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October 2017
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Staffordshire County Council boosts employee satisfaction through smart working rollout

Targus technology unleashes 3,000-strong team to work anywhere

Targus, a global leader in mobile computing accessories, today announces that Staffordshire County Council has selected the company to boost productivity and enable flexible working, with the installation of over 1,000 universal docking stations.

In order for Staffordshire County Council to achieve smarter ways of working, greater levels of collaboration and trust were areas of focus. A survey conducted in September last year, revealed a lack of access to the correct technologies restricted them from working flexibly.

To combat this, Staffordshire called upon Targus to roll-out its dual video @ HD with built-in Power universal dock ACP71EU suite office-wide, upgrading the majority of their workstations and supporting both new and legacy devices.

When surveyed again in July this year, 93 per cent of council employees felt they had a good understanding of what smart working is, and what it means for them and their role. Having enabled around 3,000 members of staff to work in new ways, Staffordshire already has plans to place further orders with Targus to accommodate its growing employee base.

Since implementing the new technology, Staffordshire County Council has reissued the survey, seeing the following results in the last nine months:

  • A 10 per cent increase in the number of employees that feel they have an improved work / life balance
  • A 15 per cent rise in the number of employees that believe they are able to work anywhere in order to deliver business-critical services
  • 17 per cent growth in the number of staff that are able to access the technology they need to work from different locations

Vic Falcus, Head of IT at Staffordshire County Council said, “Since employing our smart working project, staff are no longer restricted to their desks. They are free to work anywhere around the office, at home even ‘on the go’, while maintaining relationships with colleagues and staying on top of workloads. Previously, there was a misconception that if you weren’t visible at your desk, you weren’t working. People now know that this isn’t the case.

“Not only have Targus helped us provide our workers with more flexibility, they’ve also supported us to consolidate services, as members of staff that work with employees in other locations are able to collaborate more closely, streamlining communications. The scheme has also saved us revenue, meaning more money can be put into front-line services that benefit the public.”

Dean Simpson, Head of UK Corporate Sales at Targus said, “Staffordshire County Council is a prime example of just how innovative organisations across the public sector can be. In today’s employment landscape, it’s essential that staff feel they have the option, and also the technology available, to work both remotely and flexibly.

“As the public sector is under considerable pressure to consolidate its real estate to cut costs, the reduction of various organisations into smaller premises is inevitable. With all of these organisations having their own networks, hardware and IT systems, there will no doubt be technology challenges to overcome. Yet, Staffordshire really is leading the way with setting the standards for other councils and government bodies, showcasing the unmistakable benefits smart working schemes can bring to an organisation.”

Thousands of jobs and almost £4billion for economy detailed in HS2 Strategy

‘People, place and connectivity’ are the focus of a new East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy, revealing how the planned high speed rail network could add thousands of jobs and billions of pounds to the region’s economy.

In July (2017) Government confirmed its preferred route for HS2’s ‘Phase 2b’ line, or ‘eastern leg’; proposed to run from the West Midlands, through Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – between the large urban conurbations of Nottingham and Derby – through to Leeds. The line includes plans for an East Midlands ‘hub’ station at Toton, Nottinghamshire – set to be the network’s best connected point outside London – an HS2 maintenance depot at Staveley, north Derbyshire, and provision for HS2 classic compatible trains serving the current Chesterfield train station. It’s estimated this eastern leg would open fully in 2033, but local partners believe there’s potential to partially open the hub station at Toton by 2030.

Now the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board – a partnership of the region’s local authorities, businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships – has submitted its East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy: World Class-Locally Driven to Government.

The new in-depth study – building on an initial proposal published September 2016 – details the opportunities HS2 presents to drive long term growth for the regional economy, equivalent to an additional 74,000 jobs and almost £4billion of GVA (Gross Value Added) by 2043, and how this could be achieved.

These opportunities include:

  • An East Midlands Hub Growth Zone featuring a new Innovation Campus at the Toton ‘hub’ station to accommodate high growth businesses and universities’ research, and with the capacity to create up to 10,000 high skilled jobs and improved community facilities; which will be at the heart of a network of ‘garden village’ developments, including the nearby Stanton and Chetwynd Barracks sites. A North Derbyshire Growth Zone around Chesterfield and Staveley would put the planned HS2 Staveley depot at the heart of a series of mixed use regeneration opportunities, improve links between Chesterfield station and the town, and create an attractive gateway to the Peak District National Park and to other visitor attractions.
  • Greater connectivity – In addition to the greater rail connectivity HS2 would bring

the Strategy proposes improvements to local connectivity – using various modes of transport including road, bus, rail, tram, cycling, pedestrian – between East Midlands economic centres such as Derby, Leicester and Nottingham city centres, and East Midlands Airport; and between the towns and villages surrounding Toton and Chesterfield. The HS2 Growth Strategy also sets out comprehensive proposals for addressing congestion and improving connectivity on the A52.

