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February 2016
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The Environment Agency Chooses Sennheiser as Official Headset and Speakerphone Provider after Rigorous Evaluation

Sennheiser Presence

Sennheiser Presence

Sennheiser, a leading provider of headsets and speakerphone solutions, has been chosen by the Environment Agency as sole provider of its headsets and speakerphone equipment in a major revision of its telephony systems. The headsets and speakerphones are currently being rolled out across the agency to its office-based and mobile workforce as part of a refit of the organisation designed to improve quality and reduce costs. Sennheiser was chosen due to a range of benefits including comfort, long-lasting operation and importantly its strong adherence to environmental factors.

The Challenge:
The Environment Agency is in the process of replacing its telephony service as part of a move from traditional PSTN delivery to a VoIP Unified Communications solution. The basic need to communicate effectively and flexibly is of paramount importance, and there is a strong focus on finding a solution that provides quality, clarity and usability while remaining cost-effective.

The solution:
The Environment Agency conducted an extensive in-house trial of a range of leading headsets and telephony equipment as part of its move to a Unified Communications and Jabber-compatible workforce. The aim of the project was to promote interdependent communication between flexible, agile teams that could work from anywhere and with anyone, from employees to partners and customers. This process must be conducted effectively and fluidly, and so an endpoint solution to enable staff to do so while reflecting the dynamic nature of the revised operation was a must.

“We knew that our endpoint devices were an important part of the service. This is a business process change facilitated by technology, so these devices had to be the same standard as the service we were creating,” said Ben Thomas, Project Manager for the Environment Agency. “We went to market to find out what was out there and narrowed it down to three key suppliers for an internal evaluation. We investigated each company’s wired product, Bluetooth product, and Speakerphone product to cover the three main areas for desk-based and mobile use.”



The Environment Agency trialled the Sennheiser SC 660 dual-sided headset, the PRESENCE – its leading hands-free Bluetooth headset and the Speakerphone SP 20 – a portable, powerful speakerphone designed to be used both in the fixed and mobile office.

The SC 660 was chosen due to, among other reasons, superb comfort for day-long operation. As a dual-sided headset designed for office professionals requiring HD voice clarity, the combination of comfort and quality, with effective noise cancellation for busy environments, made it the obvious choice.

It also opted for Sennheiser’s PRESENCE Bluetooth headset for flexible operation, long battery life and fast charging – key factors for busy professionals on the move.

Finally the SP 20 Speakerphone was seen as the ideal accompaniment to extend its mobile office capabilities and deliver a solution that was equally at home in a fixed position or to carry when on the move.

Before being chosen by the Environment Agency, Sennheiser’s products went through a rigorous testing procedure to ensure that only the most effective solutions are being utilised at every stage of the process.

“We found that Sennheiser came out on top in key areas of our testing, often by a fair margin” said Ben Thomas. “Comfort was a key criterion with many staff attending to calls throughout the day. A warranty period that reflects the company’s confidence in its product is a reassuring advantage.

“We also decided to look at the technology used in the build of the product – of the individual components, and make a judgement based on that. Battery life was a very big factor for us – often you find that what the manufacturer says it is and what it actually is is very different, so during our own tests we managed to make a judgement on this – and did in fact find some significant differences between manufacturers‘ claims.

“Similarly charge time is important – the speed of charge, which can be utilised between calls, could be a game changer, and again we saw some standout areas.”

But it was not just comfort and quality that fell under the microscope during the Environment Agency’s rigorous process. Sennheiser was also judged on factors that may not immediately seem important, but actually reflect a key part of an overall strategy to deliver in all areas of its product and service offerings – from development to delivery.


“Of course due to the nature of our business, we took a strong look at the environmental considerations each company takes with its products, including packaging, the materials that come with the device itself, fittings, the background of how the company operates and a number of other criteria. Sennheiser came out head and shoulders above the rest here – they package products only with what you really need and of course the packaging itself is fully recycled.”

Finally, it was Sennheiser’s dedication to customer support alongside its extensive portfolio of products that deliver consistent quality across the board that sealed the deal:

“We also needed a strategic partner going forwards. Sennheiser proved to us that it could be relied upon for both support and advice and a consistent, high product standard.”

The Environment Agency is starting to roll out the new headsets and speakerphones across the organisation.

The Environment Agency’s extensive criteria for evaluation:

o Warranty period
o Jabber compatibility
o Speaker Technology
o Sound Clarity
o Hearing Protection
o Microphone array
o Noise Cancellation
o Comfort
o Durability
o Safety
o Battery Life Quoted
o Battery Life Achieved
o Charge Time
o Case Provided
o Charger Provided
o Charger Type
o Comfort/Fit
o Visual On/Off
o Environmental
o Packaging
o Accessibility
o Project Management

About The Environment Agency:
The Environment Agency is a national agency of circa 10,000 staff housed in over 100 locations. Its staff is typically mobile and provides many services, including emergency reactionary service nationwide, and is dedicated to its core goal of protecting and improving the environment and creating better places for people and wildlife to live, as well as being a key supporter of sustainable development.

The Sennheiser products:
SC 660
The SC 660 is a premium wired headset for all-day use with desk phones in busy call centers or offices. Built to withstand the rigors of the toughest jobs, it is designed for office professionals requiring HD voice clarity, durability and all-day comfort.
It offers effective noise cancellation technology via an ultra noise-cancelling microphone and patented ActiveGard™ technology to protect against acoustic shock and sudden sound surges.

PRESENCE™ is Sennheiser’s leading Bluetooth headset for professionals on the road who demand consistently excellent communication both for themselves and the listener.
It offers a number of unique and patented technologies such as SpeakFocus™ that adapts seamlessly to background noise for crystal clear sound, WindSafe™ to automatically adjust for wind noise to ensure the clearest possible audio outdoors and ActiveGard® technology to protect against acoustic shock. Multi-connectivity allows users to quickly switch between softphone and mobile calls, bringing seamless operation to a range of different devices and it offers up to 10 hours talk time between charges for full day performance on the move.
The PRESENCE™ UC is optimised for Unified Communications to deliver excellent communication across a range of platforms and environments.

SP 20 Speakerphone
The Sennheiser SP 20 Speakerphone enables business professionals to easily make personal or small-group conference calls on PC/softphone in offices or when travelling, and doubles up as a portable high-fidelity speaker for listening to music on the move with a dedicated Sennheiser HD optimized sound profile. It provides ‘plug in and talk’ simplicity via mobile phone and PC and uses Sennheiser’s high definition sound quality, voice clarity and echo cancellation to ensure an outstanding communications experience for user and listeners, replacing standard-quality PC and mobile phone speakers and microphones for conference calls.

