THE LATEST EDITION

November 2018
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New chief executive aims to put residents first

Hayley Barsby

A former clerical assistant at Mansfield District Council looks to have completed her journey to the top with her appointment as the organisation’s new Chief Executive.

Hayley Barsby, who this month celebrated her 19th anniversary of working at the council, has been the Interim Chief Executive Officer since May 2017 and will take on the role on a permanent basis – subject to approval at a council meeting on Wednesday 24 January 2018.

The role includes the duties of Head of Paid Service, Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer.

Hayley has dedicated almost her entire working career to MDC, prior to which she was an industrial engineer at Mansfield Shoe Group.

The married mother-of-two has had eight roles during her time at the council including Head of Housing and Director of Communities. She was instrumental in taking the council from being a weak authority to a good authority in a short period of time and says the previous organisational change she has been involved in means she is confident she will be able to bring about further positive changes.

Hayley takes over at a time when the council needs to make significant financial savings due to ever increasing cuts in Government grants but while residents’ demands for services are increasing.

She is committed to putting residents at the top of her agenda as she promises to improve services, make it easier to access council services and to ensure the council better meets the needs of customers.

Hayley, who was born in Mansfield Woodhouse and attended school there, lives just outside Mansfield but considers it to be her home town, said: “I am delighted and really excited to be appointed the Chief Executive Officer at Mansfield District Council and I’m looking forward to the many challenges and opportunities the role will bring.

“My priority from the Mayor and councillors is to protect the services that matter the most to our residents and I’m confident we can achieve that.
“Since I took over as Interim Chief Executive, we have been improving the way we work to ensure we deliver local services in a more innovative and creative way now and in the future. This includes us having a better understanding of our customers; improving our use of technology; operating more commercially; and making better use of our resources.“We need to be able to respond, not only to the needs of our community now, but to predict future demand and meet changing needs.

“This means exploring whether the council should continue to provide existing services or whether another public, a private or voluntary sector organisation should be commissioned or assisted in delivering those services instead.

“One of the ways we are making better use of technology for the benefit of our customers is introducing additional ways to access our services online at all times of the day and night. One of the first ways we are doing this is through our new customer portal which is due to launch in the coming months.

“Customers will be able to access a range of services including reporting an issue, making payments, checking their rent account, viewing their council tax bill, or logging a housing repair at any time of the day or night.

“The portal will also allow benefits claimants to report a change in their circumstances online rather than by attending a face-to-face meeting and will receive an immediate response, which will cut down on waiting times.

“This will allow us to help more people in less time and free up staff time so we can provide more support for those customers who need it.
“I’m also excited to be working with the Mayor, Cabinet and councillors to deliver a more positive Mansfield. We want to ensure that we celebrate what we already have and build on the positive legacies of the past to create a more positive future for Mansfield.

“This year will be an exciting one as we continue to shape our plans for the redevelopment and regeneration of the town centre and as we work on our vision to create a positive destination for culture and events.

“This includes plans to bring the Old Town Hall back into public use with retail units and office space, the creation of a much-needed hotel on the site of the former bus station on Stockwell Gate, and the start of a five-year project to return the Leeming Street, Church Street and Market Place areas to their former glory.

“There are both opportunities and challenges ahead but I look forward to continuing to work with residents, our key partners – including Dame Asha at West Notts College and Mansfield and Ashfield 2020 – to realise our plans to make the district a better place to live, work and visit.”

Eminox upgrades over 400 buses as part of the introduction of LEBZs

Eminox has been key to upgrading over 400 buses across London

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Lincolnshire based emissions reduction specialists Eminox has been key to upgrading over 400 buses ready for the introduction of the new Low Emission Bus Zones (LBEZ) across London for Arriva, Go Ahead Group and Tower Transit.

Eminox is the only British company to be a key supplier for the projects, which includes the already introduced Putney and Brixton LEBZs as well as upcoming A12 Eastern Avenue, which is due to be implemented in March 2017.

