to see neither social care nor public health getting a mention. Both areas require greater investment and planning certainty as a matter of urgency. The budget could have represented a good opportunity for the government to signal the importance of these functions, given the role they’ve played in tackling the Covid crisis, and indicate a direction of travel. Not only was this opportunity allowed to pass by, the subsequent announcement that public health grant allocations would only be increased by 1.4 per cent on last year will come as a bit of a kick in the teeth, given the function’s

While the government support that has been made available has been welcome, it has not been even close to sufficient to bridge the funding gap created by the pandemic front line role in tackling Covid-19. Another key element of the policy picture was the publication of the NHS white paper. Its ambitions around place-based population health and prevention represent a positive step in the right direction, however the proposals for integration of health and care demonstrate an apparent lack of understanding about the form and function of local government. Councils appear in the paper as a collective whole, with little consideration for the different tiers of local government and the differing stakes they will have in integration. The integration agenda is further confused by the lack of certainty on the long-awaited reform of adult social care. However, what is certain is that with social care representing the largest piece of the local authority funding pie, understanding the nuance in this area will be key to any proposals for reform and the identification of a long-term sustainable funding solution. Last, but by no means least, we have seen the fair funding review pushed back yet again. While of course the present crisis must take priority, as we move into a phase of true recovery, progress on system-wide local government funding reform will need to be made at pace. Key to this will be a rigorous and potentially uncomfortable conversation around the purpose of local government. The form of any funding reform should follow function, and thus any meaningful movement in this area will only be possible if this fundamental question is addressed. The hole

in local government finances, and the scale of demand particularly following on from the pandemic, is such that tinkering around the edges simply will not cut the mustard. So where are we now? One could say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The last year has seen local government across the UK fundamentally change the way it does business in order to meet the needs of citizens and communities during the pandemic. A decade of austerity meant there was already a chasm at the heart of local government funding. Covid-19 has supercharged the risks to councils’ financial resilience and we’re already seeing this play out in the issuance of capitalisation directives in some authorities. The government’s message to the public is one of optimism – vaccinations rolling out, restrictions lifted and thus a society that is back to normal by the summer. But for public services, even if vaccinations proceed as planned, that will not be the case. Local authorities will be feeling the aftershocks of the last 12 months for many years to come, particularly in their finances. Building longterm financial resilience into the local state will be key if we are to face the next crisis that comes over the hill, whatever it may be. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.cipfa.org

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Finance

Getting to grips with Public Sector Pensions What is happening with Public Sector Pensions in the next year? Shaun Tetley, chair of the Public Sector Specialist Interest Group at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, explains There are a significant number of challenges that pension scheme custodians will face in the next year and this article focuses on the areas that affect service delivery to members. These are broadly similar across all schemes and include member engagement, the functionality of the self-service pension portal, data quality and governance/investment strategy. A number of these are driven by the pandemic and the need to respond to increasing demands from members. It seems that pensions have are suddenly got interesting! Public Sector Pensions in the UK are big business with an estimated 5.8 million active members. The largest schemes in the UK are the Armed Forces, the Civil Service, NHS, Teachers, Police and Firefighters and the Local Government Pension Scheme. The table below gives the membership statistics.

on their pension benefits. Many are starting from a blank page in that: they have no idea how much they have built up in retirement benefits; they have never understood their annual pension benefit statement; they have forgotten their sign on credentials to the online pension portal or more likely have never registered for access in the first place; and they don’t know who to speak to for help. Contact is finally made with the employer or custodians of the various schemes and this has exposed both strengths and weaknesses in the pension offering and should lead to a review over the coming months. Scheme members want a range of pension service options including do it yourself selfservice, simple pension scheme guides written in plain English, dedicated telephone helplines, email contact, web chat, drop in sessions,

Public Service Pension Scheme Membership Schemes UK/Great Britain Armed Forces Civil Service England and Wales Teachers’ Pension Scheme NHS Pension Scheme Local Government Pension Scheme Firefighters Police Scotland NHS Teachers’ Pension Scheme Local Government Pension Scheme Police Firefighters Northern Ireland Civil Service Local Government Teachers Firefighters

As of Date

Deffered Members

Pensions in payment

March 2019 March 2018

305,473 480,763

520,097 361,222

436,588 669,412

March 2018 March 2019 March 2019 March 2019 March 2016

674,067 1,561,530 1,980,025 32,957 120,673

629,125 688,201 2,219,488 7,696 27,786

717,037 920,839 1,746,392 43,743 152,020

March 2019 March 2019 March 2014 March 2016 March 2016

175,757 74,497 217,644 16,599 5,580

63,739 20,583 125,317 3,530 1,518

106,142 81,521 162,808 16,492 5,304

March 2018 March 2019 March 2019 March 2019

29,246 61,513 24,557 1,626

8,924 21,646 16,352 253

30,040 36,788 24,174 1,298

All schemes provide statutory defined pension benefits based on salary and length of service. The schemes were reformed under the Public Service Pensions Act 2013. The key features include: pension benefits based on Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE); pension age linked to the State Pension age for the teachers, local government, NHS and the civil service; and pension age of 60 for members of the police, firefighters and armed forces. Member engagement With offices closed and a good proportion of scheme members working from home during the pandemic, this has led to a remarkable increase in the number of staff rethinking their retirement plans or seeking information

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Active Members

face to face and access to a frequently asked questions. They also want regular updates on pensions and the facility to book pension courses covering topics such as: guide to the pension scheme; increasing benefits; midlife pension review; and pre-retirement. These courses should include information on the state pension, the importance of making a nomination, guidance on the options to increase benefits such as AVCs and tips on the key activities a member should be carrying out each year to check their pension. The self-service pension portal The increase in member interest on pensions will require a review of the pension portal offering by scheme owners. The portal is the gateway

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to a member’s pension information and its ease of use and functionality will influence whether a visit to the portal will become a regular occurrence. Reviews of the portal should be ongoing and remember that pension professionals don’t always know what is best; engage with your scheme members, reach out for ideas for improvement, listen and deliver. As part of the recruitment process, engage with HR and make sure that a mandatory private email address is provided. This will enable direct email contact during the life cycle of the employment and beyond as a potential deferred member. A common failure is the access registration process. Keep it simple and embed the normal website facilities such as automatic password reset. The screens must be simple to navigate, have a logical flow, be intuitive and be pleasing on the eye. Review the menus and create a favourites list that includes the top enquiries/transactions that a member will use. Continual development of the portal is a prerequisite but don’t fall into the trap of the supermarkets when they move produce and consumers cannot find what they want. Keep it simple and look at: what helpful functionality could you add to enhance the portal and encourage members to regularly use the portal; make sure you provide an easy to use ‘what if’ estimate facility to allow members to calculate their own retirement benefits at any given date; provide links within the portal to other material to help explain common areas of confusion. For example a link to explain the annual benefit statement; have you added a web chat facility or ‘contact/ask us’ facility?; have you embedded the key pension forms a pension scheme member needs to complete within the portal?; form a focus group to discuss how the portal could be improved. Let us assume that you have ticked all of the boxes and your pension portal is a first class offering that you are proud to champion. The next step is to challenge what you are doing to drive up registration and then ensure that any visit to the portal is not a one off visit but a regular engagement. The Holy Grail is to achieve 100 per cent registration but some schemes are only achieving around 25 per cent. The ability to contact members by personal email is the best way to drive up numbers. Instigate regular campaigns to capture new registrations with some hard hitting messages around ‘you could be losing money if you do not check your pension record’. And provide a regular pension newsletter focused very much around the portal to encourage regular use.


Finance

Data quality Let us assume that you have the perfect portal, you have achieved 100 per cent registration and you are regularly engaging with your pension customers. Now for the potential elephant in the room, the quality of your data. The idiom rubbish in rubbish out could at a stroke devalue all your hard work and destroy the confidence of your members. Data quality reviews need to be in your business plan as a regular and ongoing occurrence and why not put the customer at heart and make it their responsibility to audit their own data once a year around the issue of the annual benefit statement. Get them to check their personal details are correct; their nomination is in place; their chronological service information is correct and up to date; their pay reflects the career average pay in the portal. The Pension Regulator provides helpful information on data quality including advice on reviewing and improving your data (look up TPR data quality on google). As we move towards the Pension Dashboard, data quality will be a key issue so we need to be mindful that anything we can do now to drive up quality will reap dividends when the dashboard goes live. The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has issued guidance on preparing for the dashboard in terms of data quality (see https://www.pasa-uk.com/dashboard/). Governance/investment strategy The next year will be busy with ongoing reviews of governance and investment strategy. The following is an extract from the TPR guidance on governance:

Good governance is the bedrock of a wellrun pension scheme. There is a clear link between good governance and good fund performance so it is an essential part of effective scheme management. Without good governance, you are unlikely to achieve good outcomes for members. Good governance is about having motivated, knowledgeable and skilled people involved with running the scheme. It’s also about having the right structures and processes to enable effective, timely decisions and risk management, and to provide clear scheme objectives. It helps you to effectively oversee: administration and record-keeping; investment and funding (in local government schemes); and communications with members. You should spend time and resources getting your scheme governance right. This will help you to minimise risk and maximise opportunities for your scheme and your members. Investing in good governance is likely to save you in the long run, delivering good value for members and employers, and improving member outcomes. Members are taking an increasingly active interest in investment decisions. The climate change conference later this year in the UK will put further pressure on disinvestment from fossil fuels. Pension Funds should be consulting with its scheme members and employers

With offices closed and a good proportion of scheme members working from home during the pandemic, this has led to a remarkable increase in the number of staff rethinking their retirement plans or seeking information on their pension benefits on revisions to its Responsible Investment (RI) policy. Decisions to disinvest need to be balanced by the demand from members and the need to ensure that decisions are financially detrimental to the Fund. And finally It’s going to be a very challenging year ahead. Pensions never stand still and it is encouraging to find that engagement with members is on a steep upward curve. You may even find that when those social parties

commence again after lockdown and you say you work in pensions, you are suddenly the most interesting person at the party! L

Shaun Tetley is chair of the CIPP Public Sector Specialist Interest Group. He is also Head of Payroll and Pensions for Portsmouth City Council & Gosport Borough Council. FURTHER INFORMATION www.cipp.org.uk

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Advertisement Feature

Helping councils to achieve their sustainability goals Image © A Asbury

CLS Energy has worked with a large number of local authorities to help achieve their carbon reduction programmes and ambitions. Alan Asbury shares their journey

Image © J Hoare

During the pandemic-induced lockdowns of 2020, CLS Energy has worked with a large number of local authorities that were forwardthinking enough to recognise that a national lockdown must not get in the way of achieving their carbon reduction delivery. CLS have been extremely active in assisting these councils. For Oxford City and North Herts District Councils, this included assessing and calculating their commuter carbon footprint to enable them to build back better post Covid-19. This has allowed them to demonstrate credible and air quality beneficial borough and citywide emissions reductions. We have worked with many more councils on delivering their baselines and trajectories to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Recognising that tree planting and offsetting must be the last resort, CLS focus on practical actions based on certified, measured and verified (CMVP) energy and fuel savings to internationally (IPMVP) recognised standards. CLS Energy’s focus is on technologies, controls, behaviours and measures derived from physical and forensic site assessments. Within the last 12 months, Alan Asbury of CLS Energy, has produced carbon baselines, energy, fleet and telematic assessments and

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renewable energy saving measures, controls, behaviour and technologies, for councils including Wokingham, Oxford City, Stevenage, Gloucester City, North Herts, South Northants, Copeland and Rother District. As well as assisting them towards zero carbon, CLS typically deliver them six and seven-figure annual cashable savings. CLS have also been retained by large companies including Aico, FIS, Bottomline and Freightroute to deliver their carbon reduction plans. In the spring of 2020, Copeland Borough Council approached CLS energy, as subject matter experts, via the Local Government Association’s Productivity Expert Programme, to review their buildings, fleet, operations and its significant land holdings to determine avenues for environmental and economical improvements to support cost and energy savings, and identify commercialisation opportunities. By physically assessing its significant energy users, CLS Energy were able to find 21 unique energy efficiency measures across the seven sites assessed; along with nine separate heavy fleet measures with a combined return on investment payback across all recomendations of 1.9 years. Beyond this, CLS found significant and extremely viable site opportunities for renewable wind and solar energy generation that will take the organisation well beyond its carbon emission reduction targets. Having carried out these works, the council was keen to work with CLS beyond this and were recently successful in securing over £2 million for the council in Government Salix funding to deliver a ground source heat pump and a half-megawatt ground-mounted solar array alongside battery storage, fabric insulation and lighting at its swimming pool site in Whitehaven.

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This grant will assist the council in meeting its carbon reduction targets. It will demonstrate how to convert a significant gas consuming site heating water in two swimming pools to 30 degrees centigrade. This will be achieved by converting the site to electrical heating using boreholes and ground source heat pumps with renewable energy to power this. We understand this is the first retrofit of its kind in the country. Rob Ward, Strategic Nuclear and Energy Manager at Copeland Borough Council, was kind enough to say: “CLS Energy (Consultancy) Ltd undertook a study of Copeland Borough Council’s estate and fleet between 2020-2021 as part of the LGA’s Productivity Expert Grant”. “CLS Energy’s consultants showed a track record of success and promised good quality services with their array of professional qualifications and experience. They certainly delivered. During the study, the team undertook thorough and rigorous assessments of the council’s estate and fleet. The study resulted in a highly detailed and clear report highlighting and prioritising opportunities for the council to reduce emissions and make savings”. “The company’s further work with us to successfully deliver £2,008,712 in Salix grant funding to address the carbon footprint of our community swimming pool was comprehensive and delivered in a highly efficient way, freeing our teams up to address other pressing public health and economic issues during the pandemic”. “From our experience working with CLS Energy, we would highly recommend the company to any organisation or local authority. Alan and James were professional and friendly with a strong determination to achieve the very best results”. “We look forward to continued working with CLS Energy in the future.” L

Alan Asbury, Technical Director at CLS Energy managed sustainability roles in three local authorities between 2000 and 2017 and understands how local government operates. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01865 421008 alan.asbury@clsenergy.com www.linkedin.com/in/alanasbury


Energy

Digital skills in local authorities Fabio Giunta, Digital & Data Associate at Energy Systems Catapult, explores how local authorities can tackle the lack of data and digital skills to move towards a low-carbon future Over three quarters of local authorities have now declared a climate emergency, yet few have a clear plan in place for how to achieve their Net Zero target. However, one of the key steps that can put local authorities on the right track to net zero is not an innovative new low carbon technology but enabling effective access and analysis of local area data. Overall, there are three main areas where data systems can bring benefits to developing local energy projects. These are: stimulating next zero innovation: by sharing data with third parties, a local authority can unlock innovation and develop collaborative partnerships with skilled organisations within their local area; streamlining internal processes: energy projects will require inputs across multiple teams and decisionmaking layers within the local authority; and increasing citizen’s engagement: the creation of online portals helps citizens and businesses to access public services and information. The following sections summarise the steps that a local authority should consider when thinking about improving their data and digital skills. These have been defined based on our experience and discussions with leading local authorities. Align digital strategy and business objectives Any digitalisation journey should start with creating a strategy that is aligned with the key objectives of a decarbonisation plan. Then, highlighting the main positive outcomes brought by improved digital and data systems will guarantee the buy-in of senior management. This will ensure that the data teams will have the relevant resources and that there will be coherency across teams. An example of the importance of such a top-down approach is the necessity for data consistency across the organisation. If different departments utilise different systems, tools, or even programming languages, the inconsistency between models developed and metrics used by different teams would create barriers to sharing information internally.