More information about Sennheiser is available on the internet at

The Circular Economy Package – More Questions than Answers?

bluecpilogo RGBIn December 2015, the Commission in Brussels produced its long awaited Circular Economy Package – “Closing the loop – an EU action plan for the Circular Economy”.  It contains a very wide ranging set of proposals with three principal objects. Firstly, to harmonise a number of existing directives into one overarching piece of legislation, secondly, to promote “waste” as the new “resource”, and thirdly, to support other environmental and Climate Change initiatives.

The European Paper Industry has generally welcomed the new proposals, particularly the recognition that the bio-economy and the concept of “renewability” have important parts to play in developing this new strategy and that further innovation funding will be made available. The Paper Industry also welcomes increased recycling targets as it believes that, with the right infrastructure in place, it should be possible to recycle more than the 71% already being achieved.  Indeed, there is renewed emphasis contained within the proposals on the separation of materials at source and on improving quality standards throughout the waste chain which, if implemented, should increase the flow of recyclable fibres back to the paper mills.

It is likely that this package of measures will be popular in some quarters and less so in others. Expect some lively debate over the coming year or so, particularly here in the UK, which has, up to now, pursued a slightly different approach to recycling than our continental neighbours.

Perhaps the most controversial proposal is the requirement to collect certain materials – including paper – separately from other materials.  Defra has failed to fully implement the spirit of the current guidelines on this issue and has even been subject to legal challenge in the courts. It has taken the view that collection methods are a matter for local decision making. Will it be able to maintain this stance? Time will tell.

Waste policy is currently a devolved responsibility in the UK which has allowed the devolved administrations to pursue their own policies. Will this continue or will there need to be an overarching unified approach in the future?

For local authorities, the challenges are going to be significant, as up to now they have been targeted purely on landfill avoidance and therefore have not been too concerned about quality issues. The trend has been towards comingling of materials which, once compacted, become either very expensive to sort or even unrecyclable and only fit for generating energy from waste (EfW). Overcapacity in EfW is to be discouraged and EfW limited only to materials which are genuinely unrecyclable.  How do local authorities react to this new policy direction, especially when many of them are tied into long-term contracts with waste management companies?  How much longer will they have total freedom to determine collection and disposal methods?  How long before they too have to accept some responsibility for meeting quality standards?

Perhaps the biggest challenge rests with the waste management companies if exacting quality standards are to be implemented both for the UK and export markets.  In the case of paper, this is likely to require compliance to the EN 643 standard which only allows for contamination rates of about 2%. Currently the rate is often in excess of 20%.

The issue which is likely to cause the fiercest debate is the call for Member States to establish extended producer responsibility schemes which not only involve the producers of the materials but “public and private waste operators, local authorities and, where appropriate, recognised preparation for re-use operators”.  In the Packaging arena this responsibility has, until now, been exercised through the Packaging Recovery Note system and discharged by raw material suppliers, producers, brand owners and retailers.  It looks as if the net might well be widened. The other question that has yet to be answered is to what extent the consumer should pay – something that politicians have so far shied away from.

For those who place products onto the market, there will be an increased emphasis on developing lifecycle assessment tools to determine the environmental impact of their goods using enhanced eco-design methodologies and eco-labeling.  Manufacturers will need to take into account recyclability or re-use at design stage. This is also where the concept of “renewability” comes into play and where paper-based products are uniquely well placed.

The Commission also intends to act on the issue of food waste. This will have an impact on the retail trade as it will no longer be able to reject perfectly edible food purely on the basis of aesthetics. The impact will also be felt by consumers.  According to the Government’s Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP), the UK disposes of 4.2m tonnes of edible food a year, at an average cost per household of £470. Action in this area is well overdue.

This Circular Economy Package is a far reaching set of proposals which will generate extensive debate over coming months.  It poses a lot of questions but, for the UK in particular, it offers few answers that are going to be palatable to everyone.

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries.  CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £6.5 billion, 25,000 direct and more than 100,000 indirect employees.

For further information call 01793 889600, email: or visit

YPO launches new flexible framework for HR services

Paul Smith, Executive Director – YPO

Paul Smith, Executive Director – YPO

YPO, the UK’s largest publicly owned buying organisation, has launched a new framework to support HR services across the public sector. The HR Services and Solutions framework provides a compliant and value driven route to market for public sector organisations procuring managed services for contingent labour, consultancy, permanent recruitment services and HR support solutions.

The framework was developed following consultation with professionals from across the public sector, many of whom highlighted the need for a framework which supports spot buying of services and the flexibility to create bespoke HR solution in a variety of areas.  The framework expands on current choices in the market, while allowing for innovation and flexibility to create ‘outcome driven’ solutions.

Paul Smith, Executive Director – YPO said: “We recognise that our customers across the public sector have different HR requirements, which is why it was important that we took the time to engage with these customers to listen and understand their specific needs. As a result, we are confident that we have developed a new framework which truly reflects these needs. By providing a solution that can provide all HR services, the framework will allow public sector organisations to ensure they have a cost efficient and flexible way of delivering and managing HR requirements.”

YPO supplies public sector organisations with products and frameworks, and is 100% publicly owned, meaning that all profits are returned to YPO customers and member authorities. The organisation’s range includes over 30,000 products and 80 frameworks, covering everything from pens and pencils, computers and furniture to electricity and insurance.

For further information on the new HR Framework, please go to

Leeds City Council further expands coverage of bus lane enforcement system

Existing installation in Leeds

Existing installation in Leeds

Leeds City Council is expanding the reach of its CCTV enforcement network to a further six sites as a direct result of the improvements that the Videalert-based system has delivered over the last four years.  The council will now be enforcing bus lane contraventions at thirty sites throughout the city and expects to achieve further reductions in the number of offences committed and continue to meet its strategy of faster journey times for public transport users.

The Videalert system was originally installed in 2011 to monitor bus lane offences in five city centre sites where is has helped reduce contraventions by more than 90%.  Leeds City Council has subsequently extended the number of locations monitored and the system is now considered to be an integral component of the Council’s strategy to keep the city moving.

Cllr Richard Lewis

Cllr Richard Lewis

According to Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member for regeneration, transport and planning at Leeds City Council:  “In order to ensure quick movement of public transport, we need to make sure other vehicles obey the rules of the road. The Videalert system has proved to be extremely flexible.  It is a vital part of our strategy to speed traffic flows, improve timetable efficiency and reduce bus journey times to encourage more people to use public transport and make the city a better place to live and work.”

