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ISSUE 28.4

Business Information for Local and Central Government SMART CITIES

THE COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE OF CITIES The collective intelligence of cities is the light at the end of the tunnel for the future of smart cities



Places that Work Functional, well maintained environments creating the trust to safely return to work.






ISSUE 28.4

Business Information for Local and Central Government SMART CITIES

THE COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE OF CITIES The collective intelligence of cities is the light at the end of the tunnel for the future of smart cities


Local action on tackling climate change It is now less than 100 days until representatives from around the world will gather in Glasgow for Cop26. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of missing in action, Cop26 President Alok Sharma has been found to have flown to 30 countries in the past seven months, which, when combined, stretches to 200,000 air miles, and Allegra Stratton, Johnson’s climate change spokesperson, has openly discussed why she chooses to drive a ‘third-hand’ diesel Volkswagen Golf. But, do not despair. Away from the doom and gloom of Westminster, change is happening at a local level. In this issue we share the views of Rachel Coxcoon on some of the community-based initiatives changing the perception of climate and energy policy, Charlie McNelly and Rob Franklin explain how local authorities can embark on their net zero journeys, and James Goodman explores the importance of empowering communities to take action towards restoring nature in their local areas.

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The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that blight our regions, but it has also shown how change can progress undeterred when people come together to improve the lives of their communities. Let’s hope that local action will be recognised and encouraged in the lead up to Cop26, and that those currently ‘missing in action’ give it the focus it deserves. Michael Lyons, editor

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Business Information for Local and Central Government | PUBLISHED BY PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION LIMITED

226 High Rd, Loughton, Essex IG10 1ET. Tel: 020 8532 0055 Web: EDITOR Michael Lyons PRODUCTION MANAGER & DESIGNER Dan Kanolik PRODUCTION CONTROL Lucy Maynard WEB PRODUCTION & ADMINISTRATION Victoria Casey ADVERTISEMENT SALES Clive Beer, Steve Day, Patrick Dunne, Bernie Miller, Vimla Stephen ADVERTISEMENT SALES SUPERVISOR Neil Haydon PUBLISHER Karen Hopps

© 2021 Public Sector Information Limited. No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any other means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the editorial content the publisher cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN 1470-0735

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Contents Government Business 28.4 12


07 News

37 Innovation

Rural communities overlooked in ‘levelling up’ funding; councils losing millions due to holiday homes loophole; and the pandemic has created ‘perfect storm’ of health inequalities

Gordon McFarlane provides his reflections on how the public sector has innovated in the last 18 months and whether the Covid pandemic has changed our attitudes to innovation

12 Sustainability

40 Retrofitting

Charlie McNelly & Rob Franklin explain how local authorities can embark on their net zero journeys – based around helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change

Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to carbon reduction. The Insulation Manufacturers’ Association explores

14 Net Zero

43 Road maintenance

Local Trust’s James Goodman explores the importance of empowering communities to take action toward tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature in their local areas

47 Security Event Series

16 Energy Writing on behalf of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Rachel Coxcoon discusses the the role of partnership work in building community-led energy action

19 Finance Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, details the opportunity to bring public services closer together to better meet the needs of local areas

22 Healthcare


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51 Frameworks: RM6141

The Language Services framework went live in May, providing interpreting, translation and transcription services that support remote working and social distancing

27 Transport

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30 Smart cities


Designed by the industry for the industry, The Security Event returns to the Birmingham NEC over 7-9 September 2021, reuniting installers, integrators, manufacturers, distributors and end users

The experts at PA Consulting look at how placing elected local government representatives at the heart of NHS integrated care systems could unlock their full potential

Harry Steele, Royal Town Planning Institute Infrastructure Specialist, discusses measures to reduce travel demand and the role of place in achieving a reduction in surface transport emissions


The Building Back Safer – Making Roads Fit for 2030 report, published in July, tracks the performance of motorways and ‘A’ roads in Great Britain

The pandemic has exposed some hard truths about cities and society. But the collective intelligence of cities has emerged as a beacon for hope for the future of Smart Cities, as Oli Whittington, Senior Researcher in Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, explores

33 Technology Ellie Huckle, Programme Manager for Central Government, techUK, looks at the role that small businesses have to play in transforming public service delivery through their innovation

Government Business magazine

Government Business takes a look at two case studies examining the work between the Crown Commercial Service and Glasgow City Council to transform the region into a world-class smart city, as ell as how the DVLA transformed its contact centre services and telephony

63 Frameworks: RM6100 The Crown Commercial Service has awarded the latest version of the Technology Services framework - with additional services and improved call-off terms

68 G-Cloud Romy Hughes, director at Brightman, outlines some of the reasons why the public sector still shuns the G-Cloud and other frameworks Issue 28.4 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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Rural communities overlooked in ‘levelling up’ funding

A report has argued that the way in which the government is allocating funds for its flagship ‘Levelling Up’ programme is failing to properly recognise the needs of rural communities. The Rural Services Network has found that prioritisation of the Levelling Up Fund has favoured non-metropolitan urban locations, especially in northern England’s ‘Red Wall’,

while many other areas of similar need are overlooked. Large swathes of rural central and southern England, (and indeed northern rural areas) including those that received funds through previous EU-backed programmes, are now seen as a low priority. According to the data, only 18 rural districts were placed on the government’s priority list

of 123 local authorities for its Levelling Up Fund. This independent research shows that the number should have been as high as 27 if low standards of living in rural communities were properly accounted for. The report calls for a new, transparent and straightforward process for the geographical prioritisation and allocation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which launches next year to replace regional economic development funding previously distributed under European Union programmes. The authors recommend that future Levelling Up funds, including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, should be allocated between local authorities on the basis of an assessment of living standards achievable by people living and working in each district. READ MORE


Leaders call for investment in grassroots sport facilities The Local Government Association has said that the legacy of Team GB’s success during this summer’s Tokyo Olympics risks being lost without further investment in grassroots and community sport facilities. Councils provide the majority of public swimming pools and leisure facilities. However, they are expensive to build and maintain and with increased pressures to divert funding from sports to fund statutory services such as adult social care and children’s services. The pandemic has also resulted in many leisure facilities facing additional financial pressures.

Council leaders claim that 63 per cent of main sports halls and 60 per cent of swimming pools are past their expected lifespans or overdue refurbishment, resulting in some facilities remaining closed after the pandemic and in need of costly repairs. The LGA is calling for the government to provide an urgent second round of National Leisure Recovery Funding, worth £700 million, to enable facilities to remain open and continue playing a vital role in supporting the health of the nation and nurturing the ambition of young people in elite sports.



New planning requirements on fire safety The government has said that residents will be safer in their homes thanks to new planning requirements, ensuring that highrise developments consider fire safety at the earliest stages of planning. Under the new requirements, developments involving high-rise residential buildings must demonstrate they have been designed with fire safety in mind before planning permission is granted – including through their site layout – and with access provided for fire engines. The government says that local planning authorities must seek specialist advice on relevant applications from the Health and Safety Executive, as the statutory consultee on fire safety, before a decision is made on the application. In future, this role is likely to become part of the new Building Safety

Regulator – which, led by HSE, will oversee a new safety regime for high-rise residential homes. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “This is a key step in our progress towards a new, risk-based building safety regime that will ensure fire safety is prioritised at every stage in the development of high-rise buildings. “I am pleased to appoint the Health and Safety Executive as the statutory consultee, which will be on-hand to provide their expertise to local planning authorities on these important fire safety elements. We are driving up the standards of safety for people’s homes and our new regulator – to be introduced under the Building Safety Bill – will provide this essential oversight, from a building’s initial design, to providing homes in the future.” READ MORE



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Councils losing millions due to holiday homes loophole

Colliers has estimated that the total loss to local authorities from business rates relief for holiday lets in England and Wales alone is currently around £110 million a year.

Property owners who make their properties available to rent as holiday lets for 140 days of the year can claim they are a small business and as such can elect to pay business rates instead of council tax. As small businesses they can claim for relief on 100 per cent of the business rates payable if their properties have a rateable value of less than £12,000. Colliers says that those properties with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 are also entitled to a relief on a sliding scale in line with the government’s business rates relief policy. The issue is most acute in Cornwall where 10,701 holiday let properties do not pay

either business rates or council tax, due virtue of being holiday lets. Colliers estimate that if these properties paid council tax, the local authority would receive £18 million extra income every year. This is despite the boom in house prices as the pandemic and consequent trend to ‘Staycation’ has caused residential property markets in UK holiday destinations to rise steadily, particularly the South West, especially among second homeowners. House prices in Cornwall alone rose over 14 per cent in the last year. READ MORE


More than 17,000 extra outdoor seats on streets last year More than 3,300 fast track applications have been lodged by businesses such as cafes, bars and restaurants to expand their footprint onto England’s streets. PwC analysed 3,366 applications across 343 civic bodies covering England’s unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, London boroughs, county and district councils where the licences can be granted. Breakdowns of the 1,022 licences with available tables and chairs data placed at least 17,045 extra customer seats outside. Of the 3,366 applications tracked to June 2021, 2,061 were approved, with 350 rejected, 490 pending and 11 withdrawn. Hotspots include Westminster - which hosts more than 3,700 bars, restaurants and pubs - processing more than a third of total applications (1,310), Kensington & Chelsea (442), Hackney (95), Islington (74) in London. Across the country, there was also significant uptake in Northern cities including Liverpool (348) Newcastle (103)

and Bradford (54). Pavement licences are valid for between up to 12 months, having been introduced by the government on 22 July 2020 to help English businesses boost customer numbers outside and partially offset the impact of social distancing and indoor restrictions on revenues. Pavement licences have been particularly popular due to the speed of processing.

Applications can be approved in 10 working days in some cases. In comparison, a standard tables and chairs licence can take up to eight weeks for consultation and approval, and cost more than £1,200 for five tables or more. READ MORE


Council leaders warn of temporary accommodation crisis

The Local Government Association has warned that as many as 119,830 children in England will be living in temporary accommodation during the end-of-year Summer school break. Councils say that the number of children spending the summer holidays in temporary

accommodation would fill more than 4,500 classrooms, underlining the need to build more social housing. The LGA wants to work with government on a long-term plan to tackle homelessness, so everyone has a safe and secure permanent home, as part of the recovery

from coronavirus. It is calling on the government to let councils build back locally, by giving them the powers and resources to deliver a social housing building programme of 100,000 new homes a year, to help address the housing shortage. Councils are also calling for further reform of the Right to Buy scheme so that councils can retain 100 per cent of receipts, have flexibility to combine Right to Buy receipts with other government grants and be able to set the size of discounts locally. READ MORE



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Pandemic has created ‘perfect storm’ of health inequalities

£5bn broadband upgrade for 2.2 million rural homes

Millions of people in rural England will get access to the fastest broadband speeds on the market as part of a £5 billion plan to level up internet access across the UK. The government has said that it’s Project Gigabit fund to upgrade digital infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas will accelerate the country’s recovery from Covid, fire up high-growth sectors such as tech and the creative industries, put an end to families battling for bandwidth and bring the speed and reliability people need to start and run businesses. Now, new details have revealed that up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 English counties will get access to gigabit speed internet of 1,000 megabits per second. It brings the current total number of premises in scope for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million, with more still to be announced over the coming months across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The coronavirus pandemic has created a ‘perfect storm’ of existing inequality and disease, leading to higher rates of coronavirus infections and death amongst the most disadvantaged people. According to a new report by the Local Government Association, a lack of access to skills and training and overcrowded housing are among the deep-rooted, structural issues which need to be tackled if we are to build back better from the pandemic. Council leaders say that it is vital to act now and drive forward work programmes which reduce inequalities, prevent poor

health and improve people’s opportunities to live healthier, more active lives. While councils are doing all they can to protect their communities from the worst effects of the pandemic, the LGA says it is clear that fundamental change is necessary to address the multiple health inequalities which have been exacerbated by coronavirus, including those related to age, gender, ethnicity, occupation and geography.



Seven in ten face difficulty finding staff

Wales to consider voting in supermarkets and colleges

The British Chambers of Commerce has released the results of its Quarterly Recruitment Outlook survey for Q2 2021, with responses drawn from over 5,700 firms. The new figures show a surge in the proportion of firms expecting to grow their workforce in the next three months, as well as a notable rise from the previous quarter in the proportion who attempted to recruit. However, the data also shows the proportion of those who had difficulty in finding staff climb significantly. Attempted recruitment during Q2 was up on previous quarters, with even sectors which have been harder hit during the pandemic, such as hotels and catering, seeing rises. More than half of respondents overall attempted to recruit in Q2, up from 40 per cent in Q1. The sectors with the highest proportion of firms attempting to recruit were production and manufacturing at 64 per cent and construction at 63 per cent, these were up from 50 per cent and 54 per cent respectively in the previous quarter. READ MORE


The Welsh Government is exploring with local authorities whether flexible voting pilots can take place in next year’s local government elections. Voting in different spaces is being considered to provide voters with easier access in familiar environments. Polling stations in secondary schools and colleges would allow young people easy access to democracy, following legislation giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in Wales. Consideration is also being given to sites such as leisure centres or supermarkets. More flexible voting could also be achieved through early voting. This could see polling stations open the day before or the weekend before an election, or across multiple days. It




would supplement postal voting as a way to give people more options to vote in advance. The Welsh Government has also said it will explore the possibility of people also being able to vote at any polling station in a local authority area, instead of having to vote at an appointed polling station. Local authorities are now considering whether they would like to progress any of these ideas for the 2022 local elections. If pursued, lessons learned would then inform arrangements for future elections, including the Senedd election in 2026 and the local government elections in 2027. READ MORE




Climate change: why is adaption key? Charlie McNelly & Rob Franklin explain how local authorities can embark on their net zero journeys – based around helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change As global temperatures continue to rise, the However, national policies to address adaptation need for both national and international action have been slow in coming. The Climate Change on adaptation, as well as mitigation, is now Committee (CCC) has recently completed an clear. Increasing temperatures are resulting in Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk, unprecedented climate risks across the globe, setting out and prioritising climate change risks evident most recently across North America, and opportunities across the UK. The assessment where record breaking heat waves have indicates that there is a growing gap between resulted in hundreds of heat-related deaths. the severity of risks that can be expected from Alongside this, devastating flash floods across climate change and the level of adaptation western Germany and Belgium have action currently taking place across the UK. highlighted the growing risk of The assessment also recognises extreme weather events, the UK government’s intrinsic role T here with Chancellor Angela in facilitating good adaptation is a rea Merkel drawing a action and planning, including l need fo direct link to climate the important role that nationa r effective change, and calling local authorities can play upon Germany to in facilitating this action. policies l plans and that ad re-double efforts. While local authorities c eq onsider Across the UK, should continue to review the imp uately ortance rising temperatures central government policies of adap ta are expected relating to adaptation, the individu tion for to increase the need to take immediate, a ls frequency and intensity short-term action is clear. This commu and nities of extreme heat and presents local authorities with precipitation events The an opportunity to demonstrate impacts associated with these leadership on adaptation and extremes have recently been felt leverage local knowledge to progress across the UK with flash-flooding across both locally-appropriate solutions. Somerset and London causing damage to roads and homes, in addition to widespread transport Importance of local disruption due to flooded roads and railways. authorities in progressing Given the growing risks, there is a real adaptation need for effective national plans and policies Local authorities are key influencers that adequately consider the importance of across their regions and can lead by adaptation for individuals and communities. example to galvanise progress on



issues across business and local communities. Actions to support adaptation should therefore be considered alongside other economic, social and environmental issues that are being experienced across a local area. Through the implementation of dedicated plans and policies, local authorities can provide a crucial framework, as well as resources, to support local communities and businesses with managing climate-related risks and impacts. For example, councils could include requirements for sustainable urban drainage solutions (SuDS) to be prioritised in new developments, and the potential for summer overheating of buildings to be carefully considered through their Local Plan. In addition, local authorities have the responsibility of ensuring that assets in their area are protected, valued and used sustainability in order to deliver a net gain in local natural capital. Studies have shown that nature can play an important role in adapting our built environment, with naturebased solutions providing urban cooling and flood management as well as a range of other benefits for health and biodiversity. Managing climate risks effectively can therefore help to deliver a myriad of cobenefits across a local area, whilst also supporting internal corporate objectives that may have been set by individual councils. Key actions that local authorities can take on adaptation There are a multitude of actions that local authorities can take to act on adaptation at


the local level. The specific actions that are taken will vary depending on a variety of localised factors including actual and projected levels of climate risk, overall capacity and resource available to act on adaptation, alongside wider priorities of the local area. The following recommendations are therefore not exhaustive, but they can help steer the development of initial actions that support adaptation across a local authority: Develop robust corporate plans and policies – Policies that appropriately recognise the role and importance of adaptation in shaping local decision making should be developed e.g. local authorities can consider setting a dedicated resilience target, which sits alongside organisational mitigation targets to facilitate the tracking of progress on adaptation, and ensure that any decisions made (e.g. project or policy development) align to pre-determined targets on adaptation. Engage with local communities and organisations to leverage local expertise – Local authorities should work closely with stakeholders and business leaders to develop local partnerships which focus on developing a coordinated and localised response to adaptation. Involving key stakeholders in the decision-making process has been proven to be an effective way through which robust adaptive action can be achieved at the local level. Develop local measures which integrate both adaptation and mitigation – for example, through the development of localised green infrastructure. Policies which seek to increase and protect the levels of green space across an area can not only help to offset the urban heat island effect but can also assist with flood risk management and protection of green corridors, all of which helps to add value and enhances the adaptive capacity of both human and natural systems. Adaptation capacity building and skills development – Local authorities should enhance the capacity of officers and stakeholders to appropriately act on adaptation. Councils should identify relevant

