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ISSUE 28.3

Business Information for Local and Central Government ELECTION 2021

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CITY MAYORS? What should the eight newly elected metro mayors focus on to help their cities build back better?

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


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ISSUE 28.3

Business Information for Local and Central Government ELECTION 2021

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CITY MAYORS? What should the eight newly elected metro mayors focus on to help their cities build back better?

COP26 and maintaining Net Zero urgency There was news this week that ten trees for every person in Glasgow City Region will be planted as part of a new urban ‘forest’.

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

As the city prepares to host COP26 in November, the pledge equates to approximately 18 million trees being planted over the next decade, increasing woodland cover in the region from 17 per cent to 20 per cent. The pledge is being viewed as an ideal opportunity for Glasgow City Region to demonstrate its commitment to reaching Net Zero.

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

Poor internet connection

Scanning issues resulting in processing errors

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It is refreshing to see that the urgency and eagerness to continue the progress made on lowering emissions and creating sustainable cities and communities has not dampened as restrictions have eased.

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

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Recent research from Global Action Plan found that two-thirds of young people are worried about how air pollution will affect their health, while a group of metro mayors and council leaders, part of UK100, have stressed that the UK will struggle to reach its climate change targets unless more power and money is put into local hands. It is important that this stays on the agenda, which is why the online NetZero GOVERNMENT event on 17 June will be key in highlighting the need to neutralise public sector emissions by 2030 and those of residents and businesses by 2045. Find out more here Michael Lyons, editor

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Contents Government Business 28.3 07 News


Plans to plant ten trees for every person in Glasgow City Region; eight in 10 councils forced to overspend on children’s care; and teams must consider wider benefits of public spending

12 GB Q&A


48 Smart cities

15 City Regions

What should the eight newly elected metro mayors focus on to help their cities build back better? Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, explores

A mix of regulation, economic incentives and engagement with the investment community are needed to facilitate a fairer future green economy, writes Jeffrey Matsu, CIPFA’s Chief Economist

18 Finance

55 Frameworks DOS5

51 Finance

At the start of the year it was revealed that 3,340 suppliers had been awarded places on the latest iteration of the agreement for digital specialists

22 Net Zero

The Crown Commercial Service has decided to extend G-Cloud 12 for 12 months from its original end date of 27 September 2021 to 27 September 2022

This year has seen fire safety law and proposals take a back seat to the coronavirus pandemic response, but there has still been much to digest in and outside of Whitehall

30 Play

Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries, looks at the increasing importance of playgrounds in connecting communities and creating active environments for children as they return to a more familiar school/home balance

32 Mental health

Will business as usual dominate the workplace agenda once more as restrictions ease? Adrian Wakeling, Senior Policy Adviser at Acas, discusses

34 Safety & Health Expo


The path to clean city air: Can smart cities help contribute to a better, cleaner environment? Sascha Giese explores

One of the challenges faced by local authorities is the short-term nature of grant funding. Joanne Pitt, CIPFA’s policy lead for local government, provides an assessment of the local government grant landscape

25 Fire safety


Mat Clothier explores the key risks end-oflife deadlines pose to local authorities and how they can best protect their systems by preparing for deadlines and starting migration as early as possible

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

The NetZero GOVERNMENT online event, taking place on 17 June, aims to bring together key experts that are helping drive forward the public sector strategy


45 Technology

59 Frameworks G-Cloud

63 Frameworks AV

UK government and public sector bodies can use these services to transform their rooms into spaces which make the best use of AV services

67 Frameworks Software

The Crown Commercial Service recently announced the launch of two new framework agreements for Back Office Software and Software Design and Implementation Services

71 Frameworks Logistics

The Logistics and Warehousing framework agreement, RM6074, is the first ever logistics and warehousing commercial agreement available in the marketplace created specifically for central government and wider public sector organisations

75 Frameworks Occupational Health

Taking place online from 1-30 June, Safety & Health Expo can help you fulfil your goals by connecting you to the entire health and safety profession

The RM6182 framework agreement provides access to proactive and preventative services as well as treatments to support employee physical and mental health and well-being

37 Drones

79 Frameworks Vouchers

Government Business shares the views of Aleks Kowalski on drone infrastructure planning, investing in UAV technology and using drones to save the public sector money and help it operate more efficiently

41 Cyber security

Many of the most significant cyber security challenges are surmountable with a layered security strategy, the correct tools, and the appropriate cloud partners, writes Mark Scott

Government Business magazine

A brand new framework is now available to help customers quickly and efficiently set-up voucher schemes to support citizens - particularly in times of need

87 Frameworks LVPS

Low cost, low value and uncomplicated common goods and services including from small and medium-sized enterprises and voluntary, community and social enterprise suppliers

www.governmentbusiness.co.uk Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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Plans to plant ten trees for every person in Glasgow City Region

As the city prepares to host COP26 in November, it has been revealed that ten trees for every person in Glasgow City Region will be planted as part of a new urban ‘forest’ to tackle climate change.

The ambitious planting pledge lies at the heart of the new Clyde Climate Forest, which is part of the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network, and will breathe new life across the eight local authorities in the region.

Approximately 18 million trees will be planted over the next decade, increasing woodland cover in the region from 17 per cent to 20 per cent. The pledge is being viewed as an ideal opportunity for Glasgow City Region to demonstrate its commitment to reaching Net Zero. Working to the principle of ‘the right tree in the right place’, the project team aims to plant trees in areas of deprivation, former coalmining sites, vacant and derelict land, urban streets and other civic places.   As part of the long-term plans, the project team at Clyde Climate Forest is calling on community groups and land managers to help them identify places to plant new trees, or replace ones that have been lost in the past. READ MORE


‘Retrofit revolution’ to tackle climate emergency in London Sadiq Khan has declared a ‘retrofit revolution’ in London, announcing a new package of measures that will make buildings more energy efficient and tackle the climate emergency. Led by the Mayor of London and London Councils, the ambitious new plans will boost London’s Green New Deal mission and sustain and create new green jobs in the capital.   London has the third highest level of fuel poverty in the country, with Barking and Dagenham having the highest of any local authority in England.

London’s homes and workplaces are responsible for 78 per cent of the capital’s carbon emissions, with City Hall acknowledging that virtually all will need some level of retrofitting over this decade. The capital’s social housing urgently needs upgrading to be as energy efficient as possible. The new Innovation Partnership will make it easier for social landlords and UK building firms to work together to upgrade ageing homes in the capital. The scheme will link up housing providers and builders through all stages of home retrofitting, from planning

through to large-scale delivery. This will dramatically increase the pace of projects that upgrade cold, damp housing stock to homes fit for the future. The partnership has the potential value of £10 billion in retrofit works, which would create around 150,000 jobs over the decade. The Innovation Partnership is open to social housing providers across the UK, with at least £5 billion estimated that could be spent in London. READ MORE


Ten councils to test the use of digital tools in planning process Housing Minister Chris Pincher has announced a £1.1 million fund to test the use of digital tools and data standards across 10 local areas. The planning white paper ‘Planning for the future’, published in August 2020, proposed reforms to the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process.   The pathfinder programme will look at the digital transformation of local plans which will increase community involvement and speed up the planning process. By introducing a digital system that makes plans map-based and accessible online, local people will be able to engage with planning in their local area, which will help get homes built quicker.   Councils will test how existing local plans translate into the new system, including moving away from long text documents

to an interactive map with accompanying annotation document, and the adaptation of existing site allocation policies into the proposed land categorisation format. This will enable planners to understand the impact of proposed land designations and associated

policy implications on land allocations and inform a wide range of policies across the reform programme. READ MORE







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Eight in 10 councils forced to overspend on children’s care

The Local Government Association has revealed that more than eight in 10 councils in England responsible for children’s social care overspent in the year to 2019/20.

Soaring demand to help safeguard children and funding pressures meant councils in England had to overspend on children’s social care budgets by £832 million last year, despite councils increasing their budgets by £535 million that year and by £1.1 billion in the past two years. Additionally, the number of Section 47 enquiries, carried out when councils have reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering, or at risk of, significant harm has increased in the past decade from 89,300 in 2010 to 201,000 in 2020 - a rise of 125 per cent. The number of children in care in England has increased from 64,470 in 2010 to 80,080 in 2020 – a 24 per cent rise.

Council leaders say that the government must prioritise a child-centred recovery plan and play a leading role in the governmentcommissioned independent review of the care system, alongside children, families, and partners. The LGA said this must include a long-term sustainable funding solution so councils can protect children at risk of harm. Councils are also urging government to reinstate the £1.7 billion removed from the Early Intervention Grant since 2010 to help prevent problems escalating in the first place. READ MORE


Manufacturers’ price expectations climb to four-year high The British Chambers of Commerce has announced that rising number of firms expecting their prices to increase significantly in the coming months. The figures also document growing concern among businesses over rising inflation. The data, drawn from responses from more than 5,800 firms, shows that 38 per cent of businesses in Q1 2021 expect to see their prices increase in the next three months, an increase from 25 per cent in the previous quarter. In contrast, only five per cent of firms are expecting a decrease. The figures also demonstrate that nearly one in three businesses cite inflation as a cause of concern in the coming months, up from one in four in the previous quarter. The balance of manufacturing firms expecting the price of their goods to increase

over the next three months rose sharply to +46 per cent, from +27 per cent in the previous quarter and is now at its highest level since Q4 2017, a time when the post-EU referendum devaluation of sterling pushed UK consumer price inflation to three per cent. In the services sector, the balance of firms expecting prices to increase over the next three months rose to +27 per cent, from +15 per cent and is now at its highest level since Q1 2020. Within services, retail and wholesaling firms were most likely to expect price increases (56 per cent) in the next three months with raw material costs as a key pressure. This was followed by transport and distribution firms on 48 per cent. Nearly half of hotel and catering sector businesses are expecting price increases in

the next three months, as Covid restrictions ease. In contrast, professional and consumer services firms were least likely to expect an increase in prices (both 26 per cent). READ MORE


Green space not equally accessible to all The latest Green Space Index has found that 2.78 million people live further than a ten-minute walk from their nearest park or green space. Launched by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and published by Fields in Trust,

the Green Space Index reveals that, despite their vital role in the nation’s well-being during lockdown, our much loved local parks are not equally accessible to all. First launched in 2019, this third release once again highlights the inequities in

provision across Britain. Despite their value for health, well-being, community and environment, some parts of Britain have access to half the green space as others Scots enjoy 38.18 sqm of provision per person whilst for residents in London the figure falls to just 19.53 sqm. Fields in Trust also found that seven of the nine English regions do not meet a minimum standard of green space provision as measured by the GSI Score, and whilst both Scotland and Wales do meet this minimum standard their scores have both fallen over the last twelve months. Areas with the least provision tend to be those with a higher incidence of deprivation - precisely the communities who benefit most from green space access. READ MORE



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Teams must consider wider benefits of public spending

Contact tracing in Wales extended until March 2022 The Welsh Government has announced that the Test, Trace, Protect service, which has helped to reduce the spread of coronavirus, will be extended to next year, with a further injection of funding. The latest figures show that almost a year after Test, Trace, Protect was launched in Wales, contact tracers have reached 99.7 per cent of the positive cases that were eligible for follow up. Now, the government has said that a further £32 million will be invested to extend contact tracing to March 2022.   Contact tracers and advisers working for the TTP service are now undertaking enhanced contact tracing to tackle variants of concern. They also manage and provide assurance to almost 18,000 travellers from amber list countries who must quarantine and take tests and take vaccination programme calls from the public, arrange bookings and follow up on those who do not attend.

New guidance for public bodies stresses that job creation, investment in skills and opportunities for local growth should be taken into account when awarding public contracts. The new guidance - issued to officials in central government as well as those at other public organisations such as local authorities, NHS trusts and police forces - makes it clear that the wider benefits of spending public money should be factored into the procurement process.

Procurement teams have been told that they must not simply award contracts to the lowest bidder – especially when wider economic benefits can be proved. The guidance also sets out how organisations should ensure they have the right organisational capacity, skills and capability to manage efficient procurements and how transparency should always be a key element of public procurement.



Councils start banning smoking outside pubs and restaurants

Search for next UK City of Culture launched

Five local authorities have banned smoking in pavement pubs, cafes and restaurants, with reports suggesting that others are considering following suit. Last summer there was an attempt to push through an amendment to legislation in the House of Lords to make pavements smoke-free, but it failed. However, there is no doubting that the outdoor eating culture brought about by coronavirus restrictions has given the issue of smokers outside pubs and cafes a new visibility.  Now, Northumberland county council, Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle, and the City of Manchester have all banned smoking on stretches of the pavement where bars, restaurants and cafes are licensed to put out tables. Additionally, although it does not have a policy, all the licences granted by Gateshead also stipulate that pavement cafes must be smoke-free.  According to reports, Oxfordshire is also planning to ban smoking from outdoor restaurants as part of a major strategy that aims to make the county smoke-free by 2025, which is five years ahead of the government’s plan for England as a whole.  The latest tobacco control plan is set to be revealed by the government on 9 June. READ MORE


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has launched the competition to find the UK’s next City of Culture, who will take on the baton from 2021 City of Culture Coventry. The competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in collaboration with the devolved administrations, will use culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the pandemic. For the first time, groups of towns will now be able to join together and apply for the title to be awarded to their local area - widening the scope of which areas of the country could benefit. DCMS says that towns and cities will need to articulate a strong and unique vision for their future growth, celebrating local heritage and using culture to bring communities together, build a sense of place and inspire local pride.




Bidders will also be asked to demonstrate how investment in culture and creativity will drive growth, how they will open up access to culture and to develop partnerships and celebrate links with places across the UK. Dowden said: “UK City of Culture is a fantastic showcase of the huge impact culture has in towns and cities across the country. From Derry-Londonderry, to Hull and Coventry, previous winners have shown how the competition can deliver greater cultural participation, drive economic regeneration and boost local pride. I encourage towns and cities across the UK to put forward bids for 2025 and champion their local arts and culture scene. I’m also delighted to confirm the competition will run in future years, as a sign of our commitment to levelling up culture across the whole of the UK.” READ MORE




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-ofthe-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 net-zero 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.

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? 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.

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 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?

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 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. 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: 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?

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



City Regions

What are the next steps for the UK’s city regions? What should the eight newly elected metro mayors focus on to help their cities build back better? Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, explores Earlier this month people living in eight – and more challenging – in the past year. Of of England’s largest city regions – Greater the places that we calculate have been hit London, Greater Manchester, West hardest economically by the pandemic, three Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, of the top five went to the polls this month: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West of Birmingham, Liverpool and Bradford (part of England and West Yorkshire – went to the West Yorkshire). polls to elect their next metro mayors. In the past year millions have lost their jobs; As you might expect, political high street spending has drained away; and commentators were preoccupied with what many businesses face an uncertain future. the results mean for our national political However, it would be a mistake to attribute realignment, but the results of these elections these challenges purely to the were important on their own terms. The pandemic; even before eight newly elected metro mayors Covid-19 hit many are responsible for skills, housing, city regions were The me transport and local economic grappling with mayors tro policies for about 40 per cent serious structural of England’s population. How economic suppor must t they use their powers over problems. The t h e i s r trugglin next three years, and how metro mayors g urban centres effectively they work with still need t h hit hard at have been Whitehall, could make or to address by Cov break the government’s these even restricti id-19 levelling up agenda. after lockdown ons The new metro mayors’ jobs restrictions have become even more important are lifted.

So, what should the eight newly elected metro mayors focus on to help their cities build back better? First, all of them should deliver a comprehensive adult education and skills strategy to support those who are out of work – either because of the pandemic or for longer-term reasons. This is a particular priority in city regions in the North and Midlands such as Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands. The new metro mayors should work with careers services, local employers and education institutes to provide flexible parttime and evening courses and more informal qualifications that businesses and jobseekers actually need. In time, this will reduce unemployment and increase the city regions’ productivity. Second, all of the eight city regions face significant transport challenges. Too many journeys within them are slow, expensive and polluting and the metro mayors need to change this. They all have the powers to E



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ISS welcomes government Green Paper The government recently released their long-awaited Green Paper on transforming public procurement. It marks a significant step forward in the government’s continued efforts to increase the value and efficiency of public service delivery

With the backdrop of Covid and everchanging economic trends, Eddie Fairish, Senior Commercial Director for ISS, shares his thoughts on how the FM industry is adapting and further enhancements that are required in the future. He says: “The market needs to change. Contractual terms and conditions need to be aligned to levels of risk shared – whether it be along the Outsourcing Playbook principles as Policy or in a ‘Vested’ style model.” Those procuring services need to be aware that the uncertainty and subsequent risks beyond the suppliers control simply cannot be passed over without understanding the need to share those specific risks. This pandemic has been a sharp reminder of this maxim. The Green Paper has been welcomed across the industry; however, we need public sector clients to take a more inclusive approach by encouraging engagement from the outset, where a transparent pipeline is essential, allowing everyone to place their resources in the right place. Open dialogue should be encouraged from the outset with aligned bid documents, containing accurate information and clearly laid out aims and objectives helping to streamline the bidding process and allow for direct comparisons to be made – judging apples with apples.

flexibility whilst keeping stay safe and delivering assurity has become key. The Government Outsourcing Playbook, now in its second edition, has developed into a strong tool helping to align contractual terms, giving authorities the confidence to move away from long held concepts, that are now outdated, however, the principles of the playbook really need to be adopted across the wider government community contracts. Ideally, all public sector bodies should follow the Playbook as Policy with standard agreed terms and conditions, allowing both parties to work collaboratively whilst reflecting a modern service delivery. This will allow the focus to remain on delivering outstanding service rather than continual contractual commercial discussions. Business Post-Covid The return to the ‘new normal’ remains unclear with high levels of uncertainty surrounding building occupation levels, client’s property strategies, future pay rates and inflation, etc. – all of which currently fall outside of any suppliers control meaning it is important moving forward that contractual terms share these risks and allow for partnership. The Green Paper has a raft of positive changes in how procurement could operate including a swifter, streamlined tender process, however, it is equally important to allow the suppliers an insight into the client’s aspirations, their budget thresholds and to have access to accurate key information and data to help ensure any tenders deliver the best value. Therefore, as mentioned before, transparency with the public sector pipeline is key. Pre-engagement with clients and ongoing