Once the data needs have been identified, the datasets to be prioritised for collection it is possible to point out challenges such and analysis. Moreover, not all the use cases as the difficulty of accessing low voltage will be equally feasible, therefore, creating electricity network topology, or the difficulty several of them helps to find the low of gathering all the data from such a variety hanging fruits that will bring the greatest of sources. value in the quickest time. An example of data use Procure the essential case is a local authority skills and expertise (stakeholder) that is A common mistake is to think willing to plan the Improv that data scientists are the deployment of digital a ing only professionals needed to electric vehicles n d data systems start using energy data to charging c a is likely pabilities accelerate the transition to infrastructure net-zero. The reality is that (activity) in wider b to achieve a broad range of digital and order to reduce enefits what w than data expertise is necessary transportas and these should be prioritised related anticipainitially based on the selected data use emissions in a ted cases. However, regardless of the specific region specific expertise, there are some (objective) and the skill families that are essential for using data that is required for data efficiently and sustainably. E this activity is:

Necessary Data

Desirable Data

• Network connection availability per connection point • Network constraints or available headrooom • Network demand • Network connection charges per connection point • Road network maps • Half-hourly road traffic data • Maps of existing EV charge points

• Accepted connection requests to the electricity distribution network • Low voltage electricity network topology • Planned roadworks • Register of powered street furniture • Cable ratings

Create data use cases Data use cases are short descriptions of the data needs of a certain stakeholder which highlight what are their goals, what activities need to be undertaken to reach those goals, and what data is needed for those activities. By creating a data use case, any organisation can understand the value of data for the potential users and identify

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projects, providing guidelines, tools, case studies, and specialist knowledge. If you are seeking help to design your digitalisation journey and upskill your staff to use energy data to tackle climate challenges in your local area, contact us: eris@es.catapult.org.uk. L

Energy

By sharing data with third parties, a local authority can unlock innovation and develop collaborative partnerships with skilled organisations within their local area

FURTHER INFORMATION  1. Data engineering To move from proof-of-concept into operation, any digitalisation initiative needs to be supported by an appropriate data architecture that considers the needs of data scientists, developers, software engineers, and less technical users. Data Engineers suggest what data is collected, how it is collected, where it is stored, how it is queried, and how this whole process is integrated with the existing system. Data Engineers or dedicated Solution Architects should be involved early in a project’s life to identify how it can be sustainably designed and supported by the organisation.

2. Data governance The ability of local authorities to share energy-related data with innovators is an important enabler of the energy transition. Indeed, local authorities are facing an increasing amount of data sharing requests which often involve several departments. Data governance professionals design and implement processes to efficiently handle these requests, facilitate the sharing of data and fulfil regulatory requirements. 3. Data insight Data is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Insights need to be extracted from the raw data to unleash the most value. Data analytics professionals will perform this task relying on business intelligence tools, relatively simple codes, and powerful visualisation techniques. In addition to these, data scientists will extract insights using advanced statistics, machine learning techniques, and artificial intelligence. The complexity of the analyses required by the selected use cases will determine which of these two roles is preferable. In general, it is beneficial to involve these personnel at the start of the project to validate and help to design any proposed solution. Data scientists and analyst need to collaborate with those who have specific domain knowledge in the field. This is essential to provide the ‘so what?’ and to ensure alignment with business objectives. Finally, it is important that any model, used for analysing data, is scrutinised to account for potential bias in the algorithm , clearly documenting the assumptions which were used. Data must be representative and transparent to ensure that the results and conclusions are ethically sound. How to access these skills Outsourcing tasks and activities is a common practice for many organisations. Regardless of how much is internally developed and how much is outsourced, local authorities need to be smart customers to avoid creating systems that will tie them to services from external

parties. This means to upskill employees to build knowledge and skills across the key digital and data areas. Becoming a member of the local digital community will help this development, enabling the local authority to leverage local initiatives and to join forces with private organisations. Funding these activities is another important challenge. Most local authorities can access government incentives for digital industry apprenticeships. Indeed, any organisation spending more than £3 million a year in payrolls can use the apprenticeship levy to fund the full cost through a training provider via the apprenticeships service. In case an organisation is interested in collaborating with individuals with a strong academic background, fellowships are a viable option. This is particularly relevant in the case of local authorities who have already developed a data infrastructure and that are looking for data scientists able to implement advanced techniques such as machine learning. An example is a 12-weeks fellowship promoted by the Connected Place Catapult. Case study – Data Mill North from the Leeds City Council In 2014, the Leeds City Council (LCC) launched an online platform, Leeds Data Mill, to publish open data collected from multiple sources within the local area. The initial objective was to stimulate innovators and local businesses, to reuse the data that might lead to new and improved services,  and conceive innovative solutions for some of the city’s challenges, including the climate emergency.  In seven years, Data Mill has helped the LCC to handle freedom of information requests, become a key member of the local digital community, and lay the foundations for tackling issues around standardisation and quality of service-related data. The success of the initiative has brought LCC to expand Data Mill to the whole region, re-branding it to Data Mill North.  Summary Improving digital and data systems capabilities is likely to achieve wider benefits than what was initially anticipated. However, this requires a well-defined strategy, led by the senior management, and a comprehensive set of skills brought into the project from the very beginning. There are initiatives and organisations that can support local authorities through this journey and signpost the key areas that need to be considered to maximise the benefits. One of these is the Energy Systems Catapult, a non-for-profit independent organisation co-funded by Innovate UK. We are currently building a toolkit for local authorities to accelerate the development of local energy

es.catapult.org.uk

Lessons learned in Leeds Thomas Knowland, head of Sustainable Energy & Climate Change and Stephen Blackburn, Data and Innovation Manager for the LCC shared some important lessons learned: • It is important to join forces with local initiatives and groups. The close co-operation with organisations such as the Open Data Institute (ODI) Leeds has been a key factor in convening interested parties and stakeholders to work on projects and city challenges. •

F ocus your resources on the most promising use cases. This will maximise the engagement from the local businesses and will prioritise the data that will deliver the greatest impact.

Data governance aspects should be considered from the very beginning of a project, ensuring that the risk of publishing personal or commercially sensitive data is properly mitigated.

The data architecture needs to be designed in a way that publishing and updating data requires none or limited human intervention.

Specialists with domain knowledge should work together with data analysts to point out the insights to be generated, as well as the data quality requirements and granularity.

Even if several tasks of digital projects are outsourced, a local authority needs to be a smart customer. Therefore, project officers need to have a good understanding of digital skills and technologies. 

Be mindful of data ethics and bias. This not only means adopting security best practices to prevent data breaches and privacy issues but also adopting data ethics principles to avoid incorrect, negative or discriminatory outcomes. 

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Sustainability

Councils and communities can deliver clean energy and millions of jobs Polly Billington, Director of UK100 - a network of local authorities committed to climate action, explores local clean energy partnerships and the benefits of generating energy near to where it is used as we progress towards Net Zero Two examples illustrate the challenge we face Even more jobs will be available for those as a country in meeting our Net Zero target of willing and able to reskill and retrain. developing a carbon free economy by 2050. The Red Wall could benefit from a green The application to build a new coal mine in dividend. In total, over three million jobs Cumbria feels like something out of another are expected to be in demand or created as era. You don’t need a canary to warn you that part of a shift to a green economy across a pushing through a new coal mine nine months range of sectors. As many as 1.2 million of before the UK will host a UN summit on those could be created in the construction climate change is for the birds. There cannot and manufacturing sectors. The construction be an exemption for some parts of the country industry has been one of the hardest from our Net Zero goals. hit in the pandemic, with 90 per cent of There is a need to create new jobs in construction businesses having applied for communities like Copeland and other the furlough scheme, second only of the so-called Red Wall areas. to the hospitality sector. But But recent UK100 research retrofitting offers huge With published in conjunction potential. 310 clim with LSE and University Lancashire is the ate emerge of Leeds shows that in area with the highest n Cumbria alone, there number of potential from lo cies declared cal auth will be 24,435 green new construction and orities, and tec jobs available for property jobs - with a more a hnologies workers with existing total of 33,536 roles v a i l a skills as we shift to a likely to be created or b l e politicia , local low carbon economy. in demand. ns a

pressur re under e bolder to take action

The Countryside Climate Network It’s not just in big towns and cities though. In Cambridgeshire, the county council is working to tackle their carbon emissions – both from the council’s own assets and in their rural communities. The entire village of Swaffham Prior is planning to shift from oil to a renewable energy source. Using 130 boreholes drilled 200m below ground, the village will generate thermal energy through a district heating network – saving heating costs for householders and 47,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over 40 years. If this village-scale project proves successful, there could be a huge benefit for the 1.6 million households across the country that still use oil fired heating. At the same time, Cambridgeshire is working with researchers at UCL to develop a procurement carbon calculator and code of practice to keep their climate ambitions on track. When the county council started shaping their climate ambitions, one of the key things was E

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Another False Fire Alarm? “All MCPs should be fitted with a protective cover.”*

More than 3,000 false fire alarms were maliciously activated across England in 2019/20 - causing inconvenient evacuations, affecting routine, costing the public sector valuable time and money, and reducing the confidence the general public have in fire alarms.  www.sti-emea.com  info@sti-emea.com  01527 520 999     *Source: BS 5839-1:2017


Cambridgeshire is one of over 50 councils who have signed the new UK100 pledge – to meet their local community’s Net Zero target some five years earlier than the national government  to put together a carbon footprint file. As with many local authorities, they found that scopes one and two (more direct emissions), are fairly easy to figure out. But when it came to scope three, and particularly those emissions from procured goods and services, which formed the bulk of the council’s carbon footprint, it was incredibly problematic. In some instances, they just didn’t have the data. The new carbon calculator could provide a solution to other local leaders who want to push forward their Net Zero ambitions. Cambridgeshire is one of over 50 councils who have signed the new UK100 pledge – to meet their local community’s Net Zero target some five years earlier than the national government. They have done so with the understanding that they can only deliver on that with substantial change to national policy to enable them to transform their communities. The journey to Net Zero is not just one for big industry and urban areas. Which is why we set up the Countryside Climate Network – bringing together rural leaders – including mayors and council chiefs that will drive forward our carbon free ambitions. Places like Canterbury District Council in Kent, which has given its support to a ‘green hydrogen’ plant, drawing electricity from offshore wind farms to create hydrogen that will be used to power buses in places like London.

The scale of the challenge is immense To give one example, the UK Green Building Council has estimated that to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, we will need to improve almost all of the UK’s 29 million homes, meaning we need to retrofit more than 1.8 homes every minute between now and 2050. However, there are real concerns with the implementation of the Green Homes Grant scheme which provides funding of up to £10,000 to homeowners to make their homes more sustainable and energy efficient, and has so far failed to get anywhere near its stated target of retrofitting 600,000 homes. The announcement in the Budget earlier this month of the UK Infrastructure Bank is to be welcomed – and was something UK100 members have been calling for: we want it to have a net zero mandate and offer development capital to local projects if it is to kickstart the journey to 2050. The UK100 Resilient Recovery Taskforce, a group of 24 mayors and local leaders, called for an expansion to local powers and a Net Zero Development Bank to enable the national Net Zero effort. A recent report we released with Siemens, showed how a £5-billion investment could unlock £100 billion in sustainable energy projects and help ‘level up’across the UK.

Sustainability

If done correctly and learning the lessons from the first green investment bank, the UKIB could achieve exactly this, mobilising private investment to rebuild our economy, while meeting our climate goals and building resilience into our communities. To succeed it will need a strong development focus, a regional structure and a place-based approach that builds on the expertise in local government. That’s why it’s welcome to see it will be based in Leeds, the city where we started an 18-month series of events and discussions on how we can achieve a local, clean energy revolution. The reality, however, is that the UK’s current rules do not enable local authorities to do what they need to get to Net Zero locally, and not even to effectively work together to be able to achieve it nationally. Put simply, the UK government won’t be able to achieve what they want to do unless they work with local authorities and change the rules to allow them what they want to do. In response to this challenge, we see next year’s COP26 summit as an important way of extracting those changes out of the government. Change is already happening When we set up UK100, our original pledge was all about councils switching to 100 per cent clean energy – but in the four years since UK100 officially formed, committing to clean energy has become easier. Councils can switch to clean energy tariffs now – and while it may take a few years on procurement timeframes, it’s far simpler and cheaper affair than what it was a few years ago. It’s now all about changing how our whole energy system works. With Net Zero now enshrined in law, 310 climate emergencies declared from local authorities, and technologies more available, local politicians are under pressure to take bolder action. From Cornwall to Glasgow, Cardiff to Belfast, change is already happening. Local authorities are working out how they can generate and store electricity, install electric vehicle charging points, decarbonise their fleets, procure electric and hydrogen buses, ensure their buildings are energy efficient – from council homes to leisure centres. It’s not a matter of if, but when. But despite the progress, proven technologies and political will, the powers and the regulation are still a sticking point. The next thing that has to change is that our network’s political will is turned into more widespread, systemic delivery. Local authorities cannot do it alone and require the government to work in partnership with them and provide the necessary financial, policy and political support to allow this ambitious local action on climate to flourish. Across the UK, the move to a greener economy will create thousands of new jobs in every local community. It’s really important we don’t lose sight of this critical long-term goal so the Prime Minister can meet his explicit goal of building back better. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.uk100.org

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GB Q&A

GB Q&A: Edinburgh and net zero by 2030 Following a number of measures to tackle climate change in the Scottish capital, GB talks to Adam McVey (AM) about plans to be a net-zero carbon Capital City by 2030 and creating a cleaner, greener and fairer future in Edinburgh GB: How encouraging is the recent news that council carbon emissions have been reduced by 60 per cent since 2005/06, especially given the aim to be a net-zero carbon Capital City by 2030? AM: Since 2005/06, the council’s own carbon emissions have been reduced by just over 60 per cent. This outstrips our aim of a 42 per cent reduction by 2020/21. Exceeding our own carbon emissions target ahead of schedule is a major achievement and is hugely encouraging. It shows that the work we are doing to lower emissions and drive towards a net-zero position is having a real positive impact upon the city. The emissions reduction is largely thanks to major projects of work, such as our state-of-the-art waste reprocessing facilities at Millerhill becoming fully operational in 2019-20. The move has helped divert more than 107,000 tonnes of rubbish from landfill turning it instead into a resource which generates energy. The waste processing facility also removes and recycles metals from waste, providing a further environmental benefit. The greening of the grid and reducing electricity consumption through moves such as upgrading street lighting to make it more energy efficient also helped with cutting emissions. Becoming a more sustainable city was a key theme which came from our City Vision 2050 consultation, where we asked people about their hopes and wishes for the future of the city. Which is why, after declaring a climate emergency in 2019, we then set ourselves a target of Edinburgh to become a netzero city by 2030. As well as responding to the calls from our citizens to becoming a more sustainable and climate conscious city, the net-zero goal recognises the significance of the role that climate change will play in our lifetime. It is an extremely challenging and ambitious target and there is still much more we need to be do if we’re to meet this goal. However, as a city we need to set ourselves this level of ambition, if we are to secure a sustainable future for the people who live and work in Edinburgh.