Adaptation is listed as one of the key upfront goals of the COP26 discussions, where countries will be looking to reach an agreement on the key adaptive measures that will be required in order to protect both communities and natural habitats teams/departments that are going to be vital to any response to climate adaptation and enhance their knowledge of the importance of climate adaptation. Local authorities should also continue to seek further guidance from national governments on the appropriate frameworks that should be adopted relating to adaptation. Adaptation in action: Working with Hampshire County Council The Carbon Trust has been working closely with Hampshire County Council (HCC) to support the its response to adaptation, which forms a key part of its climate emergency declaration. HCC is one of the few local authorities in the UK to have officially set a resilience target, which states that the council will build resilience to the impacts associated with a two-degree Celsius rise in temperature across Hampshire. Through working with the council, we have been able to explore a number of key themes relating to adaptation that will enable robust action at the local level. One key theme relates to the ‘frontloaded’ nature of adaptation i.e. that greater investment now translates into reduced economic costs in the future. We have supported HCC in calculating the economic cost of adaptation inaction across the county, seeking to quantify the costs associated with extreme rainfall and heatwaves on buildings, alongside the impact events of this nature may have on labour productivity and mortality. Understanding these future costs today therefore helps to build a strong business case for investment in the adaptation interventions that are needed today.

Outlook on adaptation across the UK Local authorities should closely consider key outcomes of the upcoming COP26 negotiations, which will be held in Glasgow in November. Adaptation is listed as one of the key upfront goals of the discussions, where countries will be looking to reach an agreement on the key adaptive measures and policies that will be required in order to protect both communities and natural habitats. This will ensure that discussions around adaptation are at the centre of negotiations at COP26, which brings welcome visibility to a crucial, and occasionally overlooked, aspect of climate action. The need for strong, robust action on adaptation has been highlighted in the CCC’s recent progress report on adapting to climate change in the UK. The CCC highlight that action on adaptation is now falling behind levels of increasing climate risk, meaning that the UK is now underprepared for the expected impacts associated with a changing climate. A number of key recommendations are provided to the UK government on key actions to adequately manage levels of risk across all sectors. We recommend that local authorities should monitor the government’s response to this progress report, in addition to any agreements that are developed in response to negotiations at COP26. The importance of adaptation is critical – this is a time for action on adaptation and local authorities can play a crucial role in delivering this. L FURTHER INFORMATION



Net Zero

Powerful communities for a net zero future Local Trust’s James Goodman explores the importance of empowering communities to take action toward tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature in their local areas 150 neighbourhoods in England have been given over £1 million each to improve their local communities. No grant application or competitive tendering process involved, no centrally driven key performance indicators or detailed reporting demands, the only requirement is for local residents to form a ‘partnership board’, consult their local community, develop a plan and start spending. This is Big Local. Launched in 2010, coordinated by Local Trust and devised by The National Lottery Community Fund, it is one of the most exciting grant programmes ever created by a major lottery funder, trusting local people with resources, time and decision-making power needed to make a real difference where they live. And at just over halfway through the journey, what is already being achieved is inspiring. Scattered across England, all 150 areas are in the upper quintile of the Index of Multiple Deprivation, many are – or were at the beginning of the programme –lacking in social infrastructure, such as places to meet or locallybased charities and institutions. Many are far from transport or retail hubs, disconnected and underserved by national infrastructure. So given the opportunity, what do these communities choose to focus on? Unsurprisingly, few make explicit mention of the climate crisis in their plans – at latest count only six, in fact.


Even more groups are working to improve their Climate change is often seen as a an local environment, taking on the ownership issue for discussion by governments at G7 and management of green spaces from the meetings, a conversation that seems to have local council, tidying them up and increasing no bearing on neighbourhood priorities public access, planting trees and picking up such as crime, poverty, or health. It can litter. They are increasing biodiversity and, in also feel inaccessible, with the technical many cases, sequestering carbon through land knowledge and skills to run projects such as management and tree-planting. This contributes community energy generation out of reach. to a resilient local ecosystem, better able to cope Yet much of the work people in these with extreme weather, and preserving neighbourhoods have taken on natural spaces for the common good. is preparing communities, Some are even getting involved in one way or another, Big in flood defence measures. to take advantage of Local w Improving local transport the transition to a a s set up as a is another priority. net zero economy com Groups have used data and a climatedevelop munity alongside effective local changing world. m e program nt campaigning to lobby for Around a third m e . B a differ improvements in public of Big Local ent per ut from spective could e transport provision. Many partnerships are asily be , it are taking measures to growing food locally, describ as a clim improve the walkability mostly in small e d a te of their neighbourhoods community gardens program action – for example by installing or allotments, helping me lighting or signposting, or to build awareness of leading guided walks – and where food comes from, several have set up bike hire getting people involved, and schemes. This kind of work is heading in the providing healthy and nutritious food. direction of low-carbon local mobility. Although rarely framed as a contribution to Big Local was set up as a community a low carbon, more resilient food system, development programme. But from a different that is exactly what this sort of activity is.


Net Zero

perspective, it could easily be described as a climate action programme. Whether or not they have a climate focus, these projects - from supporting youth employment, to taking over, running or even building a community centre, or from funding social enterprise to giving out multiple small grants to local people and charities – are helping to build powerful, resilient communities. Places where people feel a sense of pride and connection, and have the confidence, skills, and agency to work together to make their neighbourhood a better place to live. These are the kinds of places that will be able to weather the challenges of the future, and have the dynamism and outlook to take the opportunities that will arise as we transition to a net zero economy. Some Big Local partnerships are deliberately tackling the climate crisis head-on. Take Ambition Lawrence Weston (ALW), on the north-west outskirts of Bristol, close to the M5 and the port of Avonmouth. The group has combatted fuel poverty in poor-quality housing, reducing heating bills and carbon emissions simultaneously, and they own a 50 per cent stake in a major local solar farm, which earns revenue for other community-building work. Recently they received planning approval for the largest onshore wind turbine in England, on land owned by Bristol City Council, which will generate enough electricity to power 3,850 homes, save almost 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually and deliver at least £50,000 to the community per year. The motivation for this work was not to reduce emissions or to adapt to a future of extreme weather events. It was to improve people’s lives, through tackling poverty and generating income. They just happened to do it in a way that aligns perfectly with a resilient net zero future community. According to the Climate Change Committee: “More than half of the emissions cuts needed rely on people and businesses taking up low-carbon solutions – decisions that are made at a local and individual level.”

According to the Climate Change Committee: “More than half of the emissions cuts needed rely on people and businesses taking up low-carbon solutions – decisions that are made at a local and individual level.” So, how do we get there? The first and most important task is to support communities to build the capacity, awareness, agency, and resources they need to take control of their own futures. There is a reason that transition towns and climate action groups still tend to be concentrated in areas of relative affluence, despite the efforts of those involved to broaden participation. It’s the same reason that neighbourhood plans and parish councils are poorly distributed nationally, and the same reason that Covid-19 emergency funding didn’t reach into every community that needed it. We desperately need to redress the massive geographical imbalances in the UK, not just in wealth, but also in power and in self-efficacy across local communities A new Community Wealth Fund could help the most ‘left behind’ communities in Britain rebuild their social infrastructure and in turn, their confidence and capacity as well. Campaigners for climate action and for social and economic justice should find common cause here. Local authorities also have a crucial role to play in supporting this. Most have now declared a climate emergency and can create the conditions for the communities they serve to shape the response. Plymouth City Council is a great example of how this can work. The council pledged to set up an energy co-op and supported the foundation of Plymouth Energy Community

(PEC) as a community benefit society. Though PEC is an independent organisation, the council helped recruit 100 founder members, developed the business plan, and several staff members now have job-share arrangements between PEC and the council. PEC is delivering for the community and helps the council to achieve its goals, providing expertise and credibility to inform the council’s wider work on climate and fuel poverty. Local authorities can make land and other assets available and also support communities with skills and advice. They can involve citizens actively in developing climate action plans, giving people real decision-making power and give greater planning support for community-run developments, and priority bidding for community groups for land or buildings, or can form joint ventures with net zero community businesses. The daunting task and the amazing opportunity before us, is to both level up our country and tackle the climate crisis at the same time – to thrive in a climate-changing world – and community power is the key for both. L

James Goodman is director of partnerships and learning at Local Trust. FURTHER INFORMATION




Encouraging better community energy action Writing on behalf of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Rachel Coxcoon discusses the role of partnership work in building community-led energy action Local authority support for communityLocal Government Act 2000 and the widebased initiatives on climate and energy ranging General Power of Competence in comes in many forms, and support for the Localism Act 2011. The agreement was community-based initiatives is something an innovation in relationship management, that any council should have at the heart that was backed up by seed funding and the of its climate emergency strategy. council making available land and buildings For some local authorities, the focus has of its own that BWCE could lease for some of been on establishing local community energy their early renewable energy installations. organisations, such as the hugely successful In a similar vein, the close working Plymouth Energy Community. Established relationship between the Oxford’s community by the City Council in 2013, recognising that led Low Carbon Hub and the County and community involvement was central City Councils resulted in a successful external to tackling fuel poverty and funding bid for £40 million for Project LEO reducing carbon emissions, (Local Energy Oxfordshire). The Low the organisation was Carbon Hub develops and manages Not all always designed a portfolio of local generation suppor to fledge into an and demand management t for commu independently run projects, with the city and n community body. county councils providing change ity climate With initial funding, key infrastructure including need b responses e via fin sharing council intelligent street lighting, EV office space and mechan ancial chargers and heat networks. isms being able to call Rather than establishing on officer support or directly supporting community for some years, PEC co-operatives, other local authorities now independently runs a have rekindled the older ‘municipal range of energy advice services, energy’ model, developing energy projects owns a wide array of solar projects that generate direct income for the council (raising over a million pounds in community to invest in a wide range of community share investment), and has recently expanded services. Rather than spinning off a councilinto zero carbon social housing development. owned energy initiative into a community Other local authorities have partnered with energy co-operative as in the Plymouth already successful community energy groups, model, Swindon Borough Council chose to such as the close working relationships establish Public Power Solutions, a whollybetween Bath & North East Somerset Council owned subsidiary, to develop a range of and the successful energy co-op Bath & renewable energy projects on their land and West Community Energy (BWCE). An official assets. By 2016, PPS had developed the UK’s ‘Cooperation Agreement’ between the first solar farm funded by council-backed Council and BWCE in 2015 set out a way bonds sold directly to the public, as well as for the two organisations to work together, one of the UK’s largest standalone battery invoking the Well Being powers in the storage projects at 50MW. PPS now provides



support to other local government bodies to develop similar community-based projects. Arms-length arrangements Though partnerships and direct financial support are the most immediately obvious ways for local government to support community climate action, there are also good examples of more ‘arms-length’ arrangements such as setting up crowdfunding platforms, bond issues and partnering with communities on funding bids from trusts and foundations. Cotswold District Council recently established a community fundraising platform (Spacehive), through which communities can raise funds for a wide range of local projects, with the council prioritising match funding to projects that will lead to carbon reductions. This brings a strong message to communities that climate action is crucial for the council, prompting them to think about climate actions in a wide range of other community projects. Cotswold District Council and a wide range of others have also recently pledged to issue a Climate Bond in 2021, following in the pioneering footsteps of West Berkshire and Warrington Borough Councils. In 2020, both councils launched ‘Community Municipal Investment’ (CMI) bonds in partnership with Abundance Investment. CMIs are an innovative mechanism that allow residents to invest directly in their council, in projects they can directly relate to. The councils retain responsibility for project management and risk, and residents’ investments sit alongside the council’s other sources of borrowing for infrastructure, such as the PWLB. This means the investment for community members is low risk, as the risk is linked to the wider strength of the council’s finances, not the projects directly.