The system is based on Videalert’s unique Digital Video Platform, an innovative multipoint solution that uses standard off-the-shelf equipment and seamlessly integrates with existing analogue and ONVIF compliant digital megapixel cameras and infrastructure.  This future-proofed solution combines ANPR technology with sophisticated video analytics to provide the most reliable enforcement of moving traffic offences such as bus lanes.  It will also enable the council to run additional civil traffic management and enforcement applications simultaneously including, if needed, vehicle plate read data to Police ANPR databases (BOFII) and traffic management systems (UTMC).

According to Tim Daniels, Sales and Marketing Director of Videalert:  “Leeds City Council has proved that installing the latest digital systems can make a major impact on reducing moving traffic contraventions and reducing congestion on the roads.  The Videalert platform also provides Leeds with a future proofed solution so, if and when legislation is enacted to allow Councils outside London to extend enforcement activities to other moving traffic offences such as banned turns, box junctions and restricted access areas, the same system can deliver these requirements out of the box. This eliminates the need to procure multiple point solutions thereby substantially reducing costs over the lifetime of the contract.”

The system expansion is incorporated within a new five year maintenance contract recently awarded to Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions, a leading provider of fully-integrated business processing and IT solutions to local authorities.

Comment to GPSJ in response to the chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Chancellor of the Exchequer - George Osborne

Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne

Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement Government and Public Sector journal has received the following comments: 

Responding to the Spending Review, Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, told GPSJ: ”The LGA has long called for further flexibility in the setting of council tax and it is right that Greg Clark and Greg Hands have listened to the concerns set out by local government. The announcement on council tax will go some way to allowing a number of councils to raise the money needed to offset some of the cost of social care. The £1.5 billion increase in the Better Care Fund announced today is good news, but it’s vital that this is new money and must be spent on adult social care.

“The Spending Review has handed down a difficult £4.1 billion funding cut over this Spending Review period for our residents and comes on top of almost £10 billion in further demand-led cost pressures facing councils by the end of the decade. The consequences for our local communities who will suffer as a result should not be underestimated.

“It is wrong that the services our local communities rely on will face deeper cuts than the rest of the public sector yet again and for local taxpayers to be left to pick up the bill for new government policies without any additional funding.

“Even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children’s centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020.

“These local services which people cherish will have to be drastically scaled back or lost altogether as councils are increasingly forced to do more with less and protect life and death services, such as caring for the elderly and protecting children, already buckling under growing demand.

“This Spending Review was never about just spending less it was about spending smarter. Local government has led the way at finding innovative ways to save money but after five years of doing so the majority of savings have already made. Tragically, the Government looks set to miss a once in a generation opportunity to transform the way money is spent across the public sector and protect the services that bind communities together, improve people’s quality of life and protect the most vulnerable.

“Allowing local government to retain 100 per cent of their business rates income will help councils try to mitigate some of the pressure they face following further funding cuts. While it is positive that the Treasury has worked with us to localise business rates, this is just the start of the journey. We  will continue to work closely with Greg Clark and the DCLG team on the detailed work and consideration that must go into what extra responsibilities councils should take on to ensure we get the best outcome for local communities.”

Other industry insiders have given the following comments to GPSJ after the Autumn Statement.

“The decision by the chancellor, George Osborne, to award £3.8 billion to the NHS in his spending plans is without doubt positive news. However, this does not hide the fact that there remain some long term issues within our health service, which must be addressed, not least the growing deficit among trusts and increasing patient waiting times in A&E.

What matters now is how the NHS spends this money and what it spends it on. The NHS has the best set of data of all public sector data, yet it often ends up with kludges of bad data that is analysed with antiquated methodologies. So it’s time to ask some tough questions about the problems the NHS really wants to solve. With investment in new technology to make evidence-based decisions using data, we can build up a much clearer picture of patient needs. The efficiency savings that result will prevent us throwing money at a never-ending problem.

With the data we’ve got, and the passion within the NHS, starting with the end in mind will get us out of the trap of focusing on where we are and instead get us on the journey of delivering value based healthcare at an individual level.”

David Downing, Client Director, Director of Health, SAS UK

“Cuts in several departmental day-to-day budgets, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, the Department of Transport and the Department of Health, places a huge onus on Government departments to review the running and operational costs of services. One area that can achieve costs savings and benefit consumers is digitising payment solutions and outsourcing key elements of the payment process, reducing running costs and staff handling times.

Some of the payment solutions being offered by Government are still costly, inefficient and inconvenient to citizens, while digital alternatives, such as online and mobile, can boost self-service and increase customer convenience as payments can be made 24/7/365. They can also radically reduce paper processing and manual processes – and as a result staff costs – as seen by the introduction of paperless direct debits across some departments.

External payment partners can also reduce compliance and regulatory costs for government e.g. in the acceptance of debit/credit card payments and also provide a financially inclusive payment service by offering citizens the ability to pay locally through Post Offices or in local shops.”

Ross Macmillan, Head of Research and Intelligence at allpay Limited

“With today’s announcement, the simple fact is that the Government has re-assessed its spending and Departments must now look at models that can help them become more economically efficient without negatively impacting services and the lives of UK citizens – perhaps in the way that David Cameron envisaged back in September when he pledged to run public services like businesses in order to boost productivity and efficiency.

“There is much duplication across Departments with similar teams doing identical jobs – the likes of HR, finance, and so on that could be grouped together to deliver a better, more efficient and cost effective back-office service. Similarly there are significant opportunities to digitalise the way public services are delivered to citizens. Digitalising services will also reduce the demands placed on civil servants, as well as the demands placed on the infrastructure, and therefore the cost, of the country”.

Steven Cox, VP, Head of Public Sector at Fujitsu UK and Ireland

Today’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review re-confirms that the challenges the public sector faces will continue, with local government seeing a budget reduction and no increase in funding for police. Although no immediate cuts have been announced for the NHS or policing, all public sector organisations will still have to seek genuine transformation in order to continue to provide core public services. The public sector needs to do this in the face of increasing demand and in a challenging financial environment.

Technology has a role to play in this transformation, above and beyond what has happened to date. It can create long term savings and drive up productivity in a relatively short time frame, enabling our UK public sector workers, both on and behind the frontline, to be more productive and efficient. Not only that, but this can all be done while delivering services to citizens in the way they want and need them.

Community healthcare professionals and social care workers should not have to return to hospitals and offices to write up patients’ records or input data into systems from handwritten notes. Police officers should not spend their valuable time behind a desk rather than out on the beat.