The public sector market has matured It is apparent that within the core public sector services of NHS, central government and local authorities, outsourced contracts have previously been based on delivering input-based specifications. Over the past decade, we have seen the market mature to output based specification with the majority of the commercial risk sitting firmly with the contractor. Covid has really shown both clients and service providers that we need to act differently. Partnership, collaboration and



regular dialogue with senior stakeholders is fundamental to allow suppliers to assess the opportunity, understand if they can deliver the customer requirements, and to ensure a cultural fit. Too often tenders share a lot of detailed documentation, much of which is either out of date or contradictory, which do not align with their client’s overall aspirations. Open dialogue helps reduce these false markers and encourages more long-term strategic planning. As a business, ISS is open to challenge the status quo and offer different contractual models. We are seeing more clients starting to embrace the Vested Model, whose benefits offer improvements in quality and service innovation, increased staff retention and cost saving as well as addressing the needs of today and tomorrow. As businesses bounce back from Covid and seek to return to previous revenue levels, it really is important that the race to the bottom mind-set does not happen again as it will impact quality, service standards and not achieve ‘best value’. Partnership, collaboration, and having aligned risk profiles will allow sustainable solutions. Eddie concludes: “We believe that people make places and places make people. From strategy through to operations, we partner with customers to deliver places that work, think and give. They choose ISS because we create, manage and maintain environments that make life easier, more productive and enjoyable.” L FURTHER INFORMATION www.uk.issworld.com enquiries@uk.issworld.com

For these eight metro mayors, winning the election is just the beginning of their mission – now they need to get on and make their city regions prosperous places to live other big city regions such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Shops, restaurants and pubs in big city centres will continue to struggle while so many people continue to work from home so doing nothing risks further job losses, business failures and the hollowing out of our once vibrant city centres. This should be a big concern to the metro mayors. To address this problem, as soon as it is safe to do so all of the metro mayors should launch campaigns to encourage people to spend time and money in their city centres – Sadiq Khan’s ‘Let’s do London’ campaign is a good early example of this. Before I finish I should mention housing. It is an immediate problem in some city regions – London, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the West of England – and the metro mayors need to get serious about delivering enough housing to meet their needs. New housing needs to be delivered both in the city region’s existing suburbs and satellite towns and in the green belt. This will be

City Regions

 bring local buses under public management through franchising. Andy Burnham has already begun the process in Greater Manchester and in West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin plans to do so soon. The remaining five (not including London where they’re already franchised) should follow their lead. Franchising would allow the metro mayors to set the routes, fares and timetables and deliver a truly integrated and affordable service for passengers. This would make it easier to convince people to swap their cars for public transport and reduce traffic congestion – which constrains economic growth and costs lives. Better buses won’t convince everyone to switch – but they still need to. Which is why the metro mayors should couple improvements to public transport with charges on private vehicles entering city centres. I know this will be controversial, but vehicle charging is a proven way to reduce both traffic congestion and air pollution and it would prove that the metro mayors are intent on doing what is right, not just what is popular. Third, the metro mayors must support their struggling urban centres that have been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions. The latest data from our High Streets Recovery Tracker shows that spending in central London is still just half of what it was pre-pandemic and it’s a similarly grim picture in the centres of

controversial but, as I said before, standing up to the NIMBYs will distinguish the metro mayors who want to do what is right from the ones who just want to do what is popular. Because housing affordability is not yet a pressing problem in most parts of city regions in the North and Midlands, delivering homes does not currently need to need to be a top priority. However, to avoid creating a London-style housing crisis in future the metro mayors in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley and West Yorkshire still need to ensure that, as their local economies and populations grow, so does the number of homes being built each year. For these eight metro mayors, winning the election is just the beginning of their mission – now they need to get on and make their city regions prosperous places to live. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.centreforcities.org




Assessing grants to local government One of the challenges faced by local authorities is the short-term nature of grant funding. Joanne Pitt, CIPFA’s policy lead for local government, provides an assessment of the local government grant landscape While local government can raise over £31 billion through council tax and another £26 billion through business rates, the sums received in the form of grants from central government are also important. In 2019/20, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) paid out nearly £14 billion in grants to local authorities. Grants to local government can be used for several purposes, such as supporting government policy, encouraging certain outcomes and behaviours and, as seen in 2020/21 during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing financial subsidy. The reliance on grant income varies across the tiers of authority. Prior to Covid-19, this was a risk, as there was exposure to arbitrary government grant reductions. However, during the pandemic, all organisations have been recipients of substantial grants, with other forms of income more insecure. For local authorities, the release of the local government finance settlement is a key date in the financial calendar. The local government finance settlement is the annual determination of funding to local government and is approved by the House of Commons. Settlement funding broadly represents the amount of money allocated to local authorities from central government. It includes the Revenue Support Grant, redistributed business rates and some specific grants, but it does not include grants that are passed straight through to recipients, such as the Dedicated Schools Grant. In England, the Revenue Support Grant for 2021/22 is £1.62 billion. One of the challenges faced by local authorities is the short-term nature of grant funding. The 2021/22 local government finance settlement is a one-year settlement based on decisions in the November 2020 spending review. This influences the medium-term financial plans of councils who are unable to rely on funding streams beyond the 12-month allocation period. The CIPFA Financial Management Code argues that short-termism runs counter to sound financial management, and while the time horizon of the local authority is not determined by the settlement, it is influential and has been linked with a reduction in value for money.


The grant landscape The grant landscape is extremely complex and local government receives grants from several departments. In 2019/20, data shows that 12 departments were responsible for providing funding to local authorities. The largest funders were the Department for Education (DfE) and MHCLG. There is a concern within the local government sector that the allocation of grants is not always well coordinated across Whitehall and that the relationship between local government and departments could be improved. While there is a close relationship with MHCLG and regular dialogue on policy direction, this is less evident in other departments. This leads to additional pressure and can result in a lack of clarity around policy direction. There are two main methods of allocation of government grants:

Formula grants: this method uses factors such as population, demographics and deprivation to determine the sums allocated. General grants: this method does not use a formula but allows the government to allocate funds for specific policy objectives. General grants follow one of three routes: Competed: where local authorities are invited to bid for funds and awards are made on the outcome of the application. Uncompeted: where a grant is awarded to a single organisation without a bidding process. Criteria: where the recipient of the grant meets a specific qualifying criterion - for example, grants to assist those affected by floods. While formula funding is still the most common allocation method, 18 per cent of funds are now allocated via general grants. Competed funds Competitive bidding between councils for funds began in the 1990s, but it was


not until 2011 that it became a more generally accepted method of allocation. In his 2012 report on economic growth, No stone left unturned, Michael Heseltine, eminent businessman and former politician, argued that competitive bidding drives up the quality of projects. However, some organisations find there is another side to this argument. This reflects a view that bidding can be an expensive process and may result in authorities being excluded because of resources or experience. Additionally, the winners may not be those in greatest need. The recent National Audit Office report on financial sustainability noted: “The more recent funding landscape has come to be characterised by oneoff and short-term funding initiatives, which can undermine strategic planning and create risks to value for money.”

The Towns Fund The Towns Fund, with funding of £3.6 billion, was announced in July 2019 and comprises three separate strands: The Future High Streets Fund, The Towns Fund, and Town deals: This fund has shone a light on the complexity of grant allocation involving not only bidding but also criteria-based assessment. The criteria have been subject to a NAO report. Moreover, there has been a public debate around the allocation of funds and the extent of ministerial influence, as in terms of parliamentary constituencies, 57 of the 101 successful towns were in Conservative constituencies and 44 were in Labour constituencies.

priming for projects or schemes due to the lack of longer-term financial certainty. Any project where there is an ongoing financial commitment will be particularly vulnerable. While the allocation of grants through a formula is not perfect, it does not require resource-intensive bidding. Allocation by bids requires considerable capacity and favours councils with the skills and resources for this approach. It also may not necessarily result in the funding being allocated where it is most needed. To ensure fairness, support must be provided to those with less experience. In a bidding process, there will be those who are unsuccessful, resulting in considerable costs for those organisations. For the Garden Villages Fund in 2019, councils and groups from around the country submitted more than 100 proposals, with five taken forward and added to the existing projects.

Unringfenced grants provide councils with the greatest local financial flexibility, and these also require less monitoring. While it’s possible that local and central government policy objectives may not align as closely, this form of funding supports a more localist approach. Additional monitoring requirements, while providing assurance, must strike the right balance when considering additional burdens.


The report went on to reflect that it was not only the application process that was resource intensive, but this also extended to the reporting and monitoring arrangements after the grant had been awarded. While bidding will require additional resources, many councils will have a policy to maximise external funding opportunities to meet corporate objectives. Councils attract external funding to enhance the quality of service provision for the local community. This would include the need to engage in bidding for grants, especially where the council can play an enabling role, allowing for closer working with key stakeholders and partners.

The content from this article was taken from a wider CIPFA report titled Local government grants: How effectively do they support communities?. The report is sponsored by Capita and the section of the grant landscape was written by Joanne Pitt, CIPFA’s policy lead for local government. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.cipfa.org

Impact on local government The short-term nature of some grants presents councils with a challenge when it comes to long-term, strategic planning. These funds are often used as pump



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.

Twice2much illustrate what a ‘10’ day COVID-19 ‘HealthCheck’ might look like 1 - Data (3 days)

4 - Supplier Analysis (2 days) Comparison of supplier spend/activity (pre/during COVID-19)

Assisting clients with data acquisition

Highlighting COVID-19 period – new suppliers

Data preparation/analysis for review

Data validation

Trend analysis

2 - Review (4 days) Multiple algorithms used to identify potential overpayments

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

Days used: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Twice2much Limited I twice2much.com I 0344 225 2090

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Background and challenges faced As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have had to rapidly implement changes to their normal invoice processing/payments to Suppliers. Common challenges have included working from home and in some instances working from home whilst home schooling, poor internet connection, issues with invoice scanning and resource issues due to sickness and furlough. COVID-19 created a unique situation that required the UK Public Sector to rapidly source goods and services, sometimes in high volumes and from previously unused Suppliers. Additional pressures were also brought about by unfamiliar home working restrictions and in many cases there was a requirement across the Public Sector to support financially struggling supply chains. In particular at the beginning of the pandemic there was huge urgency to procure goods and services i.e. PPE to protect staff. This expenditure was obviously never subject to normal budgetary controls and as a result represented an increased risk of overpayments and fraud occurring. Along with the race to procure urgent supplies often came the need for payment upfront, predominantly via credit cards or in the form of pro forma invoices, both creating additional financial control challenges. Impact and pressure of resources Every organisation will be different in how the pandemic has impacted on them financially, the challenge is to identify any issues suffered and to quantify the impact of those issues.

All organisations without doubt are going to be under significant resource pressure both now and for some time to come. The use of resources, both internal and external, to identify and address these issues must therefore be appropriate and effective. Crown Commercial Services solution Due to the increased risk of fraud and error during the COVID-19 pandemic period, Crown Commercial Services established a variation to the existing Spend Analysis and Recovery Services Framework (RM3820). This variation provides a mechanism for organisations to procure an audit of their invoices and transactions (COVID-19 related spend) to identify instances of suspected fraudulent activity or erroneous payments to Suppliers. Benefits to organisations from the variation to the Framework are expected to be: • A shorter procurement process and legally compliant route to market through the framework agreement. • A cap to potential supplier costs, due to the limited duration of the COVID-19 review. • A professional review of COVID-19 invoices and transactions from audit professionals to identify potential fraudulent activity.

As an approved Supplier on the Framework, Twice2much have established a ‘10 day COVID-19 Health Check’ to help organisations address the increased financial risks arising during the pandemic. www.twice2much.com

Written by Andrew Cushion, Managing Director of Twice2much

Addressing the increased financial risk from the global COVID-19 pandemic

Net Zero

Innovation in public sector sustainability The NetZero GOVERNMENT online event, taking place on 17 June, aims to bring together key experts that are helping drive forward the public sector strategy In June 2019, the government passed target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent legislation committing it to achieving ‘net by 2050. Reaching NetZero means all parts zero’ greenhouse gas emissions of the economy, including those by 2050. This means reducing that are harder to decarbonise, emissions substantially need to reduce emissions from current levels, with substantially. In some the greenhouse gases sectors, there are wellN etZero the UK still emits in understood pathways GOVER 2050 being equal to to NetZero but there N M E NT will be or less than what is uncertainty in other using o delivered is removed from sectors over how to ur inno the atmosphere by reduce emissions. This vative, online p either the natural is because it is not yet l a t webeve form, environment or carbon known how quickly nts365 capture technologies. some technologies will Aiming for NetZero develop or how much represents an increase in individuals will be willing to the level of ambition from change their behaviours. Certain government’s previous emissions areas have been identified as key reduction target and achieving it is a to having a significant impact, across the colossal challenge and significantly more public sector estate, such as building and challenging than government’s previous energy, transport and waste and recycling.



NetZero GOVERNMENT NetZero GOVERNMENT aims to bring together key experts that are helping drive forward the public sector strategy and we are calling for those responsible for facilities and estates, waste and recycling, corporate social responsibility, transport and travel plans, energy and environment to join us, online, on 17 June. NetZero GOVERNMENT will be delivered using our innovative, online platform, webevents365. Cutting out the need for travel, to a venue, puts a marker down as to how we plan on helping the UK public sector deliver on its NetZero strategy. The platform has a live chat function, allowing you to network with your peers. You can post questions for the experts, in the Q&A element, and help shape the strategy, moving forward, by casting your vote in the live polls. There will also be downloads available, at the click of a mouse.

Aiming for NetZero represents an increase in the level of ambition from government’s previous emissions reduction target and achieving it is a colossal challenge and significantly more challenging than government’s previous target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 Renewable Energy Association, will then provide a case study examining the transition to renewable energy, before the NHS focus is delivered by Stephen Lowndes, Technical Director at The Carbon & Energy Fund, in his presentation on how to enhance NHS Net Zero. Sessions three and four will look at waste and recycling, and then sustainable transport. Firstly, Katherine Armitage, Operations Director at Keep Britain Tidy, will provide waste insights for local government,

Net Zero

Agenda The 17 June event is being hosted by Yumann Siddiq, a Policy Executive at Energy UK where she leads the Young Energy Professionals Forum’s Secretariat. Passionate about the environment and sustainability, her work in the Forum focuses on energising young professionals on key topics surrounding net zero. The organisation recognises the key role of the younger generation in implementing the final details of our climate targets as we approach 2050. Yumann also works on the Energy Switch Guarantee, liaising with energy suppliers and stakeholders on consumer engagement and switching behaviour. Providing the first presentations, Jason Torrance, Policy Director at UK100, will tackle the issue of Communicating Climate Change. UK100 is the only network for UK locally elected leaders who have pledged to play their part in the global effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change by switching to 100 per cent clean energy by 2050. The organisation’s Net Zero Local Leadership Club is working to get their communities to Net Zero as soon as possible, and by 2045 at the latest. Jason’s session will be followed by a focus on driving a net zero NHS, led by Nick Macdonald Smith, Principal Energy and Environment Programme Manager at NHS Properties, before both speakers take part in the event’s first interactive Q&A. The second session will focus on Buildings & Energy, with Solar Energy UK’s Chris Hewett presenting on the local opportunities for solar on decarbonising power, heat and transport, looking both at the 2030 target and the years following. Mark Bramah, Climate Change & Sustainability Project Manager at the

before the Energy Saving Trust’s Tim Anderson examines how EVs & ULEVs can move people and goods in a smarter, cleaner way. Tim is leading the work to address the climate emergency and poor air quality through delivering EST’s government funded programmes and commercial projects in the sustainable transport sector. L FURTHER INFORMATION https://netzerogov.co.uk



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Fire safety

2021 and changes in fire safety legislation This year has seen fire safety law and proposals take a back seat to the coronavirus pandemic response, but there has still been much to digest in and outside of Whitehall Back in February, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick unveiled a five-point plan which he said would provide reassurance to homeowners and bring confidence to the housing market with regards to protecting leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes. Pointing to an unprecedented £5 billion investment in building safety, including £3.5 billion announced in February, Jenrick confirmed to the House of Commons that the government would fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres (six storeys) and over in England. The decision would see funding targeted at the highest risk buildings in line with longstanding independent expert advice and evidence, with Home Office analysis of fire and rescue service statistics showing buildings between 18 and 30 metres are four times as likely to suffer a fire

reassurance and security to leaseholders, with fatalities or serious casualties than and confidence for mortgage providers that apartment buildings in general. where cladding removal is needed, properties However, not to be excluded, lower-rise will be worth lending against. buildings, deemed to be of a lower Fast forward to the end of risk to safety, would gain new April and legislation to make protection from the costs Building s it clear who is responsible of cladding removal betwee n for fire safety in tower with a generous new 1 8 a nd 30 m blocks was on the scheme offered to four tim etres are verge of becoming law buildings between 11 e s as like suffer a after MPs voted to and 18 metres. This ly to fire with defeat an amendment, will pay for cladding f a or serio modifying a previous removal – where it is us casu talities alties law to clarify that needed – through a than ap art building owners must long-term, low interest, building ment manage and reduce government-backed s in the risk of fire in their financing arrangement. general properties. The Fire Safety Financially, the Bill has gone through many announcement meant that rounds of votes as the House of no leaseholder would have to Lords tried to ensure residents would not pay more than £50 a month towards have to pay for required safety upgrades. E the removal of unsafe cladding, providing



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A key duty of the Responsible Person is to mitigate the risk and impact of False Alarms. Over the past 10 years, the Emergency Services in England have responded to an average of 584,500* Fire Alarms each year. 53.4 per cent of these calls were due to False Alarms. (*BRE Report BC2982) This not only diverts essential services from true emergencies but can also significantly impact the running of the working environment, interrupting business and care while eroding your confidence in the value and reliability of your fire detection system. Working in partnership with leading manufacturers, BBC has access to technology which, when combined with our extensive design experience, enhances the sensitivity and accuracy of your fire detection solution, resulting in a significant reduction in false alarms. Established in 1979, BBC has grown to become the most trusted and respected active fire safety service provider in the UK. We provide a Turnkey Service from design, supply and commissioning through to ongoing maintenance and monitoring of; fire detection

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Fire safety

There have been warnings that the recent fire safety legislation could mean that thousands of leaseholders will face large bills to pay for safety improvements, including fire breaks, new balconies, safer doors and sprinkler systems  There were, however, warnings that the legislation could mean that thousands of leaseholders will face large bills to pay for safety improvements, including fire breaks, new balconies, safer doors and sprinkler systems. MPs calculated that the total bill could reach £15 billion, but, as was the case in February, the government only pledged £5 billion to fund cladding repairs on buildings over 18 metres tall.

