December 2017
« Nov    

The two faces of digital transformation

As the public sector progresses beyond digital implementation to evolution, Idox shares its views on how a people-centred approach to digitisation can help organisations get more from their investments, as well as support the creation of effective end-to-end digital journeys.

The implementation of innovative technology to support smarter working, service transformation, and improved engagement has been a strategy adopted by the public sector for some time. However, just a few years ago, the notion of digitisation was still in its infancy – in 2015, a Deloitte global public sector survey showed that it was viewed as just ‘an opportunity’ for 82% of public sector organisations, with 88% still hoping to improve customer experience as a result of digital transformation.

Fast forward two years and a large proportion of public sector organisations are already in the next phase of digital transformation – teams are looking beyond implementation to evolution, and how they can develop their strategies further to meet ever-increasing customer demand and expectation.

With the first wave of digital implementation tried and tested, we know that such technologies present significant opportunities for improvements and savings in the public sector; we know that there’s always room for digital to grow and evolve; and we know that the capacity to embed digital into everyday practices – from booking an MOT to paying for council tax online – is now the norm.

But, how can organisations accelerate digital progression and get more from their investments?

Digital in the second stage

With the spotlight on public sector organisations to drive digital, there are many commentators calling for the sector to do more – to move faster, to transform quicker. And with the Government reaffirming its commitment to harnessing digital in its 2017-2020 Transformation Strategy, and funding to support Artificial Intelligence, 5G and digital skills in the Autumn Budget 2017, the pressure to progress is likely to intensify. Digital is about to hit its second stage.

As a partner to over 750 public sector organisations, Idox has developed a ‘ground-up’ approach to digital that takes into account not only the technology driving the processes, but also the culture of each organisation, along with its employee and customer needs. This focus on putting the human element back at the heart of digital was echoed in a previous podcast from Mike Bracken, former head of the GDS, who noted ‘everything we do is based on users and user-testing’.

Overall, there is now recognition that public services should be determined not by the organisational and legal constraints of government departments, but by the needs of people.

Beyond digital transformation?

According to the 2017 Digital Business Study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, there is still progress to be made across sectors to enhance digital maturity. Of the respondents surveyed, only 22% claimed to be working for a company that cultivates a digital culture and strives for experimentation, agility, risk-taking and collaboration. Yet appetite to continue investing is strong, with 61% reporting their organisation has plans for digital investment in the next 12-18 months.

Ultimately, understanding the two ‘faces’ of digital transformation – the organisational and the citizen perspective – and identifying technology that simultaneously caters to both, is pivotal for successful evolution, and ensuring technological investments stand the test of time.

‘Two-faced’ digital planning

To truly facilitate progression, investments should focus on creating meaningful, end-to-end journeys for the two ‘faces’ of digital. On the citizen side, every process, action and engagement needs to be simple, quick, consistent and informative; for organisations, the focus needs to be on meeting this demand but in a more coordinated, efficient, productive and cost-effective way than before.

Consider an online planning proposal – a local authority may have the right technology in place to allow citizens to submit an application online, automate the storage of this data and trigger a site visit. However, if it lacks the digital capabilities to offer an online payment facility or automate progress updates, the ‘journey’ – on both sides – becomes broken.

By planning circular journeys that support a continuous flow of digital actions, public sector organisations can achieve tangible outcomes that not only deliver cost savings, but also serve as a solid foundation for future growth.

Digitising for the future

Although digitisation is now a reality for the public sector – not just an ‘opportunity’ waiting to be had – reaching beyond transformation to maintenance and evolution requires more than just technology. People, culture and mindset need to have equal weighting to help organisations stand out from the crowd and meet their own expectations, as well as those of their customers.

We talk about end-to-end transformation as the goal but in reality, it’s a continuous, transformative process that never stops learning.

To talk to us about our views on digital transformation and how they can help you, email the team at or visit

Stop your people being the biggest barriers to cloud adoption

Romy Hughes, director, Brightman

By Romy Hughes, director, Brightman

Public sector organisations are under constant pressure to save money. For many, this means outsourcing business services to the cloud, or moving to a shared service model. Such models not only reduce costs, but they also improve agility, resiliency and increase flexibility too. But managing the implementation of a new service is a critical time.

Migrating to the cloud is often the single biggest service transition an organisation will go through. Its implications are felt far-and-wide across the organisation, but its impact on people and culture is by far the hardest part of any successful transition. If you get this wrong, the entire project is at risk.

So many stakeholders…

A service transition to the cloud affects large customer and stakeholder groups. Roles and responsibilities will inevitably be affected; there could be changes within teams, teams could be divided, or different management practises and ways of working may be rolled out. As a result, staff may be reluctant to share business information and knowledge due to fear of losing their job, and in some cases, if the people are not properly managed, staff may choose to leave the organisation altogether. This will obviously hinder the knowledge transfer and the transition plan. The effect on retained staff cannot be underestimated; new skills and competencies will require training, education and coaching.

Staff may become demotivated and resistant to the new change due to many reasons, but most due to a lack of understanding. Clear and regular communication during a transition is therefore extremely important. Stakeholders need to be aware of the implications of the changes and what it means to them.

Fundamentally, the best way to manage people during a service transition is to align the organisation’s culture with the change, and engage individuals to bring them along with the delivery of the new solution. A service transition, much like any other large-scale technology implementations, is an organisational transformation at its heart. A service transition needs to be matched with a corresponding organisational change. Only once you’re aware of this can you plan the transition effectively.