We need to make sure these people have the tools they need to do their jobs to the very best of their ability. They need devices and connectivity which allow them to work wherever and whenever, and to access and update information and systems securely, quickly and easily.

If frontline workers can increase the amount of time spent in the community with citizens, even by a relatively small amount, it can have a significant cumulative impact. The police forces who are using mobile devices and 4G connectivity while on the beat (Met Police, for example), estimate they gain on average an hour per officer per shift – time that can be reinvested in keeping our communities safer. For the NHS, using technology in this way could contribute to the £22bn in efficiency savings it is still expected to deliver by 2020.

Behind the frontline there is further opportunity for savings. By embracing flexible working and connecting information and people across diverse systems and locations, productivity gains and lower overheads can be achieved. Moving to a shared desk and flexible working model for example enables central and local government to re-assess their property footprint and reduce overall office space, while still maintaining a ‘base’ for a larger number of employees who don’t need a desk all day, every day.

The public sector cannot afford to continue delivering services as they do today. The technology to support some of the changes needed in order to make sustainable savings already exists. It offers rapid return on investment while maintaining, and sometimes improving, services to citizens.

Mick Wayman, Head of Public Sector, Vodafone UK

“This is a real opportunity for public sector organisations to change their ICT purchasing habits, remove the bias towards big brands and mainstream solutions and start getting better value and efficiency from their spend. Failure to take advantage of the G Cloud and Government procurement frameworks could take a serious toll on the future development of the public sector. October 2015 saw the largest amount of Government borrowing since 2009, therefore

Mr Osbourne must be thanking the financial gods at the OBR for delivering a £27bn windfall. Without this, further budget cuts would’ve no doubt been implemented that would setback many firms that are trying to further themselves as a supplier to the public sector.’’

“Public sector organisations that partner with SMEs often receive up to a 30% saving on solutions and services, with extra value on offer in terms of specialist expertise and account focus. I hope that the Autumn Statement removes some of the inertia and fear that costs the public sector dearly as organisations move forward with voice and data initiatives designed to take them deeper into the cloud as-a-service solution provision, mobilisation and other forms of digital innovation.”

“Stepping outside the perceived ‘safe’ parameters and choosing an SME could mean a lot more budget to play for and a better-fitting solution to boot”

Mahmood Chaudhri, Managing Director at Datrix

“Corporate behaviour is increasingly under scrutiny. In this day and age, every measure possible should be taken to empower and maintain a strong workforce as the number one priority- the rise in the Living Wage and taking significant measures to hire apprentices, can play a huge part in this.

As a proud Living Wage employer and champion of apprentices schemes, we believe that all businesses can play a key role in powering forward the responsible economy of the future. Continued investment and support for the Living Wage from any government, as well as the continued backing of apprenticeship training schemes, will incentivise more young people to move into paid work and to develop their crucial skills sets.

Businesses that truly care about their societal impact will invest heavily to attract ambitious new talent and to retain a well-rounded and highly-skilled workforce. We therefore welcome any initiatives to further develop the Living Wage in the UK and we welcome the government’s continued commitment to skills with the new apprenticeship levy”

Rebekah Wallis, Director of People & CR National Management Ricoh UK

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has given a mixed welcome to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. 

Neil Gibson, Vice President of ADEPT said: “The shift towards local devolved responsibilities is helpful. It suggests meaningful devolution, which is in line with our Prospectus aims, but we still need real tools in order to make it work on the ground, and we are ready to work with Government to achieve this.

“We need sufficient revenue funding, to be able to programme and project manage capital spend. We are already seeing many of our best people leave local authorities to work in the private sector where they are able to use their skills to best effect.

”This Autumn Statement brings a raft of challenges for ADEPT members, but we will continue to inform and work with Government to achieve the best outcomes for our communities.”

The Association has welcomed ongoing local economic investment through the Government’s continued support for the Local Growth Fund and a new round of Enterprise Zones, but believes the Government could have gone further.

Simon Neilson, Chair of ADEPT’s Planning, Housing and Regeneration Board said: “We strongly believe in the importance of continued investment in local projects and therefore welcome the government’s re-commitment to Local Growth Fund. However, we want to see even more flexibility for local areas and LEPs to determine their priorities free of central control.

“All areas where there is a powerful enough incentive to grow local economies, should enjoy the benefits of Enterprise Zone status through business rate localisation, and retain the proceeds of that growth. As we have said before, the current system of business rates is deeply flawed. There is a very real risk of a postcode lottery in local government funding based upon the health of your business rate base. We need to be able to plan with much more certainty.”

On housing, Simon Neilson said: “Investment in new housing is always welcome and we hope that the principle of affordability is safeguarded for Starter Homes for far longer than the proposed five years. However we would like to see safeguards within the Housing and Planning Bill to ensure viable employment land is protected. We would also like to work with Government to address the issues face by those in the rented sector, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that not everyone will be able to afford to buy.”

Rupert Clubb, Chair of ADEPT’s Environment Board said: “We are disappointed that funding for DECC and DEFRA has been cut. The cut to DECC is particularly concerning as it is already one of the smallest departments in Whitehall. Following the Energy Policy announcement last week by the Secretary of State, it is a concern as to whether there will be enough resources to deliver this major change in the economy over the coming years. However, ADEPT welcomes the opportunity to work with DECC in delivering on the new Energy Policy and developing how local government in partnership with Government, business and industry bodies can deliver the low carbon future that we need for our national and local economies to grow.

ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority county, unitary and metropolitan Strategic Place Directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.

Autumn Statement reaction, Peninsula Rail Task Force comment 

The news that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has confirmed the work of the Peninsula Rail Task Force to deliver a report into the future of rail in the South West, but there is a cautious welcome for the remainder of the announcement.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Chair of the Peninsula Rail Task Force said:” We have been working hard to develop the report to Government setting out our ambitions for the rail network in the South West for many months now.

“Whilst it is reassuring to see that the electrification of the main line is still continuing as it will bring indirect benefits, and likewise the Cornish resignalling, we need to understand the ramifications of a dedicated new franchise, particularly as it has been proposed without prior consultation from the Department of Transport.

“We are prepared to discuss what this might mean for the South West and how it might achieve our three point plan.  We would welcome the Government offering to debate this issue but our priorities must not be compromised. We are committed to working towards greater resilience, faster journey times and sufficient capacity and that will remain paramount.