Fire safety regulations The Home Office has said recently that building owners could face unlimited fines following new measures to strengthen fire safety. As part of the government’s work to ensure people are safe in their homes, new limitless fines will be handed out to anyone caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector as well as to those who breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order.

The measures amended the Fire Safety Order and include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout the lifetime of a building. As well as improve the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them, the measures were also designed to improve cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are, and strengthen enforcement action, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines. As part of the announcement, the Home Office also said that £10 million would be made available for Fire and Rescue Authorities across England, on top of the £6 million already announced in the Fire Covid19 Contingency Fund. The investment was intended to help with additional tasks related to managing the pandemic – such as E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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For the last 18months we have been on a mission to help. We take the hassle away by cleaning and connecting information once and share it using our innovative Supplier Data Warehouse and Collaboration platform - improving consistency, transparency, and usability for everyone - leaving you and your staff to focus on what you do best. And, if data and information is easy to access – more people use it productively to deliver better outcomes for your communities. So, for nearly 100 organisations we draw together information from multiple reference sources, supplier, and payment data, published contract information, reports and analysis and make them accessible to everyone in the public sector – that’s over £500 billion of payments to over a million providers. But it doesn’t stop there. Our platform is app. based so we design functionality around your needs, whether you’re tracking supplier Social Value initiatives or collaborating within your own organisation or working with others perhaps your CCG, NHS or neighbouring


local authorities that share the same challenges, suppliers, and markets - we make it easy. And we recognise that you may not have the dedicated capability you need so we can provide analytical support, or monitoring reports as a service, working alongside your own teams, avoiding the cost of employing your own resources or the need for expensive consultants. Access to the Orbita Collaborative Analytics platform and our support and training services are available via the G-Cloud 12 marketplace, or go to the website. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.orbitacollaborativeanalytics.com

Grenfell Tower tragedy Action taken as Grenfell Tower Inquiry exposed evidence of potential gaming of the system by some manufacturers. As a result, Jenrick stated in April that residents across England would be better protected as the government began taking the next steps in ensuring that materials used to build the nation’s homes are safe and tested properly. To oversee this, two experts were appointed to lead an independent review of the system for testing construction products. Former government adviser and construction expert Paul Morrell OBE is now the chair of the independent panel, along with legal expert Anneliese Day QC. The review forms part of the government’s ongoing programme of work to reform and strengthen building safety regulation and comes after testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry exposed evidence of testing irregularities and potential gaming of the system by some manufacturers. The government has already announced that a new National Regulator for Construction Products will be established within the Office of Product Safety and Standards and be given powers to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk; and prosecute and fine any company that breaks the rules. On 27 May 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published

New limitless fines will be handed out to anyone caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector as well as to those who breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order independent expert advice that will be considered as part of the process of reaching a decision on the future of Grenfell Tower. The publication ensures that bereaved families, survivors, and residents have the opportunity to examine and comment on the information before a decision is made. As guardian of the site, the government has carried out ongoing works and maintenance to ensure the Tower remains stable and that people can continue to live, study and work nearby. As part of the independent advice, engineers have recommended that the government proceeds carefully to take the Tower down after these safety works have been completed. The government has confirmed that there will be no change to the Tower before the fifth anniversary in June 2022, but is asking for comments on the advice by 31 July. Further appointments Also in April, the Home Office appointed an independent advisor on fire policy - the first role of its kind. Roy Wilsher started his role

Fire safety

 driving ambulances and assisting at testing and vaccination centres.

as Expert Advisor on Fire & Rescue Service Reform on 12 April, employed to provide support to the Home Office’s Fire Strategy and Reform Unit in developing a White Paper on Fire Reform. Having served as the first ever Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, the government outlined hoped that Wilsher will offer valuable operational insight and work with stakeholders on the White Paper on fire reform and will also help the Home Office to respond to findings from an imminent consultation on the White Paper. Roy began his career when he joined the London Fire Brigade as a firefighter in 1981 and rose to the rank of Assistant Commissioner for Community Fire Safety. He later became the Chief Executive for the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Prior to becoming NFCC Chair, Roy was Chief Fire Officer for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, where he represented Fire and Rescue in a range of government and sector forums and was the first line of advice to Ministers during major incidents. L

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Playgrounds are essential in children’s recovery from lockdown Mark Hardy, chair of the Association of Play Industries, looks at the increasing importance of playgrounds in connecting communities and creating active environments for children as they return to a more familiar school/home balance In this extraordinary pandemic, alongside the tragedy of lost lives and livelihoods, there has also been a groundswell of appreciation for those public services we took for granted and a reappraisal of what essential really means. The outdoor, public spaces that we all share such parks and playgrounds, became lifelines in terms of our physical and mental health. When public playgrounds were closed in the first lockdown, it brought their essential status sharply into focus. Because the majority of UK children live in urban areas and one in eight households have no outdoor space, playground closures left millions with nowhere to play. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with no gardens were the most affected and many families were plunged into despair. Children face perpetual lockdown Children were being driven indoors long before Covid-19. The combined effects of the widespread closure of play spaces in recent years and the toxic lure of screens and technology, mean that children were spending increasing amounts of their time indoors, sedentary and alone. The API’s report - A Movement for Movement - showed for the first time a strong link between recreational screen time and children’s inactivity. Children are spending their free hours on screens instead of playing outside. Lockdown has profoundly compounded this effect; children’s education and recreation took place online for months on end and could prove a hard habit to break. A rare opportunity The unique pause that lockdown presented us with also provides a rare opportunity to transform our children’s lives through the power of outdoor play. By re-imagining our public spaces, we can reverse the alarming decline in the number of public play spaces which has quietly been taking place. We must put children at the heart of recovery. Playground closures are nothing short of catastrophic for children’s mental health, fitness, development and overall well-being. If we continue to fail to view communities from the perspective of children there will be more and more closed,


neglected and often dangerous environments where there once stood a precious play space created exclusively with children in mind.

that all children have access to spaces like these for their development and well-being. Providing the spaces is not enough though, urban planning must take into account how children and families will travel to and access these spaces and they need to be engaging and interesting places for children’s play.”

Play is exercise For far too long, play has been overlooked by government. Their initial roadmap out of lockdown took adults’ When Uniting the need for outdoor o u t door pl Movement exercise into account ay disappe Sport England’s new 10but failed to include year vision – Uniting children’s outdoor to goveared due the Movement - has the play. Unlike most r n m r e e striction nt potential to seize the other European the effe s last year, moment and transform nations, they ct on fa Britain’s public spaces ignored the fact m was de for the benefit of the that for children, vastatin ilies g nation’s mental and physical play is exercise. The health. It is vital that we now UK urgently needs a come together as a nation to centrally funded, national ensure that everyone has equal network of sustainable access to the benefits of exercise and public play spaces and for for children this means outdoor play. play to rise to the top of the government’s The strategy’s focus on tackling and agenda: any strategy to improve the mental preventing inequality is particularly and physical health of children which welcome: community playgrounds are fails to prioritise play is doomed to fail. great levellers as open-to-all, freeto-access public spaces in which all Playgrounds are the children can play freely and safely. number one place to play Public playgrounds are the most common 5 Big Issues places for children to play according to a new Sport England’s plan is to focus on 5 Big national survey, the largest study of play in Issues – Recover and reinvent; Connecting Britain. Children on average spend more time communities; Positive experiences for children playing in playgrounds than any other place. and young people; Connecting with health The British Children’s Play Survey was and wellbeing and active environments. conducted with a nationally representative Play has an integral role in this: sample of 1919 adult respondents who had a child aged five-11 years. The survey asked Recover and reinvent – Place children parents in April 2020 to respond about at the heart of recovery by building a normal life before Covid-19 restrictions. sustainable network of public play spaces. Away from home and in the garden, playgrounds are the most popular Connecting Communities – Playgrounds are spaces for outdoor play at least once often the heart of the community, where a week, closely followed by green parents, grandparents, neighbours and spaces, and they are also the third most children from all walks of life go to meet. adventurous place for children’s play. Professor Helen Dodd, the paper’s lead author, said: “We can see that playgrounds and green areas are critical spaces for children’s play, particularly outdoor, adventurous play. It is therefore crucial


Positive experiences for children and young people – Safe, challenging and stimulating play spaces give children the freedom to play, socialise and have fun in a space dedicated to them.


Connecting with health and wellbeing – Active children become active adults, giving them the lifelong joys and benefits of an active life. Active environments – Local and accessible ‘doorstep’ playgrounds make it easier for all children to get active. Play Must Stay When outdoor play (away from the home) disappeared due to government restrictions last year, the effect on families was devastating. But many families were already experiencing something similar. The API’s pre-Covid survey of over 1100 mums and dads via Mumsnet, the UK’s biggest website for parents, revealed just how central playgrounds are to the health and wellbeing of their children and how great the impact is when a playground is lost.

Nine out of 10 parents with children aged between two and 12 who were not close to a playground said that having access would make their child play outside more. Of those with access to a playground, 61 per cent said it does make their child play outside more and over half (53 per cent) of parents said more access to playgrounds would make their child more active. Childhood obesity and mental health The survey also showed that 72 per cent of parents of children with health issues such as obesity said that the lack of outdoor play facilities in their area had played a role in their children’s problems. Over a quarter of parents with children experiencing mental health problems said that the lack of local, outdoor play provision had

played a role in their children’s difficulties as did the 26 per cent of parents with children who have sleep problems. A national crisis There is a national crisis going on all around us. The savings made now in cutting play budgets are a false economy as the decline in community playgrounds is a significant factor in creating a generation of children with obesity and mental health problems. The first and most basic step which has to take place is to provide abundant local, accessible, high-quality play spaces on a national scale and get children moving again. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.api-play.org



Mental health

Mental health at work: the runaway issue that mustn’t get away from us Will business as usual dominate the workplace agenda once more as restrictions ease? Adrian Wakeling, Senior Policy Adviser at Acas, discusses A year ago, I was kindly asked to share my work should look like – with hybrid working thoughts on the impact the pandemic is having and the use of office ‘hot spots’ shaping our on our mental health at work. Back then, I expectations. And on a more primal level, asked the following question: ‘will it be said, it’s worth remembering that we have been that it took a pandemic to put mental health threatened by the virus and feel very vulnerable where it should be – at the front and centre of (on this note, Maslow’s hierarchy resonates). our daily considerations about working lives?’ A year on and I can partially answer that What can employers do? question. A recent Acas policy paper, The road As a first step, what employers need to do to enlightenment, shares the experiences of is to try and bridge the gap between the three organisations we have been working experience of change during the pandemic with to help promote and safeguard good and what we go through as part of normal mental health. It’s fair to say that for all of change. To use the storytelling analogy again, them – Fujitsu, Amnesty and MOD’s Defence it is about turning the never-ending saga back Intelligence – mental well-being has into a story everyone can relate become, to quote Amnesty’s Sacha to and understand. To do this, Draper, ‘a runaway issue’. employers should focus Employ This is perhaps not on three aspects of the e r s need to surprising: the mental employment relationship: bridge try and health of the nation has the betwee taken a real knock but, • Duty of care n the e gap on the plus side, we Although it is a set out x p o erience f chang have become much in statute (the Health pandem e during the more able to talk and Safety Act 1974), ic and w about how we are the idea of a ‘duty of h go thro coping. Many employers care’ can feel more ugh as at we are responding well than a little abstract. of norm part al to the challenge with After all, although we change mental health training know that ‘every employer for line managers, for has a duty to ensure that … example, more commonplace. the health, safety and welfare of But it’s time for another employees are protected’, ‘welfare’ question. As the next phase looms – I is quite hard to define, even with the aid of refuse to use the term ‘new normal’! – will the HSE’s Management Stress Standards. this greater awareness of an employer’s In the context of a return to work – though, duty of psychological care be maintained, let’s remember that many employees, notably or will business as usual dominate the those on the front line, have never left their workplace agenda once more? place of work – physical safety clearly feels paramount. Surveys show that employees are The deep Covid-19 change curve genuinely, and understandably, very anxious for To answer this question, we need to get a their safety. But if we have learnt one lesson real sense of what people are going through. about our health and well-being in the last We are all familiar with the ‘change curve’, year or more, it is that one condition seldom which tracks the emotions we go through exists in isolation and symptoms can be hard to when dealing with profound change. It is untangle and retrace to their source. Clinicians very much like the ‘narrative arc’ used by all speak of ‘co-morbidity’; and employers and good storytellers, that takes us on a journey managers need to think about the mental from shock, through to disbelief, despair, health aspect of any change or adaptation at acceptance, adjustment and, ultimately, growth. work. People might say ‘keep me safe’, but they For me, the Covid-19 change curve has been will also be pleading with you to ‘keep me well.’ deeper and will take much longer to work our way out of. The challenge is immense. On one • Trust level, we simply have so much information If I asked you to explain to me what the to process, about what is and isn’t safe, and ‘psychological contract’ was, I’m sure you’d so many predictions about what the future of give it a good go, but I am not sure many of



us fully grasp it. It’s got something to do with our expectations of work, particularly around values, behaviours and obligations. But if we stop and think about that a minute, surely all of these things have changed during the pandemic? The psychological contract is an unwritten bond, but this gives us a problem: how do we shift our relationships with work, our managers and each other and reach a new consensus if we only have a vague sense of what underpins our thinking? For me, this gets to the heart of the drive for parity between mental and physical health. If the written contract of employment represents our physical wellbeing, the psychological contract represents our mental wellbeing. It has been in the shadows too long and needs to be re-thought and, yes, why not, written down! At its heart should be a collective renewal of the employment relationship that is based upon compassion, dignity and, above all, trust. • Vision We all want to have better jobs, better workplaces and, whisper it, better managers. This striving for better has been very well expressed in the ‘good work’ agenda, driven by Carnegie UK and the RSA, amongst others. A very big part of good work has always been job autonomy – having a say in how and when you do your job. Having a say in all its forms – often called employee voice – also figures highly in many measures of job satisfaction. If good mental health is built upon good jobs, as set out in the government review of mental health at work, then what can employers do to help us strive for better and, in doing so, feel better? Returning to the deeper ‘Covid change curve’; employees need to be able to see, if not the end, then a way forward. This might be based upon different working patterns, new ways of communicating or just an open dialogue about how the business is coping. Transparency is paramount. Employers should share their vision for the future; one that is, hopefully, based upon sustainable jobs that offer job security and good working conditions. A year from now I would like to be able to say that mental health has become an integral part of every decision-making process and change programme at work. Here’s hoping. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.acas.org.uk


Mental health

If good mental health is built upon good jobs, as set out in the government review of mental health at work, then what can employers do to help us strive for better and, in doing so, feel better?


Safety & Health Expo

Connecting the health and safety profession Taking place online from 1-30 June, Safety & Health Expo can help you fulfil your goals by connecting you to the entire health and safety profession Connect 2021 is your first opportunity to The free ticket also provides access to IFSEC come together with the health and safety International, FIREX International and the profession. Building on the success Facilities Show. The Safety & Health of the digital events carried Expo section of Connect out in 2020 because of the 2021 will take place on coronavirus pandemic, 13 June - 19 June. Connec t Connect 2021 will Speaking about the 2021 w give attendees the change in show il l g iv e attende chance to have 1:1 production, from chance es the meetings with leading in-person to online, international suppliers Chris Edwards, Group meeting to have 1:1 s with le in health and safety. Director at Informa in ading ternatio The AI augmented Markets, said: “We’ve na platform will help worked tremendously in healthl suppliers delegates by suggesting hard along with our an safety d industry professionals venue and contractor and suppliers to meet partners to deliver an with as well as showcase event that is both safe and products that are relevant to successful for all involved, but attendees. The in-person event – it’s become clear that with the ongoing Safety & Health Expo and the co-located international travel disruption and general Workplace Wellbeing Show – will return uncertainty caused by the pandemic that to London’s ExCeL in May 2022. transitioning to a vibrant online experience



that the whole health & safety community can be part of is the right thing to do. “Our virtual event, Safety & Health Expo Connect, will offer delegates and suppliers the chance to come together online and we look forward to delivering an in-person series of events at a scale our customers are used to seeing in 2022.” The importance of health and safety training for managers There is growing evidence in business of the returns from investment in workplace safety and health. The International Social Security Association, for example, estimates a 120 per cent dividend, and the ratio is even higher for return-to-work programmes for people following injury or illness. Organisations that invest are seeing a positive impact on their workers’ effectiveness and a range of business benefits, such as a positive, caring work culture, increased productivity and an

SMEs (companies with up to 250 employees), said they had no form of health and safety training at all for their line managers. These findings indicate widespread recognition in business of the importance of the line manager in safeguarding people at work – but differences in who’s responsible for workplace accidents and in investment in management training to equip them for the job. Why are these findings important? Because health and safety training is considered by authorities in the field as integral to creating work cultures that protect people from harm. Later in this report, we’ll find out how companies that do invest in health and safety training for their managers are seeing the benefits. Connect 2021 On 14 June, as part of the Safety & health Expo portion of Connect 2021, there will be a number of product demos, from Gentex, Mapa, Petzl(UK) Agency and Swift360. The online event will also feature a live Dräger Roadshow, providing a virtual tour of our new safety roadshow truck which is fitted out with all our latest safety solutions. Guiding you through the tour, Dräger will have their very own product experts from fixed gas detection, mobile gas detection, respiratory protection and impairment solutions who will talk you through some of the hot topics in these areas. On 15 June, the product demos will be provided by EcoOnline, SHE Software, Notify Technology, Velocity EHS, Vatix and Alcumus before a live session from EcoOnline on the

role of gamification in EHS reporting. This interactive session will delve into the history of gamification and explore the latest digital tools that can help engage everyone –especially as gamification is seeping into everyone’s lives. On 17 June, product demos will be provided by Adresys, Zoll, Praxis42 and Access UK, with a live panel debate on creating a culture of compliance, sponsored by iHASCO. This will cover what to do if you’ve got a culture of non-compliance or pockets of non-compliance within the workforce, whether the coronavirus pandemic could provide an opportunity to strengthen safety culture within organisations and how to get board-level buy-in to roll out the health and safety initiatives you know are important. The 18 June session will include a live thought leadership panel on the benefits of clean air in indoor working environments, with input from Global Action Plan’s Keith Cotton. On 16 June, the Workplace Wellbeing Show will include a panel debate on the well-being considerations as we return to work in ‘The New Normal’, sponsored by Westfield Health. This will cover adjustments to consider and helping colleagues adapt to change, making people feel safe, supporting those still at risk of infection or with fear of infection, supporting employees with new or preexisting social anxiety, as well as guidance for well-being leaders and line managers. L

Safety & Health Expo

enhanced reputation. These employers are also mitigating the risk of huge costs to their organisation and society as a whole of poor health and safety at work – a recent report estimated the total cost to society of a workplace fatality in Britain at nearly £1.7 million. In 2019–20, IOSH partnered with market research specialists YouGov to survey mainly small and medium-sized businesses, excluding any sole traders, on their approach to ensuring their managers have the knowledge, skills and understanding to manage their teams safely. The organisation interviewed nearly 700 people, all with decision-making responsibilities in health and safety. There was a spread across job role, industry sector and size of company. IOSH reported at the time that 96 per cent of participants agreed that line managers are important in ensuring the people they directly line manage are safe and healthy in the workplace. On whether respondents felt management failure was responsible for accidents, however, there was a mixed response, with a quarter (25 per cent) saying rarely, 15 per cent sometimes and only six per cent always or often. More than half of respondents (53 per cent) who train their line managers said they had invested in health and safety training for managers from an external provider, with IOSH’s Managing Safely being the most popular course (46 per cent) among those who invested in external courses. But one in five participants (19 per cent), and predominantly

FURTHER INFORMATION www.safety-health-expo.co.uk




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Local government and adopting a drone strategy Government Business shares the views of Aleks Kowalski on drone infrastructure planning, investing in UAV technology and using drones to save the public sector money and help it operate more efficiently What are the priorities for local government when it comes to pursuing urban air mobility and drone infrastructure planning? The key issue facing local government at a strategic level is the degree of political engagement on new transport systems being current planned at an aviation level. The existing approach to urban air mobility (UAM) planning currently exists in a piecemeal manner. Currently no centralised government approach exists – the main driver for government engagement thus far has been through the UK Governments Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund ‘Future of Flight’ a UKRI £125 million investment. What is worthy of note is that very few local authorities have engaged in this process, due to the industry-led nature – aside in some instances offering a wider level of support. It is worth noting that Phase III of UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge will open in Autumn 2021 and local government should be aware of this and look to actively participate. The question is how to engage? Current approach The development of drones and UAM has, at a local level, been very reactionary. Councils have responded to requests by drone operators for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flights in an unstructured and inconsistent manner. It is an area that will only increase as councils looks to move to a pro-active approach as described below. For example, one local authority has stated they will ‘refuse any request made for recreational or commercial purposes as a land owner on any land owned or operated by the City Council. To make it clear consent shall not be given for drones overflying the highway’. Another charges £120 for take-off / landing permits. Yet in law, the national aviation safety regulator decides whether the operator’s risk assessment meets the criteria for allowing safe operations, not any local authority.