Via this mechanism, West Berkshire and Warrington councils both raised a million pounds in late 2020, with the funds allocated to a range of solar PV, LED lighting, cycleway and nature restoration projects. The need for support Many larger rural counties, unitaries and districts cover areas with anywhere between 50 and 350 parish and town councils. These bottomtier councils have a direct grassroots link to their communities and can provide evidence and intelligence on a whole range of climaterelated needs that larger councils simply can’t hope to understand on their own – barriers to cycling and walking locally, understanding demand for off-street EV charging etc. But they also need support; many parish councils have limited staff resource and only a handful of councillors. Somerset County Council’s response to this has been to launch a £1 million funding pot that parish and town councils can bid into for grants of up to £75k, for parishbased climate activity. This pot is backed up by a series of training and networking events for parish and town councils across the county. Winchester District Council is currently engaged in a similar parish engagement project, but rather than providing a funding pot, they are instead creating carbon footprint reports and providing advice and support to all their parishes on establishing local projects that tackle their biggest sources of carbon emissions. And this coordination role is important, because this bottom level of government also has a secret weapon of its own – unlike larger district and unitary councils, town and parish councils are not capped in their ability to raise the local precept (their portion of the Council Tax). Shrewsbury Town Council took advantage of this by consulting the community in early 2020 on raising the precept by a whopping 20 per cent specifically to tackle the climate emergency. As a result, they now have a ringfenced pot of £250,000 for town-based community climate projects. The impact of all the larger town and parish councils in the country following suit with hyper-local precept raises (‘by the people, for the people’) could be incredibly impactful. Not all support for community climate change responses need be via financial mechanisms. One of the biggest weapons at the disposal of planning authorities is their ownership of the Local Plan, a statutory document that guides development in a local authority area for 15 years or more. A local planning policy environment that supports and encourages community-based energy activities can not only de-risk the project development process for cash-strapped community energy groups, it can also result in increased renewable energy generation capacity overall, as communities recognise that commercial developers will need to work closely with them to get planning permission. In this respect, Cornwall Council’s 2016 Renewable Energy Supplementary Planning Document sets an excellent precedent that other councils should replicate in their area. Supporting communities to showcase individual actions, and providing small amounts of funding for peer-to-peer learning is another fruitful avenue. More affluent households tend

Rather than establishing or directly supporting community co-operatives, other local authorities have rekindled the older ‘municipal energy’ model, developing energy projects that generate direct income for the council to invest in a wide range of community services to have higher carbon footprints, but also much more agency over what they do in their homes, and the choices they make about travel. Local authority promotion and branding of these sorts of peer-to-peer learning opportunities cannot be underestimated, especially where it results in households with the biggest carbon footprints carrying out substantial retrofit. This ‘able-to-pay’ market sector are the households who will give local trades the confidence that there is a market worth training for, and will stimulate local retrofit supply chains. The Green Open Homes scheme, which began in Bristol in 2010, received sponsorship support from Bristol City Council, with the model ultimately being replicated by similar community peer learning schemes in more than 40 other UK towns and cities. Any local authority that has declared a climate emergency could look to replicate this simple and effective scheme, using the resources available at The hyper-centralised nature of UK government means that many of our European neighbours have a longer history and greater depth of established community and municipal activity on climate change and energy. However, despite this decidedly unlevel playing field, local government in the UK has still found

a multitude of ways to support communitybased activity on climate change and energy. The challenge for this ‘decade to make a difference’ is to take this range of exemplars and innovations, and make them ‘business as usual’ for all local authorities, from well-resourced combined authorities right down to the smallest district councils. L

Rachel Coxcoon is director of ClimateGuide, a consultancy providing strategic support to local authorities tackling the climate emergency. She has been instrumental in a range of national community energy initiatives over the last 15 years, having previously run the Urban Community Energy Fund and national Green Open Homes scheme for government, and establishing the Next Generation community energy programme for the Power to Change Trust. Rachel is also an elected councillor, and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Forward Planning at Cotswold District Council. FURTHER INFORMATION



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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, having poor internet connection, and issues with invoice scanning and resources 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, such as 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 Due to the increased risk of fraud and error during the pandemic period, Crown


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There is just no way of knowing how your particular organisation has been affected financially by the impact of fraud or error without undertaking a review of your payments made during the pandemic. The procurement of a quick, focused review enables any organisation to obtain a level of assurance with regards to their exposure to fraud and error and it’s resultant financial cost during this period. Who should be considering these reviews within your organisation? These reviews are intended to provide a level of assurance that your own organisation has not suffered financially from the changes and increased risks experienced as a result of the pandemic. The key individuals that should be responsible for the procurement of these services would naturally be those involved in considering and managing risk and payments within the organisation. Heads of audit, heads of fraud departments, heads of finance and/or heads of accounts payable are therefore the key individuals involved in both and the decision making with minimal need for direct procurement involvement in terms of protracted procurement exercises. This should enable prompt and decisive procurement with a focus on getting things done asap. The solution – A 10 day COVID-19 Health Check As an approved supplier on the framework, Twice2much has established a ‘10 day COVID-19 Health Check’ to help organisations address the increased financial risks arising during the pandemic. L FURTHER INFORMATION


Levelling up – bringing the buzzword to life Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, details the opportunity to bring public services closer together to better meet the needs of local areas Levelling up is the political catchphrase of the The pandemic has taken these inequalities moment, but one that is so all-encompassing and turbo-charged them. The effect of school it has become rather difficult to pin down. closures will likely be felt in educational However, in broad strokes, most seem to attainment for some time to come. The agree it is focused on creating a more impact of the pandemic on key economic equitable and inclusive society in which sectors such as hospitality, entertainment and regions, communities and individuals are tourism has left many people out of work and enabled and empowered to achieve the best dependent on the state. Young people have outcomes possible. been particularly disadvantaged Inequality is a stubborn by a much more volatile feature of life in the UK. A labour market, hindering Levellin decade of fiscal austerity their ability to enter the g has left deep scars across workforce. u p i s a n many public services. It is therefore no ambitio A recent report by the great surprise that a u s p a olicy genda, Institute for Fiscal phrase like levelling risk of mbut runs the Studies found that, up, promising to be e a n prior to the pandemic, a lever by which to i n much t g income inequality was address some of these o too m too higher than most other complex, systemic issues, people any developed countries, the is politically and publicly gender pay gap had stopped popular. The Prime Minister falling, and prosperity varied himself even attributed wildly across different regions. recent election success in the This sense that some regions have been former Labour stronghold of Hartlepool left behind or forgotten is consistently cited in part to levelling up, saying that ‘these as one of the largest factors in the fall of the election results are an instruction to us to Red Wall in the last general election. keep our focus on what matters – more

jobs and investment, better public services and levelling up opportunity in every single community across the country’. However, despite the fact that levelling up seems to be being positioned as a panacea for those regions and groups in the UK that feel undervalued and left behind, many, including us at CIPFA, have struggled to alight a clear definition of what exactly is meant by the phrase. Does the direction of travel imply that no one will be left any worse off, despite pressures on spending and a heavy national debt burden? With details on exactly what levelling up should look like thin on the ground, there remains a risk that policy will be fragmented, evaluation difficult and accountability evasive. However, for the purposes of this article, let us assume that the objective and definition behind levelling up is what the rhetoric suggests – reduced inequality, improved outcomes and elevated communities. As a committed localist myself, I would always advocate for devolution of fiscal powers taking a leading role in any policy agenda that seeks to empower under-served local areas. After all, it is local councils, their officers and their political leadership that E



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Key initiatives include: • Levelling Up Fund • UK Community Renewal Fund • Towns Fund These all have one thing in common. I’m talking of course about competitive bidding. Competitive bidding has been growing in popularity for some time and it is a trend I have consistently expressed concerns about. I certainly welcome the announcement by Robert Jenrick recently that government is aware of this and would seek to reduce the prevalence of this approach. Creating a strong bid for government funding takes time, money, resources and skill. Local authorities in large part are already over stretched and under resourced. Bidding for vital funding is simply another pressure. Because of this, competitive pots of money can often find themselves being allocated to those local authorities that have the time, money and in-house skill to put together compelling applications. Funding then becomes linked not to established need, but to the ability to construct successful bids. Success often breeds success, with those areas creating solid bids attracting more investment, more skills, and going on to put together even more successful bids. Those local authorities with least capacity and least resource, no matter how worthy their bids, can end up being muscled out. With the levelling up agenda contingent upon

Without clarity of purpose and defined objectives, we not only risk failing those communities that need this agenda the most, but potentially risk actively harming the ability of deprived local areas to meet need in the long term competitive pots of money, we run the risk of inequalities being further entrenched rather than alleviated. Looking specifically at the levelling up fund, we also see increasing political influence in local bids. While the realists amongst us will understand that no decision, whether at the local or national level, is free of a political agenda, the fact that levelling up is clearly seen as a contributing factor in political success is cause for concern. Analysis by the Guardian found that the levelling up fund skewed overwhelmingly towards Conservative-held regions despite relative affluence already prevalent in those areas. Of the 93 English regions placed in the top priority groups for support from the fund, 31 are not ranked in the top third most deprived places by average deprivation score. Of these, 26 are entirely represented by Conservative MPs, with the others having at least one Tory MP. These conclusions are concerning. It cannot be acceptable that levelling up funding be used as a way of influencing voters to the detriment of good decision making. The top priority tiers should be based first on need, ensuring that all local authorities are given an equitable shot at engaging with this national policy and achieving their full potential. This should be based on sound economic judgment rather than a ballot paper, and I would personally welcome greater transparency and openness around the selection criteria for any financial awards aligned with levelling up. Key to local success will also be ensuring that one-off pots of government funding


 best understand local needs and how they should be met. In my view, an empowered local state should be at the heart of the levelling up agenda. However, with the decision to scrap the devolution white paper, the political will to decentralise is distinctly absent and I fear I will remain disappointed! Unfortunately, it is not only the absence of devolution that may place limitations on levelling up. Some of the mechanisms built into pots of levelling up funding run directly counter to a local approach to meet local need.

align with the existing funding landscape and plans for future funding arrangements. Despite the desire to elevate local areas and regions, the quantum of local government funding remains unchanged. CFOs will be facing systemic financial challenges that have been ongoing for over a decade, including their over-reliance on increasingly insufficient forms of local taxation to support service demand. Levelling up will not alleviate any of these pressures and may even increase the burden on councils in the long term. After all, when the discrete pots of funding run out, what are councils to do with remaining financial liabilities? We at CIPFA are calling on the government to demonstrate how the levelling up agenda will be aligned with long term local funding considerations where needed. In summary, levelling up is an ambitious policy agenda, but runs the risk of meaning too much to too many people. Without clarity of purpose and defined objectives, we not only risk failing those communities that need this agenda the most, but potentially risk actively harming the ability of deprived local areas to meet need in the long term. The UK is wellplaced to think differently about inequality. Taking on a new, holistic perspective of the economy, society and the environment, while investing for the long term, can help deliver more balanced, durable growth for all. L FURTHER INFORMATION




Put elected members at the heart of ICS decision-making The experts at PA Consulting look at how placing elected local government representatives at the heart of NHS integrated care systems could unlock their full potential The development of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) in England continues apace – including preparation for taking on a wide range of statutory responsibilities from April 2022 (subject to legislation). One of the key arguments underpinning ICSs – at both national policy level and in how they are being built locally – is that joining-up decision making between the NHS and local authorities as well as other community partners, will provide a basis for drawing on a much wider range of perspectives and resources for creating long-term, sustainable improvements to citizens’ health and well-being. However, the maturity of relationships between NHS and local government organisations across the country remains variable. While relationships between NHS leaders and local government chief executives and directors of social care tend to be well developed, elected members (local politicians) are less likely to be meaningfully involved


decision-making has the potential to in integration discussions, and relationships significantly improve both the quality of with non-executive leaders are less welldecision-making and the speed at which established. The ICS Design Framework’s subsequent improvements can take place. expectation is that place-based partnerships This is because elected members are ‘listen consistently to, and collectively necessarily very close to populations. act on, the experience and They engage regularly with the aspirations of local people and citizens they represent and communities’. To meet these Effectiv are accountable to them at requirements, health, care e involve election time. Their links and local government to communities and organisations must build elected ment of m direct accountability closer relationships e m b require ers give elected members that include citizens as s genuin joint de a part of the decisiona unique perspective e c ision-m making process. on local people a king betwee and services, and n l o authori c Why elected how they can best ties and al members be designed to meet t h e NHS are crucial to local needs. In addition, integrated care creating structures Placing elected members where elected members and NHS leaders at the heart of are included as joint partners Integrated Care Systems and place-based in decision-making processes as early as



possible will reduce the risk of dispute and challenge which may follow the tough decisions involved in re-shaping services. Early and active engagement with elected members is also crucial to expanding the scope of integrated care to encompass the broader services for which local authorities are responsible – those which can enable some of the greatest gains in health outcomes to be made in the longer-term. The wider determinants of health, such as housing, environment and economic inclusion, all have a critical bearing on health and well-being - in many cases a greater influence than NHS services. Despite this being well-known, they have hitherto remained peripheral to most health and care debates and decisions Take housing, for example. According to The Health Foundation, 32 per cent of households (or 7.6 million) in England had at least one major problem relating to overcrowding, affordability or quality of housing at the start of the pandemic. Poor quality homes can lead to (or exacerbate) physical health problems, whilst affordability,

One of the key arguments underpinning ICSs is that joining-up decision making between the NHS and local authorities will provide a basis for drawing on a much wider range of perspectives and resources for creating longterm, sustainable improvements to citizens’ health and well-being fuel poverty or insecure housing can create or exacerbate mental health issues. Actively involving local political leaders in ICS decision making from the outset can act as an accelerant for deepening collaboration. It provides a visible sign of joint partnership, and can help Local Authority teams feel like they have a clear and unambiguous mandate to think and work differently with health partners. This can provide the impetus for collaboration that goes beyond local authorities’ remit for public health

and social care, into those areas that have a profound impact on quality of life and health demand and which will need to be part of long term prevention strategies. How to bring elected members into integrated care decisions Effective and sustainable involvement of elected members requires genuine joint decision-making between local authorities and the NHS. That means moving past consultation, which can be superficial, E Issue 28.4 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE



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


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PFI Expiry While complex contracts and regulations underpin government organisations in every area, a much publicised example is PFIs, which the collapse of Carillion brought into sharp focus, leaving unfinished hospitals in its wake. There are currently more than 700 operational PFIs in the UK, with a capital value of £57 billion. In the next decade, over 200 PFIs will expire, with the NAO observing that ‘systems for maintaining up-to-date versions of contracts remain weak’. Affinitext makes it easy to extract all contractual obligations at your desk in seconds and ensure that projects are managed and returned to public ownership in accordance with the contract. REQUEST YOUR DEMONSTRATION NOW 020 3667 4866

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

Having agreed a vision, systems will then be in a position to establish joint decision-making structures to work towards it. These should ensure: • Balanced membership of boards (and other decision-making groups) to support honest, open dialogue and genuine joint decision-making. For example, there should be either equal representation of the NHS and local authority, or else a mechanism to ensure that substantive decisions require the consent of both NHS and local authority leaders, with any exceptions minimised and clearly defined in advance. This will ensure that decisions combine clinical and democratic legitimacy, giving them a powerful basis for acceptance across the system and swift implementation. Consideration should also be given to ensuring an appropriate executive and non-executive split – which may include more non-executive (i.e. elected) representation from local authorities. • Clear governance links to statutory boards for the NHS and local authority council or cabinet. This includes carving out

Creating structures where elected members are included as joint partners in decisionmaking processes as early as possible will reduce the risk of dispute and challenge which may follow the tough decisions involved in re-shaping service the widest possible remit for joint decisionmaking arrangements, within statutory requirements, to create effective and comprehensive joined-up services that system partners jointly own. The creation of ICS Statutory Bodies from April 2022 provides a significant opportunity in this area. Provided that systems can work through and jointly agree how local authorities’ involvement can be maximised in a way which does not infringe NHS-specific accountabilities. • Design arrangements appropriate for a decision-making function, rather than scrutiny or advice. For example, the appropriate management and secretariat support to ensure that decisions are timely, evidencebased, and suitably recorded to be acted upon by the system as swiftly as possible. This will ensure that structures reinforce the shift in working relationship from one of elected members scrutinising NHS decisions to open joint decision-making. Finally, it’s important to note that joint decision-making structures and processes also have a cultural underpinning. NHS leaders, especially clinical leaders and elected members, bring not only complementary perspectives but also complementary


 however well-intentioned. It means investing time into developing relationships and a joint understanding of their places and translating that into a shared vision and narrative for place, underpinned by joint responsibility and accountability. Doing so will require developing genuine joint priorities for the well-being of the population, and a single plan to address them. Only with such a shared vision can leaders work through issues and decisions together. So, local authorities and NHS organisations should agree the common priorities and plan in writing and express them in terms of population outcomes as precisely as possible.

legitimacy to decisions about health and care services. Direct democratic accountability has no equivalent in the local NHS. Effective joint decision-making combines clinical and political perspectives, amplifying the legitimacy of decisions in a way that neither organisation could achieve alone but is essential to designing and implementing services built around the needs of local citizens. Elected members can unlock the potential of Integrated Care Systems To unlock their full potential to improve population health and reduce inequalities in wellbeing outcomes, Integrated Care Systems must skilfully navigate significant challenges and opportunities as they continue to develop. Ensuring elected members are at the heart of decision-making from the outset will provide critical perspectives, insights and links into local communities that will be vital to maximising their effectiveness. L

Written by Michael West, James Tyler and Luke Muir, healthcare experts at PA Consulting. FURTHER INFORMATION industries/healthcare







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Decarbonising transport through planning Harry Steele, Royal Town Planning Institute Infrastructure Specialist, discusses measures to reduce travel demand and the role of place in achieving a reduction in surface transport emissions Transport is the most significant contributor Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in towards the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions a brief reduction of emissions from travel, and has seen some of the smallest journeys and emissions have now change in the last 30 years. risen to above the pre-pandemic Whilst other sectors such as figures. Consequently, a Throug energy generation have significant behavioural drastically reduced their shift is required in how policies h emissions, the transport we understand, plan, as the ‘ such 1 sector has only reduced deliver and interact 5 m inute neighb its emissions by three with transport o is clear urhood’, it per cent since 1990. throughout the UK. The sector remains With the Planning need fothat there is a r imagi particularly reliant Bill being pushed n and vis on fossil fuels and forwards by the ion wit ation whilst the government government, there is h i n p lacema has recognised the role a real opportunity to king that transport will have in change how we approach reaching net-zero emissions transport planning for the by 2050, it is clear that more still better, integrating net-zero into needs to be done to decarbonise the planning from the offset and equipping transport sector and truly ambitious targets developers with the tools, policies and security and policies must be implemented. to decarbonise transport.