“ The proposal for a new station between Castle Cary and Taunton is not new, but as we have been clear, in order to progress, Government funds would be needed to develop a business case – as well as consider the potential for Wellington too.”

Autumn Statement – Housing Comment

The creation of 400,000 homes by the end of the decade is hugely welcomed, however is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping the current housing crisis and will still mean we have 40% less homes than required.

Government funds must be channelled to create quality homes, which are both affordable to purchase and to run over the course of the home’s lifetime and by guaranteeing the quality of Britain’s housing stock, we can rebuild the trust between potential buyers and the construction industry. A recent Energy Saving Trust survey put housebuilders at the bottom of the list of consumer suppliers. Householders must be able to trust those who build their homes, trust that these homes are going to do what they say in the brochure.

Moreover, recent corporate scandals (VW, Thompson, Tesco…) have illustrated that erosion of trust not only impacts sales, but also share prices and profitability. Greater trust and improved image in housebuilders will not only increase local acceptance of new neighbourhoods but will also attract new people to work in a sector that’s facing a significant skills shortage which is putting Government’s housebuilding targets at risk.

The Home Quality Mark was launched to provide consumers with the knowledge to make a smart choice with a trusted housebuilder when buying or renting a home and to give housebuilders a framework for delivering great housing that’s fit for the future. House building is at the ”lowest peacetime level since the 1920s and plans announced today could still mean 40% less to build the homes we need. This is why we invite the government to join us in ensuring Britain increases the quantity and quality of its homes.

Gwyn Roberts, BRE New Homes and Communities Team Leader & Home Quality Mark (HQM) Project Lead

Arts Council England responds to the Government Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015

Describing the arts sector as “one of the best investments we can make as a nation” the Chancellor George Osborne has today announced a cash terms increase to the Arts Council.

We understand that this results in a small increase in cash terms of approximately £10m per annum for the four years up to 2019/20.

This settlement represents a better than average result for arts and culture compared to other Government departments. Arts and culture is one of the Government’s unprotected areas of spend.

This settlement enables the Arts Council to continue investing in our 663 national portfolio arts organisations and our 21 Major Partner Museums at current levels until 2018. In addition the settlement allows for growth resulting from new and previously announced Government commitments to arts and culture.

Further consideration will also be given to a new tax credit to support exhibitions in museums and galleries.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England said;

“This is an astonishing settlement for arts and culture. The very strong case made by the Arts Council and the sector, supported by DCMS ministers, for the huge benefit arts and culture deliver to our quality of life, our society and our creative economy has been recognised by the Chancellor.

“This settlement means we can keep up our efforts to ensure everyone, everywhere in England benefits from Arts Council money.  We can continue to invest in children and young people, disadvantaged communities and new talent as well as hundreds of much loved arts and cultural institutions.

“We now need to understand the settlement for Local Authorities. Our team across the country will be having place by place conversations. We cannot replace their revenue but we’ll keep investing where Local Authorities keep faith with culture.”

London Borough of Ealing relies on Cloud technology to increase efficiencies within hospitality and events team

Jane Coughlan from Ealing Council

Jane Coughlan from Ealing Council

With a potential capacity of over 100 events per week and operating 362 days per year, the Hospitality & Events team for the London Borough of Ealing manages almost 4,000 events a year on average and is growing.  All are hosted by the Council in a total of 16 halls and meeting rooms across two locations in the Borough including the historic Town Hall, a spectacular grade II listed Victorian building from 1887 and still serving the local community over 125 years later.

By moving to a cloud-based venue and event management solution, the busy hospitality and events team at the London Borough of Ealing now has greater flexibility and adaptability.  Bookings by phone or email are now managed by the team of 6 event managers and coordinators all using a solution from Priava ( In addition, access is provided to the Town Hall’s receptionist and porters as required.  The entire team take their duties providing important services to the community extremely seriously and customer service is at the top of their list of priorities.

Operational benefits and future-proofing

New features and functionality are now introduced as they become available.  This is in distinct contrast to the team relying on its contracted out ICT service provider to schedule updates into its own busy programme, which previously constrained the team’s ability to take advantage of new releases quickly.  In addition, of course, upgrades to the team’s original server hardware and operating system software, typically requiring capital expenditure approvals, have become a thing of the past.

The Results – Significant benefits, some anticipated and some unexpected

“Greater flexibility was anticipated and has proved a real benefit in that members of the team can now provide significantly higher levels of cover for each other as staff may work on the system from any location including from home in exactly the same way as they do in the office.

These benefits for the team have translated directly into improved levels of service for our clients.” says Jane Coughlan, Hospitality & Events Manager at Ealing Council.

Jane acknowledges the investment of both the Council and Priava working together to tailor a sophisticated, flexible and adaptable tool fit for purpose for the long term.

“An unforeseen benefit of switching is that there is now a very clear line of demarcation between the Council’s standard desktop PC and associated communication services and the provision of Priava’s application as a service, making problem resolution far more straightforward and effective”.

New time-saving features: doing more with less and providing even better customer service

A new feature that is proving particularly beneficial to the team is the ability to quickly and easily block book venues for regular hirers.  Ealing has over 40 regular clients amongst its local communities, including church groups and dance groups for example.  Many book weekly, fortnightly or monthly throughout the year. “Priava’s block booking feature was a long time coming but is now proving extremely popular with team members, saving hours of work when compared with booking each event individually as we previously had to do. A further positive outcome of block booking is a notable reduction in input errors, resulting in less rework and further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the team” says Jane.

Multi-tasking – a big improvement

“A standard feature of the cloud-based system is multi-tasking.  The team can now immediately jump into the process of taking a booking or make changes to existing bookings when taking a call from a client, and then returning straight away to whatever they were doing previously on the system.  As well as increased efficiency we can at the same time substantially reduce call transaction times and further improve levels of service to the clients.”


The benefits that Ealing has achieved through the use of Priava so far include:

  • Multi-tasking between duties – can open different tabs/windows simultaneously
  • Improved customer service and value for money to public
  • Future-proofed solutions – new features introduced when available
  • No on-going capital investments required
  • Support for ‘Repeat Events’ saves hours of work
  • Better staff cover with support for remote working
  • Less training required as system is both intuitive and user-friendly
  • High availability and redundancy of system
  • Excellent vendor support

Jane concludes, “We now have a highly flexible system that helps the team to optimise our complex business needs, offering value for money for both the residents and businesses of the London Borough of Ealing in support of its “One Council” world class, customer centric approach.”