What will a future state mean? When looking to an integrated mobility future, cities will look to have a locally informed political stakeholder. The implications of this would be prioritisation of operations, the ability to prosecute but most importantly where and when take-off and landing sites would be built. One national aviation authority that has outlined a future state for Air Mobility and is taking the lead is Australia – for example, outlining the need for a National Drone Detection Network Infrastructure. Given that most cities control the ground network, the argument goes that they should also be managing the skies about them. However that presents its own challenges. Issues facing local authorities Aviation expertise: Even something as simple as a local council procuring its own drones can be fraught with internal conflicts and difficulties around privacy. These challenges are also restricting what the councils can do with that responsibility, and risk being devolved to commercial operators. However, part of the challenge is the understanding and interpretation by local government of complex aviation regulation. For instance ‘consent shall not be given for drones overflying the highway’ doesn’t actually have any legal basis and operators can still fly drones.

Airspace management: The function of Air Traffic Control is to ensure safe separation, this is often done via a combination of strategic, tactical and on-board deconfliction. But at low levels, except around aerodromes, this does not exist without changing airspace categories to preclude certain types of flying. This is already a big challenge even for humanitarian operators looking to fly medical related operations. This then necessitates a new means of assuring safety, without potentially changing the type of airspace. This type of airspace change involves infrastructure that, even at aviation levels, hasn’t been fully agreed on.

Economics and sustainability: Drones and UAM will not operate in isolation. The current traditional system, dominated by vehicles and technologies designed for hub and spoke operations and based on hydrocarbon economics, lacks the levels of integration that a distributed electric system could offer – redefining the way we design both our systems and vehicles for an electric future. Cluster or individual local approaches: Hopefully the above statements will make it clear that a local government acting of its own accord could encounter a number of issues trying to set up a solution that enables UAM. If a joined-up mobility and technology approach is required what does that look like and who co-ordinates this. At this moment in time, such a technology and strategic position does not exist. However, it must also be recognised that each local authority has their own needs and requirements and will be trying to get the best result for their own constituents. Examples of this manifesting itself within the planning phase of UAM are economic incentives for hardware and manufacturing, and airspace revenue vs airspace congestion. Consider local authority A which embraces UAM and wishes to secure a greater volume of flights, which prices its airspace fees at a lower level than local authority B that enables it to provide more services for its constituents – but at a cost of possible noise and airspace congestion. What obstacles are there, or could there be, which prevent local authorities from exploring and investing in UAV technology? It needs to be made clear that unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology isn’t just the physical drone itself, but all the tools needed to ensure a successful operation. To use a cliché it is the three main aspects of People, Process and Technology. E




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Process – An operator must be compliant with local authority regulations and, in many cases, national regulations which permit UAV operations. With so few operations meeting the risk assessment criteria for flights over people beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) this becomes a challenge the public sector looks to industry to solve. Yet once technical standards and maturity levels develop, local authorities will need to start deciding now where the responsibilities start and end between civil aviation regulators so safe scale-up of highly automated operations can take place within a city. Technology – The technical and maturity standards have now been defined by EU agencies, which is timely. The technology is still such that incidents do happen (such as in December 2020), but there are now reporting cultures in place to ensure, much like in manned aviation, a feedback loop exists. In addition, safety recommendations are now made by the same body, the Air Accidence and Inspection Bureau (AAIB) which includes: “It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority collate up to date information regarding the failure rates per flying hour for unmanned aircraft systems operating in the Specific category, or previously under a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations, to facilitate effective risk assessments.” Therefore it is a combination of operational, societal and fiscal challenges that need to be addressed by any local authority before more than a token engagement.

these new technologies could be up to 48 per cent cheaper, deliver faster journey times and improve worker safety when compared to current methods. However, as referenced in previous answers, the study did not consider the extent of societal acceptance of these technologies, the regulatory implications, nor the supporting infrastructure and technology ecosystem required for the use cases, which may have implications on their attractiveness. It is important therefore to consider within the public sector the initial business economics versus the holistic benefits that can be brought into the public sector. A case-study example of this is the use of drones in healthcare. The usecases are only now being considered – analogous to the use of the internet in the early 90s by having a capability – what could be done. They could include the following: MHRA volume testing, chain of medical custody, intra-hospital transfer, pharmacy to care homes, hospital to test facilities and beyond. On a per flight basis the economics could be hard to justify when considering transport budgets. Only when looking at the wider case based on hospital admissions, the uptime and usage of a drone/UAM do they start to add up. Add to that developing a piece of national critical transportation infrastructure which can be seen not as a cost, but a possible revenueearning function for the public sector so it’s viewed as cost-positive, and the possibility remains that the wider use of drones should be looked at as a means to generate money for the public sector by enabling the private sector. This will be essential to address security risks related to drones and will also assist with administering regulations relating to safety, privacy, noise, spectrum, and environmental impacts. L


 People – Appropriate training for the operation intending to be performed. In addition the stakeholders are not just those involved in the operation, but those likely to be affected by a UAV operation. This is restricting what the Councils can do themselves, with that responsibility and risk being ultimately devolved to commercial operators. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently published results of the first study conducted in the European Union on Urban Air Mobility, showing that the majority of those questioned broadly welcome the prospect of services such as air taxis, air ambulances and drone deliveries but have concerns about potential issues such as safety, security, noise and the impact on wildlife. The survey showed that 83 per cent of respondents have a positive initial attitude towards UAM, with 71 per cent ready to try out UAM services.

For further information about how ARPAS-UK can help local governments, please get in touch with ARPAS via the author Aleks Kowalski : aleks.kowalski@arpas.uk. FURTHER INFORMATION www.arpas.uk

How much freedom does a city have to plan its own ecosystem? The challenge isn’t necessarily freedom, but an initial problem of education and understanding. From our experience, even those authorities and government which have a good deal of knowledge in reacting to drones are unsure which way to turn. Consider a council in the fortunate position that has money to spend on UAM or drones. They are being approached by drone operators who wish to illustrate the art of the possible with a specific use case to fly something in an automated fashion beyond current aviation limits – known as Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). What is the strategy to implement a solution, beyond single point studies? Businesses require certainty in order to invest time and manpower in a local authority. Therefore, the freedom any city has depends on an optimal shared space to enable solutions that address the ground and air risks commensurate with UAM and drones. A review of economic and technological history demonstrates that public sector funding of key infrastructure programmes defines the effective introduction of new technologies, concepts and capabilities servicing the needs of an evolving government, society and community. The key benefit a city needs to identify is in the creation of early adopters and key prime inventors. In summary – permitting single drone or UAM operations may not have the marked effect that an ecosystem necessitates. There are many issues to be resolved around the current legal status of small UAS (sUAS) operations before the wider issues of how and whether sUAS/UAM traffic management and the harder sensing responsibilities can be devolved to local authorities and/or trusted third parties. How can drones help the public sector save money and operate more efficiently? The current approach to drones was recently addressed by PWC in a socioeconomic study for Future Flight Challenge which found that switching to



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Cyber security and social value – Joining the dots for ESG ESG is a term that is becoming ever more popular yet can still feel shrouded in some mystery. The acronym simply stands for the measurement of elements that apply to every business: Environmental, Social, Governance

Calculating social value Every £1 spent on social value projects delivers:

Over the last few decades, organisations have become more aware of the economic, social and environmental impact they have on the world around them, and more active in ensuring that impact is positive. Social value is an umbrella term for these effects, and by contributing to the well-being, quality of life and resilience of individuals, communities and globally, organisations can be seen as adding social value. This work might have previously involved different areas of business and come under different titles. However, the largest area of most of today’s organisations is often overlooked – the IT systems! How do these affect social value? How does ESG relate to cyber security? What happens when data is lost or stolen? You don’t have to look far to find headlines of data breaches. The effects can be widereaching, in a ripple effect that goes far beyond company boundaries; that’s where ESG comes in. ESG is about measuring the impact of your organisation, from the immediate and obvious, to elements further down the supply chain. When data is lost it may be unused or sold on, so the subject is not immediately affected; but if their identity is stolen or their finances compromised, it could be lifechanging. Staff involved in the breach may lose their jobs, and even lose their relationships or homes, suffering prolonged stress as a result. These examples might be extreme, yet they easily illustrate just how important ESG can be in measuring a company’s far-reaching impact and raising awareness. Consider the supply chain too. Are your switches and routers, firewalls and gateways capable of reuse, re-engineering or repurposing? If not, what happens at their end of life? Landfill? For organisations looking to truly improve their standing within their communities, and globally, effective ESG measurement is essential. How do we define and measure ESG? Finances are often easiest to monitor and report on, but what about everything else? The impact on the people you employ or serve, or the effect your day-to-day dealings have on


your local environment? It can seem like these things can’t easily be tracked – yet they can. To help you do this well, Accordant has developed software and tools that do the calculations for you - we call it the Accordant Solutions Library, (AccSL®). Accordant has placed ESG at the heart of its development, helping organisations understand their purpose and impact across a range of different areas. Also, how they can effectively link technology and cyber decisions to social and environmental benefits - evaluating, monitoring and reporting on them effectively. L

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ESG & IT – connecting IT choices and ESG measurement in practice Although each case is unique, let’s consider this example: Working with a housing association to upgrade its IT systems. We developed a solution that used Cloudbased technology and automation processes. The changes allowed the company to move its existing data centre and install telephony systems that connected with newer technologies such as 4G. The upgrades required a £980,000 investment yet enabled a saving and benefits of over £280,000 per year through changes in operating expenses and working practices. This was reinvested to install additional street lighting and CCTV systems in a housing development where crime had been an issue. The housing association worked in partnership with the police, NHS, social services and community groups. As a first step, staff were able to track that the measures had led to reduction in incidents of street crime, drug dealing and other petty crimes and link these back to tangible positive outcomes: Environment: Less power was used because the cloud data centre was efficient and green, support staff spent less time travelling to resolve user issues, and there was greater saving for enhanced services, creating a net positive carbon impact. Social: Reductions in crime meant an improved standard of living for local residents, who experienced less stress and anxiety and sought fewer interventions from health services. There was improved social inclusion and community engagement in the area, less policing, better take-up of housing and lower calls for property maintenance; all of which has improved the feeling of security and prosperity for residents. Governance: The operational savings made through changing the IT system created an impressive return on investment for the housing association and made the money available for reinvestment in the local community. Putting these and other metrics in the annual board report for the organisation demonstrated social value and helps ensure ongoing bid success and secure further grant funding – a virtuous circle is evolving.


Cyber security

How to improve cyber security in local government Many of the most significant cyber security challenges are surmountable with a layered security strategy, the correct tools, and the appropriate cloud partners, writes Mark Scott 2020 caused major disruption to both our continue delivering vital frontline services to physical and digital worlds. With many local citizens. For many, the disruption has been authority employees forced into dispersed a catalyst for change and brought home the and virtual settings, we’ve seen the swift need for greater flexibility, scalability and a adoption of remote systems and networks to robust IT infrastructure. enable collaborative working and more agile While the promise of cloud is enormous, processes. However, this rapid transition has even accelerated cloud migration projects also exposed a range of security vulnerabilities need to be well thought out. Ultimately, from securing remote access to targeted organisations need to strike a balance phishing campaigns, giving cyber criminals the between making the most of the efficiencies opportunity to exploit the uncertainty brought modern cloud-based environments bring, about by the pandemic and cause chaos. whilst ensuring that the pace of uptake is Over the past year, the sophistication of never at the expense of security for users and, threats has quickly increased, evolving to above all else, the citizens they serve. harness techniques that make attacks harder to spot and breaching even the most resilient Cloud governance considerations systems. Latest government figures published Given the challenges that local authorities in the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 face, from budget constraints to digital show that there has been an increase in the capabilities and compliance, now number of phishing attacks over the past is a good time to take a year. step back and check Undoubtedly, the pandemic that those newly When has prompted an accelerated implemented it come adoption of cloud technologies. solutions have New solutions were spun up been bedded in to prote s almost overnight and they correctly and applica cting t have played an instrumental are right for the i o n s databa and role in maintaining long-term. s needs t es, security operational resilience and This is where o be a enabling local authorities to data governance p c

art of t he

ore design

considerations come into play. It’s important that sensitive data is stored and managed in line with regulatory requirements - not only to maintain compliance but also to mitigate security concerns. Local authorities need to maintain strict control over sensitive data and retain the ability to delete or destroy that data when required. A lack of effective data governance is a worry, mainly because poorly structured data makes it much more difficult to detect and monitor when something goes wrong. Any misuse of data, especially in the public sector, can have far-reaching consequences and could lead to a loss of citizen trust. Building a secure cyber strategy People, processes, and technology form the basis of an organisation’s security strategy. A lack of attention to any of these three factors will inevitably lead to gaps. Balancing each component is the best way to identify risks and match them with the right tools, cultural norms and workflows to effectively manage risk.

People – Employees can create some of the most significant risks to cyber security. However, when they are well informed, they can also be an advantage and the first E



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Cyber attacks are rising. Protect yourself or pay the ransom! Cyber attacks increased by 300 per cent in 2020 and are continuing to rise. Their devastating impact has never been more clear in the local community, with hospitals, schools and even a fuel pipeline being shut down completely

With the disruption from closed offices, remote working and legacy technology, the threat of cyber-attacks in all areas is rising, and it’s costing organisations millions to put right. Council officials working from home, remotely accessing HR and payroll data, public databases and other applications, expose new weaknesses for attackers to exploit. In the last 12 months, there have been several high-profile attacks on councils, leaving systems down for months, disrupting key services and predicted to cost individual councils upwards of £10 million to put right. Due to the complexity of the recovery work, these costs are still being assessed and government grants are now being offered to support ransomware recovery. However, it has been debated whether this is enough given the high costs involved when hackers strike. Data is highly legislated and contains significant levels of personal data from both employees and local communities. Whilst historically, ransomware and other types of cyber attacks have been highly publicised around large, well-known private sector businesses like airlines and financial services, this bias is shifting, and more public sector organisations are finding themselves subject to attacks due to the personal data they hold. The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has recently spoken out about the increasing threat of cyber-attacks in his keynote speech at the 2021 National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) CYBERUK conference, stating that hostile state actors and criminal gangs want to undermine the foundations of democracy using technology maliciously. In his speech Raab warned that in March 2021, as schools and universities prepared to return to face to face teaching, around 80 different institutions were hit by ransomware attacks, forcing some to delay returning to the classroom.


The consequences of a breach or an attack can destroy an organisation both financially and in terms of reputation and trust. No one likes to think of themselves or their organisation being at risk, or indeed attacked by these invisible criminals, but local authorities need to face up to the fact that it is becoming more common. It is essential that steps are taken to protect organisations and the extremely important data that they hold. So, what can a local council do to protect itself? The answer is cloud hosting. Cloud hosting provides an external, heavily protected environment where your information can be stored. Cloud hosting services are managed by a team of IT and security experts and benefit from regular updates, prevention technologies and dedicated pro-active monitoring to identify and address risks before they can be exploited. Cloud hosting is extremely scalable, and you only pay for what you use, providing an affordable and resilient solution to protect you. One Mayor from a council recently affected by a major cyber-attack said that although people often think cloud-based systems increase the risk of cyber attacks, those systems were more resilient. He mentioned that because many of their pandemic response elements had been built using ‘the most modern platforms’, they were more resistant to the attack than other areas running on legacy systems. Another benefit of using cloud-hosted solutions is that you can use more advanced technologies including user behaviour analytics, like iTrent Shield. This allows your organisation to learn what is normal activity for your employees and who is supposed to be


able to access which information. The premise is similar to the fraud department of a bank contacting you about an unusual purchase – extra security checks can be run if a particular user’s activity deviates from what seems normal to alert you of a potential threat. Multi-factor authentication for logging in is another way to offer greater protection. It provides an even stronger layer of security which protects your data further, even when your employees are working remotely. This provides you with confidence that it is them logging in as they will have to authenticate via a mobile phone or other device. Updating your legacy systems with the latest, specialist business systems ensures your organisation is less likely to have outdated, manual processes that open weaknesses for hackers to exploit. Most modern systems, particularly for HR and payroll, are now developed to be both cloud-based and mobilefirst to ensure HR, managers and employees can access the information they need anytime and anywhere – securely. Already supporting more than 200 councils across the UK, with one in five employees from local authorities in England and Wales paid by MHR, the organisation provides a full range of cloud-based HR, payroll, learning, analytics and security solutions to protect your data and keep you secure, enabling you to demonstrate your council has robust systems and protections to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and breaches. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.mhrglobal.com

Cyber security

 line of defence. Educating employees is incredibly important, and they need to have basic knowledge about information security and potential threats. Having the right mindset around cyber security is vital. Getting them interested in security, encouraging the swift reporting of incidents and keeping them motivated to keep their equipment and devices safe will all help to create a robust cyber security culture.