The buses will be upgraded to Euro VI standards with the Eminox SCRT, designed and manufactured in the UK, and is proven to reduce NOx and NO2 emissions by 99% and Particulate Matter (PM) by 95%.

The Putney LEBZ has initially shown a 90% reduction in hourly pollution level breaches and early analysis shows a 40% reduction in annual NO2 concentrations. The Brixton to Streatham route has previously exceeded hourly levels of Nitrogen Dioxide on 539 occasions in 2016 and had breached annual limits by January 5th 2017.

With the recently retrofitted buses now in action, the mayor has confirmed that for the first time in 10 years, London has stayed within its legal limits in January to date.

Another 10 LEBZs are planned for around the capital. The remaining zones, which are all outside the central Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), include Stratford, Harringay and Edgware and will all be in force by 2020.

Eminox SCRT is a cost effective solution to virtually eliminate harmful emissions. Carlos Vicente, Retrofit Sales Director for Eminox, said: “We are proud to be the largest contributor to the TfL programme and have worked closely with all of our customers to make this happen. The number fitted is growing daily to the latest clean bus standards.

“Emission levels across the UK are becoming an increasing focus as a primary way to reduce air pollution, so it is great to see how much of an impact our SCRT is having in these areas.

“Over the next two years, this focus is only going to become more intense as the new London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is introduced and Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are announced across the country. Bus, coach and specialist vehicle operators will be looking for the most cost effective way to upgrade their vehicles in order not be charged on a regular basis for entry into a variety of UK cities.

“We pride ourselves on delivering the best quality of British manufacturing in exhaust systems. We deliver on time with every commitment we make and work tirelessly around the clock to hit deadlines.

“Eminox has upgraded more vehicles to Euro VI standards than anyone else working on these projects.

“Upgrading vehicles with SCRT has proven itself time and time again to help reduce emissions and is considerably cheaper than alternative options such as buying new vehicles already at Euro VI standards.”

Eminox has received a significant increase in enquiries regarding retrofitting for the new London ULEZ, which will be introduced in 2019.

Groundbreaking new offering to boost health and social care productivity

Jim Darragh CEO Totalmobile

Totalmobile and Servelec HSC launch industry leading mobile solution to improve access to patient information.

Totalmobile, the leading mobile workforce solution provider, and Servelec HSC, the leading provider of health, social care and education software, today jointly launch an important new offering to deliver significantly improved access to patient information for frontline health and care professionals.

The dynamic solution enables Servelec HSC’s electronic patient record and case management system, RiO, to integrate directly with Totalmobile’s mobile workforce enablement platform, which will provide significant tangible benefits to healthcare providers, patients, social care practitioners and their clients alike.

The launch of the solution today follows the announcement last year that Totalmobile and Servelec HSC would be working together to develop comprehensive integration between their solutions.

The new offering will enable health and care teams to be effectively mobilised, leading to improvements in how key services are delivered. For example, care professionals will now have an improved contextual view of a patient’s health records, with the ability to update information at the point of care.

The mobile solution provides notable productivity gains, increasing capacity, reducing costs, enabling compliance and improving the quality of service provided. This will help health providers tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the NHS; such as the growing demand on services and the limited resources available to meet this demand. Most importantly, the new way of working reduces pressures on health and care professionals, enabling them to spend more time with patients and to focus on delivering the best standard of care possible.

Mobile technology provides the opportunity to streamline processes, gain capacity, reduce cost and ultimately improve the standard of care patients receive.

With mobile workforce management some of the potential outcomes include:

  • 30% increase in time spent with patients
  • Two additional patient visits per staff member per day
  • 60% reduction in data entry time
  • 63% increase in staff confidence to meet caseload

Jim Darragh, CEO, Totalmobile said: “We’ve seen firsthand the transformational impact that effective mobile working has on health services. The relationship between Servelec HSC and Totalmobile will continue to help drive these benefits in the health sector and enable health providers to maximise the capacity of their workforce, operate in a more cost effective manner and most importantly provide a high quality service to their patients.” 