For further information on Priava visit

To download a free copy of ‘How venues can manage events more effectively’ visit:

Comensura joins Crown Commercial Services framework for Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel

Jamie Horton - managing director, Comensura

Jamie Horton – managing director, Comensura

comensura_BLK-220x220Temporary labour supply management specialist, Comensura is pleased to announce it has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) framework for the provision of temporary healthcare personnel.

Comensura successfully tendered for a neutral vendor managed service for the procurement of all health and social care job roles and pay bands on the Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel framework. The temporary roles included as part of the framework include; doctors, consultants, dentists and GPs; emergency services personnel; nursing and midwifery personnel; and personal social services personnel.

Through its effective contract management approach and sourcing strategy involving a supply chain of specialist recruitment agencies, Comensura can help NHS organisations successfully achieve their temporary staffing needs. In addition, any organisation that chooses to work with Comensura will benefit from its tried and trusted technology, which offers 100% visibility and control of expenditure on all temporary staff.

Jamie Horton, managing director, Comensura, said: “We are thrilled to be appointed to this CCS framework. There’s been a lot of coverage in the media about the use of temporary labour in the NHS. We firmly believe this framework is the vehicle NHS Trusts need to gain greater control of temporary recruitment expenditure and assist with improved workforce planning.

“Comensura has proven experience of managing the supply of hundreds of different job titles, pay grades and types of temporary employment, from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) temporary workers through to limited company contractors. We believe it is these skills and experiences that we can bring to the NHS to help it meet its long term efficiency targets.”

The framework agreement is for an initial four year period.

CCS works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and to improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel framework provides healthcare organisations with a compliant and cost-effective route to their temporary staffing requirements.

Boscawen Park: Russell Play enhances an already idyllic green space

climbing area

climbing area

Boscawen Park, Truro, Cornwall

Boscawen Park has everything a park should have for people of all ages in a community. As well as its impressive floral bed displays, bandstand and duck pond it has a great range of sporting facilities. These include a cricket pitch, three football pitches and eight tennis courts. All of these are surrounded and linked by open grass and wooded areas. In July 2015 Boscawen Park opened a fantastic new children’s play area designed and installed by Russell Play, further enhancing an already idyllic green space.

Playground Concept

The existing children’s play area in Boscawen Park was to be replaced with a whole new fresh look and range of equipment. The original concept for the Park was designed by MeiLoci Landscape Architects, working in close consultation with the ‘Friends of Boscawen Park’ and the local community. The concept was based on circular droplets of water which created different zones of play and also a natural progression from the more secure toddler space at the entrance, to more challenging older ages play to the farther end.

After the initial layout concept of the area had been devised, Russell Play was brought on board to bring their expertise and vision to the design. Given the traditional feel of Boscawen Park, it was important that the approach to creating the new playground maintained a natural look so as to complement and integrate within the park.

With so much space on offer at Boscawen Park, part of the concept was to create a fairly compact layout for the playground to avoid large areas with no activity. The area is subdivided into larger units for climbing and balancing and smaller areas including a sand pit and sensory area. Surrounding these are various individual items with different activities with a mix of surfacing to split up the different areas.



Accessibility for all children is integral to the whole design and influenced the choice and design of the equipment. Even on the larger timber elements there are good access points with varying levels of difficulty. A central, hard standing pathway links each zone and ensures good access to all activities. Where possible, the edges of the path are flush with adjacent surfacing.

The areas have also been placed for good natural progression meaning children will be encouraged, but not forced, to progress through each.  The most striking play features have been positioned near to the entrance to provide a focal point for visitors.

Play Equipment

Given the idyllic feel of Boscawen Park, it was important to maintain a fairly natural approach with the new playground equipment. Russell Play has achieved this by not using equipment with a specific theme but allowing the children to interpret the equipment using their imaginations. For example, initial discussions led to the inclusion of a boat so rather than installing a traditional design, an abstract ship wreck was chosen to encourage children to play imaginatively. The equipment will also integrate with the surrounding development and not appear too industrial. Furthermore, this type of equipment will appeal to a much broader audience.

In keeping with the natural look, the majority of the equipment is made from Robinia timber and left mainly in its natural colour to give it a rustic look. This is particularly effective with the shipwreck. The unstained timber will turn silver in time, adding to the ‘washed up’, shipwreck feel with only the addition of natural sky blue colour on selected parts.

The lookout tower is the most prominent play feature and creates a fantastic focal point. Although fairly challenging, the item has been designed to include as many different access points as possible, all with varying levels of difficulty. In addition, the item offers multiple tactile carvings and colour variations.

The sensory play gardens are designed to be a quiet zone for younger children to play with adult assistance in a relaxed environment. The sand play provides an enclosed friendly space with a large bespoke timber seat forming a space where adults can sit and supervise. This also features a small playhouse, sand bucket and pulley, spring animals and a sand play table. The sensory experience is created with carefully selected play pieces, landscaping and planting that introduces multiple sensations such as sound, vision, touch and smell.

Surrounding the main areas are various individual units with swings, spinning disc, high rotator, slide, basketball hoop and cable slide.

Throughout the development there was invaluable design input and support from The Friends of Boscawen Park, MeiLoci Landscape Architects and Truro City Council.

The Playground was funded by SITA Cornwall Trust, Truro City Council, and Cornwall Council, and the support of lots of other local businesses in Truro.

For more information please visit:

How training breaks down barriers to whistleblowing and fraud prevention

Rachael_Tiffin15_externallyArticle by Rachael Tiffen, Head of Counter Fraud and Governance at CIPFA


Establishing clear guidelines and policy for whistleblowing is a significant part of preventing and detecting fraud and misconduct in the workplace. It isn’t something which should be overlooked or swept under the carpet, especially as public services fraud costs the tax payer an estimated £21 billion per annum.

In the UK we still have some way to go when it comes to addressing whistleblowing and creating internal reporting systems that enable this, as highlighted in the 2013.

The Commission’s Code includes, “15 recommendations for raising, handling, training and reviewing workplace whistleblowing. Key requirements include:

confidentiality will be maintained where requested;

clear assurances are given to staff about protection from reprisal;

specific individuals have responsibility for the arrangements;

greater oversight of whistleblowing arrangements by non-executive directors or equivalent;

review of the effectiveness of the arrangements and publication of key data.”

Individuals who have previously tried to raise concerns have often had to show remarkable courage in coming forward and putting their head above the parapet. This is still true today, in both the public and private sector, as a lack of clear guidance, effective processes and protection deters people from stepping forward to flag concerns at work.