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AM: Across the city, emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 2000, primarily as a as a result of increasingly decarbonised electricity supply, structural change in the economy, and the gradual adoption of more efficient buildings, vehicles, and businesses. However, projections (including economic, population growth and improvements in energy and fuel efficiency) are that city emissions will only fall a further nine per cent (from 2000 levels) by 2030 unless we make real changes, specifically in relation to transport and energy. The challenge is significant, but Edinburgh is harnessing the innovation centres in the City, the investment coming into the city which is significant and the understanding of the whole City that this is an issue we all need to face into. We’re developing a city-wide 2030 Sustainability Strategy, which we’ll consult on in Spring 2021, and publish in Autumn 2021, ahead of CoP26 coming to Scotland. Our transport plan and City’s development plan put decarbonising transport and new development front and centre. We’re also progressing sustainable urban regeneration with massive Council-led housing projects like our City’s waterfront as well as utilising innovation through participation in the EITClimate KIC healthy clean cities deep demonstrator programme. We are working with Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation to develop a Carbon Scenario Tool. The tool is currently at the development and testing stage. Once fully operational, it will support citywide and Council-specific emissions foot printing by helping us track our progress towards our net-zero 2030 target. All these efforts are having a real impact on the ground and if can get solutions implemented on heat in that timescale, I’m very confident we’ll hit our net-zero target.

GB: Emissions from transport make up 31 per cent of emissions in Edinburgh, and 16 per cent of the council’s own transport emissions. What role does the council fleet have to play in meeting climate targets? AM: City-wide, the level of change required from the transport sector is substantial, as this is where the smallest reductions have been achieved since 2000. Addressing emissions from the transport sector will require decarbonising infrastructure as well as substantial behaviour change in the way people and goods move around the capital. As a council we need to lead by example and while the Council’s own fleet make up a small proportion of emissions, we’re

Instead of rebuilding the Edinburgh in the same way, we must go forward recognising that behaviours of residents have changed, and we must meet the expectations they have of us walking the walk and have removed all deisel cars and electrified just under a quarter of our fleet – with the aim of electrifying all cars and vans by 2022/23. As a founding signatory to the Edinburgh Climate Compact, we have committed to prioritising sustainable and active travel choices by our workforces and limiting the need to travel for work wherever possible. As a large organisation in the city, we have a responsibility to lead by example, and to catalyse behaviour change. There are some changes we’re making that have broader impacts that just within our organisation and through our City Mobility Plan, we’ve already started looking at the way we travel around Edinburgh. Flagship projects such as the tram extension to Newhaven, developing a Low Emission Zone and reducing the carbon footprint of public transport, along with changes to roads and pavements will make it easier for people to move around the city in a way which is good for their health as well as the environment.

GB: In what ways has the ongoing coronavirus pandemic provided an opportunity for Edinburgh to move towards a cleaner, greener and fairer future? AM: In 2018, we asked Edinburgh residents what they wanted their city to be like in 2050, and they told us. They wanted their city to be welcoming, thriving, fair and pioneering. Since then, we’ve faced – and indeed are still facing – one of the biggest challenges of our lifetimes, and we know that there is much to do to support the city to adapt and renew. Instead of rebuilding the Edinburgh in the same way, we must go forward recognising that behaviours of residents have changed, and we must meet the expectations they have of us. This vision could not be formed without input from Edinburgh’s public, partners and stakeholders and it cannot be delivered without them. The same can be said for our recovery from Covid. We must work with city partners as one team: building a better Edinburgh, together. Covid-19 has presented us, in common with other leading global cities, with a window in which some of this work can be – and already is being – accelerated. Our agenda before Covid of addressing poverty and sustainability hasn’t changed.

GB Q&A

GB: 2030 is 15 years before Scotland’s national net-zero target. How confident are you that this can be achieved within that timescale and what are the next steps to ensure that it happens?

Sustainable and inclusive growth remains our focus and, unlike previous economic hits, the City doesn’t want to ‘recover’ with another race to the bottom. We need to hold firm on our long-term goals if we’re to meet the expectations of our citizens. We have already welcomed the recommendations from the Edinburgh Climate Commission’s Forward Faster Together report – which included ensuring a green recovery from covid-19. In parallel we’ve endorsed the recommendations of Edinburgh’s poverty commission and will take both forward together.

GB: The pandemic recovery will require input, not only from politicians and the city’s leaders, but also from businesses. How can you make sure that businesses in the capital also have a green agenda for operations in the next few years? AM: The Council will publish our sustainability plan in the coming months, and we’re reviewing our economy strategy and will be consulting our city stakeholders. Edinburgh’s approach is mirroring some other leading cities with an approach similar to the donut model. Business has done an amazing job in Edinburgh through Covid and will continue to adapt to the changing environment around us. Business will need help with some of the big-ticket issues like decarbonising deliveries, office blocks etc. but there is still an enormous amount of willingness to embrace the challenge. Many of the actions needed to reduce carbon also save money and businesses understand that their medium- and long-term future is reliant on adapting to meet their environmental obligations. Our climate commission and the Council will be doing specific sectoral work to help business make the changes needed but it’s really encouraging that so many businesses in the City are on board with this agenda, they recognise the need to act if we’re to address the climate crisis. L

Adam McVey is Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, and Convener of the Policy and Sustainability Committee. He is also the Vice Chair of the Edinburgh Climate Commission. FURTHER INFORMATION www.edinburgh.gov.uk

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Waste management

An opportunity to create a greener footing Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, says that as we begin to ‘build back better’, we need to think seriously about how we do this in a way that tackles a potentially more catastrophic global crisis - climate change While we all know we’re far from out of the woods yet, the roll-out of the vaccine has given everyone hope that the end of the Covid-19 crisis is finally in sight. The pandemic experience has taught us valuable lessons about keeping each other safe. As we emerge from the pandemic and begin to ‘build back better’, we need to think seriously about how we do this in a way that tackles a potentially more catastrophic global crisis, climate change. Crucially, I believe that we need another major shift in how we live our lives to truly address our impact on the environment and reduce our carbon emissions, right here in Scotland. Covid-19 showed us that we can adapt to the scale of change we need, fast. From businesses to individuals, society changed hugely, and did so virtually overnight. Things we might have already been considering but not yet ready to commit to – like working from home – became the default option for millions of people across the UK. For Zero Waste Scotland, that presented an opportunity. We calculated that home working would see our day-today emissions fall by nearly 75 per cent. Even allowing for additional emissions generated by purchasing our staff the equipment necessary to work from home on a long-term basis, there would still be big carbon savings. We gave all our staff the opportunity to work from home permanently, even once restrictions have lifted, and the majority have taken us up on the offer. It’s an example of how the pandemic has encouraged us to make changes that could deliver real benefits – such as less time commuting, and lower transport emissions – much more rapidly. Creating a greener footing The idea of making home working a bigger part of our economy is just one of the many ideas that has emerged out of the desire to build back better. No one would have chosen this crisis – but I think we all recognise that it offers an important opportunity to rethink the society and economy we live and work in. It has led to a flurry of fantastic proposals on how to reset our economy on a more resilient and greener footing. It’s been great to see some of these ideas from our experts in Zero Waste Scotland go

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driving up emissions globally. For many of from the pages of reports to live projects the small developing island nations that across Scotland over the last year. will participate in COP26, the impacts of One such idea was the Islands Green climate change are already all too Recovery Programme Refill Fund. real. We have a responsibility Through grant funding support to those nations to be a made possible by Scottish Scotlan good global citizen. Government and the d was am We need to tackle that European Regional ong the firs consumption problem Development Fund in a way that helps our we are empowering to decla t countries r economy recover. There’s 12 Scottish islands to e a c limate emerge growing consensus take the next steps commit ncy and has that tackling climate in the war on waste ted to b change does not need to by ditching single-use eing net-zer compete with economic packaging and moving o b recovery – in fact, if we to reusable options. 2045 y Of course, while action on a local level is necessary, so too is a globally coordinated fightback against the climate crisis. This year, Glasgow will host the UN Climate Change conference, COP26. It is set to be a pivotal moment for the world as delegates including heads of state, climate experts and negotiators come together to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. For businesses and citizens, the event is an opportunity for us all to reflect on how we can take action in our own country to end our contribution to climate crisis. To do that we need to tackle our consumption problem. Scotland was among the first countries to declare a climate emergency and has committed to being net-zero by 2045, the most ambitious target in the UK. It’s important that we make progress on reducing the emissions included in that target – the ones that we cause right here in Scotland. A consumption problem Where progress has been slower is on the emissions caused by our over-consumption of the earth’s natural resources. Around four fifths of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from the goods, materials and services which are produced, used and often thrown out after just one use. Those emissions are caused by extracting raw materials, manufacturing them into products, and transporting them to retailers and consumers. Much of that activity happens abroad, so while we are the ones creating that demand, the emissions are not covered by our net-zero target. If we want to end our contribution to the climate crisis, we need to think beyond our borders and acknowledge our role in

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Waste management

put climate change at the centre of our collective plans, we can build back better. You can see it in the way that big finance is getting tough on climate laggards. Aviva Investors recently announced it would pull investment from big polluters if they don’t commit to stronger climate action. They didn’t just do this out of environmental altruism. They said they were acting to protect their clients from investments that would be catastrophic to capital markets. Circular economy We have long advocated the circular economy as the solution. Instead of our wasteful approach of make, take, and throw, we need to find new ways to keep products and materials in use for longer by designing, producing and using them as efficiently as possible. This will lead to a sustainable, green economy that powers opportunity for business growth and job opportunities for Scots. We’ve already supported nearly 250 Scottish companies to find inventive ways of designing, producing and consuming things differently. Those businesses have already given Scotland a reputation as a circular economy leader, but we can do more. One of those is Renewable Parts, which has been hiring new staff and moving to

As we emerge from the pandemic and begin to ‘build back better’, we need to think seriously about how we do this in a way that tackles a potentially more catastrophic global crisis, climate change bigger premises in Argyll as it expands its business refurbishing wind turbines to be reused by the renewables industry. They recently converted an ambulance station into a refurbishment centre and are currently in the process of moving into a larger purpose-built facility. They have gone from a small outfit of two staff up to seven, with plans to grow their team to 30 in the next three years. They are also working with institutions and the wind industry to address the remanufacturing skills gap.

That skills gap is important. To realise the economic opportunities of a more circular economy, we need to make sure that people have the necessary skills and expertise. That means embedding the circular economy across the entire educational system. From primary school right through to university and even into professional development, people must have the skills and expertise to create a greener, more circular economy. We estimate that around 200,000 jobs in Scotland are already tied to the circular economy. That’s about one in ten jobs that are helping to end the climate crisis by reducing waste and the emissions it creates. This is a good start, but to end the climate crisis we need every job to be part of the circular economy, with a green skills revolution to train up the workforce. In construction, for example, future roles could include urban miners and material scouts, helping to source sustainable materials from the existing built environment to allow Scotland to literally build back better. There’s a huge amount of work to be done to make our economy greener and more resilient to shocks. But I hope that by the time Scotland welcomes the world to COP26, we’ll have even more examples of the circular economy transition to be able to shout about. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.zerowastescotland.org.uk

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Advertisement Feature

What is corporate governance? Governance is the process by which people achieve the purpose of their organisation. But what is good corporate governance? The four ‘Ps’ of corporate governance

Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. In other words, corporate governance is the values of the company and how the day to day operational management of the company by full-time executives achieves this. Corporate governance also identifies who in the company has power, accountability and also who makes decisions. To identify these persons, the shareholders of the company must appoint directors and auditors to ensure an appropriate governance structure is in place. The responsibilities of the Board include setting the company’s strategic aims, providing the leadership to put them into effect, supervising the management of the business and reporting to shareholders on their stewardship. Regulations and codes for corporate governance For listed companies within the UK, corporate governance is part of the legal system. The Companies Act 2006 is the primary legislation that sets out the legal framework for corporate decision making, and more specifically the consequences of getting it wrong. Furthermore, the UK Corporate Governance Code recommends a standard of good practice with the aim to achieve a more open and transparent system. The code also requires all those UK companies with a premium listing of equity shares to report their of the Code in their annual report and accounts. However, the UK Corporate Governance Code is not a law which means compliance is not compulsory. Finally, the Financial Reporting Council is the body responsible for monitoring the Code. They publish an annual report on how the Code has been implemented by a company, and more importantly how it has impacted them. Therefore, the FRC requires all listed companies to disclose how they have applied the principles set out in the code and whether they have complied with them.

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People The first pillar of corporate governance, and probably the most important one is ‘people.’ To make the framework successful, you must put people front and centre in everything you do, because these are the ones who will determine a purpose to work towards, develop the processes for others, and finally evaluate the performance of the framework to measure its success.

Purpose Purpose is the next pillar of corporate governance as this consists of the guiding principles of the organisation. In other words, purpose is the mission statement of your business, and every policy you implement should be considered with this in mind. Finally, it’s vital to remember that every piece of governance exists for a purpose and it is up to your organisation to achieve this purpose.

Process Governance is the process by which people achieve the purpose of their organisation. These processes are developed by analysing

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performance and refining them over time in order to constantly achieve and improve their purpose. It may take you some time to successfully achieve these processes, but once you do, you will quickly see how they can help your business grow.