Bring your people with you

As a service transition places great demands on staff, there is a high risk that staff will become resistant to the change and feel de-motivated. To overcome these barriers, it is important to prepare stakeholders and leadership and effectively manage the different stakeholder groups and develop a culture that buys into the transition and supports it. Stakeholder management should never be underestimated or overlooked. Service transition is complex and involves new ways of working. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to make assumptions about people’s behaviours without analysing the facts, so identifying who the stakeholders are, their interests and influences, how to engage with the project, what information will be communicated, how to manage feedback etc. is an absolute must. Likewise, communications during the transition must be effective; stakeholders need to understand the reasons for change and what it means to them. The cloud supplier must also understand the culture of the organisation it is serving; an effective working relationship between the organisation and the supplier is therefore essential.

Cultural transformation = Cloud success

A successful and well managed service transition requires the adoption of a complete business transformation plan which fully accounts for the organisational and cultural changes. It will establish a strong relationship between the organisation and its service provider(s) and provide clarity of accountability and areas of responsibility.

By following this approach, new business processes will be delivered more seamlessly with a much lower risk to live operations. What’s more, ongoing service levels will be achieved, and staff will be retained, reskilled and will fully adopt the new ways of working!

How Machine Learning technology can help deliver smarter video surveillance in the public sector

Anthony Fulgoni, Chief Revenue Officer, Calipsa

By Anthony Fulgoni, Chief Revenue Officer, Calipsa

Video surveillance can be a divisive subject when it comes to our public highways and byways. On the one hand, there is the sheer number of cameras now in place – estimates suggest there is one CCTV camera for every 11 people in this country – making us one of the most ‘watched’ nations in the world. On the other hand, properly monitored and utilised, video surveillance can help local authorities and government with real time traffic monitoring, enforcing rules and regulations on the roads, and supporting the efficient running and operation of Britain’s road and rail networks.

The problem here is in the ‘proper monitoring’ and effective use of video footage. The majority of the video surveillance carried out for police, transport and local authority operators is done by humans, making it time-consuming, expensive and largely inefficient. Considerations have to be made for operator effectiveness and the risk of error as they view huge quantities of video data hours at a time, which leads to fatigue, loss of concentration and mistakes at a time when video surveillance has never been more critical.

In a traffic scenario, this could delay reactions to a serious incident on a motorway or a major route into a city centre due to a break down. Video surveillance has been around a long time, in use since the 1960s, but times are changing and technology behind it is changing too.

Take machine learning, which is assisting with real-time transportation data analytics, traffic prediction and flow control as well as transportation network simulation and modeling, optimisation of public transport routes and more. We are beginning to see the use of more advanced data analytics technology that is able to keep roads flowing safety and smoothly with smart predictions and decision-making, helping to eliminate peak-time traffic congestion, for instance, and increase preventative and real-time safety.

In simple terms, machine learning is an automated process that enables software-based systems to analyse huge data sets and recognise patterns. In today’s ‘big data’ world, this technology can be a huge asset to human operatives and as an aid to monitoring teams. It doesn’t suffer from fatigue, distraction, boredom or has to take breaks when analysing video images, and always has the capacity to give a ‘heads up’ notification when a detection is made to investigate.

Calipsa Control Panel

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so the ability to collect a variety of data from video images is priceless and powerful. Machine learning platforms can deliver counting, classification, tracking, speed estimations and identify anomalies – 24×7 – without getting tired.  This means the human operator can be effective in taking action on the actual notification.

But machine learning is not magic. It has to be taught what to do, what to look for and what to report on. It has to be taught what is normal and what is not in order to identify the transgression. A planned and patient approach to implementing a system – viewing content and correcting observations – can yield dividends in the long term. However, it is not just the machine that needs to be taught. The user has to understand the requirements of the machine learning – clear camera angles help but occlusion can occur, which may impact accuracy.

Built on state of the art AI technology, Calipsa is a machine learning platform that collects data from video content to deliver observations, insights and statistics. It is designed to continually learn based on what it sees, while human operators can “teach” it using a simple point and click interface thereby automating repetitive parts of their jobs. These corrections help to improve the quality of detections, which in turn makes the platform more productive and more effective.

It can process and analyse hours of video feeds to provide real time alerts and detailed reports for applications including traffic enforcement, traffic incidents, public disorder and monitoring of a range of situations. Designed to work with any existing camera or video source, the technology can be deployed via the cloud or on-premise, with no retrofit required. It is highly adaptable to all weather and lighting conditions, with 95% accuracy.

As local authorities and governments start to design and implement intelligent transport systems and smart cities, artificial intelligence and machine learning based technology will become a key driver to making this happen. With smart devices becoming more prevalent and analytics increasingly able to crunch data faster and more efficiently, the potential for improving our road and transport systems and for better public safety through the intelligent use of video surveillance technology has never been greater.

Calipsa:  / +44 20 7484 5007 / @Calipsa_io  /

Oxfordshire County Council looks to GIS to transform service delivery

Oxford from above

Oxfordshire County Council, committed to delivering top quality services and value for money on behalf of the country’s 600,000 plus residents, is investing in a new GIS (Geographic Information System) to help transform service delivery.  The council is aiming to increase the number of digital tools it uses, based on location, to transform its service delivery while making savings in the cost of delivering those services.

The Council believes that, by utilising the location element at the heart of its Customer Engagement Strategy, it can increase citizen engagement and transactional services through new apps and services built on a new Oxfordshire Digital platform which includes Esri UK’s ArcGIS software.

“By using more agile and modern technologies we can genuinely transform the public’s access to better services and improve their quality of life, while reducing the cost to do so,” commented Anne Kearsley, Acting GIS Management Consultant, Oxfordshire County Council. “Furthermore, by halving the data processing time with the ArcGIS platform, we can become a more efficient and responsive digital team.”