Whistleblowing policy should play a central role in any industry, as no one is truly immune to the threat of fraud. Having in place a defined procedure for reporting fraud and misconduct at work is an integral part of good governance, compliance and risk management too. The benefits of getting this right and listening to a concern raised can help prevent disaster, avoid costly litigation, and potentially preserve a reputation.

According to a recent study of the experiences of 1,000 whistleblowers by Public Work (PCaW), 82% of whistleblowers raise concerns internally. Employees therefore play a vital role when it comes to protecting against fraud and corruption at work. Whistleblowing is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important to involve staff in discussion and debate about whistleblowing policy and the role it plays within your organisation. It’s also essential to educate employees. Training can be used to equip staff with the right language, skills and approach to raising concerns at work, and to support an anti-corruption culture in the workplace.

Staff are the eyes and ears of public sector organisations, but there are a number of factors that can actively dissuade people from stepping forward to report misconduct or raise concerns. One factor we frequently see at the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre is a lack of awareness of existing policies and procedures. With the complexity of fraud on the rise employees need resources, training and advice on where to go for help. Workers also need to know what to expect and how their organisations will support them, along with their rights if they do step forward. Knowledge and training alleviate misunderstanding, and boost confidence within individuals as well as the organisation they work for.

Understanding what motivates an individual to blow the whistle is also important, and there are a variety of reasons why people do this. Newer employees, for example, are more likely to blow the whistle and 39% have less than two years’ service, according to the PCaW study**. Furthermore, 53% of whistleblowers are skilled workers or professionals. Many simply want to do the right thing, promote accountability and justice, or have a sense of responsibility and a desire to protect colleagues, their jobs and public funds.

At the Counter Fraud Centre we see common themes reoccurring when it comes to barriers to employees reporting misconduct. Examples of these common themes are: -

the intensification of the complexity of fraud

a perceived lack of support, both internal and external, for individual whistleblowers

a fear of repercussions

lack of awareness of internal reporting processes, and

clear systems and practices not in place.

All of these themes point to the requirement for individual employees to receive proper training and advice. Whilst staff should seek opportunities to equip themselves with the right knowledge, by approaching HR for example, the onus remains on employers to train their staff on the organisation’s whistleblowing policy and effectively communicate its content and purpose. The process of training protects and supports employees who may wish to raise concerns by arming them with information on how to act including, raising the alarm outside of the usual channels and what steps will be taken to protect them.

A solution to this workplace challenge is a new whistleblowing e-learning package from CIPFA that empowers employees to act in the right way if they witness misconduct at work. The e-learning is suited for use in organisations where a whistleblowing policy already exists. Using scenario-led content and case studies, the course sets out how to raise and report concerns at work and aims to clear up ‘grey areas’ around processes, complaints and definitions. It also aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of whistleblowing and why it is important. Staff will learn: -

What whistleblowing is,

How best to raise concerns,

Where staff can raise concerns,

What to expect and how their organisation will support them, and

Rights and options for support.

The CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre has worked with the leading whistleblowing charity

The new package empowers employees to act in the right way if they witness misconduct at work. From an employee perspective it shows that their employers are listening to their concerns and demonstrating effective leadership, creating a positive working environment.

Whistleblowing should not be ignored due to perceived negative consequences for an organisation and its employees. There is a raft of potential problems facing firms or public sector organisations that do not adequately address the issue. Ultimately, if a system for whistleblowing is not offered within an organisation then that organisation exposes itself to further risk. Disgruntled employees with no effective means of redress will turn to external sources to blow the whistle, and this can be to the detriment of the organisation as well as the individual.

For more information and to download the e-learning programme go to the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre web area:


The VW scandal has highlighted the need for in use testing of vehicle emissions, according to Gainsborough-based vehicle emissions experts Eminox.

Eminox made the comment following the announcement from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which said that Volkswagen had installed illegal “defeat devices” software to cheat emission tests, allowing its diesel cars to produce up to 40 times more pollution than allowed.

Eminox manufactures emission control devices for heavy duty diesel vehicles such as buses, trucks and non-road machines. Eminox supplies to original equipment manufacturers and supports the retrofit market in order to reduce emissions from vehicles already in use. The company is required to prove that its technology meets tough emission standards, but also places a lot of emphasis on proving that it operates effectively in the real world.

Independent tests on the Eminox SCRT system show that it removes more than 95% of pollutants, including NOx and NO2. In field monitoring is then carried out to show that performance in the real world achieves the same emissions levels as the lab tests. The company believes that the automobile sector could learn from this approach and give consumers confidence that the vehicles they drive actually do what they claim.

A study by Ricardo on bus emissions in Brighton, supports both lab and in field data, in fact showing that a bus retrofitted with advanced SCRT technology achieves lower NOx emissions than any other vehicle tested.


South Kirkby Material Recycling Facility

South Kirkby Material Recycling Facility

Sarah Sanders, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of de Poel Community

Sarah Sanders, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of de Poel Community

de Poel Community, a social enterprise that was founded under the ethos of helping people with barriers to work to find sustainable employment, is celebrating boosting local employment with Shanks Waste Management, the international waste to product business and ALS Managed Services, leading provider of temporary workers to the recycling industry.

Recently, Wakefield Council has heavily invested in a new, state-of-the-art Waste Treatment Facility at South Kirkby as part of a PFI project. Shanks, responsible for operating the site, is already reaping the benefits of working with de Poel Community and ALS Managed Services as their on site supplier for staff at the Materials Recycling Facility.

Working with an aligned vision, ALS is committed to finding suitable candidates, and is delighted to be working alongside de Poel Community to provide employment opportunities to the local community. ALS initiated the partnership in a drive to create more jobs in the local area and enhance its already diverse workforce.

de Poel Community’s national partnership with Job Centre Plus provides a vital link in the employment chain and enables talent to be attracted from the immediate community. Local candidates have undertaken Pre-Employment Screening and Training facilitated by de Poel Community, with the ultimate aim of gaining a Waste and Recycling qualification. With a guaranteed job interview for those looking at full time roles who passed the screening process, successful candidates went onto complete a two day work trial at the South Kirkby Waste Treatment Facility and the successful ones secured a job offer as a result.

Mike Walter, Site Manager of the South Kirkby Waste Treatment Facility, comments, “At Shanks, we are attracting members of the local community through our diverse and inclusive workforce model, we value and encourage this through our local recruitment process. Through our strategic partnership with de Poel Community, ALS and Job Centre Plus, we have already built on our talent attraction strategy and hope to strengthen our team through a number of local appointments in the coming weeks.