Performance Performance may be the most difficult element of corporate governance, as this includes taking a critical look at your processes to determine if they are working effectively or not. Ask yourself if your processes are performing successfully, and if not apply make effective changes and apply these to the rest of your organisation. How to practise good corporate governance Good corporate governance can be easily achieved if all the correct processes are set in place. Firstly, the company’s team of board directors must be knowledgeable and understanding of the company. This is essential as they will need to know how to measure the success of the company.  Furthermore. they must also have good integrity and morals to ensure the business remains above board on all matters. To achieve this, it may be necessary to put a policy in place that clearly highlights what to do in matters of integrity, conflicts of interest and negligence.  Another way to practise good corporate governance is to ensure that all members of the company are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities. To achieve this, make sure there is a clear line of accountability set out amongst the management team, executive officers and chair of the Board. By doing so, every individual person is aware of their duties and how they must implement them to achieve good corporate governance. Lastly, and certainly not least, one of the most important means to achieve good corporate governance for your organisation is to measure performance. It is vital that each and every company regularly takes a look at the measures they have in place to determine if they have been successful. If the results reveal that the measures are not as effective as they once were, then it may be a good idea to revisit them and implement some changes. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.wudo.solutions


Facilities management

A post-pandemic workplace opportunity Peter Brogan, head of Research and Insight at the IWFM, provides a preview to the findings of the IWFM Market Outlook Survey, ahead of the launch of the full findings in the coming weeks From the Covid-19 pandemic to the many live and work in 2021 and beyond. It precarious Brexit negotiations, 2020 is therefore key critical for our profession to was a year of unprecedented challenges, learn from the insights we gained from the converging pressures and tremendous 2021 Market Outlook Survey, which I will uncertainty. preview for you here ahead of the launch of Now as we enter the second quarter of the full findings in the coming weeks. 2021, uncertainty has lost little of its vigour, Like previous years, the 2021 Survey sought although it has taken on different guises. the views of our members to help us build Brexit has been delivered, replete with a comprehensive picture of how the UK pain points and the promise of more to workplace and facilities management market come, such as potential skills shortages and has performed over the last year; how it may forecasts of weaker economic growth. perform over the next 12 months; and Covid-19 remains, of course; the factors that are affecting it. the road to recovery and We used data from The the form that normality our unpublished 2020 2021 S takes for the foreseeable Market Outlook Survey future once industry as a baseline against helps u urvey and society reopens which to analyse a comp s build remains shrouded in our 2021 data; this r e h ensive picture ifs and buts. provided us with a o f h ow the workpl One thing we unique opportunity U a can be certain of, to explore how the manag ce and facilitieK ement s however, is that the events of last year market has per impacts of the past impacted on the f o r m e d year will change how workplace and facilities o ve t

he last year

r

management market and the sentiment amongst our membership. Engagement was excellent for both years, with the 2021 iteration attracting more respondents than ever before; however, it’s the quality of the responses that have provided the real value. In both surveys, the majority of responses came from senior and middle managers (85 per cent in 2020 and 83 per cent in 2021). This was the ideal outcome because people in these roles are arguably best placed to comment on the health of their organisations and the market more generally. Those in client-side roles, in both the public and private sectors, also made up the majority of respondents (60 per cent in 2020 and 63 per cent in 2021), whilst around a quarter came from individuals in FM service provider organisations. Again, this was an excellent outcome because it has garnered a broad range of perspectives from all corners of our profession. Likewise, although respondents from larger organisations were more prevalent in both E

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Facilities management

 surveys, we also received responses from FM professionals working in small and medium-sized organisations, providing a further layer of rich diversity to our insights. But what have these insights told us? A great many things, but what I will focus on here is the evident and exciting opportunity for the workplace and facilities management profession to guide and enable organisations to do things differently, starting with the imminent future of work and its consequences. Workplace and facilities management’s opportunity There have been a number of challenges due to the huge changes that Covid-19 brought to how many of us live and work; however, these changes have also created a paradigm shift that we expect – and hope - will change people’s lives for the better, forever. If, as IWFM and many others argue, this manifests as hybrid working or a similarly agile model that allows work to be carried out in multiple settings, untethered from corporate office buildings, it will improve the quality of life for office workers and benefit organisations’ bottom lines. What is key now, as we look ahead to loosening social distancing restrictions and a return to a sense of normality - afforded, we hope, by the continuing successful roll-out of vaccines - is that we do not cling to old ways and instead embrace the opportunity to do better.

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What is key now, as we look ahead to loosening social distancing restrictions and a return to a sense of normality, is that we do not cling to old ways and instead embrace the opportunity to do better ‘But work is changing too… The future proof workplace has to be designed for this new work; one which fosters skills for collaboration, interaction, learning, engaging – human work. The key is changing our profession’s mindset from one that sees technology as helping to do a job (managing the building) to redefining the job as one which helps everyone else do theirs (enabling communities). It is a shift that underpins our repositioning [from BIFM] to IWFM.’ Those words, written by IWFM Chairman Martin G Bell FIWFM, appear in our 2020 technology report ‘Bridging facilities management’s digital divide: the power of digital partnerships’, and they have proven to be highly pertinent. The promise of everaccelerating technological advancements and their transformative powers for industry and society have long been discussed and promoted, of course; however, when we were developing the report in partnership with Microsoft, we had not consulted our

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crystal balls to foresee that the tide of change was rushing in quite so rapidly for workplaces around the globe. But will the changes stay or recede? The beginning of lockdown in March 2020 saw millions of desk-based workers moved –successfully and swiftly - to remote working. Our YouGov-powered research into office workers’ experiences of and attitudes towards working from home during the pandemic showed that 70 per cent had not worked from home before, which is unsurprising given how old ways of thinking have tended towards presenteeism: placing staff in the same building where they can be seen and monitored. Given how alien working from home has been for most people, one might expect that most were dying to escape, but when we updated the research in March this year (having originally commissioned it in April and June last year), we found that the majority of UK office workers want to work from home more often in future.


Facilities management

Before anyone cries ‘this is the death of the office’, most UK office workers are also looking forward to returning to offices, a figure which has grown considerably since June 2020 when only a third were eager to get back to their old desks – influenced, no doubt, by concerns over contracting Covid-19. The message is clear: the majority of UK office workers want agile working options where they spend some time at home and some time in the office. Organisations ignore this at their peril because, as the saying goes, a happy worker is a productive worker and other findings in our home-working research – also due to be released in early April – show that many enjoy a number of the benefits associated with working from home. Despite this, some politicians and prominent organisations have been using the media to urge people back to offices completely. However, vocal opponents aside, the 2021 Market Outlook Survey findings show that most organisations have already taken steps to prepare for a shift to a hybrid working model or at least fewer workers returning to offices full time. As a direct result of the pandemic, 84 per cent of organisations changed their flexible working strategy and 58 per cent are reducing their occupied space. At the same time, 50 per cent of workplace and facilities management professionals say that the pandemic has improved their team’s position within their organisation, which should lead to a greater

influence on decision-making and therefore better, less impulsive outcomes. Time to rethink As tech guru and best-selling author Dave Coplin said when he appeared on our IWFM ‘Navigating turbulent times’ webinar series last year: ‘We still work like we’re Victorians, it’s just we use twenty-first century technology to make it quicker and cheaper. That’s not the gift [of technology].’ The relevance here is that, in grasping this opportunity to do better, we must avoid rehashing old ideas and instead use the lessons of the past year to rethink how we do things altogether, with technology serving as the enabler.

Who are we?

In 2016, the Stoddart Review revealed that an effective workplace can improve business productivity, but a workplace is not merely a corporate office: it is wherever work takes place. It is therefore crucial for organisations and the economy that, at a time when finances across the board are under enormous strain, they tap into the benefits of creating agile workforces who work in a variety of settings according to their, and their employer’s, needs. Failure to do so will harm the recovery and risk losing employees to more forward-thinking employers. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.iwfm.org.uk

Trak365 have designed, developed and market a complete lifecycle Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solution from intelligent data collection endpoints through to our own cloud-based data management and configuration platform.

What we do?

Our intelligent endpoints collect data from connected sensors covering multiple facilities management measurements and control points. We process this data and present it to operational users via real-time dashboards.

Collecting and acting on real-time data visualisation

Air Quality - indoor and outdoor monitoring Customisable and legacy sensor integration Energy Usage and monitoring HVAC – filter maintenance management alerts Water Systems - automated flushing and temperature monitoring

Keep Trak of your Data, Make better decisions www.trak365.com info@trak365.com CONNECT 2021 07503696264 Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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GB Q&A

GB Q&A: Birmingham and the Commonwealth Games Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, speaks to Government Business about the council’s 2022 Commonwealth Games plans, getting active in lockdown and capitalising on culture in Birmingham GB: The City Council is set to approve £2 million fund to help Birmingham residents feel involved with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. When staging such a big event, with a global audience, how important is community involvement and support? IW: This is absolutely crucial. As the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation has said, Birmingham is the Commonwealth City based on our diversity, so it is imperative we do this title the justice and respect it deserves when hosting the Games. The event has an estimated global audience in excess of one billion viewers, so it is a golden platform for us to present Birmingham on a global stage, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we have to grasp if we are to reap the full long-term benefits of investment, tourism, regeneration and prosperity that Host City status can bring. To maximise the chances of success, we need the people of Birmingham to feel involved and able to play a part in celebrating the Games. The atmosphere and welcome that only Brummies can bring is very much an ace up our sleeve – people that have competed in or attended the many major international events we have staged in the past are consistently positive about the city in these regards.

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As such, the programmes we are putting together in the run-up to the Games are designed to give people the best chance possible of getting involved, be that through celebratory events in their local area, by getting involved with cultural activities. We want as many local people as possible to attend the 11 days of competition as spectators or volunteers, but they are not the only ways someone can be involved or embrace the Games. The £2 million you refer to is being spread across the city through our wards, so local people can decide how best to spend it. We’ve also created and funded a £2 million Creative Communities small grants programme that we are delivering in partnership with Birmingham 2022, which will enable our community arts organisations to be part of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Festival running from March–September 2022, putting our citizens front and centre on the global stage. At least 100 different arts projects will be taking place right across the city, led by local communities so we want people to get involved and feel a sense of ownership of our city’s story. And there’s still a further £2 million to go – it’s a £6 million fund in total. We’re also mindful that the city council is responsible for 25 per cent of the Games budget, so the people of Birmingham have a financial stake in these Games and we need

BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT | www.governmentbusiness.co.uk

to provide a return on that investment at a personal and grassroots level just as much as we do in a long-term strategic way too.

GB: One of the themes against which grants will be available is ‘Getting Active’. Given the various lockdowns that have been in place over the last 12 months, in what way will the build up to the Games allow residents to engage in physical activity, more so than normal? IW: The global pandemic is a rapidly changing situation. At the time of answering this question, we know the NHS is under extreme pressure but the roll-out of the vaccine and improved testing provision means the light really is at the end of tunnel. Therefore we remain confident that as we get closer to the Games and if people continue to do their bit to stop the spread of the virus, the restrictions we have all been living under will be eased, enabling us to explore ways of aligning the Games programme to our aim of getting active. We cannot lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of ways to stay active at present and there have been throughout lockdown. Parks use has soared and home workouts with the likes of Joe Wicks have been all the rage, so we will readily embrace any


GB: Another theme as ‘Celebrating Culture’. How can the council use the example of neighbouring Coventry, and their City of Culture 2021 title, to maximise the power that culture has in bringing people together? IW: Coventry 2021 coming immediately before Birmingham 2022 is a fantastic opportunity for both programmes to complement each other. The Games Partners that make up Birmingham 2022 include DCMS, which is the lead Government department for the City of Culture programme. Coventry is also a city hosting Commonwealth Games sport, so we are not operating in isolation. Things are being worked on in a way that maximises the potential of both events – and we cannot lose sight of the fact that the Commonwealth Games has its own cultural programme, so arguably, the wider West Midlands will enjoy a twoyear celebration that builds on the fantastic work Coventry have already been doing.

GB: A key benefit of hosting an event of this size is often only seen in the years that follow. From a local government perspective, how important is it that local people and businesses can reflect upon the event with pride and point to the positive changes that it brought to Birmingham and the region? IW: As mentioned in my earlier answer, this is critical. We know that Manchester’s renaissance was supercharged by its hosting of the Games back in 2002, and that is exactly why I long championed a Birmingham bid. The same potential exists in Birmingham

Birmingham is unique, diverse, rapidlychanging place on the cusp of something really special. The world needs to see that. and as I have often said, this is about more than 11 days of sport and the true benefits of being Host City will become apparent in the weeks, months and years after the closing ceremony ends on 8 August 2022. Businesses both large and small are benefitting from Games contracts already, and we and the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee understand the importance of working with local suppliers where we possibly can. The global spotlight being shone upon the city will ensure that opportunities open up in future, for the good of the people of this city. Other host cities have had this boost and if we plan and prepare properly, we will get the same benefits. The Birmingham Games is the first to have a Social Value Charter, and as social value is something we as a city alongside colleagues right across local government have been championing for a while, we’re really excited that the Organising Committee has made this commitment – it’s another way in which we can ensure benefits and opportunities are getting to our residents. We’re really clear that we want our citizens to reflect on this with pride and positivity, and also to feel that this was something that they connected to and that the city they see on the television and in the media is the one that they recognise. Our citizens have told us that getting Birmingham’s story out there, and showing the world what we can do is really important to them. Birmingham is unique, diverse, rapidlychanging place on the cusp of something really special. The world needs to see that. It requires a lot of hard work and effort, but the progress made over the last three years since being named Host City means we are well-positioned to do so.

GB: The Games are undoubtedly a catalyst for investment in the region. Long-term, how can the investment in Birmingham help regeneration and infrastructure projects? IW: It isn’t a question of how it can help – it already is. The eye-catching steelworks at the revamped Alexander Stadium are going up at pace. The project is on budget and on schedule. When complete it will be the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics. Post-Games it will be the hub of community, health, wellbeing and leisure activity in a regenerated Perry Barr – as well as being the nation’s largest purposebuilt athletics venue. This will stand us in good stead to achieve against our aim of attracting further events to the city. The regeneration of Perry Barr will be most notable via the delivery of 1,400 new homes a mile away from the Stadium.

GB Q&A

approaches that help achieve that outcome dependent on where we are with the pandemic at any given time. At present it is a case of ‘watch this space’ for specific details.