Garry McCord, Chief Operating Officer at Servelec HSC added; “At Servelec HSC we are always looking at ways to deliver added value to our health and care customers by providing the systems required to increase time spent with patients and improve levels of care. Launching our combined offering with Totalmobile offers customers the opportunity to provide their frontline staff with access to the tools required to deliver improved standards of care, outside of traditional care settings.” 

Parker Moss, Chief Technology and Transformation Officer, Virgin Care, discusses the benefits of mobile working, “We have provided our frontline staff with an improved way of working, that eliminates paperwork and gives staff the freedom to focus on the needs of the patient. We’ve seen huge benefits, including productivity increases of around 30% per annum, without compromising the quality of care. In fact, by maximising the time spent with our patients, our community nurses are able to put all their efforts into delivering the highest standard of care services. The integration agreement between Totalmobile and Servelec is welcome news, which presents an exciting opportunity to health and care providers across the UK.”

Comment and advice for businesses affected after the collapse of Carillion

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Richard Wade, a specialist in construction law at leading law firm Blake Morgan, has spoken to GPSJ with advice for businesses following the collapse of Carillion.

Richard said: “The liquidation of Carillion and appointment of partners at PwC with day-to-day control represents one of the biggest failures of a private sector company this decade and certainly the biggest since the collapse of BHS.

“When such a large company enters liquidation the shockwaves are felt throughout the supply chain. Carillion is the second largest construction company in the UK and a truly global company, with operations in countries including Canada and the Middle East.

“Therefore, these shockwaves are likely to continue to be felt throughout the industry by the many businesses that worked with Carillion, and of course the employees who number nearly 20,000 in the UK.”

He added: “Since the liquidator will look to sell the assets of a company, I would expect that the vast numbers of the profitable contracts or projects are novated or assigned.

“With debts reported to be in the region of £1.5 billion, the liquidators will be looking to effect ‘sales’ of some of the more profitable contracts in order to maximise assets for creditors. This can happen quickly and may well lead to some worthwhile investment opportunities for other players in the sector.”

Richard assessed the implications for businesses and gave his advice on how to mitigate the impact:

  • Where a company has contracted with Carillion (directly or as part of a large supply chain), it should quickly establish that the entity it has contracted with has actually entered liquidation; Carillion is a group of companies and will have many companies within this group. Blake Morgan has access to up to date portals that can provide this information if necessary.  The detail is crucial in determining what action to take and the first step must be to check the identity of your contracting party.
  • If the relevant Carillion company has entered liquidation it will likely mean that it has stopped trading.  This will have significant implications for any party that is in contract with that company.  The respective positions of employers (clients) and suppliers (sub-contractors and the like) need to be contrasted as follows:
  • An employer should be extremely alert to the possibility (probability, even) that the company has stopped trading. The employer should review the contract terms because almost certainly the liquidation will enable you to take steps to terminate the contract (as will be the position under many standard-form contracts). This is important because you can quickly re-start the project choosing a replacement contractor, once the appropriate termination steps, usually prescribed in the contract, have been taken.
  • A supplier (goods/services) should take immediate steps to contact PwC and in the meantime, look at all forms of ‘self-help’ to mitigate further losses. That could include protecting and removing equipment from site unless you have an agreement to pay. Similarly, you should look at removing employees, unless there is a clear commitment to pay.  As things stand currently, Carillion is saying that, unless advised otherwise, all agents, subcontractors and suppliers should continue to work and provide goods and services as normal, under their existing contracts, terms and conditions (with a ‘re-direct’ to www.pwc.co.uk/carillion for information).  While the natural temptation, for a supplier who is out of pocket, may be to ‘down tools’ without reference to the liquidators, such action should not be taken outside the contract terms (or without taking advice).  Such action may not improve the supplier’s situation; and worse, it could leave the supplier itself open to claims.
  • If Carillion was working on your development and maintaining the security, the simplest interim measure maybe to contract directly with the security provider, while medium term provision is reviewed.

LEP ‘champion’ joins Institute of Economic Development board

GPSJ

Warren Ralls

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Warren Ralls, Director of The LEP Network, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Economic Development (IED).