Process – Processes are key to the implementation of an effective cyber security strategy. Well thought out security policies, security awareness programmes, and access control procedures are essential. Not only do they help prevent and detect threats, but they are also crucial in defining how the existing activities can be used to mitigate risk. These processes must be continually audited and as mentioned previously, frameworks such as ISO 27001 provide an opportunity to create specific processes. Proper preparation significantly reduces the risks of cyber incidents, and it’s important that all processes and procedures are documented as part of the framework and for auditing purposes. Technology – Technology is fundamental when it comes to cyber security. There are a whole host of technologies that the public sector can implement to layer their defences. By identifying the most common risks the organisation faces, it becomes easier to identify the controls that need to be put in place, and the technologies to support them. Technology can be deployed to prevent or reduce the impact of cyber risks, depending on your risk assessment and what you deem an acceptable level of risk. With attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and more targeted, frameworks such as ISO 27001 can also be followed to

Data classification can play a part in helping to secure collaboration platforms and solutions, for example, stopping employees sharing sensitive information such as child protection records with users who are not authorised to view them ensure best practice and help organisations manage their information security by addressing people and processes, as well as technology. Ultimately, cloud governance shouldn’t be an afterthought. Without it, organisations will struggle to control costs, reduce human error and protect valuable data. Securing data for the long term As local authorities become increasingly reliant on mobile devices and cloud-based technologies to run their teams and vital services, networks, services and devices become prime targets for cyber criminals. This means that different types of data will need to be secured in different ways. Data classification can play a part in helping to secure collaboration platforms and solutions, for example, stopping employees sharing sensitive information such as child protection records with users who are not authorised to view them. Getting data classification right from the start and driving policies from the centre makes it much easier to keep data safe and secure. Ultimately, employees need to be protected by policies that stop them from inadvertently exposing confidential data. However, this is very different from the type of security implemented around a business application database. When it comes to protecting applications and databases,

security needs to be a core part of the design. The crux of this is good product architecture and understanding that cyber security processes need to be layered in. This approach minimises the risk of exposing information residing in the cloud and should centre around the zero-trust security model. The model is based on the principle of maintaining strict access controls and not trusting anyone by default, even those already inside the network. By layering applications behind several defensive barriers, it’s easier to prevent unintended consequences and employees are only able to access the systems and data they require. Segmenting the network in this way and breaking it into a multi-layer structure enables organisations to hinder cyber criminals, restrict their movement across the network and stop them from reaching mission-critical data. The good news is that with a layered security strategy, the correct tools, and the appropriate cloud partners in place, many of the most significant cyber security challenges are surmountable. L

Mark Scott is CEO at Cantium Business Solutions.. FURTHER INFORMATION https://cantium.solutions/



Providing the capability to adopt cloud services

The concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960, however it has only been used in its modern context, when referring to the use of servers to host software and virtual infrastructures, accessed via the internet, in the past decade or so. With the significant adoption of cloud computing in the workplace and individual usage due to its many benefits, (inclusive of but not limited to faster innovation, flexible resources, scalability, and lower operating costs), it is also however some of those benefits that have left the industries security standards unable to keep up with its rapid growth. Modern vs. legacy IT security Modern cloud security, if looked at in a nutshell, appears very similar to legacy or traditional network and IT security, however its framework demands a different approach, and whilst the industry adapts to modern

society and innovates accordingly, so does the potential security threats. In fact, data is at its most vulnerable whilst in transition. This makes cloud computing highly susceptible to security threats and hijacking. As a Microsoft Azure Gold Partner, Ogel IT are able to utilise the wide selection of configurable security options available within its built features, and assist in making suggestions on partner solutions that can be deployed into your subscriptions, ensuring our customers reach maximum security based on their individual needs. Essentially, with Azure platforms, securing your networks and data becomes totally customisable dependant on your organisations deployments with the use of Azures security management solutions Fundamentally, when choosing to adopt cloud computing, our customers can feel confident in choosing Azure as part of the Microsoft Trusted Cloud and for industry leading security, reliability, compliance and privacy. How can we help? Ogel IT conducts an eight-stage strategy to help our customers ease into an efficient, reliable and cost effecting Cloud service with security at the forefront.

Discovery - Discovery and baseline of your existing landscape. Strategy - Review your outline strategy and understand your business drivers. Technology - Ensure the right technology and resources are deployed to provide the right balance of performance, availability, security and cost. Design - Discuss your options and design your target technology architecture. Cloud Services - Deploy and configure cloud/ commodity services. Legacy Services - Configure federation with legacy services where appropriate. Migration - Design, plan and execute data migration activities. Transition - Assist in planning and completing the transition to new services. L FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01438 300335 info@ogelit.com www.ogelit.com

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Why end-of-life deadlines are a prime concern for councils Mat Clothier explores the key risks end-of-life deadlines pose to local authorities and how they can best protect their systems by preparing for deadlines and starting migration as early as possible Failing to prepare for end-of-life deadlines With a need to keep customer facing systems can be detrimental for any business, but the updated to serve its area, local authorities can unique nature of how local authorities operate be susceptible to placing focus on updating can lead them to be particularly vulnerable. these front-end systems as opposed to In England, local authorities have the back-end processes. While limited options in terms of how understandable in meeting they make revenue, and customer requirements, For loca unlike central government, failure to ensure that these l authori are unable to borrow processes are tended for, risks ca ties, what money to finance such as background day-to-day spending. servers, can create failing tn arise from The purse strings are risks, while potentially o d e a l with end-oftherefore incredibly creating a problematic tight, and any disconnect between and ho life systems, w expenditure needs to legacy background c a n best pla be budgeted efficiently systems and the newer n to mi they while balanced with the front-end systems. One them? tigate such need to provide IT services example is Windows to the public across areas Server 2012, which reaches such as waste collection its end-of-life deadline in and transport. January 2023.

For local authorities, what risks can arise from failing to deal with end-of-life systems, and how can they best plan to mitigate them? The risks facing local authorities Local authorities that continue run outdated servers, such as Windows 2012 following the January 2023 deadline will leave themselves vulnerable to cyber attack due to the fact that security updates and technical support will no longer be provided. While it’s the case that cyber-attackers don’t specifically target local authorities, they will scan for organisations that are considered easy-pickings, and the financial pressures and need to prioritise frontend systems means that organisations in this sector are susceptible to targeting. Any breach from cyber attack can be particularly detrimental due to the possibility of confidential customer data being leaked publicly, which could then result in fines E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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Best practice preparation It’s important for local authorities to be aware of the current state of their system, and benchmarking against other councils that may be further forward in their processes can give them the clarity to know how to plan moving forward. Keeping comprehensive data sets and records throughout the years can also help them make a best judgement for how to deal with an upcoming end-of-life deadline, particularly in local authorities where employee turnover may lead to knowledge and expertise leaving the business.

Any local government expenditure needs to be budgeted efficiently while balanced with the need to provide IT services to the public across areas such as waste collection and transport Whether the best option is the ultimate replacement of a system or the shifting of programs and applications onto an updated one, the best solution should be tailored to the organisation’s unique requirements. With resources and finances stretched for local authorities, updating soon-to-be end-oflife systems to new versions can be fraught with difficulty, despite the best efforts of internal IT teams. To ensure that finances can be directed to the areas of most need, relying on external expertise as soon as possible before an end-of-life date can help local authorities be more efficient in their budgeting. Use of specialist vendor technologies can allow local authorities to have visibility of how best to move business-critical applications to new operating systems to ensure they’re compatible, while tools can update systems to new versions without impacting on the value they provide. Storing data in secure third-party cloud locations can also meet the need for local authorities to protect sensitive information about the public it serves.


 from regulatory bodies. Meeting specific rules and governance is also crucial for local authorities and falling foul of these can be particularly pertinent due to way that systems are usually linked to other councils and the wider government ecosystem. This reliance means that other entities can be affected by an outdated legacy system existing within just one local authority, creating a domino effect in the case of a cyber breach. It’s also the case that local authorities are under greater public scrutiny due the services they provide, with increased susceptibility to complains or concerns from the general public if a system is unavailable or not working efficiently. Downtime of a back-end system can have catastrophic consequences for the customer-facing systems that it relies on. Taking these factors into account, it’s therefore crucial for local authorities to plan ahead for end-of-life.

Providing an effective public service With local authorities existing to serve their local public, they have a duty of responsibility to ensure that outward-facing systems provide the best service and are an effective use of public money. Addressing and tackling end-oflife deadlines in background systems such as Windows Server 2012 is therefore crucial to ensure that this remains the case. Opting to work with a specialist provider that shares this moral awareness means that local authorities can rely on guidance and suitable technology that has their customers’ best interests at front-of-mind, while also enabling them to save money that can be directed to other departments that sorely need the investment. L

Mat Clothier is CEO at Cloudhouse. FURTHER INFORMATION https://cloudhouse.com/



Smart cities

How technology brings us closer to a greener planet The path to clean city air: Can smart cities help contribute to a better, cleaner environment? Sascha Giese explores Densely populated cities are growing rapidly about the health of their environment. in number, with the UN predicting 68 per With the insights this real-time data supplies, cent of the world’s population will local authorities can take proactive live in urban areas by 2050. But steps to maintain, and hopefully alongside this progression improve, air quality. For comes a rapid decline in example, public transport Today’s the quality of our natural such as buses can be smart c environment, so action switched to an alli t ies rely on the must be taken. Urban electric mode when they living requires city enter areas of higher betwee connections n planners to have pollution. Some cities n etwork which a more insight into the s , r e of fixed comprised factors contributing to a a poor environment, remote nd mobile and they must know sensors what’s changing about their local environment, where the risks and dangers lie, and what steps they can take to mitigate them. As the world quickly moved to lockdown to combat the deadly Covid-19, scientists around the globe saw the immense impact this had on the health of our planet. The pandemic resulted in a seven per cent drop in global carbon emissions, a trend not seen ‘since World War II’. Though these have been exceptional circumstances, the likes of which we hope to put behind us, they do offer a real-world benchmark and increase the urgency behind more permanent methods of environmental improvement. Smart cities: Where tech supports everyday life Today’s smart cities rely on the connections between networks, which are comprised of fixed and mobile remote sensors. These sensors constantly record and share data and help authorities make smart decisions every day. This data is used for a wide variety of environmental purposes, including identifying underlying patterns and trends across the city ecosystem. Sensors can, for example, monitor the movement of traffic, where real-time information about the number and location of vehicles can help authorities make accurate predictions about key things such as air quality and make changes to improve this where possible. Support for this is growing – in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan recently announced an air quality monitoring investment of almost £1.5 million to fund 195 sensors designed to generate real-time data. This will be shared publicly via the Breathe London website so citizens of the city can understand more



are already using data in public information messages to encourage people in vehicles or on foot to find alternative routes when air quality decreases to avoid contributing to worsening air quality or breathing it in when walking. Use enterprise lessons to manage a city This is easier said than done, however. The huge amount of data sensors across smart cities produce, in addition to the complexity

By prioritising real-time monitoring of network performance, security, and data privacy, they can keep smart cities connected, safe, and better able to deliver high-quality environmental performance to their citizens As a final note, it’s crucial to remember with greater data volumes and complexity come greater compliance requirements. Businesses across every industry are increasingly aware of their regulatory obligations, and the impact of rules such as UK-GDPR means it’s usually the administrators who hold the responsibility for data integrity and protection. Admins for smart cities must not only secure the growing amounts of data but also ensure they and their third-party partners don’t misuse it. People are increasingly aware of the devastating impact humankind is having on our planet, and many governments are setting ambitious targets to prevent

Smart cities

of the networks involved, make managing this entire system a monumental task. A highly connected smart city is comparable to a large enterprise – it generates large quantities of data needing to be stored and analysed. The data has the potential to become an extremely valuable asset, but the sheer level of complexity involved means artificial intelligence technologies are now essential tools for city administrators. They aid in the process of extracting and cross-referencing insights from the multiple data sets involved. Resolving these challenges is already generating huge levels of investment across a range of business sectors and will become increasingly important as smart cities grow in scale. This isn’t the only way smart cities are like enterprises – administrators can apply the same expertise, tools, and processes to manage these requirements as their commercial counterparts. By prioritising realtime monitoring of network performance, security, and data privacy, they can keep smart cities connected, safe, and better able to deliver high-quality environmental performance to their citizens.

further damage and, where possible, reverse the damage already done. With the intelligence of smart cities, and investments like London’s air quality monitoring investment, these targets will become much more achievable. Technology advances every single day, and IT teams will continue to be highly desirable as smart cities develop to meet future needs. L

Sascha Giese is Head Geek™ at SolarWinds. FURTHER INFORMATION www.solarwinds.com




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Public finance as a steward of inclusive green growth A mix of regulation, economic incentives and engagement with the investment community are needed to facilitate a fairer future green economy, writes Jeffrey Matsu, CIPFA’s Chief Economist Dynamic economies are in perpetual flux from a vast range of influences. While predicting which of these are cyclical or structural is more art than science, the role of public policy is to ensure that outcomes are just and fair for as many people as possible. Markets determine the mechanisms by which scare resources are allocated and thereby utilised most efficiently, but it is government that serves as referee. The shift to a net zero economy should be viewed as an opportunity to train and reskill workers as part of this evolution. Generous fiscal and monetary stimulus geared toward amplifying a post-Covid recovery provides an ideal platform for addressing the extensive array of inequalities that surfaced both

before and during the pandemic. With jobs, of communication and knowledge transfer, businesses and even entire industry a green transition has the potential sectors experiencing severe for advancing economic growth dislocation, government can with the environment in A green play a strong and decisive mind. The growth strategy role in determining should be people-focused transitio outcomes. with technological the pot n has adaptations in areas e n tia advanc Changing such as renewables ing eco l for nomic behaviours and energy efficiency, growth with th Just as the industrial complementing the e environ revolution incorporated human capacity for ment automation into labourcreativity and compassion. in mind intensive production Indeed, education, research processes, and the tech and innovation will need to be boom accelerated the speed prioritised as enablers of E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 carbon-lite solutions, and government policies should create platforms for more effective private-public collaboration and risk sharing. Meanwhile, a modernised system of taxation that is simpler, fairer and more transparent could help to generate the revenue necessary to enable positive change. Regulation, while important, cannot be the sole means by which to change behaviours – incentives matter too. A mix of tax credits, deductions and subsidies can influence behaviours across households and businesses. Decision making that fully accounts for the input and output of carbon at the source of origin can further reduce the scope of offshoring emissions. Meanwhile, common languages such as the EU’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy or ESG can minimise green-washing through agreed definitions and globally recognised standards. Asset managers and the wider investment community can play a partnering role in developing a stronger, more coherent voice on how carbon prices are structured and advanced. Increasingly, a willingness to pay for emissions that affect a common public good, i.e., the environment, will need to be paired with intergenerational issues of fairness. The active role of government as convener and moderator of such discussions will be critical in achieving global ambitions relating to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) or net zero carbon. There will also need to be a deliberate change in how return on investments are calculated that includes analyses of costs and benefits across both geography and time. Insofar as investors are profit maximising, the cost of greenhouse emissions will need to be made explicit and reflected in today’s prices. Governments can redistribute the gains and losses associated with addressing climate change by facilitating more rapid price discovery. Beyond a traditional regulatory

Generous fiscal and monetary stimulus geared toward amplifying a post-Covid recovery provides an ideal platform for addressing the extensive array of inequalities that surfaced both before and during the pandemic role, policy makers can enable markets to deliver green solutions through a mix of policies that support the development of human capital alongside fixed asset investments such as buildings and machinery. Markets on their own may favour one over the other depending on the costs of capital and labour at any given point in time. Anticipatory frameworks will be needed to address the shocks of tomorrow with stronger, more resilient capacity today in areas such as training, skills and knowledge exchange. Structural economic changes The temptation to steer economic performance through rigid industrial policies should be avoided. Economic history has not been kind on government attempts to pick industry winners and losers – past performance is seldom indicative of the future. Governments can, however, enable productivity-enhancing business investments by providing clear and stable governance frameworks. Moreover, policies that are not overbearing in regulation or burdensome in reporting have the added benefit of creating a more level playing field for businesses of all sizes. Structural economic changes are difficult enough without unnecessary changes to strategic frameworks. For example, the UK’s

Industrial Strategy seemed to have just taken root when it was abruptly displaced by a new Plan for Growth. What had taken industry, businesses and local governments a few years to grasp, and then respond to, was replaced by a similar vision but with different terminology and milestones. At the very least, public consultation on future changes affecting the direction of policy will be needed to develop and maintain the trust of stakeholders. Advancing long-term growth agendas cannot be powered on pump priming and political savvy alone. Transitioning to a greener way of living can make business sense if the rules are clear and the incentives compelling. The perceived urgency to act should be tempered with an honest, measured assessment of sequencing and prioritisation. Progress at a measured pace is likely to be more durable than a rapid succession of disparate, near-sighted policy schemes. Perhaps squaring ambition with the fragile fiscal forecasts for the years ahead will be the greatest challenge. Above all, future growth – whatever its form – will stand a greater chance of success when it is inclusive by design. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.cipfa.org



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comprehensive solutions using a mixture of open-source or commercial tooling and processes to provide you with solutions that work and give value back to your organisation. When approaching organisations with known security issues, we typically advise on improving cyber security around the human factor element since this is often the common element of how attackers breach organisations. Changing this aspect of any organisation is all about cultural changes needed and embedding the thought processes to ensure everything understands that security is a shared problem, not an individual, department, or outside the third party. Complete cyber off capabilities such as phishing simulation, Cyber eLearning, and breach intelligence detection to ensure organisations can enroll their employees to engage with our platform that provides comprehensive cyber training and improved risk reduction across your organisation. Complete Cyber Services overview Whether you’re a Micro-sized organisation or a large Enterprise business with hundreds of assets and infrastructure, cyber security should be your top priority when it comes to managing and protecting your customer’s data. Why does my business need cyber security? Cyber criminal tactics continue to grow more sophisticated and without cyber security, your business is left exposed and defenceless against data breaches. Data theft can not only bring you economic costs and regulatory fines, but it can cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation.