  • Delivering jobs and training opportunities – Research undertaken for the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy indicates HS2’s presence in the region – creating better links within the region and between it and the wider world, and by providing commercial opportunities for local supply chains – could boost jobs growth above projected UK trends; equivalent to an extra 74,000 jobs and almost £4billion of GVA by 2043. Manufacturing and technology sectors would particularly benefit, says the Strategy. It proposes jobs and skills promotion be based around the themes of inspiring young people, building further education capacity, harnessing the power of universities and supporting individuals.
  • Providing opportunities for business – Construction of the HS2 network, and providing services and maintenance once it is operating, represent major commercial opportunities for a wide range of sectors; including for construction and transport equipment manufacturing supply chain firms. To take best economic advantage of this the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy proposes establishing a rail industry ‘innovation group’ through the existing Rail Forum East Midlands, and bidding for Staveley to become a construction and maintenance depot. There should also be a comprehensive HS2 awareness campaign to alert businesses and individuals to these opportunities, to ensure they are ‘HS2 ready’.

Councillor Jon Collins, HS2 Strategic Board Chair and Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This Strategy makes it clear that HS2 is not just about better transport, we intend to use it as a catalyst to create new business opportunities which will bring thousands of extra jobs to the region.

“It’s really important that we put the site around the new HS2 hub to good use and so it makes sense to develop an Innovation Campus, which plays to the strengths of emerging regional business sectors and local university research. It will benefit from all the enhanced transport links that we see as vital to making the most of the HS2 hub in the East Midlands.”

Jake Berry MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth) at the Department for Communities and Local Government – added: “The investment this Government is making in HS2 represents an opportunity for economic growth, not just in the towns and cities along the route but across whole regions. I am delighted that East Midlands leaders have come together to develop an ambitious strategy which capitalises on this opportunity, and I look forward to discussing the proposals in more detail.”

Paul Maynard MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rail, Accessibility and HS2 – said: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build an economy that works for all.

“I welcome the initiative that the East Midlands local enterprise partnerships and local authorities have taken in working together to develop plans to maximise the economic benefits that HS2 will bring to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and other parts of the region.”

Peter Richardson OBE, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, commented: “We have an exciting vision for the future, which sees HS2 as a catalyst to boost the region’s economy.

“For local people and businesses across the East Midlands, HS2 will mean more jobs and training opportunities, trade and investment, housing opportunities at a range of different sites, train services with quicker journey times, and better local transport connections. To make all this happen we need to plan early and engage support from all sectors of our community. This East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy provides an excellent and practical vision of how we wish to achieve that.”

Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, said: “Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine are seizing the once in a lifetime opportunity HS2 brings to drive growth for the region. We are fully supportive of accelerating completion of the East Midlands HS2 Hub and are urging Government to bring this forward.

“Midlands Connect is already defining and developing the local strategic connections that will maximise the economic benefits of HS2 connectivity and, through Midlands Engine, we will work with partners to turn this ambitious growth strategy into action.”

Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “This latest report is vital, as it sets out in detail the huge economic benefits and opportunities this will bring to Nottinghamshire.

“The new East Midlands station at Toton is due to become the best connected place outside of London, and will help to make Nottinghamshire an even more attractive place to live and work.  This radical improvement to connectivity and capacity will unlock massive economic growth for our county. The opportunities for new jobs and skills is unparalleled, particularly for our younger generation. There will be lucrative supply chain opportunities for local businesses, particularly during the construction phase, which we as a County Council will be supporting.”

Councillor Simon Spencer – Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure; and Vice-Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board –said: “HS2 will bring more jobs and business opportunities to Derbyshire, as well as massive potential for the county’s tourism industry.

“We believe the best deal for Derbyshire residents will be achieved by working with the Government, to maximise the economic benefits and minimise the adverse impacts of the scheme.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), added: “HS2 is the single biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation, and represents a huge opportunity for businesses across the East Midlands and beyond. It has the potential to be truly transformational, much more than just a new railway.

“It will be a catalyst that drives regeneration along its entire route and leads to wider infrastructure investment, it will utilise the skills available in the world’s greatest cluster of rail-related businesses in Derby, and create opportunities to make sure those skills and new ones will pass to the next generation. It will bring together a raft of different partners as they work together to maximise the opportunities of HS2, both during construction and for decades afterwards.”

To read a copy of the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy: World Class-Locally Driven publication online go to web link www.d2n2lep.org/News/thousands-of-jobs-and-almost-4billion-for-economy-detailed-in-hs2-strategy

For more information about the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board and its work see the website link at www.emcouncils.gov.uk/HS2-Strategic-Board

Imprivata OneSign drives a culture shift in technology acceptance, increasing productivity and improving security

Key facts

  • Location: Manchester, UK
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Employees: 5000 +

 Challenges

  • Encourage adoption of new technology
  • Increase clinicians’ time with patients
  • Simplify login process without compromising security

Results

  • Fast, secure access to systems supporting security best practice
  • Reduced login times
  • Fast set-up of new users providing everyone with the same User Experience

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) provides inpatient and community-based mental health and social care for people living in Bolton, the city of Manchester, Salford, and Trafford, and offers a wide range of specialist mental health and substance misuse services across Greater Manchester, the north west of England and beyond.

The Trust employs around 4,750 members of staff, who deliver services from more than 130 locations to around 53,000 service users in a 12-month period.

Business challenge

GMMH was formed on 1 January 2017 and brings together Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) and Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust. Before GMMH was formed, GMW underwent a project of digital transformation, strengthening its technology infrastructure by implementing a new patient administration system (Paris) and a new patient flow and bed occupancy solution (Extramed).

As none of the new systems interfaced to Active Directory, the Trust also decided to look for a single sign-on (SSO) and authentication management solution to streamline the login process for employees. This would remove the need for staff to repeatedly enter usernames and passwords for access to applications and patient information.