A more time-efficient Council workforce will also be driven by access to new, interactive mobile technology. For example workers in the Communities teams will be able to receive new assignments on their mobiles.  They can then report their progress and any findings, including photos, directly back to the office through a simple online form, without having to resort to pen and paper.

Public facing web apps will allow more citizens to engage with the council and access a wider range of services available in their locality, from recycling, to school catchment areas and transport services.  Residents will also be able to report problems and track progress at a time of their choosing.  These technologies with digital map-based tools will lead to a reduction in contact volume, driving further cost efficiencies while offering a better service to citizens.

“Location based data underpins a large number of services delivered by the public sector,” added David Downing, Local Government Manager, Esri UK. “Many local authorities and public bodies are now realising that understanding and utilising the concept of ‘location’ allows for better decision-making, at both a strategic and operational level.  In turn, this delivers enhanced services for citizens and further cost savings.”

Esri UK was awarded a multi-year contract to provide a corporate GIS infrastructure to Oxfordshire County Council through the CCS LASA framework, using a competitive tender approach.  Esri’s ArcGIS platform will replace a number of legacy GIS applications in the council, consolidating legacy mapping systems to a single GIS platform.

About Esri UK 

Esri is the global leader in spatial analytics technology and our geographic information system (GIS) software platform, ArcGIS, helps customers unlock the full potential of data, to improve operational and business results.

Esri UK has the UK’s largest team of GIS professionals able to provide customers with fully integrated GIS solutions.  We have been offering GIS solutions to leading brands and a wide range of markets including Government, Defence, Utilities and tech start-ups for over twenty years. Customers include the Ministry of Defence, Birmingham City Council, Defra, the Environment Agency, Metropolitan Police Service, Ordnance Survey, RSA Group, Scottish Power and The Crown Estate.

Kodak Alaris wins tender to support UHB’s drive for digital excellence

Kodak Alaris Information Management and long-standing partner Insight, have successfully tendered to provide University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), one of 16 Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) acute trusts, with a fast and efficient scanning solution embedded within the Trust’s existing line of business application.

As part of its goal to exploit the potential of digital technologies to better engage with patients and enhance care quality, UHB selected Kodak Alaris to assist them in driving internal efficiencies by improving the quality and accessibility of patient health records to clinicians.

Kodak Alaris evaluated the Trust’s existing processes for scanning patient referrals into its content management platform, and proposed a solution that would enable front-line medical staff to capture and file relevant content at their desktop.

Kodak Alaris recommended integrating the capture function within line of business systems to remove complexity. With the new solution, instead of passing hard copy documents onto a third-party for scanning and filing in the correct place, a process which typically has a 24-48 hour lead time, the clinician can now capture and file in real-time.

The solution is powered by an Info Input scan button app within the UHB’s existing IBM Coach Web portal that is connected to the Trust’s current mixed vendor fleet of scanners that includes Kodak i2400 and i40 mid-volume production models. Alaris Info Input Solution is a web-based and mobile capture application that is easy for workers to implement and use.

Using the embedded scan button and a connected scanner, staff have the ability to digitise paper documents and upload the digital records into its legacy EMC Documentum content management system right at the beginning of the patient’s journey. The Info Input software determines the document type for correct processing after scanning and converts all scanned digital uploads to a bi-tonal searchable PDF file format. Furthermore, document images and subsequent metadata input via the Trust’s IBM Coach application is stored in the relevant patient folder located in the UHB’s 7.1 EMC Documentum system.

Steve Clarke, Healthcare Solutions Manager at Kodak Alaris Information Management said: “Clinicians faced with a myriad of hard copy documents from referral letters, medical history, test results to medical charts, are in many instances reliant on the back-office scanning function to capture the information and file it in the correct place, a process which inevitably takes time and can potentially be error-prone. Embedding capture technology within UHB’s line of business application will improve efficiency around patient onboarding and registration, assisting the Trust in their journey to digitise healthcare records and improve patient care, by making information available faster.”

Kodak Alaris will project manage the roll-out, ensure end-user interfaces meet requirements in terms of usability and accessibility, as well as provide technical support and training to The Trust’s technical staff that will include managing the scan applet within the existing IT infrastructure and configuring the scanners, ensuring the smooth operation of the solution across the contract term.

For more information please visit:

Appeal following murder of RAF Aircraftswoman


Rita Ellis

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

19-year-old Rita Ellis was murdered at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire on Saturday 11 November 1967.

At 10.30am on Sunday 12 November Rita’s body was found on the camp by a dog walker near a disused railway at the old coal yard about 250 yards from the main road from Wendover to Tring.

The body had been covered by leaves and foliage.

Rita, who was stationed at the camp, had been sexually assaulted and strangled by a ligature made out of her underwear.

At the time of the murder Thames Valley Police did not exist, the local police force was Buckinghamshire Constabulary, however it was New Scotland Yard that led the investigation.

On 28 April 1967 Rita joined the RAF, initially training at Spittlegate RAF in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and was then drafted to RAF Halton on 21 June of the same year.

She was a trade assistant and was obtaining extra qualifications as part of her training with the RAF.

Rita was the eldest of four siblings. Rita’s sister, Tina, was 10-years-old at the time of the murder.  Rita’s two younger brothers were 17 and 13-years-old at the time.

Rita’s parents, who have since died, lived in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

On the 50th anniversary of the murder, Rita’s sister, Tina, now aged 60 and working as a nurse in Sussex, made this emotional appeal: “Rita was wonderful. She was so kind, so caring, and so supportive but she seemed to be frightened of certain situations and used to scare quite easily. She was painful shy so going into the RAF was great for Rita because it broadened her horizons and gave her the confidence which she didn’t have.

“After Rita died I used to read the newspaper cuttings and it used to give me nightmares. I tried to understand it but I just kept thinking about whether she suffered – those things went through my head even as a ten-year-old.