Earlier this year, the RTPI released the report ‘Net Zero Transport: the role of spatial planning and place-based solutions’ which explored how planning and place-based solutions can help the transport sector drive the UK towards net-zero emission. Our research set out a pathway for decarbonising transport, whilst delivering better place outcomes. Whilst there were clear barriers to overcome, including a need for greater integration, funding and an overall behaviour shift, there are strong and realistic opportunities for spatial planning and placebased solutions to help decarbonise the transport sector. Transport-based technology will undoubtedly continue to improve and deliver a reduction in emissions, however we need to look beyond that in order to truly decarbonise the transport sector. Whilst electric vehicles will continue to change how we travel on an individual scale, the infrastructure and planning systems in place are currently not sufficient to help deliver the wholesale revolution that is required to decarbonise the transport sector. Planning Radical and significant change to our planning systems is integral to helping deliver net-zero emissions for the transport sector. The current planning system in England has become inherently built towards the promotion, allocation and servicing of land to facilitate the delivery of homes and commercial development without a consideration of their impact on carbon emissions. Alongside this, the transport planning system has continued to focus solely on the approach of forecasting demand for road capacity whilst overlooking elements such as trip reduction and the promotion of active travel. Consequently, whilst both planning systems are inherently reliant on the other, they have been operating with no cooperation or consideration of the other. E Issue 28.4 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 In order to help decarbonise the transport sector, planning needs to work holistically, with developments and transport planning working in tandem. New developments, such as urban extensions, should be planned, designed and delivered with the aim of delivering ‘Carbon Negative Growth’. Consequently, new developments should feature net-zero transport from the start whilst also contributing to a wider reduction in emission through the encouragement of reduced travel demand and the incorporation of alternative and greener methods of travel. Alongside the design of new developments, the renewal of current spaces must consider and ultimately incorporate methods of reducing transport emissions. Public spaces must be reimagined, reoriented and regenerated with sustainable methods of transport at their core. Whilst many places across the UK have begun to reimagine their existing developments, a ‘whole place’ approach will be most effective in creating a wholesale reduction in carbon emissions for the transport sector. Spatial planning must begin to create visions for the future which are inherently focused upon enabling new ways of living. New and existing developments must use design to reduce the demand and use of private and fossil fuel driven vehicles and instead encourage more carbon-friendly forms of transport, ranging from elective vehicles to public and active transport. The 15 minute neighbourhood Concepts such as the ‘15 minute neighbourhood’ can become one of the key policies for delivering a net-zero transport network. The ‘15 minute neighbourhood’ is built upon the principle that citizens are

Whilst many places across the UK have begun to reimagine their existing developments, a ‘whole place’ approach will be most effective in creating a wholesale reduction in carbon emissions for the transport sector able to ‘live local’ and have their regular and daily amenities and services within a 15 minute walk or cycle. Although local living is the key to this idea, the promotion of affordable and accessible public transport is a lynchpin of the ’15 minute neighbourhood’. Streets are redesigned to promote movement and transport through more sustainable methods, whilst public transport and shared mobility, such as EV car clubs, help to meet longer transport needs. Through the promotion of both active travel and public transport within the designs of the ‘15 minute neighbourhood’, the transport sector can begin to make significant reductions in its emissions through placemaking-based policies. In order to be truly effective, this policy needs to be rolled out across urban areas, with a focus upon interconnectivity. A coordinated roll out of the concept will help to establish an interconnected network of neighbourhoods that promote low-carbon travel both within their neighbourhoods and further afield. However, each individual roll out must undertake the necessary stakeholder engagement in order to understand the needs of each ‘neighbourhood’ and deliver the appropriate low-carbon travel solutions for them.

Through policies such as the ‘15 minute neighbourhood’, it is clear that there is a need for imagination and vision within placemaking. This inherently means moving away from the traditional methods of predicting the demands for transport and instead futureproofing developments with sustainability. A clear vision throughout local and national planning is required in order to help transform how we understand and incorporate spatial planning into transport planning. With the upcoming Planning Bill and the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s recent support for additional spending for planning in England, it is clear that there is a growing emphasis on the role of planning throughout the UK. If the government can begin to build upon this, offering funding and resourcing for planning to deliver ambitious project such as the ’15 minute neighbourhood’ then the planning sector can play a significant role in the decarbonisation of transport throughout the UK. L FURTHER INFORMATION



Smart cities

Covid-19 and the rise of collective intelligence The pandemic has exposed some hard truths about cities and society. But the collective intelligence of cities has emerged as a beacon for hope for the future of Smart Cities, as Oli Whittington, Senior Researcher in Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, explores For decades, ‘smart cities’ have promised to transform how people live, work and play through the digitisation of spaces, services and infrastructure. These technology-enabled visions of the city have rarely materialised beyond lofty city strategies and incremental improvements. However, Covid-19 forced many of our lives online and accelerated the digitisation of urban life faster in two months than the previous two decades. Technology enthusiasts often claimed that digital technologies in the built environment could lead to more efficient, connected and resilient cities. But nearly a year and half after the first lockdown in the UK, has digitisation led to better cities? In short: not quite. The pandemic has seen a rise in inequality of all kinds, from income to health, and technology has often exaggerated this rise. This has been combined with the biggest threat to cities in 50 years—urban flight. On the other hand, we have seen technology play a vital role in bringing people together to solve problems and shape the future of their cities on a scale never seen before. This combination of people, data and technology, or collective intelligence, provides a purpose and direction for the future of smart cities. The unmet promise of digitisation By April 2020, 57 per cent of Londoners and nearly half of the UK population were working from home. Education, often slow to evolve to new opportunities from technology, moved to virtual classrooms. Healthcare, although under immense pressure from the pandemic, integrated data and technology to deliver many of its services online. This rapid digitisation of essential


services was mirrored in almost every interaction in the city, from how we order drinks in a bar to how we navigate while avoiding crowds. For many people, however, the digitisation of services has exposed and exaggerated existing inequalities. A Nesta study found that one in seven adults in Scotland and Wales are experiencing data poverty. This required private companies to step in to offer unlimited mobile data in support of disadvantaged children studying at home, a factor resulting in these pupils being more than a month behind their peers. Similarly, the opportunity for more distributed access to wealth through technology is in stark contrast to the $450 billion earned by the top 10 richest people during the pandemic, of which eight lead tech-based businesses. This inequality has real consequences, with one study estimating 40,000 fewer deaths in the UK if the mortality rate was as low as the least deprived areas of the country, and another showing that Asian patients were 49 per cent more likely to die from coronavirus. While technology has exposed the societal divides in our cities and the people that can and cannot access digital services, collective intelligence, designed in the right way, can build empowered communities to create cities that work for all. Decentralised support networks In response to the pandemic and the two million people shielding, hyper-local networks of people came together to combat challenges from delivering essential medicines to tackling loneliness. This rise of mutual aid networks across communities in the UK and around the world exemplified the very best of cities.


This was often made possible by technology removing the barriers to entry and empowering people who have never volunteered before to help. For instance, the Nesta-backed GoodSAM app recruited 750,000 people in the space of a few days to support local Covid-related activities. Given the rapidly changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, local authorities needed to understand the needs within their cities quickly to reimagine service delivery and support. In London, Camden and Hackney Council worked together to create and deploy new open source digital products and services to enable more support to people not traditionally classed as vulnerable during the pandemic, such as Beacon, which crowdsources community needs and connects people with local support services. In Taiwan, civic hackers worked with the government to rapidly develop open source solutions to Covid-related challenges. This included a live map that gathered data through chat forums and social media about the supplies of personal protective equipment in convenient stores, allowing users to find masks as anxiety about the pandemic was growing. As with all good digital innovations, this ultimately led the country’s digital minister, Audrey Tang, to adapt government policy and distribute masks through Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system. Once mask supply was in the hands of the government, Audrey Tang opened the data on mask availability to the country’s civic hackers to further the application and improve features such as audio assistance for the visually impaired. These innovations show how technology can enable people to support each other,

Distributed decision making Over the last decade, there has been an increase in local democratic innovation to guide decision making and policy, as reported by the OECD. This included three citizen assembly pilots in 2019 to shape town centres in the UK and produced guidance on how to run these into the future. As a fundamental characteristic of cities is their diversity of people, and the most important factor for good group decision making is the diversity of the group, the future of collective intelligence in the city looked promising prior to the pandemic. However, with the arrival of mandatory lockdowns, how governments engaged and even how they governed had to be reimagined. This reimagination didn’t just shift the same processes online, ‘rather, it required changes to policies, processes and practices as well’. For instance, at a national level, the introduction of daily press briefings and immediate reaction on social media created a more dynamic response to the change of policy, as observed through the government’s U-turn on free school meals. While local council meetings migrating to the virtual environment created opportunities for greater transparency and engagement in decision making, sometimes with unusual results, as the viral video of Handforth Parish Council demonstrated. Perhaps the biggest moment for virtual engagement during the pandemic belongs to the civic-tech innovators that have been developing tools in the digital democracy space over the last 15 years. Open source tools such as Pol.

is, Consul and Decidim have enabled cities and local governments to run citizen engagement online, as well as change the dynamics of discussion and how policy is formed. During the pandemic, these tools have facilitated virtual discussions, debates and idea generation. Examples such as the Omastadi programme that used Decidim for participatory budgeting in Helsinki, show how citizens can generate new ideas for their city and decide how to allocate a €4.4 million municipality budget entirely online. While the Scottish government used a platform, Dialogue, to understand issues and feedback on Covid restrictions in the summer of 2020. These open source digital tools, supported by equal access to technology and data, have the power to transform democracy and the citizen experience in the city. At Nesta, we will be piloting these collective intelligence tools with our partners in three Nordic cities to explore how to embed the voices of citizens, and particularly marginalised groups, into the policy and practice that shapes our cities. The post-pandemic participatory city Over the many iterations of the vision of the smart city, too few have people at their core. This criticism is not new, but the criticism has often only resulted in incremental improvement of the user experience of apps and technology, rather than community-driven technological innovation. However, the rise of new democratic practices alongside a time of social distancing due to the pandemic has created a new need for technology in cities—to facilitate community participation.

The application of technology to democratising cities must be approached with caution. As we have observed, the imagined benefits of technology have not always been realised. For instance, working from home and remote meetings has often been associated with saving travel and therefore lowering emissions. However, a timely WSP report identified that on average, people working from home year round will produce 80 per cent more carbon emissions than someone commuting to the office. While the estimated 20 per cent increase in global internet traffic would require a forest of about 71,600 square miles to sequester the emitted carbon. Technology has a complex relationship with cities and citizens. This was almost comically demonstrated through the rollout of superfast 5G connectivity, the apex of telecommunications engineering, coinciding with the phenomenon of misinformation on social media leading arsonists to burn down 5G towers. These tensions between advancing technology, and its unintended consequences, must be carefully considered as we step forward. For the next iteration of the smart city, we need strong and equitable connectivity across cities, digitally empowered communities and responsive governance. Although the pandemic has exaggerated many of the inequities within cities, the collective intelligence of citizens has emerged to shape their future. L

Smart cities

gather data and develop solutions for the collective good of the city.


Earning Civic Dollars is a walk in the park

(L-R) Stephen McPeake, CEO of Civic Dollars, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl and NI Justice Minister, Naomi Long launch the new ‘Civic Dollars’ mobile phone app.

A new ‘Civic Dollars’ mobile phone app, developed with support from Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice, means that people can now earn rewards for the time they spend in their local parks and open spaces. The Connswater Community Greenway will be the first area to go live, followed by other parks across the city. Funded through the ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ project, the scheme is part of the council’s Smart Belfast programme, which is exploring how data and innovative technologies can create smart solutions to improve city services.

Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Exercising outside and connecting with nature really can help our mental well-being. So it’s fantastic that people can now earn Civic Dollars for the time they spend in our parks and open spaces. They can enjoy rewards including public transport passes and tickets to visitor attractions or support their local community group by donating Civic Dollars to them. “The Civic Dollars app also provides insights that will help us understand how people use green spaces, improve park management, reduce littering and anti-social behaviour and enhance the visitor experience.”

A number of Belfast-based community groups can benefit from donated Civic Dollars, exchanging them for various services such as training, professional advice and activity centre sessions. Naomi Long, NI Justice Minister, said: “Effectively managing public open spaces is a key element in developing a safe community, where we respect the law and each other. The Civic Dollars pilot scheme holds the potential to deliver real benefits to local communities by using technology to improve the safe use of our parks and open spaces; something that is so important for both physical and mental health. Congratulations to all involved in this innovative pilot scheme and I look forward to hearing how it has progressed as more people use it in the coming weeks and months.” Stephen McPeake added: “Our focus is about improving communities, and our own health and wellbeing – Civic Dollars provides the perfect solution with a new community currency!” L FURTHER INFORMATION



Advertisement Feature Written by Keith Stagner, CEO & Chief Transformation Officer, T-Impact

High tech doesn’t mean high risk! Procuring existing solutions on proven technologies will deliver immediate benefits with minimal cost and low risk

Local councils are facing a tsunami of demand across all services, increasing pressure on already overstretched teams. Old service models won’t work, and agile innovation is required. Councils are identifying new ways to meet challenges, but implementation is fraught with obstacles. Getting the information to understand and define solutions is complicated by data quality issues and duplication, caused by manual data entry - resulting in poor services. Councils need practical solutions to close service capability gaps and Intelligent Automation is a key component. Chatbots, Robots and AI are already helping to improve customer experience and service quality, eliminate errors and improve data quality, free capacity and save money. It can help you too, read on and see some practical, affordable ways it can applied, along with a real-life case study from Durham County Council. Automating services We are working with numerous local authorities, delivering solutions for revenue & benefits, housing, customer care, parking, social care, HR, and finance. T-Impact’s solutions make best use of Chatbots, Robots & AI. Our sample Case Studies can be downloaded here. Examples of our projects include social care, debt recovery, rent increases, private

sector licence applications, gas certificate verification, asbestos reporting, accessible housing data, environmental protection, streamlining payment processing, cash allocation (debt collection via enforcement agencies), legal – managing customer documents and signatures, housing benefit claim and exchange and housing change of address. These solutions are low risk, delivering immediate value and providing the building blocks for significant service transformation. How much disruption will it cause? Not as much as you might think! These are practical, tried, and tested solutions which are usually designed and deployed within foureight weeks. Less time than you would need to recruit, train and performance manage temp staff. Our approach ensures minimal disruption for your operational and IT resources, usually only a few days of their time. We work with you to define the business case to secure stakeholder sponsorship and avoid costly mistakes. They don’t require any changes to your existing IT systems, adding new capabilities that often eliminate the need to replace them. Our solutions can help you overcome challenges and deliver results faster, with minimal risk and expense. Rent increase Automation Case study: Year-end is a challenging time for all Revenues and Benefits Services. To enable them to accurately update Housing Benefit accounts and issue notification letters with Council Tax Bills; accounts must reflect annual rent increases. Durham County Council’s Revenue and Benefits service receive thousands of rent



increases from their social landlords. The rent increases must be applied to their Housing Benefit records so that they can be factored into the annual billing process. The council wanted to improve the customer focus, ensuring a ‘right first time approach’, avoiding additional customer contact and subsequent notification letters once the accounts had been updated. The previous manual process was resource intensive, requiring a significant amount of manual intervention and quality control overhead. T-Impact worked with Durham’s team to implement a price increase solution using RPA (Robotic Process Automation), which automated the existing team’s work, which: monitors a dedicated e-mail account, extracting pricing increase spreadsheets; searches for passwords in other emails and if not provided, requests the password; validates the rental and services increase, improving consistency and accuracy; and updates the approved rates in the council’s finance systems. As a final step the robot generates personalised notifications to confirm outcomes. Based on the communication preferences defined in the council’s systems, letters are sent as email attachments or printed for posting. For an investment of approximately £30,000, the council was able to process each of the 10,000 housing increases within a few days of receipt, update rent amounts quickly, enabling recalculation at year end, produce accurate accounts and financial reports enabling year end reporting and forecasting, reduce operating costs, eliminated both agency staff and staff overtime and manage resources more effectively, creating capacity where needed. The solution has been successfully operational for several years and deployed by other councils, such as the London Borough of Hackney. T-Impact solutions We also provide solutions for healthcare, ERT and private sector clients (legal, banking, logistics, manufacturing). L FURTHER INFORMATION