The new solution had to deliver quick and secure access to the new and existing systems and provide the required integration with Active Directory, which the trust uses to authenticate and authorise all users and computers in their Windows domain network.

With the merger with Manchester Mental Health and Social Care, the new SSO and authentication management solution also had to be extended to include new staff.

Speed and simplicity

Following a recommendation by the supplier who was deploying one of the new systems, the IT Development Team requested a demo of Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-on and Authentication Management.

Mike Birtwistle, Development Manager at GMMH comments, “During the demo, what instantly struck us was the ease with which new application profiles could be created and implemented. There was no need for complex coding; the GUI-based Application Profile Generator tool created application SSO profiles quickly and easily. After seeing the demo, Imprivata OneSign was a simple choice.”

Imprivata OneSign was deployed alongside the new patient administration system and the bed management solution. The streamlined SSO process simplified access to the new and existing applications and provided clinicians and care staff with a positive user experience. Imprivata implemented as a mobile solution has also been deployed enabling those staff that work out in the community to access systems remotely.

Birtwistle comments, “We deployed the new systems alongside Imprivata OneSign and very quickly saw the benefits. Our users embraced having just one username and password to quickly and securely access applications, from any location. Typically, when implementing any new system, we would expect a spike in calls to the IT service desk whilst people become familiar with the system – but on this occasion we didn’t have that issue. The vast majority of our users successfully logged into the system on the first day and haven’t experienced a problem since.”

Today, 3,700 staff at GMMH use Imprivata OneSign, with the remainder of staff expected to be live by September 2018. The solution conducts over 22,000 SSO logins per week for the main Paris system. Imprivata OneSign is used on desktop PCs and laptops across the Trust and a specific configuration was developed for Surface tablets which have an onscreen keyboard.

One clinician using the new system commented, “Now I don’t need to worry about a password to access clinical systems. I can access all the systems I need to do my job and the technology is invisible.”

Business benefits

  • Enhanced user experience – Imprivata OneSign has simplified the login process for clinicians and administrators across the Trust including those that work in the community or at remote locations, which has delivered demonstrable daily benefits to users through much faster, secure access to applications. Additionally, the set-up of new users and management of user accounts is now much faster, enabling a streamlined implementation for staff formerly with Greater Manchester Mental Health and Social Care. The ease of using the solution has helped to drive a culture shift across the Trust, raising the acceptance of new technology and process change.
  • Increased productivity – Logging into the main systems multiple times each day took time and often users forgot the complex passwords they had to remember. This not only delayed the clinician or care giver from completing whichever task they needed to access the system for, it also created workload for the IT department in resetting the password. Now, with Imprivata OneSign, significant amounts of time are redirected back to patient care and IT support staff are able to focus on more proactive tasks.
  • Security best practice – With Imprivata OneSign, employees need to remember just one username and password for many of the critical systems they use daily. This avoids the need to write passwords down, or share generic logins, and because there is less risk of password fatigue, system users are likely to select a stronger password.

The way forward

The way that health and care is delivered is changing. The move towards integrated health and care models as laid out in the Five Year Forward View, commissioned by NHS England’s Chief Executive Simon Stevens, has shone a spotlight on the role of technology in provisioning new models of care.

When technology is used intuitively and informed by business and clinical use cases, well-managed IT projects become a vehicle for transformation, as experienced at GMMH NHS Foundation Trust.

Birtwistle concludes, “Deploying Imprivata OneSign has been an enabler of change, as part of a larger project allowing us to upgrade old administration systems. At the same time, we’ve been able to minimise the impact on clinical and care staff through the ease of the single sign-on process. Imprivata OneSign streamlined workflows for users who now require just the one username and password to access many applications. The deployment was seamless and has enabled us to culturally shift the perceptions of staff who now see the positive benefits of technology supporting business and clinical process change. In addition, we are able to roll out the solution across our extended community to include staff from across the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust.”

New Technical Director to lead product development at Eminox

Steve Whelan (left) Technical Director and Mark Runciman Operations Director Eminox

Gainsborough-based emissions specialists, Eminox has appointed Steve Whelan, as its new Technical Director.

In his new role, Steve will be responsible for the company’s product development as well as research and advanced engineering, helping to shape Eminox’s technology strategy for the future.

He will be responsible for four teams including design, product development, retrofit product development and advanced technology and innovation. As well as managing existing development programmes, Steve will be instrumental in delivering innovative new technology solutions in reducing emissions on heavy duty powertrain platforms.

Steve will support Eminox in the search and evaluation of new technologies for other exciting industrial sectors.

Steve has nearly 30 years of experience within the industry having previously worked for Ricardo, Clean Air Power, and most recently Tata Technologies.

Within these roles, Steve has led the development of technology with both global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and for retrofit applications where existing vehicles are upgraded to comply with the latest emission standards.

Steve said: “I am looking forward to reinforcing engineering processes in the short term to support our programmes, developing a progressive technology road map that will drive our activities in the medium term, and creating a portfolio of research projects that will deliver new products into the long term.”

“Having that direct hands-on contact with the teams and management here is really exciting.”

Mark Runciman, Operations Director for Eminox, said: “We’re very happy to welcome Steve to the Eminox senior management team, he brings with him nearly 30 years of knowledge from within the industry.

“His insight into the industry will be of great value to us over the coming years as the company enters a new phase of growth.”