“Rita’s murder has had a huge impact on me and my family. My mother and Rita were incredibly close, they were like sisters. My mother was never the same after Rita died, my mother had a number of illnesses and incidentally she died on the same day as Rita on 11th November in 1994.

“It’s been a long time coming but we want justice for Rita. Someone, somewhere must have some information. I urge them to please come forward to the police and give us closure and allow Rita to be at peace.”

Head of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Review Team, Peter Beirne

Head of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Review Team, Peter Beirne said: “I am making a new appeal on the 50th anniversary of the brutal murder of Rita Ellis. Rita’s family has waited too long for justice and I now hope the public can help us find her killer.

“Thanks to re-examination of evidence found at the scene we have now obtained a full DNA profile of the offender and almost 200 potential suspects have been ruled out.

“I believe the offender would have been a young man, possibly aged in his teens to mid-twenties at the time, so it is likely he will now be aged in his sixties to eighties.

“A number of arrests were made during the initial investigation but no-one has ever been charged with Rita’s murder.

“It was arranged by the RAF that Rita would babysit for a Wing Commander and his wife on the evening of Saturday 11 November 1967 and she was to be collected from her living quarters at about 7.30pm, however according to the initial police investigation there was some confusion regarding the agreed collection time.

“The Wing Commander arrived at Rita’s accommodation at about 7.40pm and waited for Rita for about 15 minutes before leaving. About 10 minutes later the Wing Commander returned to the accommodation with his wife because she would have been allowed to enter the servicewomen’s accommodation, however Rita was not there.

“We know Rita had been working at the camp’s kitchens from 11am to 7pm on the day she was murdered. The last time she was seen alive was in her accommodation at about 8pm.

“On the night Rita was murdered there were two events being held at the camp, bingo and a disco, therefore there would have been hundreds of people in the vicinity of where Rita was waiting for her lift.

“It was common that entertainment was provided at the camp for civilians as well as servicemen and servicewomen. This included discos held at the Naafi, a Junior Ranks Club, The Tavern Bar, the Astra Cinema and a bar called Portakabin.

“On the night she was murdered Rita was wearing a coat, cardigan, skirt, underwear and shoes. She was also carrying two handbags. All of these items were recovered at the scene.

“The person responsible for Rita’s murder will have had this horrific act on their conscience for 50 years, and there has to be a possibility that they have confided in someone during this time. If you have any information, even if you think the information is insignificant, please come forward.

“In the time that has passed allegiances may have changed or perhaps you couldn’t come forward at the time for whatever reason but now you can.

“Please do the right thing and contact us either by calling 101, visiting your nearest police station or emailing and quoting reference 604 (7/11).

“If you do not want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.”

Department of Infrastructure, Isle of Man, selects Zeta’s Solar Shelter Lighting

Isle of Man – Zeta Solar Shelter – rural shelter

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

15 bus stops along the main service route from Douglas to Ramsey have been fitted with Zeta Specialist Lighting’s Solar Shelter Lighting Kit. The rollout is part of a three-year plan that will see a total of 50 bus stops across the island benefiting from solar-powered illumination, an initiative designed to enhance passenger comfort and safety. 

With a low population density and few built-up areas, the Isle of Man has very low levels of light pollution. This island is a centre for star gazing and has the largest concentration of Dark Skies sites in the British Isles. Some areas don’t have street lighting and in many locations where bus stops are sited, there is no mains connection, all of which pointed to a non-light polluting solar-powered system as the best solution. 

Enhance passenger comfort and safety

The Department of Infrastructure’s public transport division was looking for a solution to provide illumination to enhance passenger comfort and safety, and as bus stops across the island are response stops, they also wanted to minimise the risk that bus drivers would miss waiting passengers in an unlit shelter during the hours of darkness.

Phase one was for 15 bus stops along the main service route from Douglas to Ramsey, phase two will see the rollout along the high commuter Douglas to Castletown route, and the final phase will see shelters from Peel to Ramsey, being fitted with Zeta’s solar solution. 

Solar Shelter Lighting Kits

Zeta’s Solar Shelter Lighting Kits had been fitted on shelters in the bus station in Douglas two years previously and had proven to be an effective, maintenance free solution, which made the decision to utilise the same system across the island an easy one.

This bespoke solar-powered lighting solution for bus shelters features specially manufactured, vandal resistant, solar panels which are attached to the roof of the shelter to harness the sun’s energy throughout the day. The solar energy charges the in-built long-life maintenance free batteries and powers the high luminance Zeta LEDs to illuminate the shelter from dusk till dawn.  To ensure reliable, year-round performance, Zeta’s innovative and unique Energy Management System (EMS) optimises the energy collection; maximising power to the batteries during the day, and regulating the amount of power consumed by the LEDs at night.

The 15 shelters have been programmed to turn on/off according to operational timings, however for the next phases, the Solar Shelter Lighting Kits will include Passive Infra-Red technology (PIR) sensors. The shelters will maintain a constant low level of illumination until a passenger enters and activates the sensor, the light levels will gently increase and remain fully activated until the passenger leaves the immediate area.

Isle of Man – Zeta Solar Shelter Kits installed in Douglas 2015

This cost-effective and ultra-reliable solar-powered system was quick and easy to install, providing the ability to illuminate shelters in largely remote areas where mains electricity was not available and where laying cabling was cost and time prohibitive.

Safer environment

Creating a safer environment was a high priority, passenger safety and comfort has been enhanced now the shelters are illuminated, and disabled access improved as kerbs etc. are visible at night. In addition, drivers can clearly identify which stops have waiting passengers, removing the risk of driving by without picking them up. 