The initial plan was to use this as the Games Village but the impact of Covid19 means the Games Partnership have moved to an alternative model using the region’s universities and the NEC. Despite this, the funding for the housing at Perry Barr – which has always sat outside the Games budget as a reflection of the fact it is delivering long-term regeneration – remains in place and we are still delivering much-needed new homes for the people of Birmingham. A second phase of this regeneration is at an advanced stage too, with outline planning consent for a further 400-500 mainly family schools and construction work on a new secondary school is well underway. The further positive knock-on effects of this extensive work are jobs and opportunities for our residents. We’ve worked with the contractors delivering the first phase of the regeneration to ensure 400 new jobs for local people, 50 of which are apprenticeships, as well as 1,000 pre-employment training places and 10,500 work experience hours. Our contractors have also committed to pay the Real Living Wage. Right now 60 per cent of construction partner spend is going to local businesses. It’s not just about building houses, but about helping to build communities that can continue to grow and flourish. Growth is what we need, but it must be inclusive. The Games were a catalyst for the Perry Barr site coming forward much quicker than if the funding was not made available by Government for the initial use as the Village. There was always a desire to regenerate this area of the city as one of the most deprived in Birmingham. The Games have acted as a catalyst for this. In reality the only change to the delivery of new homes in Perry Barr is that the first tenants will no longer be athletes for the Games. We go straight to this scheme being used by the people of Birmingham. This regeneration also needs to be supported by related infrastructure. We are improving the A34 which runs through the area, making it easier than ever to walk and cycle. The Perry Barr rail station is being overhauled, a new bus interchange is being delivered and a Sprint bus rapid transit route will serve the area. Combined, this will make Perry Barr one of, if not the most, well-connected district of the entire West Midlands. As stated before, the Games and the investment coming with it, along with the global platform the event offers for the city, can combine to create a cycle of prosperity, generating further interest and investment in the city and region. It has happened with other Host Cities and we are well-positioned to achieve similar, if not greater, success. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.birmingham.gov.uk

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COV I D - 1 9

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Let’s take this next step safely.


Discover how Crown Commercial Service helped the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) find the right software to improve their social media strategy and performance manage and respond to the contact they receive from service users. When Defra was looking to replace its social media monitoring platform in 2020 the department turned to Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Products and Associated Services (TePAS) framework. The department wanted to improve their social media strategy and was looking for: a better understanding of their social media audience; increased brand awareness and exposure through more targeted and focused campaigns; and innovative solutions, such as influencer marketing. None of these services were available through their current supplier.

It’s not often that a completely new method of communication appears, and even less common that that new channel The solution fundamentally alters the relationship To find the best solution for their needs, between governments and their citizens. Defra issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) Nearly two decades into the social media under CCS’s TePAS framework. TePAS offers age, that is exactly what has happened. competitive prices on products and services Citizens expect to be able to contact any from a wide range of specialist suppliers. one of the thousands of public sector Defra used Lot 3 which is for Software organisations across the UK literally with and Associated Services. Getech, a supplier a couple of taps of their smartphone or on the framework, subcontracted the laptop, and for that body to be opportunity to Socialbakers, as the able to provide a satisfactory RFP was a good fit for them. response or service Socialbakers provided a fully almost immediately. managed and supported With an Thousands of public social media solution. increase d sector organisations They helped Defra explore l e vel of data now implement alternative and innovative a t their disposa software as a uses of various social l, solution (Saas) media platforms and able to Defra was products to monitor, data streams to help optim

ise their co ntent strateg y

Procurement

Managing our social environment

with their strategy. This included support from an onboarding manager and strategic account management team to ensure significantly improved results were achieved. With an increased level of data at their disposal, Defra was able to optimise their content strategy: focusing on the target audience and fine-tuning the appropriate messaging resulted in a greater reach and depth of engagement, leading to: an 115 per cent increase in organic interactions; a 53 per cent increase in average organic reach per post on Facebook and Instagram; and a doubling of their engagement rate. Giulia Farro, Senior Digital Insight and Evaluation Manager at Defra, said: “Socialbakers analytics is a powerful tool that massively simplified and automated our monitoring and reporting. It gave us the chance to easily label all our content, regardless of whether we posted via Socialbakers or natively, and provided an effective, holistic view of our performance across multiple platforms and channels.” The solution also gives Defra the ability to identify and monitor key influencers and brand ambassadors and measure the impact of influencer-focused campaigns. The department plans to use this functionality to streamline influencer engagement and plan targeted usage ahead of the major UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) in 2021. How we help Let us add power to your procurement CCS’s Technology Products and Associated Services framework offers you a flexible way to buy IT hardware, off-the-shelf software and associated services to suit your organisation’s technology needs, big or small. To find out how we can help you, you can: visit the web page; download our ondemand webinars on what you can buy and how to buy through the framework; complete our online form and our commercial experts will be in touch. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk

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• Centralised storage with enhanced security of all information, including client records, authorisations, contracts, identification and invoices.

• Faster access to client and staff information, leading to improved monitoring and execution, better engagement and empowered decision making.

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Communications

The importance of communication in the public sector Simon Chapman, head of Solution Engineering at Scoro, explains why communication is the first step towards digital transformation of the public sector Communication between different Across the public sector, addressing these departments, agencies and organisations has disconnects means streamlining processes long been a challenge in the public sector. such as resourcing, reporting, and budgeting However, while much of the – no mean feat, even in the best of business world is embracing times. With finances now stretched instant communication further than before and teams Widesp and real-time reporting, divided between homes r e a d delays in data sharing and offices, widespread reform have hampered reform may appear m a y appear the ability of difficult, but improving d but imp ifficult, government bodies communication is the roving commu to keep up, update first, vital move toward their processes, successful digital first, vit nication is th al mo and collaborate. transformation. e

success ve toward f transfo ul digital rmation

In other areas, digitalisation in the public sector has already generated strong results. Public-facing digital services, for instance, have seen consistent growth and a 350 per cent increase in interactions since 2014, while use of virtual healthcare services, such as the NHS App, has risen by 111 per cent since March 2020. So what are the key challenges to executing digital transformation internally, and how can they be overcome? Tackling the issues of legacy solutions All too often in the public sector, departments rely on legacy systems that require the management of disconnected, manual processes. While this might have been workable in an entirely office-based environment, where people can better communicate in person, the shift to hybrid E

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EXTRACT AND PROTECT THE FULL VALUE OF YOUR BUSINESSCRITICAL DOCUMENTS

Your business-critical documents such as contracts and regulations are complex. This complexity represents a real and significant risk not only to government and authorities, but also to the reputation and personal liability of those responsible for compliance. The risk of misinterpretation, the loss of corporate knowledge and instances of nonconformance have for too long been treated as being part and parcel of business.

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To date, organisations have been forced to attempt to manage this complexity using traditional, pre-web technology (namely, MS Word and PDF). The Solution Affinitext’s Intelligent Document Format (IDF) transforms the ease of understanding and managing complex contracts; securely, intelligently and collaboratively. The unique features of IDF include: Navigation - pop-up defined terms and 100% hyperlinking of clause-to-clause references within and between documents. Amendments - IDF documents are always the up-to-date “single source of truth” for all parties. Search - instantly pinpoint relevant information within and across your contracts/projects. Compliance - identify your rights and obligations and manage them in real time. Knowledge - share knowledge against the paragraph to which it relates. Collaborate - on a permissions basis with stakeholders and advisors. Be informed. Be consistent.

PFI Expiry While complex contracts and regulations underpin government organisations in every area, a much publicised example is PFIs, which the collapse of Carillion brought into sharp focus, leaving unfinished hospitals in its wake. There are currently more than 700 operational PFIs in the UK, with a capital value of £57 billion. In the next decade, over 200 PFIs will expire, with the NAO observing that ‘systems for maintaining up-to-date versions of contracts remain weak’. Affinitext makes it easy to extract all contractual obligations at your desk in seconds and ensure that projects are managed and returned to public ownership in accordance with the contract. REQUEST YOUR DEMONSTRATION NOW

www.affinitext.com contact@affinitext.com 020 3667 4866

Collaborative Contract Management Collaboration and the building of trust with your industry partners is for the benefit of service users and the longer term use of assets, especially relating to PFI expiry. Some projects now see 3rd parties engaged on a partisan basis to maximise penalties on claims relating to operational noncompliance, whether trivial or not. An alternate, collaborative approach to contract management and compliance is generally preferable and is empowered with Affinitext. G-Cloud Affinitext is available for all government entities through the G-Cloud 12 framework. Affinitext is redefining the industry standard for contract management: sleep easy at night, perform better during the day.


Communications

 working – a combination of office-based and remote working – has accelerated the need for more innovative, digital solutions. For some departments, 2020 may even be the first time they have operated virtually, in conditions that prevent project leaders from simply looking in on teams to gain a view of progress. As a result, enhancing visibility is a crucial part of achieving effective digitalisation. The public sector needs a set of standardised tools that establish a comprehensive overview of resource allocation, practices, and metrics across government agencies and departments. Reporting in particular is a huge part of building this visibility – organisations require access to immediate insights, which can’t be gleaned from a spreadsheet or legacy solution. These lack the capability to proactively supply data in real time, especially to the scale that government organisations demand. Adopting more intuitive, digital tools can expedite reporting processes, supporting clearer lines of communication and allowing greater oversight. With these tools, teams can set concrete objectives and KPIs, and track these in a centralised, accessible way to monitor progress. Not only does this make internal operations more efficient, but it also helps to justify the spend on digitalisation. Knowing what to reform and where to invest Budgeting is a significant hurdle for deploying digital transformation, as public

While budget conversations are always a challenge in the public sector, the benefits of solutions that allow effective communication are highly worthwhile to enable digital transformation and boost long-term results sector organisations often face high levels of scrutiny and must understandably rationalise investments in digitalisation. Through improving visibility and upgrading tracking software, departments can ensure they have an in-depth understanding of resource allocation and what teams are achieving with it. For example, project leaders can leverage this to see how using multiple, outdated data storage systems, which aren’t able to be harmonised, eats up time, people power, and ultimately money. When it comes to consolidating and processing data, digital tools can give a streamlined, holistic perspective that enables data-driven decision making and delivers faster results. Although minimising inefficiencies is just one way to maximise the value of digitalisation software, its consequences are significant. By being able to better identify and communicate drains on resourcing, organisations can progress toward implementing more intuitive, straightforward, and functional processes

that save time and boost productivity. As opposed to completely overhauling operations, government agencies can focus on using digital tools to continuously refine processes wherever necessary, while monitoring the incremental benefit of doing so. This will track the tangible impact of digital investments, as well as redefine best practices across departments and begin to unify core processes. Budget should not impede innovation; in fact, empirical studies from Harvard Business Review demonstrate that constraints help sharpen the focus of innovative practices and generate more impactful outcomes. While budget conversations are always a challenge in the public sector, the benefits of solutions that allow effective communication are highly worthwhile to enable digital transformation and boost long-term results. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.scoro.com

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Advertisement Feature

Return to work: what you need to consider While there is currently no date set for a return to the workplace, employers will need to be prepared for when it comes. In this article, MHR highlights the main areas you need to consider ahead of bringing employees back into the workplace You decide your working model The pros and cons of remote working have been widely publicised. Looking ahead, you will need to determine which working model best meets your needs and its likely impact on your workforce. For some, this may mean bringing back all employees like pre-pandemic times. For others, remote working has been a success and costsavings can be realised. A hybrid model is another approach, where employees share their working time between home and the workplace. Take people with you Whatever you decide, it will be important to secure employee buy-in. In times of uncertainty and change, clear, regular communication of what is happening, or is proposed, is key. Additionally, you may choose to survey your employees to understand how they would want to work going forwards. Whichever working model you adopt, there will probably be mixed responses. By keeping employees informed and explaining the reasons for your approach, you will more likely gain engagement with your proposals. Keep talking to your employees and listening to feedback. Plan ahead If your new working model is different to what was in place pre-pandemic, you will need to prepare. Here are some issues you should consider.

Office and equipment: Will you downscale office space or change its usage to support more collaborative working? Will you provide expenses and equipment for homeworking employees, and how will

equipment be maintained? How will you conduct the required risk assessments?

Culture and communication: How will team cohesion, organisational culture and communication be maintained? E.g. will there be regular teamworking and networking opportunities? Under a hybrid system, would you label meetings to show which do and don’t require in-work attendance? Fairness of opportunity: What approach would you take to training delivery and induction? How will you address ‘presence bias’ and its impact on progression? Performance and working pattern management: Adapt your performance management approach to fit e.g. if homeworking, does it need to be more results-oriented rather than monitoring ‘presence’. What will the ratio of office to homeworking days be and will there be core days when everyone should be in – or can individuals decide? Put well-being at the heart of your thinking We have all had very different experiences of Covid: some of us have been ill or bereaved and others unaffected; some have thrived when working from home, others have struggled. Given these differences, employees will struggle with a one-size-fits-all approach. Managers will need to continue to monitor the wellbeing of their teams and encourage open dialogue about their situation. Providing training for managers is essential, so they are well-equipped to deal with wellbeing issues. Adjustments should be made as far as

possible, while ensuring organisational needs are met. Examples include a phased return to work, flexible working and agile working. Additionally, employees may be nervous about returning to the workplace. You should therefore communicate the health and safety measures you have put in place to help reassure them. Back at work – the practicalities Your people It is advisable to provide re-onboarding for those returning. This would be especially necessary for furloughed employees, although all employees would benefit. Managers should also be given training to support any new ways of working e.g. how to manage a hybrid team. You should seek to foster an inclusive working environment: varying experiences of Covid, furlough and views on vaccinations could be points of tension and conflict. These should be pro-actively addressed and nipped in the bud if they arise. A positive starting point would be for all returning employees to have a 1:1 meeting with their manager. This could cover a work update, discussion of any agreed changes to the employee’s duties or working arrangement, and should have a focus on their health, safety, and wellbeing. It could also be an opportunity to thank employees for their work in challenging circumstances and ensure that they feel valued. Policies To reflect changes to ways of working, you should update current policies or introduce new ones (e.g. a hybrid working policy). Policies which may need to be reviewed include health & safety, sickness absence, flexible working, homeworking and expenses. These new or changed policies should be brought to the attention of employees. Homeworking necessitated by the pandemic may bring an increased number of flexible working requests. You should consider how you will manage these. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.mhrglobal.com/uk/en