Under Warren’s leadership, The LEP Network brings the 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships together on areas of shared importance, reaches out to Government, officials and organisations seeking closer engagement and dialogue with LEPs, and promotes best practice across the network. Since their inception, LEPs have delivered over £7 billion of private sector investment, supported 130,000 businesses, created over 145,000 jobs and helped to build 25,000 homes – highlighting their critical importance to the UK economy.

Warren said his role at the IED would be mutually beneficial for both the Institute and The LEP Network. “I really like what the organisation is doing in terms of being more vocal and I feel it would benefit from a LEP voice, through which I can bring knowledge and skills,” he explained. “Most IED members are from a local authority background, and there are others in the wider economic development community that would benefit from what the IED does. I have built up my economic development knowledge through working in a variety of roles over a number of years – and there is potential for individuals from similar backgrounds to benefit from what the IED has to offer, its CPD provision, thought leadership and wider networking opportunities.”

With 20 years’ experience in the world of economic development, Warren has an impressive CV with roles including Area Director for the Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area at the South East England Development Agency, Partnerships Manager at the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP and Deputy Chief Executive of Business Link Surrey. He took up his position at The LEP Network in 2015. “The LEP Network is here to support all LEPs as they help create the conditions to keep their economies growing and businesses successful, liaising with public-private organisations, education institutions and local government, and understanding the main issues facing local parties on economic growth in order to continue and progress growth and productivity,” Warren said. “I hope the IED can join The LEP Network in our discussions with government on issues such as the current review of LEPs, the emerging local Industrial Strategies and the continuing devolution of responsibility from Whitehall to local communities to deliver their local plans. I would also like to bring LEP chief executives into the conversation on where they think the IED can help them, including exploring their training and development needs.”

Warren, who is originally from Zimbabwe and holds a Master of Fine Arts, Printmaking and Art History from Rhodes University, South Africa, added that he was “delighted to be involved with the IED and is looking forward to getting started”. He said: “Throughout my time working in economic development the IED has built a reputation as a respected organisation – it is an incredibly valuable resource for professionals in this field to go for the latest information, to improve their skills and network with their peers. Given the issues that it represents, I see an even stronger role for the IED going forward.”

Fife Council employability expert takes Institute of Economic Development role

GPSJ, WWW.GPSJ.CO.UK

Gordon Mole

Reporter: Steve Harrison

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) has added Fife Council’s business and employability specialist to its Board of Directors.

Gordon Mole, who moved to Scotland two years ago from a role as Head of Culture and Environment Services at Ipswich Borough Council, is responsible for employability, economic policy, inward investment, town centres and tourism at Fife. He was formerly Employment and Brokerage Manager for Crossrail where he led on the development of new apprenticeships and graduate training and, as Building London Creating Futures project manager, worked on economic development and employment initiatives for construction programmes including The Shard, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Tate Modern.

“It is an honour to join the IED Board alongside a team of highly knowledgeable professionals and I am very excited about the challenge ahead,” Gordon said. “I am keen to ensure that employability has a strong voice within the Institute. A lot of my time is spent working with large employers on the demand side, supporting employer engagement initiatives with companies such as Amazon, and helping organisations better understand what ‘good’ employability initiatives look like is absolutely key to economic development. I also want to bring a Scottish perspective to the IED and help develop its presence and reputation within Scotland. For Scottish-based economic development professionals to recognise the IED as the ‘go to’ UK body to join and the impact it has.”

An IED member himself since 2010, Gordon has personally benefited from the organisation throughout his career and is now looking forward to supporting the next stage of its growth. “As a young economic development manager the main value of the Institute was the network and access to like-minded professionals who you can bounce ideas off,” he said. “That is evidenced today in the number of connections who I have met through the IED and can tap into. The other main value is having the affiliation – it really means something professionally to be a member of the IED – and we should not underestimate the credibility of being aligned to the Institute through professional membership.”