Other benefits include the fact that ongoing running costs are zero, the solution is maintenance free and there are no additional energy bills to pay. Plus, the overall environmental impact of a solar-powered system is much lower than one which utilises electricity.

Commenting on Zeta’s solar-powered solution, Ian Bates, Head of Operations, Public Transport Division, Department of Infrastructure, Isle of Man said: “We are delighted with Zeta’s easy to install, maintenance free solution. We are working closely with the island’s parish councils getting them involved in initiatives to safely illuminate their areas and look forward to the wider roll out of this solar-powered system across the island.”

Germany after Elections – Implications for the UK and Brexit negotiations

A month after Germany took to the polls on September 24th, initial coalition talks to form a new government began last week. Although Angela Merkel and her conservative CDU/CSU group won the elections, they entered Parliament a weakened force after suffering severe losses. Although sure to be re-elected as Chancellor, Merkel is left with only one feasible power option: a ‘Jamaica’ coalition of CDU/CSU, which would house major differences on several issues.

Bernd Buschhausen, Policy Expert and Partner at Instinctif Partners in Berlin, comments on the election result and its meaning for the UK and Brexit negotiations.

1) Where is Germany heading, and will it still be outward looking?

Bernd: Germany is and will remain an export driven nation, outward looking by nature. However, those who have high hopes of German leadership in European and global policy making are likely to be disappointed. With fading political appeal, Merkel emerges from the elections weaker than anticipated. Not only is she under criticism within her own party but externally she will have to appease many different party positions. These circumstances stretch and ultimately limit her ability to push through important initiatives both at EU and national level.

 2) What does Merkel’s weakened stance mean for Brexit negotiations?

Bernd: Many Brexit hardliners followed the German election with interest. A weakened chancellor Merkel, they reasoned, might be more inclined to make compromises during Brexit negotiations. Yet, while Merkel’s post-election position today is indeed weaker, Brexiteers may be disappointed. Brexit did not play a role during the German election campaign, and Merkel’s weakened stance will not fundamentally change the German position on Brexit. There will not be negotiations on a future trade deal unless the issues of the divorce bill, EU citizens’ rights and the border question between Ireland and Northern Ireland are settled.

What Merkel’s weakened position does mean however is that domestic issues will drive her agenda in the coming months. Merkel’s heavy losses in Parliament mean there is no longer a clear one-party-mandate and make the direction of the next government unclear. The next four years of government will not be about visions along party-values but about managing change.

3) What are the positions of the Jamaica coalition parties in terms of Brexit?

Bernd Buschhausen is an award-winning policy expert at Instinctif Partners

Bernd: All parties in the ‘Jamaica’ coalition question are convinced pro-Europeans. Where they differ is in policy areas on which the EU should focus. The CDU emphasizes that a strong EU is a precondition for a strong Germany. Regarding Brexit, Merkel supports fair and swift negotiations that guarantee a good EU-UK relation in the future.

The CSU often criticises a rampant bureaucracy and too much centralisation of the EU. As a regional party from Bavaria, given the region’s close economic ties to the UK, the CSU seeks to limit negative impacts of Brexit by reaching a new trade agreement as soon as possible.

While considering themselves pro-European, the Liberals (FDP) criticise the EU as distanced from the citizens, especially in terms of bureaucracy and centralisation. When it comes to Brexit, the FDP is pragmatic – while against a “Brexit à la carte”, the UK should not be ‘punished’ for Brexit and should stay a key ally and an important trading partner.

Of the potential allies, the Greens are perhaps the most EU-friendly and embrace Macron’s broad visions for the Union, advocating a deeper monetary union and the creation of a “European Future Fund”. On Brexit, the Greens support a rather tough stance towards the UK. Leading Green politicians often mention that the interests of EU citizens must precede a new free trade agreement between the EU and the UK.

4) What implications would a Jamaica coalition have on Brexit negotiations? 

Bernd: For Germany, the EU is more than a common market. It is an integral part of our national identity. We even have an article on a united Europe in our constitution, the Fundamental Law. In line with this tradition, all parties about to form the Jamaica-coalition want to ensure that the EU remains a success. It is in Germany’s core interest to revitalize the European project – especially in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The new German government will therefore concentrate on common ground among the remaining EU partners to move forward, aiming to make EU-decision-making faster, more transparent, more effective and more people-oriented.

While the UK is and will be an important partner for the EU in general and Germany in particular, the priority for European leaders will be on shaping the future of the EU and not on divorcing the UK. It is unlikely – if not out of the question – that the new German government will jeopardise the pan-European project in exchange for a good trade will with the UK. There will be no cherry-picking, where the UK benefits from a privileged access to the European market without adhering to the obligations. The four freedoms of the EU are set in stone.

Interestingly, German businesses are backing German politicians in this regard. The German Business Association BDI has repeatedly stated support for the EU’s Brexit negotiation strategy. Its president publicly called upon policy-makers in Brussels and Berlin to make sure the EU stands together and is strengthened. Although German industry favours clear new rules between the EU and the UK, safeguarding the single market and galvanising the EU is the priority.


Oldham officers are presented with their GPSJ Above & Beyond Awards certificates by Bryn Hughes, father of PC Nichola Hughes (who was killed on duty) and Chief Superintendent Neil Davies. Pictured left to right: PCSO 66103 Lee Lockwood, PCSO 62643 Wayne Turley, PC 15574 Donna Youngjohns, PC 1315 Jordan Heaton, Sgt 2282 Toby Knight, Bryn Hughes and Chief Superintendent Neil Davies.

Officers from Greater Manchester Police have been presented with awards for their actions whilst on duty during a night of severe flooding in 2016.