LGA RESPONDS TO CANCELLATION OF UBER’S TAXI LICENCE IN LONDON

Taxis working in London: Photo: GPSJ

Responding to today’s decision by Transport for London not to renew taxi firm Uber’s licence to operate in London, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Other licensing authorities will be watching with interest today’s announcement by Transport for London, which has decided not to renew Uber’s licence to operate in London.

“Councils have long argued that there is a need for the existing outdated taxi laws to be updated.

“The legislation governing aspects of taxis and private hire vehicles pre-dates the motor car and is simply not fit for purpose in an era when mobile phone technology is significantly changing the way people access private hire vehicles.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of child sexual exploitation cases that have involved taxi and PHV holders abusing the trust that has been placed in them, so there are strong safeguarding reasons for strengthening current legislation.

“The onset of mobile phone booking apps for PHVs is causing concern about whether drivers are able to compete on a level playing field and has led to numerous and costly legal challenges which local licensing authorities are being forced to spend public money on.

“Local licensing authorities are trying to work out how new models fit within a legislative framework drafted before mobile phones were even invented, when what is really needed is clarity on a new legislative framework that allows for a 21st century way of doing things fairly for passengers, councils and drivers.

“The need for reform is now urgent. Councils are doing what they can to strengthen licensing processes, such as commissioning an LGA national register, but we have always said that the best way to strengthen safeguarding is to update legislation, which only government can do.

“It’s encouraging that the Government has recognised the need to look at this issue as a matter of urgency, following Minister John Hayes’ announcement of a working group to look at this over autumn and report back to him. 

“The LGA looks forward to being part of the working group and is urging government to follow it up by supporting or bringing forward new taxi licensing legislation which benefits passengers, councils and drivers as it is brought before Parliament.”

Kodak Alaris unveils next wave of IN2 Ecosystem to take complexity out of information capture

Four casual-dressed persons working together on a new idea at the table.

Reporter: Allan Roach

Kodak Alaris is expanding its information capture ecosystem, delivering on the promise of digital transformation for businesses and governments around the world. The global solution provider is hosting customer and partner events in all regions this week to unveil the Alaris S2000 Series – a new family of network/wireless and USB-connected desktop scanners – and showcase its award-winning software and services, all of which are designed to take the complexity out of information capture to simplify and improve the way people work. 

Digital transformation starts with information capture
In a recently published white paper, IDC reports that digitising, automating, and optimising document workflows offer compelling benefits to organisations, including, on average, a 35% reduction in costs, 42% reduction in paper documents, and 52% reduction in errors[i]. “Manual processes present an unnecessary hurdle to creating transparency and efficiency for organisations,” said Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Vice President, Global Marketing, Alaris Information Management. “Any paper-based process such as a loan request or driver’s licence application must be digitised to facilitate sharing and reduce risk. Digital capture of paper documents is an essential first step toward achieving this.”

The new Alaris S2000 Series increases productivity by automating much of the work traditionally done by people and host computers. Embedded Image Processing within the scanner delivers crisp, clear images without requiring a high-powered (or expensive) host PC. Breakthrough Active Feed Technology aligns the leading edge of paper to avoid multi-feeds and misfeeds, and Controlled Output Stacking places paper neatly in the output tray. Users benefit from spending less time preparing documents for scanning and dealing with messy output stacks.

The S2000 Series includes two USB-connected models (Alaris S2050 and S2070)  and two network/wireless models (Alaris S2060w and S2080w)) which deliver rated speeds between 50 and 80 pages per minute (ppm). Each scanner is compact, powerful, and easy to use with a robust feeding system that efficiently handles a wide range of media. Three optional flatbed accessories can be integrated with the scanners for increased versatility and productivity. For example, the S2000 Series is designed to ‘dock’ on top of the new Alaris Passport Flatbed Accessory, offering a quick and easy solution for scanning passports, ID cards and other small, fragile documents.

Providing channel partners a flexible platform for growth

Today’s complex data environment requires an integrated approach to information capture that includes industry leading scanners, software, services, and a global network of trusted partners.

Partner and developer communities play a vital role in the IN2 Ecosystem through their ability to connect, configure and create new solutions that meet customer needs. The newly launched Alaris Partner Program is designed to enable channel partners to grow their businesses by offering best-in-class technology and sophisticated solutions and services. It includes a new partner portal, sales tools, incentives and technical resources designed to help partners win in the marketplace.

“Alaris IN2 is a packaged answer to the demands of information and content,” said Anne Valaitis, Senior Consultant, InfoTrends. “Working with their heritage and history of image science, and further placing a greater emphasis on an ecosystem that includes strong partnerships, Kodak Alaris’ goal with the IN2 solution is to focus in key areas that can benefit most from a combination of capture hardware, software and services delivered by strategic partners.”

Software and services complete the ecosystem
A new generation of software from Kodak Alaris offers flexible and powerful batch capture for a wide range of industries and vertical markets, and is particularly effective for BPOs and centralised mailrooms. Alaris Capture Pro Software v5.5 is a dedicated workstation-based information capture solution that ensures security and reliability without depending on internet connectivity for scanning and processing. It seamlessly delivers information to databases and applications, including Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems and Microsoft SharePoint Online (Office 365). For example, one scanning service bureau is using Capture Pro’s advanced indexing capabilities to increase productivity and reduce data entry times by 50%. Capture Pro Software is also ideal for high-performance distributed scanning environments and has been optimised to work seamlessly with the new S2000 Series Scanners.