Keith Stagner, CEO & Chief Transformation Officer, T-Impact


SME Survey: a look into the public sector Ellie Huckle, Programme Manager for Central Government, techUK, looks at the role that small businesses have to play in transforming public service delivery through their innovation Small businesses have the potential to transform public service delivery, this is clear to us and has long been acknowledged by government. Furthermore, SMEs make up 99 per cent of UK businesses so it is paramount for the government to work alongside them to meet their needs. However, it is no secret that the public sector technology market is a difficult place to operate for SMEs, with various barriers standing in their way. The government’s ambition and commitment is evident, they set themselves an SME target of spending £1 in every £3 of their annual tech spend on SMEs by 2022, appointed departmental champions, launched the Digital Marketplace, and have an SME Crown Representative. And whilst we have seen some improvements over the years – the UK is still not harnessing small businesses as much as it should be. SMEs are all too often overlooked, especially by the public sector. SMEs are agile and they are also extremely innovative which is absolutely crucial when it comes to transforming public service delivery. In recognising all this, here at techUK we run an annual GovTech SME Survey. From January 2021 to March 2021, we surveyed over 100 SMEs who work in or aspire to work in the public sector to gather their experiences of the market. The findings from the survey are then used to develop recommendations to promote GovTech innovation, ensure a smoother experience when it comes to procurement, and generally help improve access to the public sector market for SMEs. The survey found that 65 per cent of respondents feel that the Digital Marketplace, an online platform that allows public sector organisations to search for people and technology for digital projects, continues to help improve SME access to the public sector technology market by making opportunities in the public sector more visible and open to all – this number is up from 60 per cent last year and we hope the Digital Marketplace will continue to be a shining light for access to the public sector technology market. However, we found that a very worrying 92 per cent of respondents do not believe that government buyers have sufficient understanding of how small businesses

The top three obstacles for small businesses can meet their needs. This number has identified by our survey respondents are been on the rise for the last three years, as follows: increasing from 85 per cent to 91 per cent last year. Although SMEs are small, their A risk-averse culture within the civil service: innovative nature means that they are Despite explicitly extolling the virtues more than capable of meeting government of SMEs, the public sector still requirements. Which is why helping struggles to harness them, SMEs access the market is a Althoug and this starts with the crucial part of the work we h culture. Going to larger do here at techUK, and we SMEs a re small organisations is the most want to help government t heir inn , obvious option for public recognise the benefits o vative nature sector bodies, and they of using SMEs in order m they are eans that perceive this to be the to properly utilise their more th ‘safest’ one too. This skills and capabilities. c a pable o a n means that many SMEs There are a number f don’t get the opportunity of significant barriers governmmeeting to showcase their abilities faced by SMEs trying to requirem ent and prove to government access the public sector e n ts that they are just as good, if technology market, and they not better. need to be properly addressed and broken down in order to ensure Too many frameworks: Public sector a smoother procurement process for SMEs. frameworks have proved to be a real challenge Unfortunately, these barriers have remained for small businesses, and at the moment largely the same for the past couple of years procurement processes are viewed as and the public sector has a huge job to do in onerous and frameworks complex. Unlike E giving SMEs more assurance.




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A lack of meaningful early industry engagement: A lack of meaningful early industry engagement is disadvantageous to many SMEs. All too often small businesses are not aware when contracts are about to be published so frequently miss the chance to get onto frameworks and lose out on the opportunity to engage with government buyers beforehand, significantly reducing their chances of supplying to the public sector. Encouraging more early market engagement would give SMEs more time to understand better the requirements, and more time to respond, which will enable them to put their best foot forward. Despite the enduring challenges, our survey revealed that 40 per cent of respondents do feel that the government has acted on its commitment to helping small businesses break into the market over the last five years – this is promising and reflective of the signs of improvement that we are seeing and of the continued efforts from government, but the figure is still disappointing, and any changes that are happening are proving to be marginal and very slow. Perhaps one of the most significant findings from our survey is that 82 per cent of respondents want to deal directly with

SMEs are all too often overlooked, especially by the public sector. SMEs are agile and they are also extremely innovative which is absolutely crucial when it comes to transforming public service delivery government, rather than work through large organisations as their main route to market as they so often have to do. While some SMEs are very happy to partner up with larger organisations, when it comes to submitting bids, the large majority want to be able to sell directly to government so they can build vital relationships with government departments and increase their visibility to them. With that said, 81 per cent of respondents do still see the value in partnering with larger organisations but would like to see more from government to encourage larger organisations to work with SMEs effectively. But whether an SME is selling directly to government or indirectly through partnering with a larger organisation, one thing is clear, they all want the same thing - for the procurement process to be smooth and to deliver the right outcome. Disappointingly, the bottom line still remains, that selling to the public sector continues to be a complex process for SMEs and SME trust in government is extremely limited. It is clear that more work needs to be done urgently.


 larger organisations SMEs do not have dedicated framework teams, so getting onto frameworks in the first place requires a huge amount of resource and time that many SMEs just don’t have.

Following the results of our annual GovTech SME Survey we developed six recommendations for government to help enable SME access to the public sector technology market, these are as follows: more early pre-procurement market engagement, wider use of the Digital Marketplace, more use of Dynamic Purchasing Systems, Annual Price Review built into contracts, fewer frameworks, and ministerial SME Champions. We need to see government work closer with SMEs on understanding their skills and capabilities and how to make use of them effectively, recognise how SMEs can meet its needs and work to properly address the major challenges. These points combined with our six recommendations for government will no doubt improve the situation for SMEs in time. We know it will not be an overnight fix, but they will certainly ensure that things continue to head in the right direction and help drive the next leap forward in access to the public sector technology market for SMEs. L FURTHER INFORMATION



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Learning at the point of need Discover how the right Learning Management System can help you retain and develop a productive and committed workforce within your organisation

Classroom training was previously viewed as learning at the point of need as it solved an identified training need, usually by the organisation. But this is the point of need for the organisation and not the learner. The emphasis has now shifted towards the learner and organisations need to adopt a ‘resources not courses’ approach to help support employees when the need arises. Mosher and Gottfredson highlighted five moments of need that organisations need to tap into: • The emergence of the global pandemic forced organisations to change working practices quickly, in many cases overnight. It was perceived that this would be a shortterm shift and life would soon be back to normal, however this has not been the case. The way people work, and access to traditional learning methods, has changed, and as a result the digital skills gap has closed significantly. People are more willing to try and solve issues when they happen. In everyday life, we solve problems without even thinking about it. It’s become the norm to Google something or follow the steps on a YouTube video. This is a good example of learning at the point of need. Traditional methods, such as classroom learning, are no longer leading the way, as learners seek to answer problems in the moment through easy to access resources.


• •

New – learning how to do something for the first time More – extending your understanding of previous learning Apply – acting upon previous learning, including planning how to resolve, remembering what may have been forgotten or adapting to a new situation Solve – working out how to solve problems when they arise or when things don’t go the way we expected them to Change – finding a new way of doing something which may require a change of skills

The key to this approach is to provide learners with easy-to-use, point-ofneed support to help overcome real-life challenges. This enables them to perform their current jobs more efficiently and to a higher standard, helping them to work at their potential and move further towards their future goals. This is achieved by


implementing easily accessible learning, which increases competence and confidence towards solving a problem at the point of need and gets better results. Digital resources can help organisations to address specific work challenges, but they should not be viewed in isolation and may still require face-to-face or online support including learning paths, bite-sized content, peer review assignments, social features and discussions. It is worth noting that it’s not a case of creating an infinite library that covers every single eventuality. It is about giving learners a place to start and resources that can help with the immediate need. This could be something as simple as a link to a document that confirms a policy or the steps required to solve a challenge. Harnessing the power of a Learning Management System (LMS) can help provide learning paths and resources to aid knowledge retention to support learning at the point of need. Using the social features, communities and discussions, within the LMS, will help learners to get support with how to apply the resources in a business context.

Visit the MHR Academy to discover how the right LMS can help you retain and develop a productive and committed workforce within your organisation. L FURTHER INFORMATION


Innovation in public sector reward Gordon McFarlane provides his reflections on how the public sector has innovated in the last 18 months and whether the Covid pandemic has changed our attitudes to innovation It feels appropriate to begin an article What we’ve seen is faster, slicker decision on innovation by reflecting briefly on the making during Covid, colleagues showing last year and a half. Looking in the main a real willingness to flex, we have at times from a local government perspective, the created policy ‘on the hoof’, and we’ve sector (along with many others) adjusted worked around what are arguably traditional, overnight at the start of the pandemic and sometimes elongated and often bureaucratic became less bureaucratic and processes. This has certainly happened more agile by necessity. I saw within councils, and is also true many examples of people for the extensive partnership Digital stepping up, coming working around the Covid innovat up with ideas and response. It’s worth noting developing innovative that there have been been w ion has i t h solutions to problems. no greater examples of u s some ti f Whilst it was a ‘needs innovation within local me and or is increasi must’ situation, there authorities than from our ng in is a real challenge, public health colleagues. pace a but also a great importa nd opportunity as we move Innovation nce through the phases of Looking more broadly at recovery, in relation to innovation, it’s worth briefly how we capture and retain exploring what some of the the best of this more modern and drivers are. People have to have fleeter of foot approach, and also how we an open mind and a willingness to change. encourage ongoing innovation. Organisational and individual attitudes to

risk (financial, resource need / allocation, risk of failing, reputational risk) are also relevant to consider, because a risk of taking a truly innovative approach is that there may be failure, and then failing fast and learning becomes important. This links to the challenge that in some organisations, people may feel that they need permission to innovate, and if this is the case, what does this say about an organisation’s culture? Digital innovation has been with us for some time and is increasing in pace and importance. An example for me of the need for culture change and also where attitude to risk is important to consider, is where a process has been digitised or automated and made simpler for the customer. However, it can then sometimes take much more time and effort to shift the mindset of change resistant colleagues who may cling on to tried and tested manual processes, with extensive checks and balances in place. Work with external consultants can also be double edged too – by their E



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Reward Turning to how we reward innovative work, this is an interesting challenge for the public sector. Within formal pay and grading structures and (in general) national pay deals, we have limited ability to reward staff financially. Performance related pay models are not widely used. The government announcement earlier in the year about a public sector pay freeze, and the initial offer made to nurses, exemplified the damage that can be done in relation to motivation and commitment of getting it wrong around pay and financial reward, despite people’s broad understanding of the difficult economic climate. Pay itself tends also to be a short-term motivator. However, organisations have found other ways in which to reward and recognise contribution and innovation. Thinking again about the pandemic response, so many people have stepped up, willingly worked extra hours, moved quickly out of day jobs, or just kept business as usual going in very difficult circumstances, that acknowledgement and genuine thanks is crucial. Within this context, there’s been much innovative work to reward effort in different ways. I know of a small number of councils who decided to give staff an extra day’s leave, and others who have awarded some staff a small one off payment. However, in Leicestershire, we chose to work with departments to find different ways to thank people, whether this has been a personal letter from the Director, or a wider service or team event to just take some time out and to

Pay itself tends also to be a short-term motivator. However, organisations have found other ways in which to reward and recognise contribution and innovation acknowledge the huge efforts, discretionary effort and innovative work. Arguably, with the absence of additional pay related reward in any meaningful sense, the public sector needs to be more innovative (and the results will probably feel genuine and meaningful than they would as a result of additional pay) about acknowledging and rewarding extra effort, finding better ways of doing things and being more agile. It’s worth teasing out the benefits that come from innovating and then being able to answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?’. Reward could, for example, take the form of more meaningful and interesting work when routine transactional work is automated. Focused learning and development opportunities for those willing and able to innovate can be another way of rewarding colleagues. Smarter working (planned, not enforced) also gives a great opportunity to innovate, to manage by outputs and outcomes. and I’ve noticed a change in the narrative from some staff, from ‘why do we have to do this’ to ‘how do we / how can we’, and we can tease out and exploit the many benefits of smarter and hybrid working, and frame them in the context of reward. Conclusion In conclusion, we are all at different stages of approaching and managing similar challenges


 nature, they may be more innovative, and we can either embrace this and learn from it, or perhaps feel threatened and discouraged.

– to recruit and retain the best people who want to work for progressive modern organisations, to modernise and automate processes where we can, and to create a more effective customer experience at the lowest possible cost. Encouraging and rewarding innovative ideas and work are important underpinning factors. The public sector should be proud of its recent achievements, and the pandemic challenges have proved that we can respond in an agile way, cutting through and cutting out bureaucracy, and also finding ways to recognise and reward innovative practice and decision making. This has arguably never been such an important part of our employment deal, and we need to continue to foster innovation, flexibility and the change in culture that it brings. It’s not quite a perfect storm, but it’s a great opportunity for us to continue this journey positively. L

Gordon McFarlane is Vice President of the Public Services People Managers Association and Assistant Director (Corporate Services) at Leicestershire County Council. FURTHER INFORMATION




Meeting carbon targets through retrofitting Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to carbon reduction. The Insulation Manufacturers’ Association explores It is widely accepted that the UK must embark of retrofitting to meet the UK’s net zero carbon upon a comprehensive retrofit programme target. This will be an enormous challenge of its existing housing stock, if it is to achieve for property owners to achieve the standards net zero carbon by 2050 and the required but it will create many jobs in the other stated targets to be construction sector and produce a There achieved along the way. great deal of economic activity. The UK has some Generally, houses built from remain s of the poorest 1990 onwards have insulation increasi performing housing fitted within the wall cavity suppor ng stock in Western to improve the thermal t retrofitt for the Europe as well performance of the building. ing of g as some of the However, many homes e o n od ergy ef oldest and IMA’s built prior to this date may fi measur ciency recent publication not have no wall insulation. es Insulation for Typically, houses built before the UK in Sustainability, produced 1920 are predominantly solid by specialist low-carbon wall constructions with no cavity consultancy XCO2, explains whereas residential properties built the importance of installing high between 1920 and 1990 are most likely to have performing thermal insulation as a key part of a wall cavity but with no insulation material. the retrofit programme, that will cut emissions, A comprehensive retrofitting programme reduce heating demand, curtail fuel poverty is therefore a valuable instrument in and maximise comfort and well-being. reducing heating demand, cutting CO2 With the government’s Heating and Buildings’ emissions, whilst addressing fuel poverty strategy, including its retrofit policy due to be and improving comfort and well-being. published this year, there is no shortage of aspiration about what needs to be achieved. But the target ahead of us is daunting and will require a full commitment from government and other agencies. It must include a detailed programme of activity, coupled to the necessary legislative, financial and practicable frameworks to ensure the commitment is achieved in line with legal requirements There remains increasing support for the retrofitting of good energy efficiency measures in the UK, as demonstrated by the interest shown for the recent Green Homes Grant scheme, even though this scheme was poorly prepared and prematurely withdrawn. There are currently some 29 million properties in the UK most of which will still be in use in 2050 and the majority of which will require some form



Design retrofit There are specific design considerations when tackling a retrofit project, especially when targeting savings via a fabric first approach. The most common debate is centred around the best location to position auxiliary insulation. Generally, the most suitable location and insulation type for different building elements are: • • • •

Cavity wall – injection of loose fill or in-situ expanding insulation material; Solid masonry wall – external/ internal rigid insulation within a weatherproof/protective system; Roof space (cold) – loose fill spray or fibrous insulation at roof joist level; Roof space (warm) – rigid insulation boards or spray foam insulation at rafter level;

Solid floor – rigid board under screed or floating floor, and;Timber floor – rigid board or quilted batting between floor joists.