The officers, from the forces Oldham District, were unanimously voted winners of the Government & Public Sector Journal’s ‘Above & Beyond Award’ by an independent awards panel for their actions that night.

The flooding, in Saddleworth near Oldham, caused extensive damage to many homes and businesses in the area as well as major disruption transport and local services.

The GMP officers worked throughout the night helping residents with a major clean-up operation, sometimes using their bare hands as well as brushes and shovels to remove huge amounts of debris. The officers also assisted homeowners by moving their furniture and other personal items to safety.

The certificates were presented by Bryn Hughes, father of PC Nicola Hughes who was killed on duty in Manchester and Chief Superintendent Neil Evans.

The award winners were Sgt 2282 Toby Knight, PC 15570 Liam Rasch (no longer with GMP), PC 15361 Blair Patterson, PC 1315 Jordan Heaton, PC 15355 Julian Maynard, PC 15574 Donna Youngjohns, PC 15677 Mark Foster, PCSO 66103 Lee Lockwood and PCSO 62643 Wayne Turley.

Speaking after the awards ceremony in Oldham on Wednesday 8 November, Chief Superintendent Neil Evans said: “Sometimes police officers come in for criticism for various reasons, but as seen here with the GPSJ awards today the work they do for the community is truly amazing.

“In this case the police officers and PCSOs have shown just how much they care and have definitely surpassed what was required of them on the night.

Bryn Hughes presents the GPSJ Above & And Beyond Award trophy to Chief Superintendent Neil Evans.

“It’s also good to see these types of awards that recognise these actions that are above and beyond duty, I congratulate all those involved.”

Bryn Hughes said: “I am proud to be giving these awards out today and I know Nicola would also be the first to commend these officers actions, such a well-deserved award.”

The GPSJ awards are judged on merit by an independent panel of journalists, broadcasters and politicians, the panel members are; Andy Carter, Cleland Thom – principle of the College of Media and Publishing, Debbie Abrahams MP, Donal MacIntyre, John Stapleton, Nigel Pivaro and Steve Nolan.

The presentation was made at the Odeon Cinema in The Old Town Hall, Parliament Square, Oldham.


  Fleet Hero Awards reveals 10 winners in its 12th year

 Award recognises efforts of companies to reduce fleet carbon footprint, tackle air pollution and improve fleet sustainability  

Fleet Leeds City Council Andrew Hickford Terry Pycroft

An innovative partnership tackling air quality issues in central London and a utility company who has set up a training programme for young drivers are among those to be named UK’s Fleet Heroes 2017.

At an awards ceremony held in the Museum of London Docklands last night and sponsored by the Department for Transport, BMW, Enterprise-Rent-a-Car, Highways England and Volkswagen, the Energy Saving Trust’s 12th annual Fleet Hero Awards named the organisations that are showing the UK the way in reducing emissions from road transport.

Among the winners were Leeds City Council for its work on introducing an ultra low-emissions fleet, Heathrow Airport for installing a sizeable network of EV chargers, the University of Birmingham for its fleet and Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust for implementing a series of measures to move staff into more sustainable methods of transport.

Presented by Red Dwarf star, Scrapheap challenge host and motoring journalist, Robert Llewellyn, this shortlist featured 28 entries from across the whole of the UK.

And such was the quality of entries, that the Unsung Hero award was shared between two for the first time in the awards’ history, with Matt Dale of Bristol’s ALD Automotive and David Hosking of Watford company Tusker jointly holding the accolade.

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said:

“The entries were very competitive and it is very encouraging to see such a swell of new entrants this year.

Winner Ultra-low Emission Infrastructure Heathrow Dianne Armstrong Iqbal Gill Darren Smith

“Such was the standard of entries that our judges had an extremely difficult time in picking our winners – indeed the competition in the Unsung Fleet Hero category was so strong that two winners were recognised. The judges were keen to highlight the important role of inspired and determined individuals in driving change.”

This year the conference and awards focused on the twin challenges of tackling the UK’s well-documented air quality issues while ensuring progress against national carbon emissions targets.

This year’s awards have taken place against a backdrop of a quickening uptake of plug-in vehicles driven by governments and manufacturers, pushes to increase the accessibility of charging infrastructure and a sense of urgency to tackle air quality issues.

Fleets and businesses from across the country are repositioning themselves to meet these challenges and opportunities head on. Judges are seeing a higher standard of entries than ever before, particularly in the Ultra-low Emission Fleet, Innovation and Unsung Fleet Hero categories

Best Public Sector University of Birmingham Monica Guise Peter Edwards

The winners were:

Best Public Sector Fleet:

University of Birmingham

Best Business Sector Fleet:

Z-Tech Control Systems

Smarter Travel:

Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust

Efficient Driving:

British Gas

Clean Air:

Cross River Partnership


ALD Automotive

Ultra Low Emission Fleet:

Leeds City Council

Ultra-low mission Infrastructure

Heathrow Airport

MR Sellwood added: “These pro-active and informed organisations and individuals aren’t just setting an example for their own staff to follow, they are raising the bar for their partners and, indeed, their competitors to aspire to.

We’re looking forward to even more competition for next year’s Fleet Hero Awards.”

For more information on how your organisation can cut transport costs and emissions visit or email

How innovative technology is helping councils access their share of the UK’s £1.6bn film industry – which spends up £100,000 a day in local streets

Andrew Pavord of Apply4 Technology will be explaining at the Public Sector Show in Manchester on November 21st.

Andrew Pavord, CEO Apply4 Technology

While public sector bodies up and down the country are managing cuts, tax incentives (known as UK film tax relief) and local talent have led to a huge increase in filming on our local streets.