Alaris Info Input Solution and Info Input Express are web-based and mobile capture applications that are easy to implement and use for workers who regularly scan across departments and enterprises. Info Input Solution and Express enable effortless information capture from scanners, smart devices (via mobile app), and digital files (including email) from one application. Info Input Express Limited Edition is bundled with every S2000 Series Scanner.

Managed Content Services deliver visibility and control

In addition to expert Repair and Maintenance Services to optimise uptime and productivity and Professional Services to deliver in-depth advice, subject matter expertise and value, the IN2 ecosystem now offers Managed Content Services (MCS) in select regions. By developing an MCS partnership with Alaris, customers gain a team of industry experts that help maximise the efficiency and power of their total capture environment. MCS helps organisations by providing a better understanding of total imaging costs, improving service level agreements (SLAs), and driving sustainable savings. For example, the UK operations of an international bank used Alaris Managed Content Services  to re-engineer its document management processes. As a result, they replaced outdated equipment, reduced the number of scanning workflow processes by 90%, and dramatically reduced TCO, all while increasing productivity significantly.

For more information about the Alaris IN2 Ecosystem, please visit the Kodak Alaris website.

To request a demo of the Alaris S2000 Series Scanner, please click here.

[i] IDC White Paper, sponsored by Kodak Alaris, Information Capture: Cornerstone of Digital Transformation, July 31, 2017.

CTSI Director of Policy calls for independent national trading standards regime

Adam Scorer

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Director of Policy at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Adam Scorer, repeated its call for an independent, national trading standards regime on BBC News today. This follows demands from Which? on manufactures to ‘do the right thing’ and stop producing plastic-backed cold-appliances from non-flame retardant materials.

“We have a situation where the product safety responsibility is split between 200 local authorities, cash-strapped doesn’t cover it”, Scorer told the BBC. “Trading Standards have 260 pieces of legislation that their officers need to enforce.”

Scorer reiterated CTSI’s call for an independent and national board for Trading Standards enforcement: “We need a product safety regime across the UK that’s able to make sure that unsafe products don’t get into people’s homes. That requires a national skilled body of trading standards professionals with the expertise, not within local authorities, in order that we have a product safety regime that’s fit for purpose and lives up to its name.”

He added: “We have to learn from tragic events, like Grenfell. It’s not that the standards are necessarily being breached, it’s that we need stronger standards.”

Following a recent review of cold-appliance safety, Which? labelled the current standards as ‘deficient and inadequate’. Though unlikely to be the cause of house fires, non-flame retardant materials increase the risks of accelerating the spread of fires. While most cold appliances meet British standards, the materials used are not sufficiently safe, and could put lives at risk.

CTSI Lead Officer for Consumer and Product Safety, Christine Heemskerk, who is currently in Prague addressing the ANEC and various standards bodies on progressing safety changes, said she strongly supported the consumer champion’s call.

Heemskerk added: “To protect consumers, we must ensure that standards are relevant and reviewed frequently to improve safety. While the standards for testing traditional products such as fridges and freezers are suitable, factors such as increasing cost of raw materials and changes in design can cause new safety issues to emerge that the standard no longer covers.”

Fellow CTSI Lead Officer, Mark Gardiner, also added his support to the Which?’ statement, praising the renewed interest in the issue. He said: “it can only increase the pressure on manufacturers to exceed to current standard, and on standards makers to address this issue in the harmonised standard.”

CTSI first called on governments in July to drastically re-evaluate the way Trading Standards and product safety is regulated and funded. In February, the UK Government received a report urging it to “examine how market surveillance of consumer goods should be organised and funded the lack of nationally coordinated market surveillance”.

CTSI calls on governments to:

  • Establish, or commission, a website to provide a single information source for consumers and others on product recalls and corrective actions,
  • Establish a central, technically expert, product safety team to provide national leadership, conduct forensic market surveillance and support frontline trading standards,
  • Make continued membership of the European RAPEX early warning system a priority at the beginning of Brexit negotiations
  • Reshape trading standards to provide larger, strategic units, that can work with a central product safety team to deliver the interventions necessary to keep unsafe products off the shelves and out of people’s homes.

CTSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk

GMB SAYS CHINESE BID IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO MOORSIDE NUCLEAR PLANT IN CUMBRIA AND SUGGESTS THE LESSONS OF THE TOSHIBA COLLAPSE HAVE NOT BEEN LEARNED

Most members of the public will be looking on in continued bewilderment at the financing pantomime surrounding Moorside and asking why on earth the UK government hasn’t stepped in says GMB.

GMB, the energy union, says a bid by Chinese nuclear company CGN for a stake in Moorside is not the solution to the problems of the planned new nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria which is set to have been delivering 7% of the UK’s electricity needs from 2025.

State backed China General Nuclear (CGN), confirmed yesterday that it is in the running to shore up the £10billion project in exchange for an equity share.

The Moorside project has been beset by a number of setbacks in recent months beginning with Toshiba’s US arm Westinghouse, which is producing reactors for Moorside, going bust which led to Toshiba chairman Shigenori Shiga stepping down and French investors Engie walking away from the deal.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

“The latest offer of overseas “aid” to the stuttering Moorside project, this time by the Chinese government, suggests the lessons of Toshiba have still to be learned.