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Cyber security

Learning from cyber crime Stephen Burke says that nothing could have prepared us for 2020 - a year that demanded a swift and dramatic restructure of corporate operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic It’s important all businesses reflect on last year’s challenges overcome, mistakes made and to ask the questions: what have we learnt from this turbulent time? Are cyber attacks getting worse? Why isn’t simple scheduled training enough anymore? And will a more human-centric approach to cyber training make a difference? We also need to think about the rest of 2021 and make cyber security predictions to stay ahead of relentless cyber criminals. Cyber security risks increasing We have seen the methods cyber criminals use evolve in sophistication as well as in volume, pushed even further during this pandemic period where staff are working in new ways, often separated from IT help. This increased level of sophistication makes cyber attacks much harder to identify and therefore far more threatening. While phishing, ransomware, malware and DDoS attacks were among the most common methods employed by cyber criminals in 2020, there was also a rise in new methods. This can be seen in attacks on popular collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack and Microsoft 365 and the massive SolarWinds attack; where 18,000 private and government users downloaded a tainted software update, causing the largest hack of the US federal government networks in years. Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for new opportunities and emerging trends, taking advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities before businesses have a chance to ensure staff are adequately trained and their networks are properly secured and protected. Technology has its limits In the Covid-19 era we have all learnt the importance of community and culture, this same lesson has been learnt in cyber security too. With an increased remote workforce, businesses are more vulnerable to cyber crime than ever before. Knowing that over 90 per cent of data breaches are the result of human error, it is recognised how people’s actions are a huge part of the problem, so they must therefore be part of the solution - a business is only as strong as their staff and technology alone is not enough to protect a business. Scheduled training doesn’t cut it Scheduled cyber security training sessions are often outdated, avoided by staff and forgotten by the time employees actually need the knowledge

or are faced with a potential cyber attack. This renders them pointless and an ineffective use of both time and money. Training content must be digestible and easy to understand and delivered regularly to create actual behavioural change and allow staff to learn. Using world-leading Real Time functionality which enables a company to monitor risky behaviour on the network, from any location, on any device is vital for those with remote workforces. Short and regular training which immediately notifies staff when they make a risky cyber decision at that exact moment of need, alerting them and educating them as to why their actions are unsafe leaves a business protected from accidental employee actions that often lead to costly security incidents. Scheduled training and lectures are useful, but as they are training ahead of a problem companies can never anticipate happening, leads it to be ineffective when compared to point-in-time training in response to specific user actions. Cyber security risks escalating While 2020 may have highlighted the security challenges of remote working, 2021 will see businesses face further heightened security risks as Covid-19 and the vaccine rollout gather pace. The global pandemic and lockdowns have changed the lives of us all, both at home and the way we work. It is unlikely we will see a sudden mass return to the office and these changes reversed in the start of 2021, even with the Covid-19 vaccine people will not be working as they did before for some time. However, later in the year when people do start returning to the office and re-joining the corporate network they will be doing so with insecure hardware that has been used for remote working for months. These devices may store confidential data and could have been used by other household members. The risk of these devices having insecure software installed or have visited insecure websites over the past 10 months is undeniably high. This could cause mass unsecure device attacks as they rejoin corporate networks and allow hackers access to the 17 million files employees averagely have access to. Additionally, as our ticket back to normal pre pandemic life, the Covid-19 vaccine, becomes more readily available this year, we are likely to see an increase in related cyber crime hacking. This could be similar to what we saw with PPE in 2020, where governments were scammed into ordering millions of pounds worth of non-existent

PPE, but this time with the Covid-19 vaccination ordering and rollout. Businesses must question if they are prepared for this? As phishing scams become increasingly sophisticated will they and their employees be able to identify a phishing scam when it comes in? It is imperative all employees are trained and educated in real time, to spot the latest phishing scam before it’s too late, as one click on the wrong email can bring entire corporate networks to their knees. Copycat attacks to rise As technology evolves so do cyber criminals, who latch on to newsworthy events for new opportunities to infiltrate a business, with many businesses having to change their business practises to survive the pandemic, there is more online trading and therefore more opportunity for cybercrime than ever. Copycat attacks are also common, so there is a chance we will see cyber criminals copying recent successful cyber attacks such as the recent SolarWinds attack, where Malware provided remote access into an organisation’s networks allowing information to be stolen, undetected for months, affecting up to 33,000 of SolarWinds Orion customers. Additionally, we are likely to see copycat attacks continue with Ransomware. There was a 40 per cent increase in ransomware attacks in Q3 2020 it is likely that this will continue to rise in 2021 along with the continued sophistication of phishing and vishing to target new companies and untrained individuals. Although little good has come from the pandemic, perhaps this is the push that was required to make industries embrace remote working. With the rise of the cloud, an increase of global businesses and soaring office rental costs in capital cities remote working was ultimately inevitable. And the pandemic has pushed us to achieve these future goals much earlier than initially thought possible. As a result the much needed conversation of cyber security has been brought forwards and companies like Cyber Risk Aware have now been recognised by Gartner, written about in Forbes and, most importantly, have empowered employees to feel cyber secure and confident in their online actions. It is only by creating this workplace confidence and cyber culture that businesses can have the vital best practices in place, continually educating staff to ensure the business and networks are protected from the inside out. L

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Fleet management

The successes of the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme The Energy Saving Trust look at some of the lessons learnt from each of the cities involved in the Go Ultra Low Cities scheme, and what other local authorities can learn from their work so far exemplar cities or regions, to lead the way Following the government’s commitment on in promoting electric vehicles, tackling air 18 November 2020, to ban the sale of new quality, and reducing carbon emissions. The petrol and diesel cars by 2030, we will see Go Ultra Low Cities were Oxford, Milton electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly Keynes, Nottingham, York, Dundee, London, mainstream in the next few years. Therefore, the West of England, and the North East. local authorities are considering how they Energy Saving Trust assisted OZEV will support the transition to electric vehicles. to showcase each of the Go Ultra Low Transport Minister Rachel Maclean Cities projects by hosting an informative comments: “Councils have an integral role webinar series of events in 2020. to play in our transition to zero-emission Some key themes and lessons were vehicles. We have so far committed £1.3 learnt from this series, to inform and billion to rolling out charging infrastructure, help other local authorities to learn and including £20m in the coming financial develop their own projects in the future. year, to support local authorities to install infrastructure for residents without off-street One size doesn’t fit all parking. We are working with councils to Each local authority will have unique tackle any barriers they may face in accessing challenges and require different charging this support and I would urge councils that solutions to help solve issues including they must use the funding we have made providing for residents who do not available to ensure their have access to off street parking. residents can charge their There One on-street charging cars quickly and easily. approach was seen in “We have already are ma Oxford, where a mixture supported the conside ny r a of technologies were installation of t i o ns in the r trialled, including lamp more than o l l e o l ectric v ut of post charging, bollards 150,000 e authori hicles and lo and home chargers residential with cable gullies. and almost themse ties are findin cal g lves nav Alternatively, 21,000 public a new a igating Milton Keynes and chargepoints. nd at ti London looked at a This includes c o m plex are mes community hubs solution, support to 145 where chargepoints are local authorities to of work a provided in car parks near install almost 4,000 residential areas. In London, chargepoints and with these chargepoints can also be further funding announced used by businesses during the day. last month, even more people are set Dundee focused on the rapid charging to benefit from better chargepoint access.” hub model, installing three hubs with a fourth planned. These hubs include Go Ultra Low Cities six rapid chargers, three 22kW chargers There are many considerations in the roll out and battery storage. The city struggled of electric vehicles and local authorities are with an on-street solution, as lamp posts finding themselves navigating a new and are located at the back of the footway, at times complex area of work. Lessons can however, it has been trialling pop up be learned from those local authorities that chargers, similar to those tested in Oxford. have more mature plans for the transition. York is looking to ensure it has a mixture The Go Ultra Low Cities scheme was of charging types and sufficient infrastructure launched by the Office for Zero Emission in the right places, such as council-owned Vehicles (OZEV) four years ago. The car parks. The city is focusing on E scheme’s aim was to create a cohort of eight

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Fleet management Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Leadership and political buy-in Dundee felt that leadership from the very top of the council was key to allowing the city to innovate in this area of work. The city’s council leader owns an electric vehicle (EV) and is an advocate for making the switch to electric. Nottingham also had political buy-in, which it found invaluable. The city’s deputy leader, also an EV driver, was an electric champion throughout the project, helping Nottingham to navigate through any stumbling blocks. Partnership working In London, partnership working between the key stakeholders – Transport for London (TfL), 32 London boroughs and Highways England – enabled the project to progress successfully. The individual boroughs had limited resources to work on this project themselves, however, collaborating with TfL and Highways England allowed them to draw on additional knowledge and expertise. London also set up a stakeholder taskforce to discuss problems, possible solutions and to develop a delivery plan. The taskforce’s key partners included the Federation of Small Businesses, Ofgem, UK Power Networks, RAC Foundation and the British Retail Consortium. Both Dundee and Nottingham found that working with their chargepoint supplier was essential for a successful chargepoint installation. The chargepoint operators have excellent technical expertise, while the councils were able to provide local knowledge. Each of the Go Ultra Low Cities found it helpful and important to share ideas and knowledge, to avoid issues or mistakes others had made. Lloyd Allen, Go Ultra Low West, said: “I was really grateful to have the ear of other Go Ultra Low Cities when developing our approach. Sharing information between local authorities is usually common currency. It really has been invaluable for us.” Identifying internal resources A dedicated officer was required to research and understand the EV charging market in

Electric vehicles are not the only solution in the transition to low carbon transport in our towns and cities. EVs should be placed within a wider travel hierarchy that prioritises active travel and public transport journeys first and promotes trips by car only when there are no alternatives the West of England region, to inform and make decisions on the procurement strategy. In many cases, this area of work plays just a small part of an officer’s role and it can be challenging to invest the time required. Oxford made use of existing technical knowledge and expertise in other council departments. The city worked closely with colleagues in the highways department, who had wealth of experience from working on other projects which required managing and maintaining infrastructure on highways. York made changes to its council structure to allow EV developments to be prioritised, including creating a dedicated EV strategy officer and a project management role to help deliver infrastructure projects. Engaging your audience Milton Keynes saw the benefit of running a behaviour change programme to facilitate the switch to electric vehicles. The project included promotion and marketing, as well as installing infrastructure. The city felt it was important to understand customer’s needs, and introduced an EV experience centre offering myth busting EV expert advice, vehicle displays and test drives. Dundee delivered a local marketing campaign after the city realised that residents did not know what the EV charging hubs in the city were. The local authority organised focus groups looking at barriers and issues with local infrastructure, before developing a Drive Dundee Electric campaign. The Drive Dundee Electric Campaign has since hosted several events, including

Fleet management

 fast charging in council car parks and hyper hubs on the outskirts of the city.

a ‘Chat and Charge’ event, which saw Dundee Council meet electric vehicle drivers and members of the public at the EV hub to exchange knowledge and encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. Feedback from local businesses in Nottingham found that most preferred to learn from their peers, with business to business engagement proving more powerful and persuasive than information from council officers. Considering other sustainable travel modes Electric vehicles are not the only solution in the transition to low carbon transport in our towns and cities. EVs should be placed within a wider travel hierarchy that prioritises active travel and public transport journeys first and promotes trips by car only when there are no alternatives. Oxford was keen to avoid installing install EV charging infrastructure in workplaces and shopping centres or supermarkets, as the city prefers to promote active travel and public transport to make journeys to these destinations, rather than risk ‘locking in’ car use. Milton Keynes is continuing to focus on the wider sustainable travel picture by investing in electric buses, car clubs and demand responsive services, as well as EV infrastructure. Dundee is installing micro hubs that not only provide EV charging, but also car sharing bays and electric bikes. Each city is still very much at the start of their transition journey into providing EV charging infrastructure and all have learned valuable lessons from the work carried out in the last four years. If you would like to find out more about any of the Go Ultra Low Cities, all webinar recordings can be found on the  Local Government Support Programme advice web page. Energy Saving Trust’s Local Government Support Programme is funded by the Department for Transport and helps councils in England make better sense of their EV options. Our advice is free, independent, and tailored to different stages of implementing an EV strategy. L FURTHER INFORMATION energysavingtrust.org.uk

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Transport

Making greener journeys more desirable Francesca DiGiorgio writes for Friends of the Earth about the design aspect of shifting local planning to deter unnecessary car journeys, as well as how the current situation impacts wheelchair users Cars are interesting. We seem to think we need them, and some people do because cars have made lives easier, and quality of life possible, for people who can’t easily use public transport, or cycle, or walk unaided. But the fact remains that too many of us rely too much on cars over preferable alternatives. Transport spews out about a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also a major source of air pollution linked to tens of thousands of early deaths a year in the UK. And we know that too many car journeys are very short ones, of just a few miles. This is where councils need to design better to make journeys on wheels (of all kinds) and on foot more desirable. The design aspect of this shift is incredibly important, and all too often done without proper consultation. Councils are key here, and many are currently trying to figure out how quickly they can shift people out of private cars and onto bikes and buses or to just walk. We know this is better for health, and for getting emissions down. Electric cars are having their moment, and will soon become the new norm, significantly cutting carbon emissions and some types of air pollution. This shift may mean some transport

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17 per cent by 2050. This means much greater planners hope this results in them not having reductions in urban car journeys where modal to think about car use and can concentrate shift is more straight-forward than modal instead on the planning buzz word ‘shared shift for longer-distance inter-urban travel. space’. But even conservative estimates of Friends of the Earth argues that we need deeper, what is needed point to some modal shift: a faster reductions in car mileage if the switch towards a more sustainable and UK is to make our fair share of less polluting form of transport. global carbon emissions cuts We nee to prevent more than 1.5 Reducing car d a balan degrees of global warming. mileage c e d transpo The CCC’s pathway for We’ve got to get that ac rt policy all emissions leaves the car milage down, c o u UK well short of the especially in cities. n t s everyon reductions required We need a balanced e. Buildfor more ro ing in more equitable transport policy that pathways (64 per cent accounts for everyone. climate ads in a em emissions cuts by 2030 Building more roads is senseergency compared to 74 per in a climate emergency le cent, 80 per cent or 90 per is senseless policy. policy ss cent, depending on which The Climate Change approach to equity chosen). Committee (CCC) has made So that’s the numbers, but what its recommendation on the UK’s about the day-to-day lived reality of what pathway for reduced carbon emissions, those numbers mean? Something that is overincluding for surface transport. This pathway, looked in this area of policy and design as which they admit should be considered the with so many other areas of life is accessibility. minimum benchmark, identifies a nine per cent Genuine, literal accessibility. For everyone.  reduction in car mileage by the year 2035 and

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Transport

Access and active travel As a wheelchair user and climate campaigner, the intersection between disability and active travel is one that I am confronted with every day. Though I live in Newcastle upon Tyne, I often need to rely on taxis when visiting London for work or pleasure, because so much of the London underground does not provide step-free access. For active travel to be truly viable, it needs to be accessible to everyone, including disabled people. As we have seen in recent years, the push for public spaces that increase active travel, with little regard for access, has seen disabled people designed out of public life, and at times lose their lives as a consequence. Just last February, the lack of tactile markers at the edge of a train platform in Eden Park Station in Bromley were implicated in the death of a blind man called Cleveland Gervais, who fell from the platform edge and was killed by a train. Blind and partially sighted people face a number of obstacles in the public realm. Shared space schemes leading to collisions with cyclists, the lack of audible sounds on electric vehicles which make safety on the streets impossible, and e-scooters used at high speeds on pavements, with little enforcement of the laws designed to protect us all from fatal collisions. These are just some of the everyday dangers faced. Street furniture, pavement parking and lack of accessible infrastructure, such as