Isn’t implementing cyber security complicated? Protecting your data can be a daunting undertaking but our experts are here to simplify the process and make you feel at ease about your data security. First, we’ll seek out the vulnerable points in your infrastructure and design a stronger system for your customer’s encrypted data. And of course, long term support for you is always on offer. ​ Understandably, you could feel apprehensive that ‘bringing someone in’ could disrupt your business. Don’t-we ensure that your business continues uninterrupted as our unique integration with both your onsite teams and thirrd party suppliers means you won’t even know we’re there. L FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 03301 331 959 www.completecyber.co.uk Book a free one to one consultation: https://calendly.com/completecyber/15min Public Sector Procurement Frameworks: ICT Solutions Delivery Professional Services and Consultancy Support Professional Services & Consultancy Support: https://www.noecpc.nhs.uk/free-contracts/ ict-solutions-delivery Cyber Security Services 3 DPS: https://www.crowncommercial.gov.uk/suppliers G-Cloud 12: https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/gcloud/services/612120728088145 Digital Outcomes and Specialist 5 Supplier: https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/ buyers/frameworks/digital-outcomes-and-specialists-5/requirements/digital-specialists


DOS 5: The agreement for digital specialists At the start of the year it was revealed that 3,340 suppliers had been awarded places on the latest iteration of the agreement for digital specialists

A total of 3,340 suppliers have been awarded Service’s DOS agreements since 2016, with 34 places on the latest iteration of Crown per cent of that spend – which is more than Commercial Service’s agreement for digital £800 million – going directly to SMEs. specialists - Digital Outcomes and Specialists Patrick Nolan, Technology Director at 5. The DOS 5 framework is Crown Commercial Service, said: “Our designed to help the public Digital Outcomes and Specialists sector buy, design, build agreement continues to facilitate The pu b l and deliver bespoke our customers’ digital i c sector h digital solutions and transformation while also a s spent m services. creating opportunities for £2.5 bi ore than A third of spend suppliers of all sizes. By through previous simplifying the application Crown llion through Comme iterations of the process as much as possible rcial Service agreement went we are reducing the barriers directly to small that SMEs can face when agreem ’s DOS ents s and medium-sized seeking to supply to the businesses. As many public sector.” 2016 ince as 94 per cent of the DOS 5 is accessed through the 3,340 suppliers on the new Digital Marketplace, created in 2014 agreement are SMEs. by CCS and Government Digital Service The public sector has spent more (GDS) to make government procurement than £2.5 billion through Crown Commercial easier and more transparent.

Case study Paper, a Sheffield-based SME, are working with the Department for Education to design a service, provide programme strategy, and conduct user research to support schools buying goods and services like computer equipment and energy more efficiently and at best value. Mark Goddard, Company Director and Service Designer at Paper, said: “The framework is accessible for us in many ways. It reduces the time taken to work through requirements by making the structure of opportunities consistent, and its focus on users and the problem at hand suits the way we approach projects and qualify work. “Organisations such as the DfE get to see us on a level playing field. Without the Digital Marketplace, being seen by the DfE or competing with larger competitors would be a lot harder.” E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 Technology Products and Associated Services The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs was looking for software as a solution (SaaS) to replace their existing social media monitoring platform, as they had concerns about the reliability of the data, breadth and depth of analytical capability and lack of support. The government 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 this was available through their current supplier. To find the best solution for their needs, Defra issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) under our Technology Products and Associated Services (TePAS) framework. TePAS offers competitive prices on products and services from a wide range of specialist suppliers. They used lot 3 which is for Software and Associated Services. Getech, a supplier on TePAS, subcontracted the opportunity to Socialbakers, as the RFP was a good fit for them. Socialbakers provided a fully managed and supported social media solution. They helped Defra explore alternative and innovative uses of various social media platforms and data streams to help with their strategy. This included support from an

onboarding manager and strategic account management team to ensure significantly improved results were achieved. The solution allowed Defra to identify and monitor key influencers and brand ambassadors and measure the impact of influencer focused campaigns. This has enabled them to streamline influencer engagement and plan targeted usage ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) in 2021. 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: a 115 per cent increase in organic interactions; a 53 per cent increase in average organic reach per post on Facebook and Instagram; and their engagement rate doubling. Giulia Farro, Senior Digital Insight & 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.” L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk

Tackle the UK’s increasing digital divide


Paper, a Sheffield-based SME, are working with the Department for Education to design a service, provide programme strategy, and conduct user research to support schools buying goods and services like computer equipment and energy more efficiently and at best value

The University of Manchester has released a new publication in which leading academics call for urgent actions to be taken to tackle the increasing digital divide in the UK. The report, On Digital Inequalities, aims to identify the impacts of this digital divide on healthcare, education, employment, the economy and many other areas – as well as suggesting ways to address it. Despite many businesses and services now increasingly moving their activities online, there are still an estimated nine million adults in the UK who can’t use the internet without help - and the report contributors argue that there remains a stark North/South divide, with 53 per cent of people in the North East and 41 per cent in the North West rarely or never using the internet ,compared to 35 per cent in the South East. As well as highlighting where there is an evidence gap, the experts identify policy measures which might address the digital divide, and suggest what key indicators of success might look like. The publication calls for a number of actions to be taken, including: supplying free-to-use digital devices and internet access to those in need; increasing funding for support programmes to get people online; emulating the approach to digital skills development of countries such as Singapore and Finland; ensuring vital services are still delivered by telephone as well as online; and increasing collaboration between businesses, government and education providers. Helen Milner, Group Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, who supplies the foreword in the publication, said: “Just as we’ve heard the Prime Minister’s roadmap for coming out of lockdown, we now need a roadmap for fixing the digital divide as a social and economic priority. No longer should people have to make the choice between data and food – we know from our community partners that some people have had to make this choice in the last year.”



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G-Cloud 12 framework extended until September 2022 The Crown Commercial Service has decided to extend G-Cloud 12 for 12 months from its original end date of 27 September 2021 to 27 September 2022 G-Cloud 12 went live on 28 September Since its launch in 2012, over £7 billion of 2020 for an initial term of 12 months. The cloud services have been purchased using extension gives CCS the time to make the G-Cloud framework. With 5,224 suppliers improvements to the customer journey awarded a place on G-Cloud 12, over 38,000 including accessibility, search functionality, services are available for customers to access. and the presentation of the Digital Highlighting that CCS has been successful Marketplace platform, before the next in broadening the framework’s appeal, the iteration of the agreement is delivered. It organisation reports that there was growth of is anticipated that these enhancements over 25 per cent from G-Cloud will also help to increase opportunities 11 to G-Cloud 12. for suppliers. The CCS has said that it is Cloud-based G-Clou consulting with suppliers and services d framew customers over the planned The G-Cloud changes, and updated framework facilitat ork es the information regarding facilitates the purcha G-Cloud 13 will be provided purchase of s e of commo in the near future via the commoditised, ditised, Digital Marketplace and the cloud-based c loud-ba Upcoming Deals page. services. Services se

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are off-the-shelf with many pay-as-you-go, up-to-date and innovative solutions. More than 90 per cent of the suppliers on G-Cloud 12 are SMEs, providing easy access to a range of smaller suppliers and supporting the government’s commitment to spend £1 in every £3 with small businesses. G-Cloud is a move away from long term contracts, with a maximum duration of 24 months with the option to extend twice by up to 12 months each time (subject to approval for central government customers). G-Cloud 12 is split into 3 Lots: Lot 1 - Cloud Hosting, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS); Lot 2 - Cloud Software, Software as a Service (SaaS); and Lot 3 - Cloud Support, Cloud support to help set up and maintain cloud software or hosting services. E



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 Patrick Nolan, Technology Pillar Director at Crown Commercial Service, said: “G-Cloud continues to be a great public sector success. It encourages innovation and improves services for UK citizens, by allowing customers and suppliers to find each other easily. Now, more than ever, SMEs have a crucial role to play in our economy, and G-Cloud is a proven method through which they can grow their businesses and support the national recovery.” Cloud Compute In May it was announced that public and third sector organisations that want to purchase high volume cloud hosting solutions flexibly can now do so through a new CCS commercial agreement - Cloud Compute. Cloud Compute lets customers rapidly scale up or down their usage as and when required, with longer call-off options than other cloud agreements and more flexibility over taking on new service offerings during the contract term. The products offered through the new agreement are defined as Infrastructure-asa-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which can scale rapidly to meet any change in demand. As part of the tender process, bidders were asked to provide evidence of how they would support customers to achieve social value through their contracts – boosting sustainability and economic inequality. CCS is launching Cloud Compute to complement G-Cloud, which has shorter calloff terms and a wider pool of suppliers able

In May it was announced that public and third sector organisations that want to purchase high volume cloud hosting solutions flexibly can now do so through a new CCS commercial agreement - Cloud Compute to offer more diverse services. Cloud Compute focuses on flexible (‘hyperscale’) compute environments, used for the development of new software applications or where large and complex data sets need to be modelled, for example. Being able to rapidly scale up or down the service offered is crucial, and unavailable through G-Cloud.

The framework will run for four years and is available to the whole public and third sector. Call-off terms are up to three years, with two possible extensions of up to 12 months each. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk

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A simpler solution for complex audio visual services UK government and public sector bodies can use these services to transform their rooms into spaces which make the best use of AV services In March, the Crown Commercial Service The framework, which will run for three years launched a Dynamic Purchasing System for with a possible extension of one year, will public sector customers who need complex also enable customers to design acoustic audio visual (AV) services. and visual plans for conference rooms that UK government and public sector bodies will allow everyone to hear and see what can use these services to transform their they need to. rooms into spaces which make the best CCS says on the agreement page use of AV services, while making sure that the agreement can help anyone can use their computer organisations to achieve In Marc systems and software in their this by focusing on workspaces. This will make ‘interoperability’ the Cro h, wn it easier to collaborate with services. Comm ercial S others and will ensure a ‘Interoperability’ e launche rvice hassle free experience. means any d Purchas a Dynamic The Audio Visual computer system Technical Consultancy & and software public s ing System fo ector c r Commissioning framework will work with u stomer who ne agreement will enable your AV design. s ed com customers to design Anyone will be p l e x A V servic meeting spaces which will able to use the es allow all colleagues to equally technology with take part in the meeting (even if no issue. their attendance is virtual), as well Services available under as create collaboration zones and find out this agreement include: design the best ways to integrate their consultancy; AV integration; installation and AV technology. warranty; and AV solution support.

Online and hybrid meetings As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, local authorities met virtually to continue business politically and day to day activities. In April 2020, local authorities across the country were handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology. The government temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the virus, thereby enabling them to make effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive. A year later, at the end of April 2021, the High Court dismissed a claim that would have allowed for the continuation of local authority remote meetings beyond 7 May. The Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and Hertfordshire County Council argued that councils could use existing powers to meet remotely beyond 6 May, after the government refused to extend emergency legislation allowing it to happen. E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE



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 Councils were very keen to continue to have powers to hold online and hybrid meetings even when restrictions have been lifted. A Local Government Association survey of its members revealed that 83 per cent of councils said they would be very likely or fairly likely to conduct meetings both online and in a hybrid way once the coronavirus emergency was over if they had the power. The LGA set up a case study hub to set out several notable examples and resources of councils that have piloted virtual meetings for political and non-political purposes using various video conferencing platforms signposting you to key points to consider and contacts. Birmingham City Council Birmingham City Council held an Extraordinary Meeting of the Full Council, with 80 members, on 28 April 2020. The week before that, meetings had been held for Cabinet, Planning Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board, using Microsoft Teams. As the impact of coronavirus became clear, Birmingham City Council officers from democratic services and IT formed a project group to propose a way forward for formal meetings to take place remotely. The technical challenge the IT team was set was to find a solution that enabled over 100 participants to be in a meeting, with audio and video, and that allowed meetings to be livestreamed, recorded and subsequently uploaded to our website. The solution development stage looked at multiple technologies from different

providers encompassing both audio and video conferencing. Microsoft Teams had been rolled out across the organisation in the months before the lockdown, and officers were becoming accustomed to using it for internal meetings. Although members had not used it extensively, it had been rolled out to them so was already loaded on their laptops. However, it didn’t satisfy all of the requirements in it’s out of the box configuration. Microsoft was consulted and the discussions resulted in testing a hybrid Teams Meeting and Live Event solution. We also worked with our webcasting contractor, Civico, that takes the Live Event stream and plays it through its website, ensuring that members of the public can access meetings in the same that they always have done. City of York Council Public participation has always been extremely important to the City of York Council which has traditionally held drop-in sessions post incident (more usually flooding). With restrictions from coronavirus, York had to consider different opportunities for the public to directly interact with councillors supported by subject matter experts.

At the end of April 2020, residents were invited to watch and interact with a live #AskTheLeaders Coronavirus question and answer session on City of York Council’s Facebook page. Residents interacted with the session by either submitting questions in advance by emailing them or commenting on the live video on Facebook where leaders read out questions and responded. Residents did not need a Facebook account to watch the public live video however, they needed their own Facebook account to comment on the video with their questions if they had not already submitted questions via email. Questions were answered by theme rather than individually, so that the conversations covered as many topics as possible. Each participant in the call was trained to join a secure Zoom video call from their homes and communications colleagues were able host the call, liaise with the participants and then to make their audio and video hidden to the public whilst the call was being live streamed. The chat function of the Zoom call allowed for Facebook comments, prompts and notes to be shared throughout the call, not visible on the streamed video to Facebook. With a city-wide population of around 200,000 and a Facebook following of 11,000 the Live Q&A reached over 11,600 people and received engagement from over 1,000. Live viewing peaked at around 120 with 100 live comments received. Since then, there have been over 5,000 views across Facebook and YouTube of the Coronavirus Q&A. L


In April 2020, local authorities across the country were handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology

FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk



Viewdeck: The Transformation Challenge

Cloud, digital and legacy transformation is industry agnostic. It involves the introduction of new systems, processes and services, or the replacement of legacy systems, and requires a host of integrated activities to achieve the end goal. The introduction of new ERP systems is often at the heart of any transformation exercise but this is not just about technology. It starts with the organisation; its vision for its business, its customers and its employees. It involves all aspects of the organisation’s process and technology. One plan does not fit all, and individual plans and strategies will depend on the

organisation, the vision, and the ecosystem. Undoubtedly change is constant. New system implementations need to recognise this and plan accordingly. The benefits of modern cloud-based ERP systems are well understood; lower costs, quicker implementation, scalability, improved accessibility and mobility. And so are the challenges; security, performance, compliance, limited in-house skills and expertise amongst others. Technology does not stand still – it continues to accelerate. Customers become more demanding as technology evolves. Moving to digital is no longer a nice to do;

it is imperative. If users have difficulty adopting new services, they will avoid them, ultimately removing any potential benefits. It also has the potential to provide new delivery and revenue streams, placing data at the heart of the delivery process, connecting front-office with back-end decision making. It’s also about innovation. The continuous delivery cycle brings together people, process and technology changes, ensuring change becomes part of the norm with an ongoing plan, that supports developing needs. Its not all about Cloud and digital processes; People and human interaction remains critical. The journey is an evolving plan which needs a clear roadmap, supporting and engaging all stakeholders across the organisation. All of this requires experienced partners who can help you understand the issues, identify the solutions and implement them to achieve the benefits you seek. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.viewdeck.com

Driving Secure Digital Transformation

Viewdeck Consulting is pleased to be named on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Software Design and Implementation Services Framework (RM6193). We provide the skills and services you need to deploy new cloud-based back office systems or upgrade legacy IT systems.

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Improved access to the software, skills and services The Crown Commercial Service recently announced the launch of two new framework agreements for Back Office Software and Software Design and Implementation Services Available to all public sector organisations, workloads to the cloud can help you achieve the Back Office Software (BOS) and Software large cost and workflow efficiencies. Design and Implementation Services (SDIS) You will find market leading vendors and frameworks give you access to the software, suppliers offering value added services, skills and services you need to deploy alongside support and maintenance cloud-based back office systems for products and services or upgrade legacy IT systems. through the BOS framework. Given t h e With an increasing trend The framework is ideally heighte for organisations to suited to support n e d requirem migrate more of their policies such as ‘Cloud cloud m ents for on premise workloads First’ and the ‘One the pas igration ove to the cloud, moving Government Cloud t 12 mo r the workloads of Strategy’ where public a n nd SDIS ths, BO back office systems sector buyers are S w is a fundamental encouraged to initially the dire ill underpin c part of this. Often consider Software as a t io n o procure used to manage Service (SaaS) models, ment inf business operations, particularly for their this spa ce including Human Capital enterprise IT and back Management (HCM) and office functions. Enterprise Resource Planning During extensive market (ERP), successfully moving these engagement it was clear that one

size doesn’t fit all. Organisations have a wide range of requirements from support for migration away from highly customised on premise software, to complex system implementation, configuration and implementation, and specialist support for change management. To that end, the SDIS agreement offers you access to a wide number of suppliers, ranging from SMEs with specialist expertise through to large service integrators and software vendors. With ‘the cloud’ providing greater ability to automate back office processes and workflows, CCS wants to help organisations reduce their transactional efforts and focus on more strategic outputs. Given the heightened requirements for cloud migration over the past 12 months, BOS and SDIS will underpin the direction of procurement in this space. To supplement these frameworks, we also offer a variety of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with some of the E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


cloudThing is a specialist in Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics for Government and Public Sector. Working with clients such as DVSA, IPO and BEIS we are specialists in building great digital experiences for citizens. As a cloud native, full stack software development and integration services company, and a leader in the design, implementation, customisation, and support of

Microsoft cloud-based solutions. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner with demonstrable experience of working with large organisations on complex business transformation projects, enabled by Microsoft’s Dynamics and Power Platform technology solutions. Our services to Government are available on G-Cloud and other Government Frameworks. These include:

Power Platform Digital Transformation Robotic Process Automation GDS Compliant Digital Services Citizen Portals Data and Analytics Dynamics Case Management Bespoke Application Development


www.cloudthing.com info@cloudthing.com 0121 393 4700

Software Design and Implementation Services Software Design and Implementation Services (SDIS) provides specialist support for implementing new cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP is the ability to provide an integrated suite of business applications. This agreement also covers services for implementing a range of enterprise software and upgrading legacy IT systems. More detailed examples of the areas in scope are: enterprise architecture; business case support; configuration and testing; system integration; implementation; data cleansing and migration; change management; training; on-boarding; and application management support. This agreement is ideal for customers who need to have a clear split between a contract with a software provider and the supplier providing professional services. The software can be procured using RM6194 Back Office Software, which has been designed in conjunction with this agreement and will launch in April. SDIS is available to all central government departments, arm’s length bodies, devolved administrations, the wider public sector and third sector organisations. Maximum call off length is five years with an optional extension of up to two years at the customers’ discretion. Running a further competition is the only available way to contract with a supplier under

The Back Office Software agreement enables customers to buy software including SaaS, as well as support and maintenance and contract renewals for existing software SDIS due to the complex and organisationspecific requirements. On the framework agreement page, the CCS lists the benefits of the SDIS agreement as: delivering solutions for cloud, on premise or hybrid systems; Expression of Interest (EOI) can be used to refine the list of suppliers you will invite to further competition; flexible contract lengths up to seven years; provides coverage for sector-specific requirements across all public sector customers; can procure services individually or as a larger procurement; a wide range of suppliers from SMEs with specialist expertise through to large service integrators and software vendors; and uses the CCS public sector contract with social value considered on award to the framework in line with the PPN 06/20. Back Office Software The Back Office Software agreement enables customers to buy software including SaaS, as well as support and maintenance and contract renewals for existing software. The framework is available to all central government departments, arm’s length bodies, devolved administrations, the wider public sector and third sector organisations. This agreement provides all back office functions including: Enterprise Resource


 largest vendors in the industry including Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. These agreements offer market leading discounts and beneficial terms for public sector customers buying cloud products and services.