“Britain vitally needs a new fleet of nuclear power stations to replace the existing ageing fleet and ensure we have zero carbon electricity that is not reliant on the sun shining or the wind blowing.

“Moorside is an integral part of guaranteeing the UK’s future domestic and industry energy needs into the next decade and beyond.

“Keeping the lights on and powering our industries is a state function and this makes the UK government the lender of last resort.

“Most members of the public will be looking on in continued bewilderment at the financing pantomime surrounding Moorside and asking why on earth the UK government hasn’t stepped in rather than touting around the world looking for another government to take over a responsibility that ultimately rests with it?

“The UK civil nuclear industry was once the envy of the world; going cap in hand to the Chinese, Koreans or whoever is not the solution when Moorside and new nuclear should be a key cornerstone of government-led UK industrial strategy going forward.

“The UK government cannot keep pretending to be a passive spectator.”

LGA RESPONDS TO GOVERNMENT’S PLAN TO BRING FORWARD SOCIAL HOUSING GREEN PAPER

Responding to today’s announcement by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid that a green paper for social housing will be brought forward, Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Housing spokesman, said: “The LGA has long-called for more powers to build good quality and genuinely affordable homes. We are encouraged that the Government is to bring forward its green paper for social housing, which we would want to pave the way for a desperately-needed renaissance in council housebuilding.

“With huge pressure on existing housing stock caused by the lack of building enough homes over the past few decades, and with families having to spend more on rent or mortgages every month, we are keen to work with government to ensure that the green paper accelerates the actual building of new homes communities can afford.

“The last time the country built enough homes councils built 40 per cent of them. Our offer is pretty clear, give councils to powers to lead a renaissance in council house building by letting us keep 100 per cent of the sales receipts, and give us the freedoms to borrow to invest and to set rents.”

Local Government Minister sets out plans to strengthen rules to prevent anyone found guilty of serious crimes from serving on local councils

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones has today set out plans to strengthen rules to prevent anyone found guilty of serious crimes from serving on local councils.

Under the planned changes to criteria, it would ensure those who represent their communities are held to the highest possible standards.

Current rules make clear that anyone convicted of an offence carrying a prison sentence of more than 3 months is banned from serving as a local councillor.

However, Mr Jones said that while this may have prevented criminals from becoming councillors, it does not reflect modern sentencing practices.

New rules could mean anyone given an Anti Social Behaviour Injunction, a Criminal Behaviour Order or added to the sex offenders’ register, would no longer be able to hold elected office in their communities.

Local Government Minister Marcus Jones told GPSJ:

Councillors hold an important position of trust and authority in communities across England. We need to hold them to the highest possible standards.

The current rules are letting residents and councils down by not preventing people who should never be considered for such roles from standing for election.

The changes the government is proposing would help make sure anyone convicted of a serious crime, regardless of whether it comes with a custodial sentence, will not be able to serve as a councillor.

Changes to reflect modern day sentencing

Current barriers to becoming a councillor include being employed by the authority, being subject to a bankruptcy order or being convicted of an offence resulting in a prison sentence.

These restrictions were implemented in 1972, before the sex offenders register or other non-custodial orders existed. The new proposed measures would bring rules much more into the present day by including the alternatives to a prison sentence also becoming a barrier to being a councillor.

They would apply to councillors and mayors in parish, town, local, county and unitary councils, combined authorities and the Greater London Assembly.

It would mean a ban on standing to be elected or if once elected a councillor was subsequently convicted of a serious offence, that resulted in an Anti Social Behaviour Injunction, a Criminal Behaviour Order or being on the sex offenders’ register, being forced to step down.

The changes would better reflect rules governing standards of MPs, where members face suspension from the House for anything that contravenes the parliamentary code of conduct.

Further information: The government is now asking councils and communities for their views on the proposed changes. The consultation is available until 5pm on 8 December 2017.

RESTORE SCAN APPOINTS CIM AMBASSADOR AS ITS MARKETING DIRECTOR

Ruth Williams

Restore Scan, the specialist document scanning sector of Restore Document Management, has appointed high-flyer Ruth Williams as its new Marketing Director, to help the company prepare to accelerate its expansion strategy. She brings with her outstanding talent in corporate communications and a wealth of integrated B2B marketing experience.

Formerly Head of Marketing and Head of Corporate Communications at PHS Group, and Head of Marketing at Restore Scan, Ruth has artfully honed her skills in marketing, advertising, social media and public relations and is a perfect appointment to support Restore’s ambitious plans. She will now be responsible for overall brand strategy development and execution of marketing strategies with a view to improving market share, and generating heightened awareness for Restore Scan services.

Restore Scan continues with its strategic growth journey (which included the acquisition of PHS Data Solutions last year) and is staying true to its principles of nurturing talent from within. Restore Scan’s UK Managing Director, Paul Moonan, said: “After watching Ruth so successfully handle all marketing functions at PHS and now Restore Scan, we are excited to welcome her onto the senior management team.”

Ruth added: “Restore Scan has always been a company that provides a fantastic service to its customers and that’s been of the utmost importance to me, but more than that, its senior management team have a strong ethical compass when it comes to nurturing and growing its own talent. Under our MD Paul Moonan, it’s just a fun and motivational place to work. I’ve always loved the strong leadership aspect of the brand and am really pleased to take a seat at the table with so many people I admire.”