Each Home Counts Although produced in 2016, but still valid today, the Each Home Counts Report made the following sector specific recommendations for addressing insulation and fabric, in line with PAS2035/2030:2019 – Retrofitting dwellings for improved energy efficiency, specification and guidance. •

All retrofit projects will have an appropriate design stage process which takes an holistic approach and adequately considers the home, its local environment, heritage, occupancy and the householders’ improvement objectives when determining suitable measures. Put in place a process for gathering information and the design specification ahead of any installation of insulation or fabric measures; store this in a data log for future use and to facilitate continuous improvement; and load aftercare support and quality information into the data log following an installation.

It is widely accepted that the UK must embark upon a comprehensive retrofit programme of its existing housing stock, if it is to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and the other stated targets to be achieved along the way •

Ensure that the Insulation and Fabric workstream feeds into the standards, skills and quality assurance development processes and that these reflect best practice and fully take account of the issues specific to the measures.

Fit for the future Nevertheless, retrofitting must only be considered as a solution for existing and historic buildings and cannot be viewed as a panacea to be administered at a later date, for current new build homes. Developers must not be allowed to eschew the most appropriate building fabric/solutions available in favour of reducing expenditure – resulting in the responsibility of future-proofing the building to be transferred to the building owners. The CCC report, UK Housing Fit for The Future?, assesses the cost associated with retrofitting a typical building to perform with a space heating demand of 15kWh/ m2/yr. (considered a ‘deep retrofit’), illustrating that it is approximately five and a half times more expensive when compared to building a comparable building as a new build. Furthermore, the cost associated with retrofitting strategies to facilitate passive cooling, for example, are also seen to cost approximately four times as much as implementing the same strategies from the outset. This evidence illustrates the importance in considered design of new build developments from the start in order to avoid unnecessary costs and works further down the line. Supplementary emission savings can be attained where the servicing strategy and supply-side improvements are implemented. This may include, where appropriate the replacement of traditional gas boilers by more efficient alternatives such as an air source heat pump system or connection to a district heat network. Nevertheless, key considerations when evaluating the potential savings from retrofitting include practical, aesthetic


and capital investment constraints, as well as supply side efficiency options being more applicable to new-build projects. Health and well-being The specification of insulation materials can also have substantial impacts on the lives of building users and occupants. The importance of thermal comfort, providing pleasant internal conditions during the winter and summer months, is a prime example. This factor is seen to influence performance and productivity as well as the physical and mental health of building users. Another social benefit associated with enhanced levels of insulation is the reduction of fuel poverty. This issue is alleviated as a greater proportion of heat is retained more effectively in homes when incorporating superior fabric efficiencies. The provision of an enhanced building envelope results in a reduced overall fuel demand needed to achieve equivalent, sustained warmth over the winter months than for a building with lesser thermal performance. Insulation strategy Suitable for anyone looking to learn about the application of low-carbon strategies through a fabric-first approach, Insulation for Sustainability, highlights the issues associated with energy demand and the way enhanced insulation strategies play a crucial role in the built environment to help the UK meet its net-zero targets. Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to carbon reduction. Whether it is an internal or external insulation application, it is vitally important the UK’s housing stock is raised to an acceptable standard by making the fabric of the building as energy efficient as possible. Only then will we be able to provide a longterm asset that reduces energy usage and can be passed onto future generations. L FURTHER INFORMATION



We Recycle Roads

We Recycle Roads

Road maintenance

Road maintenance: Building back safer The Building Back Safer – Making Roads Fit for 2030 report, published in July, tracks the performance of motorways and ‘A’ roads in Great Britain Produced in partnership with Ageas Insurance, Between 2011 and 2019, there were between the Road Safety Foundation research shows 1,700 and 1,800 deaths on Britain’s roads how risk varies across the road network every year, with 1,752 deaths on our roads and identifies roads that have improved in the last full calendar year before the significantly over time and those that remain pandemic. 2020’s figure of 1,472 was, as persistently higher risk. Investment packages mentioned, subsequently a record low. are proposed to help ensure our According to Lord Whitty, roads are fit for 2030. The measurement and management investment opportunity remain a strong priority for local Proactiv supports wider policy roads, particularly for the address ely objectives including Major Road Network – a levelling up of road network that performs risk rathing road infrastructure safety relatively badly, but where e r t h w an aiting f across Great Britain the opportunities are to accu or crashes and provision of great. The Building Back m facilities for safer Safer report identifies a action i ulate before s taken active travel. high-return investment key Saf In his foreword to package of £733 million e Syste is a the report, Lord Whitty for local ‘A’ roads in England m r e quirem of Camberwell, chairman (including the Major Roads ent of the Road Safety Network), with similar portfolios Foundation, said that road available in Scotland, Wales and on casualty reduction progress has the Strategic Road Network in England. stagnated since 2011, though in 2020 a record Alongside Building Back Better, the low number of fatalities were seen, primarily organisation also encourages the government attributable to the reduced traffic levels we to Build Back Safer, urging for ministers to saw through the early stages of the Covid-19 provide facilities to support safer healthy pandemic. However, as restrictions are eased, mobility, and levelling up infrastructure the charity expects traffic volumes to increase provision across Great Britain through the and, without a step change in road safety delivery of road safety schemes which will performance and investment, anticipates a deliver improved safety and also health return to pre-pandemic casualty numbers. benefits and substantial employment.

Network performance There are well over 12,000 fatal and adjusted serious crashes on the British EuroRAP network each year. This network of motorways and ‘A’ roads represents less than 15 per cent of Britain’s total road length, but around 60 per cent of fatal road crashes, and more than 40 per cent of serious road crashes, occur on these roads. Of the 12,600 fatal and adjusted serious crashes on the EuroRAP network of motorways and ‘A’ roads in Great Britain: 21 per cent are on strategic roads across Britain; 26 per cent are on local authority major roads in England; 43 per cent are on other local authority roads in England; and 10 per cent are on local authority roads in Scotland and Wales. Crash density (fatal and adjusted serious crashes divided by the road length) reflecting collective risk is highest on the local authority Major Road Network in England – over 50 per cent more than on the Strategic Road Network in England and lowest on local authority roads in Scotland. The crash rate (fatal and adjusted serious crashes divided by the amount of traffic) reflecting individual risk is highest on local authority roads across Britain, with English local authority roads that are not on the Major Road Network having the highest crash rate. E



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 Looking to 2030 In August 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 74/299 ‘Improving global road safety’, proclaiming the second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to halve road deaths and serious injuries in a decade is accompanied by twelve global road safety targets. Transport Scotland has embraced the same level of ambition in its new Road Safety Framework to 2030, and Highways England is aiming to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 50 per cent by 2025 against the 2005-2009 baseline and has a longer term zero harm ambition by 2040. As restrictions across Great Britain are eased further, and the public become more confident in the safety of activities that they reduced during the pandemic, it is inevitable that traffic volumes will increase again. While homeworking may endure, there is a reticence to use public transport and people may opt to move further from their place of work if they need to commute fewer days per week. The expectation, therefore, is that traffic volumes may return to pre-pandemic levels quite quickly. The report argues that without a step change in road safety performance, and the investment necessary to drive this, the number of road casualties will also increase, with the possibility that they too will return to pre-pandemic levels once again. Before we can return to the ambition of reducing the annual road death toll year-on-year, therefore, we need to lower the curve as casualty numbers increase again. While the record low in road deaths in 2020 is clearly very welcome, we now need to build on this to ensure we never return to the days when we suffered five deaths and many more lifechanging injuries on Britain’s roads every single day.

Road safety remedial schemes can support wider government initiatives of levelling up provision of infrastructure geographically, are relatively quick to shovel and offer high employment density It is also hoped that people retain their new travel habits post-pandemic. There is widespread agreement that the UK has a unique opportunity to re-shape travel patterns and support healthier travel choices through the provision of active travel facilities and a change in the way we plan towns and cities. Concepts such as 20-minute neighbourhoods and 15-minute cities put an emphasis on the liveability of neighbourhoods, and the idea that people will spend more time locally and be able to access health, education, shopping, work and recreation via short cycling and walking trips instead of using a car. Such changes may help us to deliver lower casualty numbers in the future while also helping to achieve health, exercise, net zero carbon and air quality goals. Delivering safer roads Traditionally, casualty numbers have understandably been used as the main means of assessing road safety. However, when traffic levels are fluctuating, this approach can result in a conclusion that roads are getting safer or less safe even when there is no change in their underlying safety. It therefore becomes even more important to measure the in-built safety of road infrastructure for all road user groups, rather than simply monitoring casualty numbers, and to develop road safety remedial schemes to address risk. Proactively addressing road risk rather than waiting for crashes to accumulate before action is taken is a key Safe System

requirement. Highways England has adopted this approach by using iRAP performance metrics and is developing and testing the impact of safety remedial schemes for priority routes. The Major Road Network in England remains a clear priority for measurement and investment. This important network is only 10 per cent longer than England’s Strategic Road Network but has 25 per cent more fatal crashes and 75 per cent more fatal and adjusted serious crashes. Road safety remedial schemes can support wider government initiatives of levelling up provision of infrastructure geographically, are relatively quick to shovel and offer high employment density. The case for investment is strong, with favourable investment options across Great Britain that would not just save lives but would also seek to address some of the immense societal loss attributable to road crashes each year (£33 billion in 2019). In 2019, some £1.7 billion was diverted from elsewhere in the health budget; this sum is the equivalent of around 11,000 double crewed ambulances, 61,000 junior nurses or 2,400 level-3 intensive care beds. At a time where our health service is on Covid-related catch-up, we can help protect the NHS through road casualty reduction. L FURTHER INFORMATION




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The Security Event

Security Event set to reunite the sector Designed by the industry for the industry, The Security Event returns to the Birmingham NEC over 7 - 9 September 2021, reuniting installers, integrators, manufacturers, distributors and end users The Security Event is set to be the first major exhibition to take place in the sector when it opens its doors on 7-9 September 2021 at the NEC in Birmingham and for the first time it will also encompass the National Cyber Security Show. The event last ran in 2019 and has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it is set to be the first major event in the security sector to welcome visitors since the government outlined its roadmap out of lockdown. The Security Event is the leading UK exhibition that targets the commercial and residential security market, this free-toattend event will bring together a world-class education programme, market leaders and industry experts back at the home of UK security. Supported by the industry The event was developed with support from a group of the industry’s major players to deliver a world class exhibition dedicated to UK security professionals, installers and integrators, providing opportunities for direct engagement across the supply chain. The nine Founding Partners who helped shape the event include Anixter, Assa Abloy, Comelit, Honeywell, Motorola Solutions, TDSI, Texecom, Tyco, Videcon. All of these leading brands will once again be on hand to showcase their latest innovations to visitors.

case studies for security professionals. With a specially curated agenda, attendees will come away with plenty of inspiring ideas and actionable strategies that can be applied to their respective business and profession. The Security Innovation Theatre (sponsored by Honeywell) will give visitors the opportunity to discover the breakthrough technologies shaping the security sector. Learn how these innovations will impact how you specify, integrate and install your solutions, and find out how you can stay ahead of the curve. While, The Tavcom Training Theatre will offer practical training tips and guidance for security installers and integrators. Returning for this year’s event is the popular There h Designing Out Crime Zone, Unrivalled n ever be as which is being organised CPD content in association with The Security Event more im en a p Secured by Design, will play host to four o r t ant time to Police Digital Security theatres offering CPD p u t cyber security Centre (PDSC), Alarms content to all visitors. high on and Police Crime Police Dedicated to the needs e very SM Academy (PCPA). This of the fire and security agenda Es exciting feature will installers and integrators, showcase the latest police the Installer Theatre will techniques to reduce crime provide important industry and keep local communities safe. updates and guidance for It is a unique opportunity to discover practitioners and business owners. best practice and learn about this In the Security in Practice Theatre, leading important national Police Crime Prevention expert speakers will uncover the emerging Initiative (PCPI). E technologies, latest trends and best practice With more than 150 exhibitors already signed up for The Security Event, visitors can expect to see leading brands such as Ajax, Oprema, BT Redcare, CSL, CCTV Direct, Optex, Seagate, Suprema, Toshiba, ADI Global Distribution, Dahua and many more. The industry has also backed the Security Event in a big way and bodies and associations supporting the event include Asis UK, The Security Institute, Linx International Group, Secured by Design, Tavcom Training, Association of Security Consultants, Irish Security Industry Association, SSAIB, National Security Inspectorate, Secured by Design, Fire & Security Association to name just a few.



The Security Event  PCPI is a police-owned organisation that works on behalf of the Police Service throughout the UK to deliver a wide range of crime prevention and police demand reduction initiatives. It acts as a catalyst to bring organisations together to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and create safer communities. Its partners include the Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local authorities, British and European standards authorities, trade associations, test houses, certification bodies, the construction industry, manufacturers and many other organisations. This provides PCPI with the ability to influence and support the wider police service. National Cyber Security Show New for 2021 is the National Cyber Security Show, which will be co-located with The Security Event. The event’s tagline is uniting the UK approach to tackle cyber threats and protect our digital world. There has never been a more important time to put cyber security high on every SMEs agenda. National Cyber Security Show will help SMEs gain a better understanding of the current mitigating threats, increase SME cyber resilience and showcase the products and solutions that will better protect your business. The National Cyber Security Show will offer a one-stop-shop for visitors to unite from across the country and is expected to welcome more


Both the Security Event and The National Cyber Security Show are uniquely colocated with The Health and Safety Event, The Fire Safety Event, The Facilities Event, and The Emergency Services Show than 2,500 visitors all looking to improve their cyber security. The National Cyber Security Show will showcase more than 50 leading brands as exhibitors and has been created in partnership with its own set of Founding Partners who are an alliance of key cyber security brands, who recognise the need for a UK cyber security exhibition focused on SMEs. The Founding Partners include 3B Data Security, Cyberfit Security, CyberGuard Technologies, CyberSmart, Darktrace, Equalibrium Cyber Security Services, Protos Networks, Red flags from ThinkCyber and TecSec. Visiting The National Cyber Security Show is the perfect way to view and interact with the latest cyber security products from some of the top suppliers and SMEs in the industry. Visitors can meet experts face-to-face and get hands-on product demonstrations, letting you find the solution that best suits your business needs. Visitors will be able to engage


with some of the sector’s biggest brands, including ADS, The Cyber Security Association,, The Cyber Security Review, techUK, The North East Business Resilience Centre, The Cyber Resilience Centre, and The UK Cyber Security Forum. Leading names in cyber The focus for the event is being driven by a special Advisory Council, which boasts 26 of the industry’s most influential names. The council is chaired Professor Ciaran Martin, former CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, and Professor at Oxford University. The council consists of the most credible government, industry and leading academic stakeholders who engage us all yearround adding value and sharing knowledge to help shape our agendas and maintain the toplevel content. Members of the council include: Dr Vladlina Benson, Director of the Cyber Security Innovation Centre; Tracy Buckingham, Deputy Director

Security and Cyber Security Exports, DITUKDSE; Paul Chichester, Director of Operations, National Cyber Security Centre; Alison Hurst, Director, The West Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre; Graham Ingram, CISO, University of Oxford; Mahbubul Islam, CISO, HM Courts & Tribunals Service; Henry Pearson OBE MA, Cyber Security Ambassador | UK Defence and Security Exports, Department for International Trade; Angela McLaren, Assistant Commissioner, City of London Police, to name but a few. Cyber seminars With one small business in the UK successfully hacked every 19 seconds, according to Hiscox, and new ‘cyber’ certification standards coming into play for both physical access control systems and intruder alarm installations in 2021, there has never been a more important time to put cyber security high on every SMEs agenda. The National Cyber Security Show will help SMEs gain a better understanding of the current mitigating threats. The event will feature its own Cyber Security Conference, which will offer free CPD-accredited seminars that are aimed at SME business owners who are now needing to become educated about ‘Cyber Essentials’ due to increased threats to their business. The conference will also cater for the thousands of installers who will be affected by the new standards around cyber vulnerabilities

in physical security installations, with dedicated sessions that will offer practical training and advise around the changes to their working practices. The content in the conference will centre around four key areas: managing cyber security, securing your networks and connections, securing your IT equipment, protection and recovery. The seminars will offer practical and easy easily-digestible advice for UK businesses and UK business owners to really get under the skin of what good cybersecurity looks like and help protect their businesses. One pass, six events Both the Security Event and The National Cyber Security Show are uniquely co-located with The Health and Safety Event, The Fire Safety Event, The Facilities Event, and The Emergency Services Show. This means that delegates only have to register once to have access to all six events, which form part of Nineteen Group’s Safety and Security Series, giving them access to six major events in one unmissable opportunity. The organisers are expecting more than 28,000 delegates to attend across the three days and there are already more than 900 exhibitors signed up to showcase the latest products, services and training and the events span over 54,000 square metres – making these events the biggest of their kind in the UK.