Planning (ERP) – the ability to provide an integrated suite of business applications; Human Capital Management (HCM) – a set of practices related to people resource management; finance; customer relationship management; procurement and sourcing portals; workflow technologies; content management; and integration software. Back Office Software is ideal for customers who need to have a clear split between a contract with a software provider and the supplier providing professional services. The agreement will run for 30 months, with an option to extend by 18 months. Maximum call off length is up to seven years (five years with two optional one year extensions, at the customer’s discretion), there is no minimum call off length. Amongst the benefits are the wide range of back office software applications, and the ability for it to be used for software deployed in cloud, on premise or hybrid systems. Additionally, the agreement provides coverage for sector – specific needs across all public sector customers and there is direct access to major SaaS vendors as well as specialist SME software suppliers. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk





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Logistics solutions to help with your coronavirus recovery The Logistics and Warehousing framework agreement, RM6074, is the first ever logistics and warehousing commercial agreement available in the marketplace created specifically for central government and wider public sector organisations Logistics businesses have shown impressive needs of consumers. However, a reduction in resilience throughout the coronavirus supply of international shipping containers, pandemic, adapting their operations swiftly and ships to carry them, led to significant and efficiently in the face of extreme rises to the cost of moving goods and pressures to keep the nation stocked with services internationally; by the end of 2020, the goods and services it needs, according shipping container rates had increased by to Logistics UK. But the business group has 185 per cent year-on-year and air freight warned that the cost of moving goods and costs rose significantly when cargo space services is likely to increase in the short to was constrained due to the grounding of medium term, as the economy feels the passenger flights. Fuel prices collapsed at impact of the coronavirus pandemic. the start of the pandemic but have now Speaking at the launch of the Logistics recovered to pre-Covid-19 levels. This Report 2021, Elizabeth de Jong, Logistics reduction may have helped to offset inflation UK’s Policy Director, said: “The logistics in the short term, but rates industry has proved invaluable to charged for all modes the UK economy throughout of transport are RM607 the Covid-19 pandemic, with expected to rise in businesses across all modes 2021, which could is the fi 4 r s of freight transport taking drive increased t e ver logi quick action to adapt their prices across the s tics and wa operations to meet the economy. re

ho comme rcial ag using ree availab le in th ment e market place

“For many logistics businesses, already operating on very tight profit margins of only two per cent - or just one per cent for those in road transport - these rises will make it harder to find the funds they need to develop their operations by investing in green technology, such as in alternatively fuelled vehicles, upskilling the existing workforce or funding new recruits while continuing to pay wages and other business costs. These tight margins may mean businesses could be left with little choice but to pass these additional charges onto their customers, rather than focus on building upon the resilience the sector demonstrated in 2020. Logistics businesses face a myriad of challenges on the road ahead, with the cost of vehicle repair and maintenance also increasing in 2020, and cash flow restrictions remaining a barrier to recovery for 40 per cent of logistics businesses.” E



Honesty | Unity | Trust | Integrity | Innovative | Safety We are proud to say that Granby has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s Logistics – Warehousing and Storage Framework.

Granby works with public sector organisations like government departments, local authorities and charities. We’re incredibly versatile, working with medium-sized and large public sector partners across the board. Our clients are continually challenged to optimise their spend and we help them utilise every trick in their marketing toolkits to survive, thrive and continue to support their thei causes and communities. Our philosophy is to do our best for you and your customers with each and every project. We align and integrate ourselves to your organisation and become part of your team. As a result, we can be dynamic, flexible and responsive to your requirements and the expectations of your target audience. Essentially, your success is our business, and your audience are our customers.

✓ Full access to mission-critical information ✓ A robust risk management infrastructure ✓ Skilled resources on standby ✓ The benefits of our investment in technology ✓ The benefits of our experience and industry involvement ✓ A robust supply network that facilitates successful end-to-end fulfilment ✓ Supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s Logistics Framework

T his philosophy has seen us go from strength to strength over several decades and repeatedly win prestigious industry awards for our work with public sector organisations

Say hello 01254 682 702 or send us an email hello@granbymarketing.com Visit our website www.granbymarketing.com

“Choosing a partner who is passionate about logistics and the customer experience really is a key differential. Allowing your partner in and sharing as much as you can ensures that they care about your challenges and objectives, which leads to a collaborative partnership.” Joanne Kimber, Managing Director, Granby

Warehousing and Logistics A full range of logistics and warehousing solutions, and services, including collection, receipt, warehousing and storage, management, processing and onward distribution.

Granby House Stanley Street Lancashire Blackburn BB1 3BW

Lots There are 25 suppliers on this agreement, spread over the eight Lots.

Lot 1: Logistics - Transport Secure collection, transportation and delivery using road transportation through the provision of lorries, vans, motorcycles, bicycles and other appropriate means of transportation. Lot 2: Logistics - Warehousing and Storage Internal storage, external storage and warehousing. Managed operations and facilities at the buyer’s premises is available. Lot 3: Waste Logistics, Recycling, Disposal and Destruction Secure collection, transportation and delivery of waste and waste related services, such


 RM6074 The Logistics and Warehousing framework agreement, RM6074, is the first ever logistics and warehousing commercial agreement available in the marketplace created specifically for central government and wider public sector organisations. According to the Crown Commercial Service, the eight lots reflect the services and solutions offered by the logistics, storage and warehousing industry and are tailored to meet the specific needs of all public sector buyers. The services include: end-to-end, multimodal transport solutions; a thorough suite of storage options for a huge range of commodities; specialist healthcare solutions; waste logistics with scope for hazardous and high-risk materials; office, work space, laboratory removals and relocation services; construction logistics ranging from simple commodity delivery through to fully managed lay-down and site management; transportation and storage of vehicles and machinery including specialist loads, vehicle detention and parts storage; and customs clearance, ground handling, fright forwarding, solution design, project management, logistics consultancy and full Fourth Party Logistics (4PL) services. Listed amongst the benefits, CCS reports flexibility built into the agreement to allow customers to state their requirements, as long as they fall within the scope of the lot titles. Other benefits include the ability to use the new Public Sector Contract – the shorter and simpler standard template for framework contracts for common goods and service. The agreement will be in place for a four-year term, however, customer call-off agreements can be up to seven years depending on the complexity of the requirements. The Logistics and Warehousing framework is already helping significantly with storage and distribution requirements of organisations like yours providing a range of solutions. These include: PPE; test kits; medical equipment; and critical commodities. The solutions available cover a broad spectrum, from ad-hoc shortterm storage to longer term warehousing provision including temperature controlled environments, MRHA and GDP compliant storage and agile supply chain logistics.

Logistics businesses have shown impressive resilience throughout the coronavirus pandemic, adapting their operations swiftly and efficiently in the face of extreme pressures to keep the nation stocked with the goods and services it needs as collection of waste material from origin (wholesaler, manufacturer, storage, field operations, laboratory) and delivery to point of storage or processor.

Lot 4: Removals and Relocations Removal, relocation and related services through the deployment of fit for purpose vehicles, such as lorries, vans and any other appropriate means of transportation. Lot 5: Vehicle, Plant and Industrial Equipment – Transportation and Storage Transportation and storage of vehicles (including aviation, maritime, military), plant and industrial equipment. Lot 6: Construction Logistics – Transportation and Storage Transportation, storage and management of construction material and related services, such as secure storage capacity at supplier premises including temporary ‘Lay Down’ facilities. Lot 7: Healthcare Logistics - Transportation and Storage Transportation, storage and management of pharmaceuticals, blood, tissue, biological samples, healthcare materials, medical equipment and other healthcare-related services. Lot 8: Logistics and Warehousing Solutions, Design and Support Services Logistics and warehousing design and support services including supply chain integration, optimisation and resource management. Buyers have the ability to direct award or undertake a further competition. Check your organisation’s internal policies and controls

processes before engaging with suppliers to make sure you are following your standard operating procedures. Social value Framework agreements are increasingly becoming the desired route to market offering compliant, cost effective and rapid procurements underpinned by the Public Sector Contract (PSC). This is even more critical at this unprecedented time when councils have enormous pressure placed upon in-house resources. The CCS pre-evaluated framework suppliers, that include regional and national SMEs together with larger global companies, offer a wide range of innovative products and services. These solutions can be tailored to meet your specific and local needs. CCS also provides a tried and tested way for organisations to reach out to the market in order to determine the best solutions. CCS category teams are here to offer support and guidance around market capabilities, effective pricing structures and standardised contract terms. With regards ti social value, the first ever Logistics and Warehousing framework can deliver on key benefits such as: coronavirus recovery achieved by local PPE storage and distribution; regional employment growth through recruitment and business opportunities; supply chain resilience delivered by our SMEs through collaboration; and a clear roadmap to tangible delivery of environmentally sustainable and Carbon Net Zero logistical solutions. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov. uk/agreements/RM6074



Founded by Opticians, at Smart Employee Eyecare we know that good employee Eyecare is essential for people’s health, wellbeing and productivity. SEE provides smart, proactive optical care for your workforce. Our offering includes e-Vouchers for your VDU workers, giving them access to eye exams and spectacles for VDU use. Our easy-to-use portal can be tailored to fit your internal structure, while our helpdesk is available Monday to Friday to provide help and support to your employees in using their Eyecare vouchers. Request a demo today at smartemployee-eyecare.com


Supporting employee health and well-being The RM6182 framework agreement provides access to proactive and preventative services as well as treatments to support employee physical and mental health and well-being The pandemic has challenged the well-being Additionally, recent studies from The Health of employees on a scale never seen before. Foundation show that more than two-thirds of From health concerns to money worries, adults in the UK (63 per cent), report feeling fatigue due to being ‘always on’, juggling worried about how coronavirus is affecting working life and caring commitments, and their well-being and 56 per cent of adults in reduced social interaction. the UK report feeling stressed or anxious. A recent Edenred research report based on a survey RM6182 of 2,000 UK employees The RM6182 framework The has shed some light agreement provides corona on the magnitude of access to proactive and pandem virus challenges businesses preventative services ic has challen now face: 29 per cent as well as treatments ged the of employees said to support employee b e welling of e the benefits their physical and mental mploye on a sc employers provide health and well-being. e s a l e never to meet wellbeing Providing solutions for before seen needs are inadequate; a range of occupational employers saw health services, employee decreases in pre-pandemic assistance programmes and levels of physical wellbeing eye care requirements, the (34 per cent) and happiness available services reflect the needs at work (33 per cent); 21 per cent and accessibility requirements of the of employees think employer support for modern and diverse workforce. financial well-being has fallen short, but 51% This includes traditional occupational health of businesses said this was an area they were services such as: advice; referrals; health least likely to measure the impact of; and 25 screening; surveillance; and treatments. per cent of employees flagged mental health This agreement also offers innovative and as their biggest concern in 2021. preventative solutions such as, psychological

screening and health surveillance, for a proactive approach to employee health and well-being. The employee assistance programmes uses the latest technology, which allows employees to access support from mobile phone applications or through live chat at any time. This agreement replaces Occupational Health, Employee Assistance Programmes and Eye Care (RM3795). Having begun in March, it will run for four years with no possibility to extend. A summer boost As businesses and organisations prepare to adapt to a controlled easing of lockdown restrictions this summer, it seems the pandemic and the prospect of warmer weather have reconnected workers with all the benefits of the office commute. The introduction of a new standard to help employers manage psychosocial hazards is also being eagerly awaited this summer. ISO 45003 is the first global standard that will give employers practical guidance on how to manage psychosocial hazards for staff in the workplace. These hazards can cause stress, fatigue and bullying/harassment, for example, which can then lead to serious mental health problems. E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Market leading EAP, health & wellbeing support Health Assured is the UK and Ireland’s most trusted independent health and wellbeing provider, making a positive difference to over 13 million lives. We are committed to supporting the public sector workforce to help everyone live happier, healthier lives.

We can offer your organisation: • 45% reduction in mental health related sickness absences • 98% of staff want their workplace to continue using Health Assured’s EAP service • 54% improvement in staff returning to work following the usage of our services

In the UK employers see an average ROI of

£7.27 per £1 spent* on an EAP *EAPA UK, Financial return on EAPs 2020 (2020)

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 According to World Health Organization guidance, psychosocial risk is defined as any risk related to how work is organised and managed – from social factors to aspects of the work environment and hazardous tasks. The assumption is that psychosocial hazards are present in all organisations and sectors, and from all kinds of employment arrangements. Built on ground covered by ISO 45001, which is designed to prevent work-related injury and ill health and to provide safe and healthy workplaces, ISO 45003 defines a psychologically healthy and safe workplace as one that “promotes workers’ psychological wellbeing and actively works to prevent harm to psychological health, including in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.” Stavroula Leka, professor of work organisation and wellbeing at the Business School of University College Cork and coconvener of the working group developing ISO 45003, says: “With mounting data that poor work organisation, design and management is associated with poor mental health, absenteeism, presenteeism and human error, it was felt that a specific guidance standard on psychosocial risks was needed. “The new guidance is not trying to turn line managers into psychologists. ISO 45003 is not about managing clinical psychological problems. It’s about how organisations [can] create a positive psychosocial environment. It’s guidance for designing work in a more preventative way so that psychological illhealth issues don’t arise.” Duncan Spencer, IOSH head of Advice and Practice, said: “We very much welcome ISO 45003 as a proactive attempt to make good mental well-being part of a company’s culture. For too long organisations have focussed predominantly on treating the symptoms of mental ill health in the workplace; this new standard is an important step towards addressing the causes of it too. Protecting the

Providing solutions for a range of occupational health services, employee assistance programmes and eye care requirements, the available services reflect the needs and accessibility requirements of the modern and diverse workforce. mental wellbeing of staff is vital in building a resilient and sustainable organisation.” Mental health recovery plan Patients suffering from mental health issues will benefit from expanded mental health services backed by £500 million as part of the government’s Mental Health Recovery Action Plan. Announced at the end of March, the plan aims to respond to the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the public, specifically targeting groups which have been most impacted including those with severe mental illness, young people, and frontline staff. Under the plan, NHS talking therapies (IAPT services) which offer confidential treatment of conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD will expand, supporting 1.6 million people to access services in 2021/22, backed by an additional £38 million. Additional therapists will also be trained to support those with more complex mental health needs as a result of the pandemic. People living with severe mental illness will also benefit from enhanced mental services in the community, backed by £58 million for better, joined up support between primary and secondary care, including specialist mental health staff embedded in primary care. One-off initiatives will receive funding to tackle the impact of coronavirus on mental

health and learning disability and autism services and to support groups who have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic. Funding will also be used to help level up mental health and wellbeing across the country in the most deprived local authority areas in England, supporting prevention activities like debt advice, carers support, outreach to people facing loneliness and isolation, youth projects and community groups. Eligible local authorities will receive around £500,000 each. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our Recovery Action Plan, backed by £500 million of funding will accelerate the expansion of mental health services and provide people with the support they need. As part of our response to this global pandemic we not only want to tackle the public health threat of coronavirus but ensure our clinicians have the resources to deal with the impact on people’s mental health.” All government departments are committing to promote Public Health England’s Psychological First Aid training to their workers and volunteers to develop their skills and confidence in providing support to those affected by coronavirus. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.centreforcities.org



Make ‘love local’ a reality with Town and City Gift Cards Local businesses, whether small independents or national brands, are the beating heart of your community. Towns and cities across the UK and Ireland are driving local spend, increasing footfall and locking in money for local businesses with their very own Gift Cards programme.

Set up a Gift Card programme and show your community how much you care Divert money spent online back into your local businesses

Easily disburse funds and ensure that money stays in the area

Bring new money into your area - 50% of Town and City Gift Cards are purchased as gifts

Stimulate additional economic activity, customers typically spend 65% more than the value of the gift card

Create the perfect incentive or reward for local employers to give to their staff

Fully managed service from Miconex, from implementation to fulfilment, setting up a local Town and City Gift Cards programme in as little as 8 weeks.

Free for businesses to take part, offers a new revenue stream and new customers too Works through the MasterCard network and open to all businesses with no new equipment or training required

With over £2 million in local gift card sales and over 8,500 local and national businesses supported, isn’t it time your place joined the award winning Town and City Gift Cards programme?