Not only has Ruth become a Director, which makes her a prominent role model for women in management in England, but has also been appointed to the position of Ambassador to Business Services on the new Welsh regional CIM board. The board will provide strategic input and operational support to CIM Wales network manager and her focus is to support the board on growing the marketing community in Wales, as well as nurturing new talent.

With a career that is certainly going from strength to strength, Ruth’s proven marketing and business development experience in document management, digital capture and digital transformation outsourcing, will now help Restore Scan to reaffirm itself as one of the UK’s leading enterprise document management providers.

Restore Scan has over 100 storage and processing centres throughout the UK which provide a full range of document scanning, imaging and indexing services. The company offers a joined-up package of services to support every step of physical and virtual data’s journey – from post room, to desk, from storage to end-of-life disposal services.

For more information on the scanning and digitisation services that are available from Restore Scan contact: Ruth Williams on 07879 484544 or ruth.williams@restore.co.uk 

IT experts tell GPSJ: ‘Government not doing enough to protect public sector against cyberattacks’

76% of UK CEOs are concerned about cyber threats

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

In May the NHS suffered a large scale ransomware attack and although the attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS a lack of IT security awareness and variations in software on IT systems in the organisation meant the affects were devastating.

By the afternoon of the attack around 16 NHS Trusts and an unknown number of GP practices had been affected by the ransomware. Staff attempting to log into their computers were greeted by a large, red screen saying their files had been encrypted and they would need to pay a ransom in the electronic money Bitcoin to get them back.

The NHS was not being specifically targeted but it was being affected by the release of a virus called WannaCry or WannaDecryptor (or variations of these names) that had already impacted a telecommunications company and some Spanish banks.

The Government & Public Sector Journal was contacted by Dr Saif Abed of AbedGraham, one of Europe’s largest healthcare IT strategy consultants. Dr Said trained in medicine but has specialised in IT strategy and security, founding the AbedGraham health IT and risk consultancy. And as such, he was not surprised that the NHS was caught up in something bigger.

Speaking to GPSJ he said: “Ransomware tends to be widespread and opportunistic,” he says. “If you really wanted to launch a sustained attack against a particular organisation, then you would use something more specialist and directly malicious than this.”

Even so, the NHS was hit hard. Some trusts, and boards in Scotland had to close their A&E departments or urge patients to attend only if they had life threatening conditions, as delays built up. There were numerous reports of appointments being cancelled and transfers and discharges delayed.

One surgery GPSJ spoke to in Oldham, Lancashire said they had “resorted to using a pen and paper” as all their IT systems were down, and they were just about managing to cope – although it was a disaster for the surgery.

The digital maturity assessment of trusts survey that NHS England conducted last year showed that a majority of trusts are still running computers running Windows XP. This is a Microsoft operating system that has not been supported since 2014 (or, for the UK public sector, 2015) and is no longer ‘patched’ against the sort of known vulnerability that WannaCry exploited.

Dr Abed says that a “full investigation” is needed to find out exactly what role each of these played.

“We need a forensic investigation into this, in part to avoid inappropriately blaming specific bits of software, or people.

“I have seen a lot of tweets apportioning blame: “It’s all the fault of the IT department” or “how could people be so irresponsible as to click on a link”, but it’s not that straightforward.

“We have to ask why this software is still out there, why it is unpatched, why there hasn’t been the investment in clinical leadership to make people aware of the dangers, why there weren’t the people and processes in place to respond when it happened.

“Also, if we see this as only a technology issue, we run the risk of not seeing the situation for what it really is; a clinical risk and patient safety issue.

“We need to invest consistently in infrastructure and people and processes,” he says. “That is why we need a forensic inquiry, and one that leads to immediate action, not one that takes two years and then issues a report.

“If we can pinpoint the problems, we can build a co-ordinated relationship between suppliers, the government and NHS organisations that addresses the problems in a way that meets clinical need.

“The NHS needs to hold an enquiry into WannaCry and then get to grips with the fundamental problems that it exposed. The part of me that is a clinician is hoping that this will not be siloed as a technology issue.

“This needs to be seen as a national challenge and as a board-level priority, because it is a clinical safety and a patient care issue. It just so happened that this particular point of failure was based on technology.”

With cyberattacks on Public sector organisations increasing GPSJ spoke an IT expert to find out if the UK government is doing enough to protect against such threats.

GPSJ spoke with Markus Jakobsson, chief scientist at Agari and an expert in email security, and asked him about emerging email threats and his thoughts on the government’s preparedness for future attacks.

GPSJ: “What threat was presented with the recent attacks on MP’s email systems?”

MJ: “The attacks on MP’s emails was a brute force attack and this isn’t as serious as some attacks, more threatening are the targeted phishing attacks for passwords as these are more surgically targeted against ‘individuals of interest’ by hackers allowing for potentially more private information about them.

“The attackers want sensitive data about systems and people to mount a second strike once compromised with politicians this could involve damaging private information that could affect them getting elected in future – we have seen this in the States.”

GPSJ: “How serious is the treat to UK critical infrastructure?”

MJ: “I live in fear of attacks on utilities and internet systems, without these we are in trouble, if the power supplies are targeted what is going to keep the computers and internet running that keep the critical national infrastructure working? Back up supplies can only last so long and these are desirable targets to infiltrate, we won’t know how badly infiltrated some the UK systems are until such time as a conflict – we have seen this in Ukraine.”