Gordon said that the IED has a particularly important role to play in improving the status of the economic development profession. “It has been relatively evolutionary and has certainly changed a lot in my 15-year career,” he explained. “Economic development, as a profession, is perhaps only recently recognised. When I started out it used to be an arm of planning but I was not from that background. Personally, I upskilled by doing an MA in economic development, and increasingly the profession has been an active choice. However, professional standards have not caught up and the IED has a huge opportunity to influence this. In a rapidly changing economy, we need to consider succession planning for the next generation of economic development professionals, not just support the here and now.”

The IED must continue to be vocal at a regional and national level, including around emerging spaces such as regional working and city deals as well as broader issues relating to jobs and the economy, Gordon insisted. “We are building from a platform of strength,” he said. “The IED brings the UK-wide picture and learning on all things economic development and we have to capitalise on our position as a unique national body. On the ground, resources are as stretched as they have ever been, and we need to help councils appreciate why economic development is so important. The function is non-statutory, with discretionary budgets, so we must work closely with decision-makers to understand how widely economic development spreads, the impact it really has, and for everyone to recognise it for what it does.”

HS Sports launches sister brand APG Leisure

Chris Austin Group Sales Manager, Scott Burge Sales Manager and Paul Smith Group Marketing Director at Oldham Leisure Centre

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

HS Sports, a world leader in the supply of sports industry equipment with a 30 year track record, recently launched the subsidiary brand APG Leisure, to focus solely on supplying commercial aquatic equipment. The new Cheshire based business was born as a direct result of industry demand and is already making an impact.

The wealth of experience contained within HS Sports (the company has been heavily involved in supplying timing systems for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, with one of their partners, Seiko) provides the springboard from which APG Leisure will make a splash in the aquatics industry.

APG Leisure supplies commercial aquatic equipment such as starting blocks, lane ropes, lifeguard chairs and similar items, to leisure, sports and swimming clubs and organisations. A less extensive range of equipment was previously sold by HS Sports but as demand increased, the need for a dedicated team of experts became apparent and APG was launched.

APG Leisure has made two senior appointments to help spearhead the company’s strategy for growth during 2018. Chris Austin has been appointed as Group Sales Manager and Scott Burge as Sales Manager. Both bring with them a wealth of experience in the sports and leisure industry.

Paul Smith, founder of APG Leisure said, “Since my father and his partner established HS Sports over 30 years ago, the primary focus of the business has always been on providing an excellent standard of customer service. The launch of APG Leisure means that we now offer the market a dedicated team of professionals, able to offer tailored solutions to clients in need of commercial aquatic equipment.

“Chris and Scott are doing excellent jobs and I’m pleased to say that APG Leisure is already supplying clients around the UK with world leading equipment, as well as preparing to launch some innovative new equipment that will further differentiate the company from the rest of the market.”

HS Sports is a Northwest business success story, having been established in 1979. After winning the contract to time the very first London Marathon, the business became synonymous, the world over, with the timing and scoring of sporting events. Now, as the exclusive UK supplier of Colorado Time Systems and having been involved in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, the company continues to be an industry leader.

DIGITISATION’S TRIPLE WOW: HOSPITAL RECORDS READY TO MEET NHS AIMS OF BETTER HEALTH, BETTER CARE AND LOWER COST

Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

Paul Moonan, Managing Director at Restore Scan and Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, reveal in this jointly authored article, how a partnership between Restore Scan and the Royal Liverpool is supporting the key aims of the NHS’s IT strategy.

The NHS has provided expert care by dedicated staff since its inception in 1948. But times have changed since the days of nurses with clipboards and matrons ruling wards with a rod of iron. Today the NHS has to be a finely tuned data machine in order to keep up with the demand for its services and to respond in the most effective way to a vast array of diverse clinical needs.

Medical personnel, with their unquestionable expertise, are still at the core of the NHS, but it could be argued that the new linchpin of the whole organisation is data. Decisions about patient care, efficiency at the point of service and throughput of patients are all intrinsically linked to the way in which data is managed, stored and retrieved. This is why the Government launched its NHS IT strategy encouraging total digitisation of healthcare facilities in order to create a paperless and joined up NHS by 2020.