To find out more: info@mi-cnx.com 01738 444 376 www.mi-cnx.com


Voucher Schemes framework is the first of its kind A brand new framework is now available to help customers quickly and efficiently set-up voucher schemes to support citizens - particularly in times of need The new Voucher Schemes framework (RM6255), the first of its kind created by the Crown Commercial Service, gives you access to voucher-based solutions to meet a wide range of citizen needs. The fully managed service includes the design, implementation and management of schemes tailored to your specific needs. That could be grocery or non-grocery vouchers for people in need, including the dispersal of the coronavirus winter grant, or rewards for survey completions. Suppliers will work with customers to put a scheme in place that meets the particular needs of the organisation and its recipients.

with a direct award option – a simple As standard, vouchers are issued scheme can be set up in two to as e-vouchers and are three weeks; discounts on the ‘closed loop’, commonly voucher face value based known as gift cards. As stan on the size and value of Physical vouchers, d ar vouche your scheme; no minimum along with any other rs are isd, as e-vo scheme value needed to special requirements s u e d uchers use the framework; fast, you have, can be a a re ‘clos nd secure voucher distribution; requested in your e commo d loop’, vouchers are valid for a further competition. nly time-period specified by you; By putting in place as gift c known unused or lost vouchers will a scheme through ards be replaced or refunded; and a the framework, users free helpline 24 hours a day, seven will benefit from: fast and days a week, 365 days a year. E compliant route to market Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Helping to solve the needs of public social programmes

Public sector organisations can use the Edenred Select platform to distribute flexible digital eCodes that recipients can swap for over 100 merchant eGift cards or gift cards. Accessed via the RM6255 framework, you can trust in a provider with unique experience and capability to deliver voucher schemes for a wide range of public social programmes. Why Edenred Select? • Proven experience and capability – Chosen provider for the Free School Meals replacement scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic • Exceptional value for money • A completely secure and customisable solution with flexible distribution options • Ease of use for administrators and recipients • 95% user satisfaction score from 620,000 survey responses • A large breadth of retailers, giving your recipients unrivalled choice


0330 134 5797

This agreement also provides a platform that will allow you to access services such as design, implementation and management of this scheme. It is available to all central government and public sector bodies, including those with overseas locations Employee Benefits agreement Public sector employees will not receive vouchers for employee benefit, reward or recognition purposes. For these services, the CCS has a Employee Benefits (RM6133) agreement. The framework allows buyers to access a range of employee benefits using an online platform to support their pay and reward policies. It is available to central government departments and all other UK public sector bodies. The nine core benefits covered are: childcare voucher scheme; cycle to work scheme; reward and recognition scheme; payroll


 Voucher Schemes This agreement also provides a platform that will allow you to access services such as design, implementation and management of this scheme. It is available to all central government and public sector bodies, including those with overseas locations. Voucher Schemes is a single lot agreement and all suppliers have the ability to provide closed loop vouchers. As a mandatory requirement, suppliers will provide these as e-vouchers across the UK. Physical vouchers, overseas delivery and specific branding needs are not part of the mandatory services. You will need to specify these services at call – off. This agreement will run for two years with the option to extend for a further two periods of up to 12 months. The Voucher Schemes agreement is for the implementation, distribution and management of funds through vouchers, such as Free School Meals or retail vouchers for the reward of completion of surveys. The scope does not include the administration of grants. For these services, take a look at the CCS Grant Administration DPS (RM6172) agreement.

giving scheme; employee discounts scheme; discounted gym membership scheme; technology and smartphone discount scheme; financial wellbeing scheme; and green car scheme. The benefits for the single supplier framework are listed as: consistency of benefits and price across the public sector; easy call off using a single supplier route; all benefits accessible via one benefits platform; user access using app-based application; broad range of benefits and salary sacrifice schemes to meet employers’ reward strategies; employer Reward and Recognition Scheme; E



Xexec – Discounted vouchers for the Sulic SectoT Managing all your voucher schemes on the new CCS Framework. Let Xexec manage the end-to-end process of delivering the broadest range of vouchers to match your bespoke needs on the RM6255 framework. • All voucher categories and sectors • All voucher formats !digital rint cardsy • ational and international vouchers • eginning to end service ! rocurement

fulflment and deliveryy • M .e orting and auditin • Flexile a roach to com lement your tailored requests • Sim le invoicing


 flexibility to add additional benefits and to tailor to meet business needs; promotes the well-being of staff, including financial well-being; promotes social value through environmentally friendly benefits and local service delivery; and a Payroll Giving Scheme helps deliver wider social benefit. Thanking employees Writing for Government Business last year, Gail Cohen, director general of the Gift Card & Voucher Association, said that business leaders should, more than ever, be encouraged to thank their staff for all of their hard work and commitment during 2020. She explained how financial incentives, such as gift cards, are a great way to show appreciation to those members of your team who have endured a challenging year. Over the past year, the gift card industry has been a local and national hero, allowing consumers to show their support for local businesses through purchasing gifting credit, as well as being bought and sent digitally to

The Voucher Schemes agreement is for the implementation, distribution and management of funds through vouchers, such as Free School Meals or retail vouchers for the reward of completion of surveys loved ones in the months where meeting in person was limited due to coronavirus restrictions. According to the Gift Card & Voucher Association, during these months, 14 per cent of shoppers bought a gift card for somebody else, outselling physical gifts at just 12 per cent, and more than one in five consumers (21 per cent) purchased gift cards to support their favourite businesses during this difficult period. Although lockdown restrictions have now changed, Gail explained how, at the time of writing, with giving gifts in person still limited, due to many staff still working from home

and face-to-face interactions placed under restrictions, gift cards are a great way to not only reward staff but allow them to spend their value with their favourite brands. According to recent research, over 50 per cent of consumers will spend their gift card within one month of receiving them and 98.6 per cent will spend them within the first 12 months. Not only does this demonstrate the effectiveness of sending a gift card as it is likely that they will be used promptly by the recipient, but, it is also easy to redeem the card’s value by accessing the chosen retailer online. E Issue 28.3 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


Helping non-profits, charities and the public sector with vital funds disbursement. We are Blackhawk Network. We have been very satisfied with the Select Essentials scheme and the service provided by Blackhawk Network. Laurence Field, Programme Manager Children’s Services, Ealing Council

We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Blackhawk Network to anyone looking for a voucher solution in future. Neil Keen, Admissions Manager & Free School Meals Lead, Devon County Council

Last year, we helped to distribute £250 million worth of emergency aids around the world, including £90 million in the UK.

If you’d like to hear or learn more, do please contact us on 0207 419 8191 or at ccsenquiries@bhnetwork.com

Why don’t you let us help you in 2021? Just some of the local authorities and charities we’re working with to distribute much needed funds.

Crown Commercial Service Framework RM6255: Voucher Schemes

option, workers are generally less likely to remember what they spent a cash reward on as these are often added onto a salary and, in some cases, can be scarcely noticeable. Instead, employers can gift a multi-store gift card or even select a gift card for their employees that can be redeemed at a particular local business they are wanting to support. Similarly, the business may want to offer an experience (including online experiences, which are important to consider in the current climate) voucher to its employees to treat themselves to a different kind of reward. This demonstrates that meaningful thought and consideration has gone into the gift, rather than a cash figure that may be missed. A tax-free employee benefit Finally, gift cards do not just benefit the employee that is receiving them, but there are other benefits for the business too. There is existing legislation from HMRC that means that businesses can reward staff

without either employee or employer feeling it in the pocket. Indeed, for rewards worth up to £50, the HMRC Trivial Benefits exemption allows employers to thank their staff without the employee incurring additional costs in tax or payroll - all the business needs to do is order the gift card either in-store or online and then send on to its recipient. At a time when staff are more in need of reassurance than ever, it is crucial for businesses to take every chance they can to show how much they appreciate the hard work of their team. A little investment in this area can go an extremely long way in terms of employee morale, engagement and long-term productivity. Gift cards have been a proven tool for increasing employee engagement, allowing workers to spend the value on an item they would truly treasure. L


 The ability to redeem and purchase gifts online has been a trend that has accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Not only are consumers opting to send gifts to loved ones online, but at least 86 per cent of consumers are were expecting to receive gifts digitally last year. For businesses currently employing a remote workforce, this is an attractive option to not only reward staff at a distance but allow their employees to redeem the value in a way that is convenient to them. Businesses’ HR teams or other key departments – depending on the exact business in question – purchase cards online and then they can simply be posted to their employees’ home addresses, or sent digitally to their email or smartphone via an app. One of the major drawbacks of providing staff with cash bonuses, is that the money is often spent on miscellaneous costs such as rent, mortgage payments or domestic bills, rather than used to treat themselves. While cash bonuses may be an initially preferred

FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov.uk




Low value and uncomplicated common goods and services Low cost, low value and uncomplicated common goods and services including from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) suppliers

The Low Value Purchase System has been award or run a mini competition (getting established by Crown Commercial Service multiple suppliers to propose a solution) to (CCS) under Part 4 of the Public Contracts select a supplier. If you choose direct award, Regulations 2015 for suppliers who are able you will need to make sure that it is in line to provide goods and or services where the with your corporate procurement policy. value of the contract is below the relevant The Low Value Purchase System framework thresholds for Part 2 of the Public Contracts enables customers to filter the supplier Regulations 2015 to apply. list by: the type of goods or services, the The value of the contract for these goods and postcode radius which suppliers can supply services must not exceed the limits set out in the goods or services, as well as if the the Procurement Policy Note (PPN) for supplier is an SME or VCSE. Public Contract Thresholds 20/21. Through this Suppliers can apply to join agreement, CCS can offer this agreement at any products and services for: The time, including Small and agricultural, farming, framew Medium-sized Enterprise fishing, forestry and o r k provide (SME) and Voluntary, related products; s a s solution imple Community and Social agricultural, forestry, Enterprise (VCSE) horticultural, cost, lo for low w volum suppliers. Customers aquacultural and low com e, can either use direct apicultural services;

require plexity ments

agricultural machinery; petroleum products, fuel, electricity and other sources of energy; mining, basic metals and related products; chemical products; electrical machinery, apparatus, equipment and consumables; lighting; rail, air and sea auxiliary products security, fire-fighting, police and defence equipment; sewage, refuse, cleaning, and environmental services; industrial machinery; machinery for mining, quarrying, construction equipment; musical instruments, sport goods, games, toys, handicraft, art materials and accessories; food, beverages and related products; clothing, footwear, luggage articles and accessories; leather and textile fabrics, plastic and rubber materials; collected and purified water; installation services; hotel, restaurant and retail trade services; transport services with driver/operator (not including waste transport); E



Infinite possibilities through technology

Leading IT solutions and technology Provider Vohkus, announce that they are awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Agreement (RM6147). This news means that public sector buyers are given a flexible route to buy a range of technology hardware and software products through direct award. It is available to the UK public sector and their associated bodies and agencies, including the voluntary sector and charities. Lance Forster - Sales Director at Vohkus said: “We are delighted to announce that Vohkus has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Agreement (RM6147). This is a huge win for Vohkus and solidifies our intent to significantly grow our public sector market share over the next few years.” At Vohkus our commitment to everyone we work with is to enable competitive advantage through our Technology Edge >|< Business Edge foundation that underpins our passion for operational excellence.  


Vohkus continually invests in supporting public sector national procurement frameworks. We’ve experience in many highly regulated environments from national and local government to defence and blue light services to education and healthcare, and have a deep understanding of the special demands, budgetary constraints and challenges each of them face. We’ve helped many public bodies transition to new technologies, speed up communications, reduce delays in processing traditional paperwork, and improve security and compliance in line with mandated standards. Vohkus have a commitment to everyone we work with to enable competitive advantage through our Technology Edge >|< Business Edge foundation that underpins our passion for operational excellence. Our new V-IP eBusiness

0345 647 2090

solution allows for 24/7 stock availability and pricing. With a database comprising hundreds of thousands of products from the worlds biggest technology brands. V-IP is a tailored procurement system designed to leverage existing investment in ERP and eProcurement, and further streamline operations. Consolidate all your procurement through one simple interface and streamline your internal processes and workflows. You can reduce human error, as well as reducing order processing time to a minimum with pre-approved product bundles and favourites. Slash your operational expense by creating enhanced scheduled reporting and improved account management tools. Improve control over your budget spend and track who’s buying what to minimise those all too common surprise invoices. Consolidated invoicing, reporting, and product management with our eBusiness team on hand to support every step of the way. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.vohkus.com/contact


VOHKUS The trusted UK leader in IT Procurement & Business Solutions. INFINITE POSSIBILITIES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY EDGE Achieve the business benefits and increased performance you need for a strategic focus on technology and service delivery that will truly put you ahead of your competition.



Benefits The Low Value Purchase System framework provides a simple solution for low cost, low volume, low complexity requirements, as well as a flexible route to market where suppliers can join at any time. Supporting the government’s SME policy, in which Whitehall aims to spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs, directly or through the supply chain, by 2022, the agreement


 supporting and auxiliary transport services and travel agencies services; education and training services; permanent recruitment and contingent labour; recreational, cultural and sporting services; other community, social and personal services; and translation services. This agreement is for use by Contracting Authorities in the UK which fall into one or more of the following categories: ministerial government departments; non ministerial government departments; executive agencies of government; Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), including advisory NDPBs, executive NDPBs, and tribunal NDPBs; police forces; fire and rescue services; ambulance services; maritime and coastguard agency services; NHS bodies; educational bodies or establishments; hospices; national parks; and councils, including county councils, district councils, county borough councils, community councils, London borough councils, unitary councils, metropolitan councils and parish councils.

Low Value Purchase System uses a dynamic filtering system, giving customers flexibility based on the common goods and services they want, their SME status, and their location also contributes to the Social Value outcome of increasing supply chain resilience and capacity by creating a diverse supply chain to deliver contracts including new businesses and entrepreneurs, SMEs and VCSEs.

Low Value Purchase System uses a dynamic filtering system, giving customers flexibility based on the common goods and services they want, their SME status, and their location. Dynamic filters ensure that the E



Refrigeration and air conditioning energy efficiency

An increase in condensing temperature of just 1 degree Celsius will result in an increase in energy consumption of two-four per cent.* A dirty condenser that is condensing at just 10 degrees Celsius above its optimum will be costing you between 20-40 per cent more than it should be, along with placing the system components under increased strain, making an expensive failure more likely. Just think of it this way: a car makes a 125 mile round trip from A to B and back again. It has delivered its primary purpose – to get you from A to B And back again. But, your car hasn’t been serviced, the tyres are low,

you have got loads of heavy stuff in the boot and a roof rack. Your car has got you from A to B and back again and has averaged 25 m.p.g. using 5 gallons. Assuming £1.20 per litre and  4.5 litres per gallon, that journey has cost you £27.00. Your neighbour has the same car and makes the same journey. But, their car is well maintained, tyre pressures are good, they have taken out all the unnecessary stuff in the boot and the roof rack off the roof. Their car gives them 40 m.p.g for the same journey, using 3.15 gallons. That journey cost your neighbour £17.01.

Both you and your neighbour make the same journey Monday to Friday, but by the end of the week they are spending £50 less that you. At the end of the month it’s around £200, and by the end of the year it’s £2500. Let’s say they spend £1,000 per year on servicing and tyres. They are still £1,500 up, and their car is less likely to break down at the side of the road leading to a large repair bill. Let’s say that your neighbour owns more than one car. Maybe they own multiple cars in several locations. Now, substitute ‘car’ for ‘fridge plant’, or ‘AC system’, and ‘m.p.g’ for ‘Kw/h of electricity used’ to realise the financial impact that attending to any advisories will have on your business. That’s a lot of money going to the energy companies that doesn’t need to. Call or email us now to see how we can support you during this critical time and beyond. L *Figure quoted by the Carbon Trust: Food and Drink Industry Refrigeration efficiency initiative. FURTHER INFORMATION www.accuratecoolinglondon.co.uk

Accurate Cooling Services (London) Ltd


We are an innovative air-conditioning and refrigeration company based in Sevenoaks in Kent, which has grown substantially over the past few years. Many local authorities and public bodies will be trying to make cost savings during the long road to recovery, the effective maintenance of refrigeration and Air Conditioning equipment, vital to so many

operations, becomes more important than ever.


We can support you through the design, installation, commissioning and ongoing service of your Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Ventilation needs. Call or email us now to see how we can support you during this critical time and beyond.


Contact us for a free quote: admin@ accuratecoolinglondon.co.uk



0203 728 4889

Greater efficiency for Walsall Council The Crown Commercial Service has released a case study exploring how using the Payment Solutions commercial agreement led to greater efficiencies for Walsall Council. A review of their existing purchasing card service led Walsall Council to transfer to Lloyds Bank, through the CCS Payment Solutions commercial agreement, in a bid to secure costsavings and enhanced efficiencies. When Walsall Council put their purchasing card operation out for tender, they were

looking to reduce costs and to make their operations run more efficiently. Danielle Russell, Purchasing Cards Officer at Walsall Council, explains why it became clear very early on that Lloyds Bank could provide the solution they needed. She said: “The presentation from the Lloyds Bank team was very professional. They took time to understand what we needed from the system and the fact that the Commercial Card Data Management solution they offered was delivered by Fraedom, a supplier we were already familiar with, was a huge bonus for us.” The nature of the services the council delivers means that there are a variety of transactions passed through their purchasing


 right suppliers are notified about opportunities relevant to the common goods and services they are able to provide.

cards system. The provision of an automated payment system using virtual cards with existing suppliers, not only allowed the council to lock down approved spend and manage suppliers more effectively, but eliminated the manual processing and reconciliation that the council previously undertook. Louise Pearl, Client Development Manager, Commercial Cards, Lloyds Bank, has worked closely with the Council across the implementation. She said: “Lloyds Bank is a Commercial Card supplier to the UK public sector under Crown Commercial Service’s RM3828 Payment Solutions Agreement, giving us the experience to respond to the needs of Walsall Council. The greater automation of services has been a huge win-win for the Council, not just in terms of reducing admin, but also in terms of enhancing security.” Anything can be bought on a card, meaning you have unlimited chances to benefit, while the benefits increase exponentially the more purchases you make. Whether you’re already using procurement cards but want to further harness their power, or if you want to introduce them into your organisation, you can quickly and easily start seeing the benefits. L FURTHER INFORMATION www.crowncommercial.gov. uk/agreements/RM6237

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Suppliers of high quality signage and displays became the owners of Eastcote Sign & Display in 2019 after the founder, Michael Cotton, decided to retire. For Lee and Chris, it was a natural evolution. Having started work at Eastcote Signs as their first jobs, it was an obvious choice for them to take over the business.

FURTHER INFORMATION Eastcote Sign & Display Ltd is a London-based sign manufacturer from Wembley. Whatever your needs for banners, signs, hoardings window graphics and vehicle graphics, the company’s experience in the industry means that Eastcote supplies and installs high quality signage and displays for clients. Eastcote uses the latest equipment, including vinyl cutters and Roland wide format digital printers, to deliver consistent and reliable print quality. Lee Murphy and Chris Kelly

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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


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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.

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Government Business 28.3  

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Government Business 28.3  

Business Information for Local and Central Government

Profile for psi-media

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