“Following the first group of 11 candidates, we have seen a fantastic success rate with six of the 11 candidates completing all elements of the training programme and work trial and who will now commence paid employment over the coming weeks”.

Cllr Maureen Cummings Cabinet Member Communities and Environment at Wakefield Council, said: “I welcome this partnership which is giving people employment opportunities at this new state of the art facility which provides an essential service to residents and businesses in our District”.

Sarah Sanders, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of de Poel Community, also commented: “de Poel Community was founded on the ethos that everyone deserves the opportunity to work, and we are delighted to be working with Shanks, ALS Managed Services and Job Centre Plus in a common goal to create more employment opportunities for the local communities . We look forward to progressing our partnership in the months and years to come”.

Steve Lanigan, Commercial Director of ALS Managed Services commented: “This partnership is hugely beneficial for all parties, promoting safe working practices and providing job-specific training prior to employment in the local area. This collaborative approach to employment helps to encourage a safe and efficient workforce, promotes recycling and underpins the ‘circular economy’ ethos championed by Shanks”.

For more information see: and

Comensura joins Crown Commercial Services framework for supply of non-medical, non-clinical staff

Comensura, a temporary labour supply management specialist is pleased to announce it has recently been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) framework for the supply of non-medical, non-clinical (NMNC) temporary and fixed term staff.

Comensura successfully tendered for Lot 1 on the framework, for a neutral vendor managed service for the procurement of non-medical and non-clinical staff for NHS organisations. This framework agreement will enable NHS organisations to call off directly with Comensura to manage the supply of temporary staff, interims and contractors in any white or blue collar role from the most junior to the most senior, including board level roles.

As a neutral vendor managed service provider, Comensura will provide NHS organisations with its technology to give them 100% visibility and control of expenditure on temporary staff. Through effective contract management and its sourcing strategy using a supply chain of specialist recruitment agencies, Comensura will meet the temporary staffing needs of NHS organisations.

Jamie Horton, Managing Director of Comensura, said: “We’re delighted to join the CCS framework. We have proven experience of managing the supply of temporary staff to public sector organisations to give them a cost effective flexible workforce. The NHS relies heavily on the non-medical workforce help run the hospitals and support doctors and nursing teams deliver first rate care to patients.”

CCS works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. CCS NMNC framework provides healthcare organisations with a compliant and cost-effective route to their temporary or permanent staffing requirements.

Conquer your litter problems with Invicta™ Litter Bin

The Invicta outdoor litter bin

The Invicta outdoor litter bin

Invicta traditional litter bin is new to the Glasdon UK range of metal litter bins.

It is manufactured from 2mm thick mild steel with Armortec® coating, which gives Invicta outdoor litter bin an incredibly strong construction and outstanding durability.

The high quality of these materials offers excellent resistance to vandalism, coastal sea spray and annual road gritting salt.  This minimises the requirement for expensive refurbishment that is often associated with outdoor metal litter bins.

Why not view the Invicta product testing videos available on the GlasdonUK YouTube channel, which include both Vandal testing and Environmental material testing.

In order to allow easy access for the operator to empty, Invicta external litter bin has been designed with a large front opening hinged door.  This reduces manual handling issues as the liner does not need to be lifted to be removed from the litter bin.

Ideal for any external environments such as recreational areas, parks and town centres, Invicta metal litter bin offers large personalisation areas for organisations logos or branding to be included.

Glasdon also produce a wide range of Indoor Litter Bins, Dog Waste Bins, Cigarette Bins and Street Orderly Barrows. Download a copy of the Waste Management Solutions Brochure today for more information.

If you have any questions contact Glasdon on (01253) 600410, email, or visit

Wiltshire Police manages social media risk using CrowdControlHQ

Wiltshire Police Road Policing

Wiltshire Police Road Policing

Wiltshire Police HQ buildingOldest police force in the country engages with public across 68 social media accounts including neighbourhood police Facebook pages and HQ twitter accounts

CrowdControlHQ has announced that Wiltshire Police is using the company’s social media risk management and compliance platform to manage 68 active social media accounts, including 24 Neighbourhood Policing Team Facebook pages, several senior management Twitter accounts and community group Facebook pages including ‘Horsewatch’. Wiltshire Police invested in CrowdControlHQ software to address the demand by the public to report crimes using social media.

Wiltshire Police is using CrowdControlHQ to manage content on its social media pages as well as keep a record of the deleted content for reference. A single dashboard enables the communications staff to manage multiple accounts and everyone, given access to the system, is trained to use it and sent an electronic copy of the Force Media Guide. CrowdControlHQ enables on-line chatter, trends and comment to be managed consistently and provides a full audit trail of when people were last logged in and when accounts are inactive.

Helen Kennedy, Head of Media at Wiltshire Police said, “Wiltshire Police has seen how social media has become one of the most effective tools in terms of customer care and how we communicate with the public. Whether this is at a local level through our Neighbourhood Policing Teams or the Chief Constable’s Twitter account – social media has become an integral part of policing and not just corporate communications.

“CrowdControlHQ means that the communications department can maintain an overview and assess the risk, manage the problems and respond where necessary to ensure the public are getting a quality service from Wiltshire Police. It has made monitoring all of our social media accounts simpler and less time consuming.”

The different social media accounts have been divided among the members of the Corporate Communications team, including the Press and Media office, all of whom have access to the CrowdControlHQ platform. Several members of the call centre control room also have access and assist with out of hours monitoring of posts and replies, flagging any issues to the appropriate people.

Wiltshire Police posts videos online to engage the public’s interest and support. Recent videos posted have gone viral, including CCTV coverage of the safe use of a taser on a man trying to rob a convenience store. Using CrowdControlHQ also allows the communications team to monitor the online chatter and moderate the content being posted when social media is particularly active, for example, during a rave event in Swindon.

Helen Kennedy continued, “In recent months we have had continued success in identifying wanted suspects by appealing to the online community to assist. In one instance, the offender was at the police station within thirty minutes of a social media post giving himself up. Although we cannot put a figure on it, this type of use of social networks will certainly contribute to saving thousands of pounds worth of police time and resources.”

James Leavesley, CEO of CrowdControlHQ concluded, “The ease with which social media platforms allow users to share information and communicate has resulted in a steady increase in use by public services organisations. Managing multiple accounts and being able to respond in a consistent and accurate manner is essential for the police and other public bodies. A missed tweet or failure to reply could have severe consequences in terms of events and the resulting potential harm to individuals and/or reputations. CrowdControlHQ provides an easy to use single interface to manage and control all points of contact via social media reliably and securely, reducing risk across an organisation.”