The industry has grown by 78% since 2014 and is now worth £1.6 billion a year. At the higher end, these productions are spending up to £100,000 a day in accommodation, catering, transport, and buying out businesses and homes for filming. All that spend is going directly into local pockets. When big productions choose locations in your area, it’s a huge cash injection to the local economy.

Good technology enables local councils to access their share of the spend. This will be discussed at the Public Sector Show in Manchester on November 21st. ( Andrew Pavord, founder and CEO of Apply4 will explain how developing practical, affordable technology has helped dozens of local councils participate in the film industry.

He will be speaking in the morning at the show. Here are the details:

Filming Hollywood blockbusters is becoming the norm in London streets. In just the last couple of months we’ve seen the premiere of Wonder Woman, American Assassin, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Transformers: The Last Knight, War Machine, The Mummy, the list goes on. Paddington 2 is another brilliant example, opening in November. All these productions used Apply4 Technology software and all engaged with local residents and businesses.

Why is good technology essential for local councils to service the film industry’s need? Because the industry is flexible and mobile. If there’s a chance that permits might not be processed on time, the production will simply relocate the shoot to a borough that can turn permits around to deadline.

A production might change its mind many times before finalising a shoot – so only good technology can handle the complex detail required, along with frequent changes.

And it’s worth it. The spend we are referring to on local streets is all below the line – budget spent directly on the day at the location. It’s not including above the line spend on talent, writing or marketing. That’s a far higher number – often three quarters of total spend is above the line.

That’s also not factoring in the “feel-good” factor – the economic impact of increased tourism, and attracting more businesses to your area because of its enhanced reputation. “Brand London” is very much experiencing a renaissance thanks to its increased presence in the global imagination through big budget films and TV shows.

In addition to its production spend, most filmmakers are also generously donating to local charities to thank residents when they have filmed in their streets.

One resident group alone in Bromley bought bicycles for their local policemen, improved a children’s play area, the cricket green and pavilion. They’ve built two benches beside the cricket green and repaired another bench by the bus stop.

“Lady in the Van” filming in Primrose Hill

They bought Christmas lights for Orpington High Street, and supported the air ambulance.

Donations in other areas go toward street parties to bring the community together, planting in local squares and communal gardens, free concert, supporting community centres, libraries and activities.

Even more importantly, productions are offering local young people a leg up in the business, providing work experience and entry-level job opportunities. This has become the norm and we’ve seen it with productions from James Bond: Spectre, American Assassin, Criminal, Our Loved Boy, The Durrells and Guerrilla, just to name a few.

So, it’s a great opportunity for residents.

The fact is though that many councils aren’t proactively engaging in this opportunity and even less are aware of the required codes of practice. This was my experience when I first took on the Film Officer role at Southwark Council in 2004.

Apply4 Tech’s flagship product FilmApp was designed specifically in response to this, to help local councils ensure they are attracting their share of the film business into their areas, managing its rapid growth in a transparent fashion, ensuring that it benefits residents as much as possible and remains sustainable.

And it’s not just available to councils. Anybody wishing to offer its location space to the film industry benefits from FilmApp. Southbank Centre, Canal and River Trust, Peabody Estates, Potters Field Park, Butlers Wharf, are on our client list.

Because it was developed in collaboration with many different London local authorities, the first product not only worked, it provided seamless permitting across an important swathe of the capital to film makers. Until then, Hollywood-style productions found the rules and requirements changed sometimes from street to street. This was far more ideal.

In addition, the product could be sold directly to those officers who would be using it, with their budget holders’ approval. The first product’s cost fell below the procurement guidelines’ threshold and could be installed and updated without the help of the councils’ IT department.

Another point to make is that digital transformation does not mean providing the same old forms as pdfs. It’s an opportunity to change the permitting process altogether to make it more efficient.

Filmmakers working with next-level CGI expect more than incomprehensible paper forms that need to be posted back. They need to work in modern online systems that can handle secure digital payments.

And removing the drudgery of complex processes for officers means they spend more time on efficient activities such as marketing, for example.


Lambert Smith Hampton, the professional services organisation, has praised EssentialSkillz for its easy-to-use software which has given them automated compliance on its business-critical policies.

Lambert Smith Hampton employs 1,300 people across 34 offices. It required a new policy and training software. The system had to provide an audit trail and verify if employees had read and agreed to policies. The software needed to cut cost.

The company had used the O-LAS Learning Management System from EssentialSkillz for several years. It extended its use to WorkWize, the compliance software which automates the roll-out of policies, procedures and risk assessments to employees. Initially it was planned to be used for its IT policy only. But having been so impressed with the functionality, the organisation now plans to use WorkWize for all its policies. These include Health & Safety and policies addressing broader issues such as Anti-Corruption, Anti-Bribery and Money Laundering.

WorkWize provides digital audit trails, so it’s easy to manage compliance across the business and quickly address gaps in understanding and acceptance. Certificates are sent to everyone and archived online. A record of which version of the policy has been signed off and when is kept.

Christine Robertson, Associate Director at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “WorkWize is really easy to use and I love that I can quickly edit and create content, which is something some other systems weren’t able to do when we were comparing providers.

“It’s all very well having policies, but you need verification to be compliant. Policies were previously on the intranet and employees were advised to read them, but there was no way to be certain they did. If someone doesn’t comply, we may be required to take disciplinary action and we can’t move forward without an audit trail.”

O-LAS is a powerful learning management system that handles training, provides extensive reporting functionality and automated training reminders for new and existing staff. Training reminders can be sent on an individual basis or by grouping employees based on their job role or office. eLearning courses from the extensive EssentialSkillz library can be edited using O-LAS, so every business can shape the training to suit them.