The Security Event

The National Cyber Security Show will help SMEs gain a better understanding of the current mitigating threats. The event will feature its own Cyber Security Conference, which will offer free CPD-accredited seminars that for SME business owners

Across the Safety and Security Series there will be more than a dozen educational theatres offering more than 300 hours of CPD content. These seminar sessions are all freeto-attend and visitors are urged to reserve the places for any sessions in advance when they register to attend the event. The Security Event and The National Cyber Security Show present countless options for connecting with new and existing contacts and industry peers both onsite during the show or out of hours. On 7 September, there will be VIP networking event for the security industry at The Vox, which is on site at the NEC. Delegates will be able to network with their peers will enjoying drinks and canapés. The NEC, Birmingham provides the perfect venue for these events as it is the UK’s most accessible exhibition venue in the UK. With an international airport, mainline train station, easy access to the UK’s motorway network and over 16,500 car parking spaces, the NEC is the number one option for both exhibitors and visitors alike. In another first, the events will offer free parking on site at the NEC. This will further enforce that the NEC is the most accessible venue for any event in the security sector. L FURTHER INFORMATION



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Interpreting and translation services for the world we live in today The Language Services framework went live in May, providing interpreting, translation and transcription services that support remote working and social distancing The pandemic has forced organisations to coronavirus pandemic. In the same time adapt the way they work to ensure critical period, face-to-face services reduced from frontline services can still be provided to around 5,000 appointments to 1,500. those most in need. As this often Such changes in day-to-day includes citizens whose primary working were reflected right language is not English, it has across the country, including T h led to a move away from in Parliament. In May last pandeme traditional face-to-face year the Speaker in the ic has forced translation services House of Commons o r g anisatio to adap to options such as authorised a move n s t work to the way the telephone and video that saw MPs allowed y e n interpreting. to vote on new laws s u r e f rontline critical The Crown without being present s Commercial Service in the Commons for still be ervices can p reports that, in the first time in its to thos rovided January 2020, its history. Sir Lindsay Hoyle e most customers were using authorised the move in need in the region of 450,000 as part of measures to minutes of telephone and cope with social distancing, video interpreting. By February saying he was ‘satisfied with the 2021 this had increased to over 1.2 assurances’ he had been given on the million minutes, reflecting the need to change security of the system, but said it would be how services are provided in response to temporary. This followed MPs already taking

part in debates and questions via video conferencing, including for Prime Ministers Questions. Fast forward a year and the National Association of Local Councils was continuing its fight against the government to make remote meetings a permanent option for local councils. NALC entered into extensive dialogue across local government and with rural stakeholders at the beginning of 2021. The outcome was the unanimous agreement with NALC that local councils should be permanently allowed the option of holding remote meetings at a time of their choosing. Suggesting that a hybrid approach to local council meetings may be inevitable in the future, the NALC says that given the recent delay in lifting some lockdown restrictions and uncertainty over the safety of holding local council meetings physically, the government should give local councils the legal option of holding remote meetings if they want to – in the interests of health, safety and society. E Issue 28.4 | GOVERNMENT BUSINESS MAGAZINE


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 Hertfordshire County Council, the Association of Democratic Service Officers (ADSO), and Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) bought an unsuccessful high court case on remote meetings in April 2021. Language services The Crown Commercial Service’s new Language Services framework (RM6141) gives customers access to a range of remote solutions – from telephone and video services to speech-to-text software and machine translation. It replaces RM1092, which expired on 21 April 2021. As well as helping you respond to new ways of working brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, these options can also save you time, resources and costs. As the Home Office Legacy Common Goods and Services Team commented: “CCS was able to provide expert advice, guidance and direction on how best to use the framework. This support enabled the Home Office to concentrate on developing our requirements, whilst knowing we had an expert in language services at our disposal when needed.” The government procurement body has also added several other new features to the framework to ensure users have access to the solutions you need. This includes: regional managed service lots: if you have a regional or overseas focus you can buy multiple services through a single supplier, giving you greater clarity about pricing; more opportunities for SME suppliers as they don’t need to be able to offer their services on a national scale: 13 of the 15 suppliers on the new framework are SMEs; a quality assurance service option: you can get an independent quality assurance specialist to carry out checks on your supplier(s) and/or the linguists carrying out assignments for you;


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The Crown Commercial Service’s new Language Services framework (RM6141) gives customers access to a range of remote solutions – from telephone and video services to speech-to-text software and machine translation and services available through the framework have been rationalised to avoid confusion: all non-spoken services, such as Braille and British Sign Language are now included under a single non-spoken services option (lot 4), helping you achieve compliance with the accessibility regulations that have recently come into effect. Local and national contracts In recent years the government has devolved some procurement decisions to the local level – for example in giving GPs commissioning responsibilities – and in other areas have centralised contracts, as is the case with the Ministry of Justice. While procuring at the national level may increase the complexity of assessing a local language service need, it may also simplify the supplier/customer relationship and ensure a tighter control on costs. Another key advantage of procuring at a national level is the opportunity to obtain an enhanced view of cross-organisational needs. It can be too easy for the local procurement of language services to only consider their organisation without taking a more holistic approach to a citizen’s language support requirement. At the same time, variability will exist in the languages required in different

parts of the country. Rare languages will have fewer qualified interpreters available to meet demand and this could affect the ability of a language provider to meet this need. You must also consider the locations a language provider will be required to attend. More remote and rural areas create travel complications and could mean fewer appointments at any time can be made. Furthermore, areas of the country that have a lower population will more likely have fewer interpreters living in the area. This will again impact on the frequency that appointments can be made, particularly for rare language needs. A key advantage of procuring at a local level is that those receiving the service will have direct control over the service provider on a day-to-day basis. Procurers should allow sufficient flexibility in any nationally agreed contract to enable local requirements to be met. As a rule, the larger the scope of the services being procured, the more flexibility is needed for the contract to take into account local circumstances. L FURTHER INFORMATION uk/agreements/RM6141




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Providing flexible choice vouchers for the public sector Since the start of the pandemic, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services has worked in partnership with over 150 clients and distributed over 1.3 million free school meal vouchers and over £120 million in funds from public sector bodies in the shape of hardship funds and customer payments

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic impacted many families across the country. Throughout these unprecedented times, we supported local authorities and educational establishments across the UK in providing much needed support to vulnerable members of their communities. Since March 2020, we’ve worked in partnership with over 150 clients and distributed over 1.3 million free school meal vouchers and over £120 million in funds from public sector bodies in the shape of hardship funds and customer payments. As one of 13 suppliers on Crown Commercial Service’s Voucher Schemes framework, we’re able to continue to support public sector organisations via the provision of food vouchers, hardship payments, free school meal vouchers, local voucher schemes, consumer reward and survey completion incentives. We pride ourselves on our ability to bring people and organisations together in a way that makes a real difference to people’s lives and being on the framework ensures that support continues for our public sector partners. We provide public sector bodies with access to an end-to-end voucher delivery system which is not only secure, but simple to use! All our customers benefit from a fully managed service with dedicated scheme management and customer care support. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what our customers, North Aryshire and Highland Councils, had to say about working with Sodexo:

redeem their voucher. Our Customer Care team was also on hand to help any parent that had questions. Here’s what Neil McAleese, Business Planning Team Manager for North Ayrshire Council, had to say about working with us: “Our requirement for the services of Sodexo came on the back of the coronavirus pandemic. We had to implement a solution quickly which was flexible in terms of frequency of the vouchers, continuing to provide a workable solution for parents, and meeting our own budgetary pressures. Sodexo have been excellent throughout, with fantastic client service managers who provide continuous support. “From the outset, Sodexo were transparent in how they charged for the service which allowed for a streamlined procurement process for both parties. From a parent’s perspective, the choice of retailers has been warmly received and this has undoubtedly contributed to the overall success of our pandemic food voucher programme. Sodexo have provided a flexible, practical and easy system which has been of huge benefit to North Ayrshire families” Highland Council: Due to the closure of schools last year, the Highland Council needed to ensure that they could continue to support local families across their county. We worked with them to provide a multi-store digital voucher scheme that would allow vouches to be issued to eligible families to purchase food at their selected supermarket. They placed bulk voucher requests with our team, which were then released to them to be distributed locally to their families by email.

Once notified, parents could then log on to our platform to redeem their voucher code for an e-voucher to spend at their chosen major supermarket chain. To ensure that the parents and carers understood how to access the scheme we created a tailored communications campaign which included an e-book, factsheet, and an information sheet for parents. Our Customer Care Team was also available to assist with any queries from the Council’s Welfare Resilience Team and parents and carers. Here’s what Shelia McKandie, head of Revenue and Business Support for The Highland Council, had to say about working with us: “We knew that we needed to implement a fastpaced solution to support thousands of families in Highland, with minimal disruption for parents and carers. Sodexo have been wonderful to work with throughout the whole process! The availability of the helpline and how quickly any issues were resolved was a big plus for us. We’ve had really positive feedback from the families we support, across a diverse and vast geographical area, in what has been a really challenging health and economic crisis.” We provide flexible voucher choices to suit your requirements, a choice of over 100 retailer brands, an easy-to-use platform backed by award-winning customer support. L FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01908 303477

North Ayrshire Council: Alongside North Ayrshire, we developed a multi-store voucher solution allowing recipients to select from the main supermarket retailers depending on which was local to them. A voucher ordering form was created so the council could easily place orders every two weeks. Once the order was received, parents would receive the vouchers within a 48-hour window or less. To help parents and carers understand the scheme, we created a demonstration video alongside a step-by-step guide on how to



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Transforming Glasgow into a world-class smart city Government Business takes a look at two case studies examining the work between the Crown Commercial Service and Glasgow City Council to transform the region into a world-class smart city, as well as how the DVLA transformed its contact centre services and telephony Before its digital upgrade Glasgow City allows social value elements to be assessed Council already had two existing contracts alongside other criteria. in place providing CCTV traffic management The solution was to appoint a single camera network services across the city. supplier to install, manage and support a Both were due to expire and needed to be brand new robust, scalable and flexible full replaced to ensure these critical services fibre network. continued to operate efficiently. Consisting of 633 circuits, the network A strategic decision was made that both will support the delivery of CCTV, traffic components should be brought together and control and other services across the city. delivered through a single supplier. This will enable the roll-out of leading-edge In addition to the basic needs of CCTV and IoT technologies – including sensor-enabled traffic management, the new replacement automation such as noise and pollution network needed to support: future monitoring, footfall, flood and water requirements for the implementation of 5G management as well as measuring of footfall. over the next decade; improving the ability Commsworld was awarded a 10 year to deploy (Internet of Things) IoT technology; contract for £5.8 million. This represented a economic regeneration and growth by cost avoidance of approximately £4.4 million, breaking down digital barriers; and the calculated by comparing the successful bid council’s future cities ambitions. against the average value of all bids received The council also needed to deliver social including the winning bid. value through the contract. The solution delivered as part of After consideration, the council the contract gives the council ran a further competition advanced technological The through CCS’s Network capability to make more solution Services 2 framework. This informed operational was to commercial agreement and strategic a single appoint was well-suited to the decisions in the council’s requirements future. For example install, supplier to m as it has robust terms data harvesting a n a g suppor and conditions, enables will enable it t a bran e and robust, access to a supplier to deliver more d new scalable market with the skills efficient, targeted flexible and and experience required services for the f u l l fi b to deliver the contract, and benefit of citizens. r e n


Key to this is the availability of high-speed fibre infrastructure that could help drive forward the implementation of 5G across the city – increasing the reach of 5G to all areas of Glasgow. In addition, the council successfully leveraged the terms of the Network Services 2 framework in order to achieve a variety of social value outcomes focused on tackling the digital divide and economic regeneration in the city. As part of the contract the successful supplier, Commsworld, agreed to recruit an apprentice, provide a mentoring programme for digital skills and offer work experience placements to those from digitally deprived backgrounds. Councillor Angus Millar, chair of the Digital Glasgow Board, said: “We recognise the vital role that our digital infrastructure plays in the smooth running of Glasgow, which in turn impacts on the city’s prosperity and productivity. Working closely with Commsworld, we are firmly committed to enabling a CCTV and traffic control system that makes Glasgow’s road network more efficient, while at the same time bringing quality job opportunities to our city.” Laura Moffat, Category Manager at Glasgow City Council, added: “We chose to use the Network Services 2 framework as it met all of our assessment criteria. In addition to the framework’s suitability, we received excellent support from CCS’s category team throughout the procurement process. E



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 The council was really pleased with the final outcome. As well as investing in our city’s infrastructure, we were able to build community benefits into the procurement which will have a lasting impact beyond the lifetime of the contract.” DVLA The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) holds more than 49 million driver records and over 40 million vehicle records. They collect around £7 billion a year in vehicle excise duty (VED). DVLA went to market to re-procure their telephony services contract (including contact centre functionality) to deliver a modern communication solution with increased functionality and flexibility, providing a better experience for customers and employees. DVLA were keen to take advantage of the developments in the market since they last updated their system, and decided to take a technology-agnostic approach to their

procurement. This allowed them to go to the market with an open tender rather than identify a specific solution, to increase competition and innovation. By focusing on outcomes, suppliers weren’t restricted in their approach to the competition. This led to a diverse response from

“We chose to use the Network Services 2 framework as it met all of our assessment criteria. In addition to the framework’s suitability, we received excellent support from CCS’s category team throughout the procurement process.”

the market, with bids ranging from on-premise network solutions to fully hosted and also hybrid. As part of our ongoing relationship with DVLA, we regularly liaise with them to discuss upcoming procurements and the latest technological developments that they could benefit from. The decision was taken to use Lot 10 (Unified Communications) of Network Services 2 for DVLA’s contract. The project team, supported by Ralph Hegarty from our Network Services team, engaged extensively with suppliers through site visits and supplier days. They carried out due diligence by consulting with internal experts to ensure that DVLAs requirements could be met through the provision of cloud, hybrid or onpremise solutions. E