GPSJ: “Do you think the UK government is doing enough to protect against future attacks?”

MJ: “I am sad to say the UK government isn’t taking these threats as seriously as they should, they haven’t caught up yet to the seriousness of the threat and this is the same for other governments.

“You should not make it the task of individuals in an organisation to protect against threats, organisations should use outside specialist IT companies to protect their systems rather than relying on their own systems.

“It is also important to update software regularly and if your software only runs on older operating systems they can’t be updated, we have seen in the NHS with many operating systems being used across the UK – this can be disastrous and should be avoided at all costs.”

Pete Banham, a cyber resiliency expert at Mimecast, told GPSJ about the attack on Barts Health NHS Trust: “The ransomware attack on Barts reads like a textbook example. Without proper technical controls it only takes one person to open a malicious email attachment and the attacker is in. For healthcare organisations, the stakes are especially high. If attackers can gain or deny access to sensitive and very personal files, patient safety is on the line.

“Cybercriminals are incredibly sophisticated at using email for attack and bypassing traditional security procedures.

“Bowing to these hacker’s ransom demands only emboldens and finances them for further attacks. Only by adopting a cyber resilient approach can organisations recover quickly from this type of attack.”

SIMPLIFY EU RULES OVER HOW COUNCILS BUY GOODS AND SERVICES AFTER BREXIT

Simpler rules regulating how councils buy goods and services after Brexit could boost local growth and create jobs, the Local Government Association says today.

Council leaders say the Government needs to introduce a more efficient UK system regulating how councils buy goods and services when we leave the European Union.

The LGA said this could include giving councils greater ability to use local suppliers, specify a minimum local living wage for their suppliers’ employees, or specify additional social value so that companies awarded contracts can be asked to employ or train a number of local people.

Councils currently have to follow EU-wide advertising and award procedures when they buy goods and services. The process sometimes sits uneasily with supporting the local economy. The EU process can also take between 3 and 18 months – twice as long as typical private sector procurements.

Almost no public contracts end up being awarded to companies in other EU member states. Only 20 per cent of English councils receive EU expressions of interest from companies based in other EU countries. Across Europe, only 1.6 per cent of public contracts are awarded to companies in other member states.

The LGA says a “lighter-touch” system which simplifies this processes, and provides more flexibilities to promote local growth, is vital so that councils can procure to shorter timescales and lower high administration costs for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

Councils in England, who collectively spend £55 billion per year on goods, works and services, will also still need to be able to advertise any contract of any size EU-wide should they wish to after Brexit, it said.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s Brexit Task and Finish Group, said:

“The UK’s exit from the EU will have a significant impact on local government, creating challenges that need to be addressed but also opportunities to do things differently.

“The way councils spend money has a huge bearing on local growth and job creation. But EU rules over how they buy goods and services can stifle those efforts and take up time and money.

“Regulation of public procurement will clearly continue to be necessary when we leave the EU to allow councils to continue to demonstrate best value for money and ensure effective and fair competition.

“But introducing more local flexibility and easier procurement rules after Brexit would provide more community benefits and more growth opportunities for SMEs. It would also allow councils to promote local suppliers and local labour and ensure workers earn a decent wage.”

New HSJ Partnership Awards will recognise inspirational architects and construction firms that are helping to transform the NHS

Awards will highlight the work of a variety of private sector organisations that partner with the NHS to deliver improved patient outcomes and cost-effective care

Architects and construction firms are invited to enter a new awards scheme designed to recognise private sector organisations that work behind the scenes to help the NHS deliver better and more cost-effective patient care.

The unique programme, which has categories for 19 different types of organisations, has been launched by Health Service Journal (HSJ), the premium intelligence and events service for all healthcare leaders working in, for, or with the NHS.

Known as the HSJ Partnership Awards, it will reward inspirational work carried out for the NHS by organisations including architects, builders, IT providers, pharma companies and medtech firms.

A vast range of joint working projects will be eligible for recognition, with projects ranging from the design or construction of a new hospital building, to new analytical data systems, to innovative support ensuring patient drug adherence.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate that their projects have made a tangible difference to the NHS by, for example, improving services, facilities or quality of life for patients, or saving money.

Alastair McLellan, Editor of HSJ, said: “Hundreds of organisations are working behind the scenes to help the NHS improve its services and facilities, and deliver better care for patients. Yet their contribution is often unseen.

“We hope to change that through the HSJ Partnership Awards, which will give companies the chance to showcase the innovative projects and long-term support programmes that are really making a difference to the NHS in these challenging economic times.”

Mark Orchard, Director of Finance at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, said: “The awards present a unique opportunity to acknowledge the NHS’ valued private sector partners, recognising talent, innovation and demonstrable improvement across the health service. The NHS operates in an economic environment that continues to challenge us in demonstrating the very best decision-making on behalf of patients, service users, taxpayers and the public.

“These awards give us the opportunity to recognise those private sector partners who make a significant contribution to the service that we all proudly support. I’d encourage all partners to take this opportunity to share innovation and achievement in order that we may both celebrate the very best practice, and also share that learning across the wider health service.”

For details on the individual categories and entry criteria, please log on to www.partnership.hsj.co.uk/

Entries must be submitted by 13 October 2017, with the awards ceremony scheduled to take place at the Royal College of Physicians, London on 8 March 2018.