Christine continues: “As WorkWize and O-LAS can be accessed anywhere on any device, it’s perfect for our busy staff, who can complete policy acceptance or training at any time, which is a huge benefit for us, as the more employees can be engaged, the better understanding they’ll have. We’re also able to keep track of CPD, which saves us so much time and resource.

“EssentialSkillz has the appetite to keep improving and updating content, which is great for us and offers everything we want. We are very happy with how it has slotted into our systems and processes and the customer support we’ve received has been brilliant.”

Find out more about EssentialSkillz:


Loughborough University has upgraded its CCTV security network to increase the level of protection for the 17,975 students and 3,787 members of staff that study, work, live in or visit the campus. The project has been completed by OpenView Security Solutions (OSS), one of the UK’s leading independent providers of security and IT infrastructure solutions, which was awarded the contract through the ESPO tender portal.

After completing a series of enhancements to the CCTV system, the last of which took place in 2012 when it was chosen as the official preparation camp headquarters for Team GB prior to the London Olympic Games, the university wanted to upgrade the existing security control room equipment which had reached end of life.  This would include the consolidation of two separate workstation systems, enabling them both to monitor any part of the campus, enhancing service delivery and delivering cost savings.

OSS installed an IndigoVision Control Centre, a fully integrated system that allows video, access control and alarms to be easily managed.  With a unique Distributed Network Architecture (DNA), it delivers greater resilience and supports continuous system growth for future-proofing. The company also installed two Indigo Vision Enterprise NVR-AS network video recorders in a server farm on the university’s IT network along with an additional failover unit for added resilience. Each NVR has a data throughput of 2 Gbps and up to 112TB usable storage.

Over 300 cameras have been connected to the IndigoVision platform using the latest high speed IP technology over the existing IT infrastructure.  The university also took the opportunity to install 30 new IndigoVision PTZ cameras to provide enhanced monitoring at key locations across its 440 acre campus.  OSS also installed encoders and an IndigoVision Camera Gateway to enable older analogue cameras to stream images via IP over the network.

Clyde Williams Building

“OpenView Security Solutions worked closely in partnership with our IT team to ensure there was no loss of service throughout the upgrade process,” commented Andrew Burgess, Director of Infrastructure & Commercial Services at Loughborough University.  “The new system has delivered immediate operational benefits by being easier to use and manage.  It enhances the level of security provided across the campus which is helping to reduce the incidence of reported crime and ensure the safety and welfare of students, staff and visitors.”

The new system also allows images from the bodycams used by security patrols that help maintain an effective Campus Watch Scheme to be uploaded to the system via docking stations.  All footage is stored centrally helping to maintain crime recording procedures and make informed decisions concerning the patrolling strategy.

According to Andy Ward, Andy Ward, Sales Director of OpenView Security Solutions:  “The award of this contract confirms the growing recognition of our technical ability to efficiently handle high profile installations.  We are focused on working with ‘best of breed’ technology providers and using the latest standards such as ONVIF to ensure that security systems meet client expectations, reduce the fear of crime and create a safer community wherever they are deployed.”

OSS has subsequently been awarded a contract to support and maintain the university’s CCTV network, control room and intruder alarm systems helping to maintain community confidence.

Nesta report paves way for grant funding revolution with the crowd

Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder

Report shows:

Grant funds were amplified by 161% in crowdfunding pilot

  • 78% of people who pledged gave money they wouldn’t ordinarily give to charity or philanthropic causes
  • 33% saw an uplift in volunteering after the fundraise, with 2 in 3 projects seeing an increase in skills

The £5.6bn grant funding sector is set for major disruption as new research reveals the significant impact crowdfunding can make when used alongside grant funding.

Led by global innovation charity, Nesta, delivered in partnership with Crowdfunder, the UK’s #1 rewards based crowdfunding platform, the Matched Crowdfunding Report 2017 shows crowd-matched grant funding could offer 161% more for community, charity and business projects across the UK. The publication highlights a pilot programme where £251,500 from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund inspired the crowd to donate £405,941.

During the nine-month pilot, Crowdfunder marketed the funds and provided the online platform for projects to launch their ideas. The £251,500 in matched funding was provided to 59 projects on These schemes also benefitted from ongoing support, coaching and workshops from the site and the support of 4,970 crowd backers.

The report is the result of a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Crowdfunder and Nesta. For the first time, it provides a powerful insight into the impact of matched crowdfunding. Until now, despite its rapid growth, the practice has remained largely unexplored.

The way in which UK grant money is distributed has been slowly evolving. However platforms like Crowdfunder have been pioneering ways to match smaller donations raised from the public with larger institutional funding from 20 local authorities and companies like Santander.

Phil Geraghty, MD of Crowdfunder said: “The report makes a strong case for local authorities and other grant funding organisations to work with Crowdfunder. We can match the UK’s £5.6bn grant money with crowd-raised funds. Importantly, the report outlines strong evidence for doing so.

“Previously, lack of evidence on the impact of crowd-matched funding meant some potential funders struggled to assess how it could be used within their current funding programmes. The release of the Matched Crowdfunding Report 2017 changes all that. We now have strong data that could change the grant sector forever. The firm recommendation shining through the report is that funding organisations need to give crowdfunding a go.

“Crowdfunder is now looking for more funders who have a collaborative approach, deep valuable knowledge of their sectors and a shared mission to tackle societal change by helping make ideas happen.”

The report also recommended that Crowdfunder needs to invest more in sharing its knowledge with the sector and develop more technology to do it at scale. This would unlock greater funds for more grass-roots projects while allowing funders to use their expert knowledge to the benefit of communities.

Crowdfunder is currently raising funds to on Crowdcube, in order to scale its business, invest in technology to ensure that crowdfunding projects can tap into the £5.6bn grant sector and ultimately help more charity, community and business projects across the UK.