Digital transformation should not just be a reaction to COVID

Thousands of organisations worldwide went through digital transformations over the period of the pandemic. Across both the private and public sector, the IT industry has seen huge growth in areas providing hybrid work capabilities such as cloud technologies and restructuring network topologies to incorporate them providing a more centralised controlled environment that enables scalability which in turn reduces cost. Among its many benefits, businesses are realising that although the reason for change in their IT infrastructure was initially to provide accessibility to staff working out of office, it has also improved on areas such as better collaboration and increased quality of work, higher security, reduced downtime and rapid disaster recovery. Demonstrating

that this evergreen method should not only be a response to the pandemic, but a smart business transformation that will allow organisations to grow with the movement into a technologically advanced, but new normal means of conducting everyday business. A prime example of a project undertaken recently for one of our largest public sector clients, was a decentralised controlled campus of 7 organisations, most having their own IT services and others sharing various elements, creating a complex and disparate environment. Our client wanted to rethink this approach and create a dynamic network that would allow changes over time and act as a mediator between connected devices and their associated back-end infrastructure. The principle around this design was that a network layer would spans across all 7 sites that can identify connected devices using agreed methods/protocols. It would then use this information to determine the back-end infrastructure, or network associated with that user’s device and provide suitable configuration which would allow the device to operate in a similar manor as it would

have previous on the old network. The high-level, multi-tenant network design meant the users would still only have access to what they previously had access to, but their connectivity to each other over the 7 sites was simplified and centralised on one common infrastructure. This network modernisation for our client allowed them to meet the challenges of both multicloud and digital transformation. It is a design created with future growth in mind. If you are thinking of undertaking a digital transformation, now is a great time to get in touch to see how we, as a leader in providing effective IT services, can support you. We can support you in several areas including End User Compute, Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Wired/Wireless Networks, Managed Services, Technical Consultancy and Design & Delivery services. L FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01438 300335



Working from home can be just as secure as the office

With work from home becoming the new normal, companies are entering unchartered territory moving away from a once secured office setting with its protected networks and firewalls. The threat of the human element is now introduced at a much larger scale where companies are needing to ask themselves questions like: Are my staff aware of the relevance of cyber security? What role does each staff member play in the securing of the company data? Have I done enough to increase threat intelligence with my staff? Have I identified all the vulnerabilities of a work from home environment? Every company has something to protect. Secret formula’s and algorithms, customer records and banking information, planned mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property. All this information is

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stored electronically and is at risk of being breached. Covid-19 has already been classed as the largest ever effect on cyber security, with cyber criminals adapting their attacks to target the new work from home trend. With this in mind, the focus in business now needs to shift to increase cyber threat intelligence. Companies need to avoid using a band aid approach and instead ensure security is in place from the very beginning planning processes. The first step in this direction is to secure the human element. This is done by focusing on education, ensuring it is sustainable, of high quality, comprehensive, relevant, and delivered by professionals. The second step is to ensure you have a team of professionals to deploy that can secure each and every one of your work


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74% of organisations have moved to work from 74% of organisations home options since the have moved work from 74% oftoorganisations 74% of organisations COVID pandemic home options have moved to since work the from have moved tohome work from COVID pandemic options since the COVID pandemic home options since the 63% of companies admit that they do pandemic notof have the policies orCOVID protection 63% companies admit that they doin place to protect their staff from cyber not have the policiesadmit or protection indo 63% of companies that they hackers at a home office place to protect their staff from cyber not have the policies or protection in hackers atprotect a hometheir officestaff from cyber place to admit theyoffice do hackersthat at a home


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The five-year contract with Wavenet Limited will transform contact centre services along with DVLA’s back-office telephony, beginning with the cloud contact centre deployment information (MI) and analytical tools will allow us to effectively measure and continuously improve the service we provide and ensure we are meeting customer needs. “It also gives us a great opportunity to deliver modern customer service tooling


 DVLA ran a further competition using Network Services 2 (RM3808). The contract was awarded to Wavenet Limited. The fiveyear contract will transform contact centre services along with DVLA’s back-office telephony, beginning with the cloud contact centre deployment. The contract is anticipated to deliver a smaller computer footprint that saves both space and power and offers increased opportunities for self-serve, automation, scalability and flexibility. Rob Holohan, Contact Centre Product Owner at DVLA, said: “From a customer perspective, this technology will deliver a greater choice around how and when customers contact us. A suite of management

for our staff – and by providing a greater understanding of the customer journey it allows us to offer a more personalised and efficient customer experience. The new solution will allow us to revamp our IVRs (interactive voice response), automate some of the simpler enquiries that we receive and provide 24/7 support to our customers.” Justin Griffiths, Project Manager at DVLA, added: “The project will transform our contact centre services through Content Guru’s storm platform. This solution will integrate with our existing web channels and new telephony services. It will provide increased opportunities for our customers to use self-service and automation, as well as providing our staff with enhanced and improved communications tooling.” L FURTHER INFORMATION agreements/RM3808

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New ‘full lifecycle’ technology services agreement launched The Crown Commercial Service has awarded the latest version of the Technology Services framework - with additional services and improved call-off terms The Technology Services 3 framework The Technology Services 3 launched in enables customers to procure information July 2021 and runs for four years. Call-off and communication technology services contract durations can be from two to across the entire lifecycle; from strategy seven years. through to transition and operational Philip Orumwense, Commercial Director deployment. The new agreement builds on and Chief Technology Procurement Officer, the success of the Technology Crown Commercial Service, said: Services 2 framework, “Technology Services 3 has been which expires in designed and developed using The September, adding an extensive discovery and Technolo refinements to the consultative process with gy Services Lots and making many of our customers, 3 it easier and suppliers, and partners. enables framework custom more efficient This framework truly p e rocure in rs to for customers to reflects and represents f ormatio commu n and procure IT services. their expectations and nic

a services tion technolog across t y he lifecycle entire

provides the platform for the country to build back better with the right mix of quality and innovative suppliers, including SME providers. This is another example of how CCS is putting customers at the heart of everything we do to help support the public sector to continue on its digital transformation journey.” Lotting structure The Lots will comprise: Lot 1 – Technology Strategy and Service Design; Lot 2 – Transition and Transformation; Lot 3a – End User Services; Lot 3b – Operational Management; Lot 3c – Technical Management; Lot 3d – Application and Data Management; Lot 4 E



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Memorandum of Understandings To empower customers during these challenging times and demonstrate its commitment to helping you save money on technology, the Crown Commercial Service has signed a number of Memorandum of Understandings’ (MoUs) with our technology suppliers. By doing this, the government’s procurement body is using its national buying power to agree preferential pricing and discounts across a range of technology products and services, so that the best deals are offered and help organisation’s ‘Build Back Better’ post pandemic. By positioning the public sector as a ‘single customer,’ the CCS is able to negotiate larger discounts with suppliers to offer best value for money to the customer.

The CCS is using its national buying power to agree preferential pricing and discounts across a range of technology products and services, so that the best deals are offered and they can help organisation’s ‘Build Back Better’ post pandemic Other benefits include every public sector organisation, no matter how big or small, being able to benefit from the exact same discounts, with the selection of technology MoUs available to customers through any route to market used for technology buying. Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust employs 5,500 staff who deliver vital healthcare services to inpatients and outpatients at the local general hospital, alongside community services for the 250,000 strong local population. To securely manage and store vital information about patients, treatments and equipment, they needed a stable and reliable network solution to replace their ageing data centre. The existing data centre for the trust was located at their main hospital and was coming to the end of its usable life. As servers age, their reliability and performance


 – Major Service Transformation Programmes; and Lot 5 – Service Integration and Management. Lot 4, covering major service transformations, has been simplified. Market feedback was that the previous securityfocused sub-Lots were confusing and restrictive, and they have been removed. A new Service Integration and Management (SIAM) Lot has been introduced to support customers looking to disaggregate the delivery of their technology services. By using SIAM, customers can manage multiple suppliers of services and integrate them to provide a single, businessfacing IT organisation.

decrease, while their ability to support new applications declines. With a traditional data centre infrastructure, such as the one used by the trust, there are separate silos to manage for compute, storage and virtualisation, making the network run too slowly. As a result, the trust was not able to implement new technology as there was no guarantee it would run effectively on its old servers. In addition, the trust’s backup solution was not up to the job of supporting its business requirements and, without adequate backup, they risked not complying with data management regulations. Scoping out a new solution required forward planning. The production and hardware platforms would have to support the trust’s business needs, as well as being able to handle future demand over the next five years. The entire platform, including the primary and secondary site, network, E



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In terms of the RMA, it is consistently running at less than 3% (based on 12 month rolling average of remanufactured laptops), which sits comfortably alongside the figure for ‘new’. These facts and figures alone should give you an idea of the rigour and attention to detail that Circular Computing have at the core of their business. Sustainability is at the very heart of the business. For every laptop produced, five trees are planted in reforestation projects, through our partnership with OneTreePlanted and WeForest. This provides not just environmental piece of mind, as these Reforestation projects also create businesses in themselves, generating sustainable employment, infrastructure and income security within local and otherwise vulnerable communities, throughout Asia, Brazil and Africa. In terms of scale, by purchasing Circular Computing laptops,169,395 trees thus far have been planted. These trees will help sequester and reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere by around 20.3 million kilograms over their lifetime. To describe Circular Computing as positive for both the planet and business is no idle boast. The facts and figures speak proudly for themselves. We are proud to be on the CCS framework and widely recognised across the public and private sector as a supplier who can make a dramatic difference to their sustainability reporting.


 backup software and hardware would need to be procured for a fixed budget. Through the Technology Products and Associated Services framework, the trust carried out a further competition to decide on their chosen provider, with Insight emerging as the successful supplier. As part of an initial review, the supplier carried out a technical workshop with the trust to determine the most effective solution for the network infrastructure. This led to Insight suggesting that the trust’s ageing traditional three-tier infrastructure be replaced with an enterprise cloud environment. The new infrastructure consisted of the Nutanix hyperconverged VMware vSphere solution that would run the trust’s business workload. This new solution is much less complex than the previous infrastructure because it integrates the server, storage, virtualisation and networking. And, to address the trust’s need to manage future demand, the Nutanix enterprise cloud platform provides the ability to run any application at any scale. To protect the trust’s data, Insight recommended Veeam Backup and Replication, which is designed for virtual environments. The software enables users to back up, restore and replicate functionality on virtual machines. The trust can run full or incremental backups and receive automated verification once the data has been recovered. Finally, for maximum reliability, Insight proposed that the solution should be spread across four different locations: two

To securely manage and store vital information about patients, treatments and equipment, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust needed a stable and reliable network solution to replace their ageing data centre locations to protect the trust’s workload using the Nutanix Metro cluster, and another two locations to protect the backup data. Once the infrastructure was designed, Insight tested the failover and failback of the workload. This ensured that the

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Five reasons why the public sector still doesn’t embrace G-Cloud Romy Hughes, director at Brightman, outlines some of the reasons why the public sector still shuns the G-Cloud and other frameworks The G-Cloud, along with the many other framework agreements, were initially developed to keep procurement and suppliers at arm’s length. The aim was to create a level playing field which would stop government projects being awarded to the same large suppliers, again-and-again, irrespective of their performance. In turn, this removal of ‘cosy’ relationships would allow public/private sector business to be conducted on purely objective terms, delivering better value and a better quality of service to the taxpayer. But the G-Cloud framework, among many others, continues to see much lower adoption than they should, with many major procurements still bypassing the framework agreements altogether. But why is this? Below are the five most common reasons we hear from our public sector clients when they have chosen not to use a framework. 1. ‘It wasn’t built here’ Ultimately, the public sector likes to work with its own systems and people. In some sectors there is still a general mistrust of private companies, or the ideological feeling that profit should never touch the public sector. There is no room for ideology in procurement. Achieving the outcome in the most effective way should


3. ‘No one likes change’ As reliably as the sun will rise and set each day, you will find that most people will avoid change if they can. Change is uncomfortable, risky, unpredictable. But change is also necessary and inevitable. While most people 2. ‘We have strategic naturally resist change, they will accept it if suppliers already’ they understand why it is necessary. The The framework agreements are seen as G-Cloud and other frameworks artificial barriers to doing business, were not introduced to make because that is exactly what The life more difficult, but that is they were designed to be. framew often how they are perceived They were put in place need to orks by those in procurement. to remove existing b e The government needs to relationships from the b e tter at effic make the case that the procurement process ie n t ly objectiv and change introduced by the so that contracts e frameworks is worth it. would be awarded on govern ly matching ment b an entirely objective uye with ap 4. ‘Each framework basis. That is fair propria rs t e is costly to review’ enough, but it ignores supplie rs Given the complexity of how people actually each framework agreement, no do business. Ultimately, public sector organisation would people want to do business risk signing up to one without their with people, not frameworks. It also lawyers reading it first. G-Cloud’s Framework presupposes that business relationships agreement spans 62 pages, while the basic built on years of shared experiences have call-off contract is 77 pages long – and this no value in a business transaction, when is before any contract-specific terms have in reality it is very important. Trust is an been added. Multiply this by each framework important factor in choosing a supplier which that the public sector buyer is expected to cannot be determined in a framework. be the only ideology to work by. In most instances the private sector has proven itself to be the most efficient, cheapest and effective way to deliver services.



use and it is not hard to see why many would simply choose to write their own terms. Why would you invest in legal advice for each and every framework when you can simply pay the same lawyer just once to write terms which address your specific needs? 5. ‘How do we know if its genuinely the right approach?’ Building on the last point, each framework must be individually assessed to determine if it offers good value. This is a timeconsuming process which many organisations simply don’t want to do, so they leave the frameworks on the shelf. Given the number of frameworks and the government’s propensity to continually introduce new ones or renew existing agreements (why the need to renew G-Cloud each year?) it becomes very difficult for organisations to know if they deliver good value or not.

The G-Cloud in particular is often criticised for being unwieldy and difficult to navigate, and largely ineffective at matching public sector requests with the most relevant suppliers

These five points address the most common reasons why many in the public sector remain reluctant to even consider using a framework agreement in the first place. Yet this article has not addressed the elephant in the room – the poor experience that many buyers have when they actually attempt to use one. The G-Cloud in particular is often criticised for being unwieldy and difficult to navigate, and largely ineffective at matching public sector requests with the most relevant suppliers. Given the 5,224 suppliers on G-Cloud 12 alone, there is a pressing need for the matchmaking capabilities of the

platform to be overhauled. Even if we could address the five points raised in this article and convince the public sector to use it, we may find that their poor experience will be another reason to stay away. We do not disagree with the sentiments of our public sector customers here who have shared their experiences with us, however, these issues are not insurmountable, and the goals of the frameworks remain something to strive for. Ultimately, the frameworks need to be better at efficiently and objectively matching government buyers with appropriate suppliers.

We believe this can be better achieved by reducing the overall number of frameworks to simplify the market for buyers, overhauling the online marketplaces (with a particular focus on their matchmaking capabilities) and introducing a sustained communications campaign to educate the public sector on how to get the best out of them. By doing this I believe the frameworks can have a much more positive future. L FURTHER INFORMATION

Are You Prepared? ISDN / PSTN Switch-Off 2025 Have you considered what exposure or risks the ISDN / PSTN Switch-Off 2025 poses to your organisation? Your telecoms network will have been built historically on these technologies. However, what you are using and where it is located may be an enigma. Voice calls, security, well-being and any equipment reliant on these services will be affected. The longer action is delayed, the more problematic the situation may become. From a completely independent viewpoint, Segmentation Group, with our depth of knowledge in legacy services, can help you gain clarity and remain in control.

Call us on 03300 240480 for a free consultation or email us at



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