Many councils are currently trying to figure out how quickly they can shift people out of private cars and onto bikes and buses or to just walk. We know this is better for health, and for getting emissions down dropped kerbs with tactile paving, make active journeys needlessly hazardous for disabled people like me and many others. Instead of offering a climate-friendly, inclusive way to get around, active travel, when done the wrong way, acts as a barrier which prevents disabled people from participating in society. However, there are ways to avoid this. Disabled people are experts in their own access needs when it comes to navigating public spaces, so designing these areas of public life with their meaningful input should be at the heart of active travel planning. That way, preventable, fatal accidents never need to happen. A world where we address both the climate emergency and disabled people’s needs for accessible, carbon friendly journeys is possible. Local authority action Local authorities should be serious about the climate emergency, and they must up their game. Intelligent, inclusive policies

that consult properly and extensively with disabled people and their organisations are needed to get people out of their cars, but they should also acknowledge that for some, car journeys are necessary and not optional, and that’s ok. Across the country they should aim to double the proportion of journeys by public transport, cycling and walking, as well as encouraging car-sharing. Some things require government support, and this is surely one because it would repay with the double benefit of reduced emissionswhich we have to do in a climate crisis, and quality of life resulting in lower levels of social isolation. There are many actions that councils can take with government support, Friends of the Earth have counted 27, but please, let’s design with everyone in mind. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.friendsoftheearth.uk

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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Security

Security’s role in the future of our high streets Iain Moran explains for Government Business magazine how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the future of the high street With the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee informed at a January meeting that the lockdown-induced shift towards online retail will likely be permanent, the high street must move its emphasis away from retail and instead become more focused on alternative avenues of use and revenue generation such as leisure and experience-focused activities with the help of new pedestrianised zones. The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated changes that were already happening in consumer behaviour. This has presented an exciting opportunity to have another look at our urban landscapes and consider how they might be transformed to better serve the needs and wants of the public. Last summer, pedestrianisation zones were implemented extensively across the UK and proved to be a great idea, creating new multifunctional spaces for people to gather and socialise. These spaces can be used to provide a much-needed boost to hospitality businesses, or host fun community events, which will be critical when it comes to drawing people back to the high street as things start to return to normal.

cited insufficient funding, 55 per cent identified a reluctance from local authorities to invest, and 32 per cent had experienced a local unwillingness to have the look of a space spoiled by ‘obtrusive security measures’. The role of physical security in Exploring the potential solutions to these protecting the high street barriers, 53 per cent of those surveyed When creating these new spaces, choosing suggested working in partnership with local the right physical security measures, such authorities and suppliers right from the as bollards and impact-tested street beginning of a project to determine furniture, will be crucial to ensure the most appropriate security Whene the public can use and enjoy measures, while 36 per cent them with confidence. While were keen to make use an area ver this may seem obvious, of impact-tested street through goes according to our recent furniture to counteract a p e riod of adju paper, The Future of any aesthetic concerns. Urban Design, many Returning to normality a changstment or e architects, it became and seeing our cities and o f us security apparent that specifiers towns bustling with life measur e, es and urban planners feel again once the pandemic should b that not enough is invested comes to an end would e reviewe in security for the projects be a welcome sight. So, d that they are working on. how do we create new safe, Research revealed that 60 per public spaces to ensure that a cent of urban design professionals bright future awaits our high streets? have concerns about the level of investment in security measures, while 47 per cent Creating a proportionate feel that their nearest city isn’t safe. security design When asked about the barriers to appropriate The requirement to facilitate social distancing implementation, the majority (67 per cent) and the additional pavement space required by

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hospitality venues to match pre-Covid capacity has resulted in a shift of use in the public realm. Whenever an area goes through a period of adjustment or a change of use, security measures should be reviewed. The vulnerabilities previously identified to secure our traditional high street set-up might have shifted to present a different set of vulnerabilities. These new or altered vulnerabilities need to be re-assessed by a security professional who can produce a revised, proportionate security design. Different factors are taken into consideration when producing this type of report:

• Aesthetics: There are buildings and areas which may call for a strong, physical presence of security measures to deter security incidents. The public realm is not one of these spaces. Varying approaches to aesthetics can be considered. Security measures can be integrated into street furniture or even lettering and artwork to soften the visual impact of security. Measures can also be fitted with aesthetic sleeves in varying designs to include heritage colours or finishes if being placed within a historic town centre. The impact of security measures can also be lessened if areas within a city or town centre work together on delivering a holistic security


Research revealed that 60 per cent of urban design professionals have concerns about the level of investment in security measures, while 47 per cent feel that their nearest city isn’t safe scheme. Looking at an area in its totality allows for clever placement of measures to secure key zones. If areas are dissected and land ownership prevents these areas from working together to achieve the end goal, more measures can end up being put into place unnecessarily. The key here is to work with a qualified security consultant and a physical security manufacturer from as early in the process as possible to achieve the best result.

• Stakeholders: Within the public realm, there are many stakeholders to consider - local authorities, Counter Terror Security Advisors, emergency services, power and utility providers, councillors, and retail consortiums to name just a few. All these groups have different requirements from their section of the public realm.

Each stakeholder group must be consulted to understand the implications of any new or altered security scheme. With security measures having a lifespan of up to 15 years if maintained, the investment in time at the start of the project to ensure that measures meet all requirements and consider any access nuances is time well-spent. This consultation and collaborative approach could also result in a more successful scheme with all groups being bought into security measures from the very start. This could also result in a more effective operating methodology for security measures.

• Access Requirements: Taking the time to identify who is using the public realm is important. How many delivery vehicles are moving in and out of city/town centres to sustain the supply

Security

chain of shops and hospitality venues. Does any existing equipment have maintenance measures in place, if so - how often are maintenance contractors needing access to the area? Are there annual events taking place within the space which sees an annual or seasonal increase in visitors? Do hospitality venues have pavement licenses within the area being assessed? All these questions build up a picture of the types of vehicles accessing an area, how frequently and aims to capture the ‘one-off’ or ‘annual’ visits too. The result of this is to understand the type of security measures which can be implemented. Are there complete zones which can be secured with fixed security measures so completely pedestrianise and protect an area? Or do demands on the supply and delivery chain within the area prevent this from being possible - do measures in fact have to be automated. If automation is required, the map laying out the types of user and access requirements can assist in building an operational methodology for the area or for individual zones to begin to shape a holistic security plan.

• Proportionate Security: When considering the types of threat that you are protecting an area from, it is vital that the assessment is proportionate. If an Armageddon approach is taken, measures will be unrealistic, hugely expensive, and will simply not be used. Proportionate security measures look to protect against likely threats. Within the UK, this would be protecting crowds of people and busy streets against vehicle ramming and VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) attacks. While the global terror threat in the UK remains ‘substantial’, these forms of attack, similar to those seen on Westminster Bridge and Borough Market remain a real threat to our society. With this in mind, a possibly unrealistic response would be to exclude all types of vehicles from town and city centres completely. While this would certainly create a safer space for pedestrians, this might not be practical to underpin the day-to-day running of businesses and town centre economies. A more proportionate scheme would have to be implemented to accommodate users who still required vehicular access. Working alongside key stakeholders, security equipment manufacturers can provide proportionate measures to create successful and aesthetically pleasing security schemes to encourage people back to our high streets and make them the centre of our community once more. L Iain Moran is ATG Access’s Sales & Marketing Director. Iain originally contributed this article on behalf of the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association for Counter Terror Business magazine. FURTHER INFORMATION www.pssasecurity.org

Issue 28.2 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE

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G-Cloud

A move away from ‘off-the-shelf’ digital services Jos Creese, CEO of digital consultancy business CCL, looks at why digital public services means a move away from ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions The digital service requirements of public was measured on the ability to design sector organisations are increasingly difficult application for every and any requirement, to define. This is one of the reasons why without question. This created a complex and agile development is such an important expensive legacy nightmare, as well as locking methodology, and also why a move away from public services into inflexible and long term IT wholly predefined software solutions (‘off-thecontracts where pre-defined SLA metrics were shelff’ – OTS) is inevitable. quickly a poor indicator of true performance. This is an interesting departure from past IT Today’s public services need better strategies: for as long as I can remember the applications and technology tools if they are mantra of IT departments and public service to meet digital ambitions and potential. Most organisations developing their digital and IT of the traditional OTS solutions from the strategies, has been ‘off-the-shelf only’ – no traditional vendors are just not sufficiently bespoke, no tailoring, and no customisation. innovative, adaptable, or functionally rich. The point was, that in the past, IT They are also prone to the problems of departments had tailored and customised lock-in and bundling. At the extreme are the every IT solution to the nth degree, traditional IT outsourcing models often in response to the needs of that have proved to be so individual departments. ‘The problematic and ineffective, business leads, not IT’ we often holding back were told as IT leaders, progress rather than IT requi r e s and IT performance powering it. p ub b

lic odies clear di to have a g based oital vision, policies n digital , and arc standards hitectu re

Unique solutions It does not mean that there is no place for large, OTS solutions, but it means that they will in future play a smaller part in the mix of cloud and bespoke solutions, where low-code and small modular apps are in the ascendancy. This is pushing public service organisations to develop their own, or to work with suppliers who can provide bespoke solutions. This is as true in cyber protection as it is in application development. But it is also not a move back to the past where IT departments were developing unique solutions. More, it is about using modular IT components in a more flexible way. A good analogy would be buying a new car. You can buy a standard car from a manufacturer, or, you can ‘bespoke’ your purchase in terms of most of what is ‘under the bonnet’ (gearbox, engine size and type), other components, colour and interior fittings. E

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G-Cloud

 But it’s still a standard car from a manufacturer that does not compromise any warranty or safety standards and is readily serviced and maintained, with available spare parts. That is the sort of bespoke that we need to see in IT development in the public sector. Digital maturity This, however, does put greater emphasis on the importance of relationships with IT suppliers, especially in pre-tendering engagement. A partnership approach is necessary, rather than depending solely on a detailed and fixed specification through a tender cycle. This can help IT suppliers to understand better the changing nature of public services requirements, and for the public service organisation to be clear on the risks and technical opportunities proposed. More critically perhaps, it also depends on the digital maturity of public sector organisations, especially in being able to understand and establish new risk models in a digital world where there is less predictability, and a greater need and willingness to experiment and innovate. IT requires public bodies to have a clear digital vision, based on digital policies, standards and architecture. This is the basis for engaging with suppliers and developing bespoke solutions that complement OTS yet do not create a ‘free for all’ and a fragmented digital landscape. Without this foundation, public services risk compromising the potential value of data, restricting shared services, and limiting wider interoperability. Where public service organisations get this right, it opens up some new and exciting possibilities for tech SMEs in particular, since innovation and flexibility become key competitive advantages that are harder for the larger traditional incumbents to match. G-Cloud seminar I chaired a number of sessions at one of the G-Cloud events, hosted by Government Business magazine, where the numerous discussions between public service organisations and SME providers of all shapes and sizes discussed the value of bespoke development. I noted down some of the key quotations:

“However clever the technology, however open and flexible the interfaces, interoperability is essential, and that means open standards and open APIs from IT suppliers.” “Sometimes IT departments are part of the problem, thinking they know best and have sole control over digital priorities and risks. Successful public service organisations have IT departments that work hand-in-glove with their digital colleagues and executive leaders.” “We need IT suppliers to understand public sector challenges and requirements and not to oversell what they can in practice achieve.” “As an IT supplier, it helps enormously when a public service organisation can offer some consistency in the internal team that we are working with, rather than an interim contractor in IT or procurement.” “Pre-tender discussions with IT suppliers are not only effective, they are often essential. Without this we often have little idea of what is available out there, or even how to tender for a service or technology. It helps us to understand risk, market conditions, and technology possibilities.” “Internal governance in some public service organisations is too complicated. We don’t know whether we should be dealing with procurement, legal, IT, digital leaders, line of business service managers, finance, HR, or even political leaders. The amount of variation, the lack of predictability, and the sheer complexity are real problems for SMEs.” “ We need to define what bespoke actually means – there is a spectrum. It is clear that ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions will not meet every requirement, but the challenge is how to tender for more bespoke solutions and be clear on the costs and the risks. Whatever bespoke solution is contracted for, it has to be well- documented, well-designed, open and easily transferable to another supplier. Otherwise it creates future IT legacy issues and IT supplier lock-in.” “As a procurement manager in a large public service organisation, I am too often being asked by my IT colleagues and service departments to

extend out of date software contracts, either because of the risk and cost of change, or because no one has had the time to recognise the need to plan for a replacement. This is even when the service is poor, expensive and the product out of date!” “In developing a partnership with an IT service provider offering a more bespoke and changeable service, perhaps for low code or no code, a ‘proof of concept’ can be valuable. It’s a good way of establishing likely costs and debugging risks. Short G-Cloud contracts offer an invaluable way of testing out a partnership with definable risk and cost.” “’Customisation’ is not the same as ‘bespoke’ in my opinion. The former tends to play into service preferences, the latter tends to reflect true needs.” “As a CIO in a large public sector organisation, the ability for us to innovate whilst meeting regulations can be hard. Preprocurement engagement can help with this but much of it is to do with internal cultures and attitude to risk.” “As a public sector buyer, ‘off-the-shelf’ is often seen as less risky, but I think we are coming to the point on our digital journey where limits are being reached. Large OTS suppliers are often difficult to deal with and have expensive solutions that fall short of expectations.” “As an IT supplier to the public sector, sometimes we find the vision is not clear. For example, what does ‘cost saving’ really mean? ‘Agile’ is great, but you still need to know where you’re trying to get to.” L

Jos Creese has over 30 years of IT leadership across the public sector. He writes and consults extensively for both the public and private sector and chairs the Open University School of Computing Industrial Board.service management at its core. FURTHER INFORMATION www.creeseconsulting.co.uk

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G-Cloud

The contract management skills every project manager needs Managing a framework requires a very different set of management skills to a more traditional waterfall-based project, writes Romy Hughes

Managing the delivery of ‘as-a-Service’ contracts requires a very different set of skills than managing a traditional waterfall projects. Unfortunately, these skills are rarely prioritised in the public sector, leaving many project managers out of their depth, projects going over budget, deadlines being missed, and projects deviating from their original objectives. How exactly has the role of project management changed in light of the more agile, post-waterfall approach to project delivery, and which skillsets are required for project managers going forward? The new management approach Prior to the introduction of the framework agreements, the public sector relied on the expertise of procurement specialists to protect its interests when buying products or services. Once the procurement manager was happy with the terms, a project

the focus has shifted to the continuous manager would take over to ensure the management of the contract to ensure successful delivery of those terms over the best continual result. the course of the contract, while the procurement manager would move In-life management on to another project. of a contract vs. The public sector has now waterfall largely shifted away There The skillsets required from this up-front needs t for the ‘in life’ capex approach to a recogn o be a management of a more operational, success ition that multi-year contract vs opex model (e.g. procuring it in the first traditional IT has agile pr fully delivering place are generally moved to cloud ojects r equires a chang not the same as each services which e in pro other, yet the staffing are often, but not je manag of these projects exclusively, procured ement ct has not changed to through frameworks). approa ch reflect this. All too often, Since the frameworks project managers, whose have done most of the skills, training and careers have up-front contractual work evolved around traditional waterfall already, less procurement expertise project delivery, must now combine their E is required at the start of a project. Instead,

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Deliver critical information to your frontline workers OurPeople helps organisations to streamline the way they connect with their deskless workforce, removing unnecessary chatter

Top 5 reason businesses turn to OurPeople • Your people are your secret weapon. Making the most of their time is invaluable to your business. You innovate and share all the latest initiatives to ensure they have everything they need to succeed. It feels great, only to find out days, weeks or even months later that half the team did not hear anything about said initiative. OurPeople is an award-winning software platform that enables management to deliver two-way messages and communications to frontline workers and we are proud to be a G Cloud approved supplier. Delivering the message is only half the battle The need for clear and concise communication within businesses and local authorities has never been more important. This year, the sheer quantity of information to pass on was extraordinary - employees needed to be kept abreast of the latest developments on remote working, the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty, as well as the everyday updates as businesses navigate changing landscapes. As a result, we saw many local authorities and NHS trusts feeling the pressure to update everyone all the time, without pausing to think about whether their messages were relevant to the audience they were reaching. Sending blanket updates to everyone offers no guarantees that the people who need to view and understand the information will engage with it. In fact, bombarding teams with content that is not relevant to them serves the opposite purpose – people tend to read updates less thoroughly, and ultimately stop checking them altogether. With blended and remote working set to continue, it is absolutely vital to be aware of how to ensure the right messaging is disseminated to the right people across your business in order to achieve effective internal communication. The organisations that communicate most purposefully are those where team members are accountable for the information they receive and are united in working towards shared objectives. So how do we do that?

made is to send everything to everyone. Instead of a weekly newsletter containing every update across the organisation, for example, what about sending one quickfire important daily message, differentiated depending on their role. Via the OurPeople app, managers can send bespoke ‘cards’ directly to people for whom the information is relevant. Shorter updates – a 10-second video from a manager, a single image or a short 250-character message – targeted at fewer individuals based on their location, job title or skill, for example, are far more effective and engaging. It is better to know than assume It is one thing sending a briefing out to a team. But being confident that they have read it is a different matter entirely. Overall, people just do not read emails – both deskless workers and traditional office-based staff. This means that vital information is missed, without managers even realising. What is more, with no accountability for absorbing information, the engagement among staff is likely to dwindle. Simply enabling employees to immediately confirm they have seen the message they need to see can make the world of difference. This is where having the right communication platforms becomes invaluable. It is always better to know the right people have read information than to assume the content will have found its way to them.

Less is more Employees are far more likely to engage with content which is directly relevant to them. One of the most common mistakes

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BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT | www.governmentbusiness.co.uk

• • • •

Communication – broadcast videos, photos, files, audio, chat Onboarding – share important information with new hires Surveys – quick pulse surveys with specific teams Forms – build custom flows and have employees respond Compliance – everything sent via the platform is recorded

OurPeople already operates with numerous councils and are proud that Hartlepool Borough Council won an APSE award in Dec 2020 for Best Workplace Initiative for their roll out and use of OurPeople. With over 95 per cent of staff using the platform and in a recent staff survey, 99 per cent of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that OurPeople now keeps them informed about what is happening and what is needed within their role. Why not discover for yourself just how OurPeople can keep your teams more informed and connected. L

Quote code ‘GBM article’ and receive a 50 per cent discount on onboarding fees and a five per cent discount on annual subscriptions. FURTHER INFORMATION www.ourpeople.com hello@ourpeople.com


What do project managers need to do to keep their projects on track? Work more strategically with suppliers – The shift away from a capex funding model which is laser focused on delivering one, very specific outcome is a world away from delivering a framework, which typically involves the delivery of continually evolving business outcomes. This more agile, opex approach requires a very different relationship with your suppliers. You need to work more strategically. You can’t be transactional anymore.

Get out of your silo and manage your stakeholders – It is not uncommon to have more than 100 stakeholders involved in a project who need continual, not occasional, engagement. As the de facto contract manager you must now go out and build the necessary relationships with suppliers and internal stakeholders. Working this way will also help to move your organisations away from waterfall project delivery and towards a more service management approach. Work closely with commercial – since you are no longer facing big contractual changes every few years, but ongoing little tweaks, commercial and project management must work together throughout the delivery of the project.

Project managers must now combine their existing project management role with ongoing contract management too Agility is key – Rigid procurement rules in the public sector often prevent projects from being as agile as they should be. For example, if an existing software vendor launches new features which could greatly benefit the public sector, the public sector cannot simply raise a PO for these new features due to the way procurement is still largely about fixed outcomes. Instead, they are encouraged towards a full tender process just to add these features to their service which is a waste of the organisation’s and its supplier’s time. Hire dedicated contract managers – As the above points have hopefully demonstrated, contract management alone is a full-time job. It is therefore unfair to expect project managers to take this on by themselves. This is because project managers are focused on delivery, while contract managers are focused on outcomes. A contract manager will understand the scope and legalities of the framework, leaving the project manager free to focus on technicalities of delivery. Since the focus of each roles are a little different but complementary, it is important that they work in tandem to achieve a successful outcome.

Workflow Management software for Public Sector Departments Roads, Highways & Maintenance

Project managers need a the full-time support of a contract manager, although it is worth recognising that a good contract manager may be able to resource several projects or programmes simultaneously. The shift to service management Beyond the employment of dedicated contract managers, there needs to be a recognition that successfully delivering agile projects requires a change in project management approach. It is about more than simply distinguishing between the project and contract management roles, but about adopting a service management approach in order to deliver the outcomes your organisation needs. Yes, you need to have the right roles in place with the appropriate skillsets, but you also need the right governance in place. You need to define an operational model that delivers service management at its core. L

Romy Hughes is director at Brightman. FURTHER INFORMATION www.brightman.uk.com

Mobile job management software • Create jobs and tasks, add all information and send to workers on location.

• Schedule users in the calendar and assign map locations to jobs.

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 existing project management role with ongoing contract management too.

ensure all paperwork is completed and processes followed. scannable codes for tracking, maintenance and SHEQ. submissions with time/date/location tags.

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labour and material usage reports within the app using inbuilt calculators.

• Receive information and produce reports

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Covid-19 may herald a sea-change in technology Steve White explains why coronavirus marks a turning point in councils’ approach to new technology investment Broadly speaking, we can look at councils’ office systems fully hosted to deliver an response to the pandemic in three key stages: online capability and those that had not put the initial onset, the operational phase, mobile working practices in place. Often, local when the outbreak was at its height, and the authorities had some kind of digital capability recovery as the lockdown has eased. but while they knew this would sustain them At the outset of the crisis, many authorities for a period, they were also aware it might not struggled to implement the right systems and suffice over the longer term. They understood processes to support remote working and that these weaknesses stemmed from a lack ensure the resilience and continuity of their of previous investment in technology capable service offerings. Some had the opportunity of supporting more flexible ways of to test out home working scenarios ahead working. of the government measures. Many others were in a position where they Technology were left hoping that available investment A s we lo equipment and bandwidths Given all that, as the futu ok to would hold up as workers we approach r a grow e, there is increasingly moved back home. the third phase, In terms of the operational the long-term here aming difference phase, councils that have recovery and o n betwee g councils struggled most were those beyond, Covidn the ‘ha that did not have their back 19 may herald and ve

s the ‘ha ve-nots ’

a sea-change in technology investment as councils increasingly value the need to have robust and resilient systems in place to better manage service delivery in crisis times. This may not, after all, be the last pandemic we see. Many experts are predicting a second wave of Covid later in the year – and councils increasingly appreciate they need to be ready for that. Some have already learnt, from previous severe winter weather or recent flooding situations, the benefits that contingency plans, including plans for remote working backed by the latest digital technologies, can bring. Ultimately, after all, having a combination of online hosted back office systems and mobile working in place at times of crisis gives councils a level of flexibility and resilience to manage situations more effectively. They don’t have to worry, for example, about systems going down because they know that a third party will be able to maintain the system for them remotely. Where on-premise systems have been in place, councils have often struggled to fix them on their own in a timely manner during lockdown. E

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 Councils have been under pressure to keep at least a minimal level of service running in areas like waste collection. That has meant, especially in the early days of lockdown, some having to switch staff over from other service areas like street cleansing or green spaces. Easy-to-use mobile working systems have added flexibility and made operating in this way much more viable. How the pandemic has driven through change As we come out of lockdown and look to the future of council services, necessity is likely to become in some senses ‘the mother of invention’. The pandemic has driven many to start to adopt mobile and remote working to look at ways they can improve their online portals and capability in order to interact with citizens more closely at a time when many are confined to home. They have had to become more agile. Covid-19 has in this way, therefore, acted as a catalyst for change. It has also undoubtedly shone a light on the need for councils to be more agile in areas like asset management and maintenance and delivering environmental services. The latest connected asset management platforms can certainly play a part here. If they are software as a service based, they can be accessed from anywhere. They facilitate working from home which has become essential in the current climate. They also facilitate mobile working meaning that operational staff out on the frontline

can be tasked with new jobs or have their projects changed quickly and easily without having to attend a depot or central location. Having a consistent user interface and user experience in place also makes it easier for councils to move staff quickly from one service area to another where the need for regular staff to take time off for illness or selfisolation dictates. Connectivity is also key in a lockdown scenario of course. It is easy for back office teams to assign work and for engineers and inspection teams to log when they have completed it. If systems have an open application programming interface (API), it is easy for them to connect with other systems and through such an approach make key information publicly available and keep citizens informed.

As we look to the future, there is a growing difference here among councils between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Those that have online capability and mobile systems, and technology that provides the ability to communicate and collaborate, have been able to be much more agile and adjust quickly to the new normal. Moving forwards, more and more councils will come to the realisation that in order to deal more effectively with the next crises, they will need to have the latest connected digital technologies in place. L

Steve White is head of Transformation Accounts, Yotta. FURTHER INFORMATION weareyotta.com

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Safeguard your revenues & payments! SmarterPay Cloud provides a secure and easy-to-use service which allows you to submit Direct Debit and/or Direct Credit files to Bacs. Used by many local councils across the UK, it’s perfect for cost effective council tax collections, purchase ledger payments and payroll. “SmarterPay Cloud is probably the best decision I have made in the last 10 years.” - John Norris, Torbay Council

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BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT | www.governmentbusiness.co.uk


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Since 2013, ICT Revolutions has been the market leader for case management system implementation services across Social Care, Finance, Early Years and Education. Our services include programme leadership for full system implementations, technical services such as data migration and configuration & support services such as training, business process redesign and performance management. Alongside our case management system implementation services, we have also developed eLearning, data migration, data archiving and performance management software solutions. In addition, we provide full system health checks and reviews to enable Local Authorities to fully utilise existing case management systems as well as short term consultancy support for Local Authorities who are implementing their own new case management systems. We are proud to have used all our combined social work and local government experience to work with over 25 Local Authorities to help them implement their new systems and help them get the best out of their existing systems. Our knowledge is your knowledge, and we would love to talk to you about how we can help. VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS AT WWW.ICTREVOLUTIONS.COM OR CONTACT JON GOLDIE ON 07762 630 363

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FIRE & SECURITY SYSTEMS

Security and fire systems for all types of premises

ADVERTISERS INDEX The publishers accept no responsibility for errors or omissions in this free service ACMS UK

Alexatech Integrated Systems Ltd has bespoke expert design knowledge bringing together many years of experience providing its clients all their requirements, from design through to project management for any proposed scheme for fire alarms and security systems. Alexatech also provides preventive maintenance. Alexatech’s service and maintenance department consist of a dedicated technically highly trained team of engineers who specialise in finding solutions for all our customers’ urgent and ongoing needs. Alexatech supplies the latest technologies in all its fields of experience, creating state of the art life safety systems through to fully integrated security systems. Alexatech can offer the supply, installation and commissioning of a wide range of commercial grade systems giving it flexibility to meet each client’s requirements, whether

on a building site for a new build, or within a busy occupied working environment. Alexatech has previous experience of working within the education sector. Alexatech’s team is fully capable and work within all the health and safety requirements needed to work in a safe manner, looking after themselves and others. Alextech’s installation works are carried out in accordance to all the relevant regulations and standards required, ensuring all legal requirements are met and fulfilled.

FURTHER INFORMATION www.alexatech.co.uk info@alexatech.co.uk Tel: 0800 228 9007

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Affinitext (UK)

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Big Dug

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Civiq 54 CLS Energy (Consultancy)

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Dupree Creative

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Emerald Works

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Fujitsu 38 Glasdon UK

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IP Office

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HIGHWAYS

New easy to install Cycle Lane Separator bollards Leafield Highways has launched a brand-new Cycle Lane Separator (CLS) bollard range that is easy to install, durable and maintenance free. The range has been designed and manufactured in-house in Wiltshire for a highly visible separation between cycle lanes and traffic lanes. There are three different styles available: CLS Bollard; CLS Modular Island; and CLS DB Island. The CLS bollard features a reflex material base combined with a rigid MDPE post, ensuring the bollard will withstand multiple impacts and will return upright without any damage and replacement costs. The two RA2 (high intensity) reflective bands are recessed to further reduce the potential damage with vehicle impacts. Available in a wide choice of colours and multiple heights. Fixing options available in shield, asphalt and concrete anchors. The CLS Modular Traffic calming island featues a flexible polymer post allowing the bollard to withstand multiple impacts and return upright

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into the modular traffic calming island base system. The two recessed areas for 360-degree RA2 (high intensity) reflective bands will also reduce vehicle impacts. Available in various colours, heights and lengths. The CLS DB Island features a vulcanised rubber ‘DB’ base, a flexible polymer post ensuring the bollard, with two visible reflective RA2 (high intensity) bands, will withstand vehicle impacts. Available in two heights and lengths. The reflector material for the CLS bollard range has been purchased and manufactured in accordance with the CE marketing standard. Cities, including Bristol, Liverpool, St Helens, Ealing, North Tyneside, Bradford and Birmingham, currently have Leafield’s new CLS Bollard range.

FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01225 816522 highways@leafieldenv.com www.leafieldhighway.com

Miracle Technologies

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Ogel IT

IFC

Our People

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Qualtrics 65 Re-flow 59 Redact Technologies

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Resonate UCC

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Safety Technology

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Smarter Pay

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TeamEngine Software

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Tech Amigos

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Trak 365

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BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT | www.governmentbusiness.co.uk

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Government Business 28.2  

Business Information for Local and Central Government

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Business Information for Local and Central Government

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