The triple aim of the overall strategy is to achieve: better health for the British population, better care for patients and lower costs i.e. do more with the funding available. In creating this IT strategy, the Government is seeking to achieve some key deliverables. Namely: to empower the person, to support clinicians, to integrate services across health and care systems, to manage the health system and to create the future by using machine learning to push forward the boundaries of medical science.

Some leading NHS Trust hospitals are well on their way to meeting the Government’s 2020 paperless aims, and one shining example of this is the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital. With a population of around 1.2 million people, and one of the most complex health systems outside London, the North Mersey region is now firmly on the digital map thanks to its recent programme of patient record digitisation.

Leading-edge Digitisation

The Royal Liverpool, nominated as one of the country’s 12 global exemplar trusts, has proven itself to be a real front runner in the way it has harnessed digital technology to transform the speed at which its care can be delivered. Having just won the 2017 EHI Award for Best Global Digital Exemplar and with plans to move into new premises designed around a totally paperless environment by the end of June 2018, the hospital owes much of its leading-edge digitisation success to strategic partnerships that it has formed with third party suppliers.

One of its greatest challenges and priorities was to digitise its medical paper records so that they were in an electronic format ready for import into the Trust’s Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). With a need to manage over 1,000 requests for medical records per day, the hospital decided to award the digitisation contract to document management experts Restore Scan.

Restore Scan was chosen to provide a secure document scanning solution able to digitise and index over 100 million pages of active medical records for import into the hospital’s EDMS. As Restore Scan had many years of experience in working with healthcare organisations, the professional support that it was able to bring to the project made it an easy choice.

Sensitive Data

Paul Moonan, Managing Director at Restore Scan

Medical records, by their very nature, contain large amounts of data classified as sensitive data. Given that security breaches are a constant threat to hospital systems and patients, it was crucial that Restore Scan had already met the standards of IG Toolkit compliance and ISO27001. The secure medical scanning, archiving, indexing and retrieval processes offered by Restore Scan assured the hospital that its documents would be secure at all times.

By using a third-party supplier like Restore Scan, the hospital achieved a service which provided full management of its patient record end-to-end process; from file preparation and scanning to confidential and secure destruction of records. The project went live in mid-October 2016 and by the end of 2016 had already delivered over 10 million images scanned. The Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Aidan Kehoe, commented: “There is a strong sense of collaboration between Restore and the staff at the Royal. The output and productivity are impressive. It will make a fundamental difference to how we deliver patient care.”

Better healthcare for the people in the North Mersey region has always been at the centre of the digitisation aims. Some discernible benefits already include: a decrease in the time required to administer patient records, reduced incidence of lost or misfiled records, instant access to records for clinicians, reduction of storage space needed for record holding and increased record security – due to records being more resilient and secure and being stored in an access-controlled and audited environment.

Speed and Accuracy

A key area which has seen big improvements since the start of the digitisation programme is the speed and accuracy of information retrieval. With digitised records comes a standard presentation making navigation around them easier. In addition to this, the fact that the physical file no longer has to be delivered by hand to the right location at the right time means that clinicians are able to access critical patient information quickly and securely.

Restore Scan’s input, which has saved the hospital from employing its own staff and buying the state-of-the art scanners required to meet its needs, means that clinicians are now able to access live files and make updates as they go along in an efficient and hygienic way. The files cannot be physically damaged nor will they pass through many hands before they end up in front of the healthcare provider and decision-maker. The knock-on effects send a ripple through the system. Not only are clinicians able to capitalise on the efficiency benefits to their own workload but they are able to spend more patient facing time while having a greater throughput of patients.

The hospital found that having a trusted third-party involved in the digitisation process also reduced the running costs associated with traditional document management processes. As well as streamlining the record management system, it has reduced the chances of duplications, has lowered storage costs and cut out the need to employ someone to move the records around physically.

High Security

Restore Scan’s high security premises, which are also used to archive the physical records after scanning, has the advantage of quick and easy same-day retrieval of original documentation should the hospital need it.

As well as helping the Royal Liverpool to meet the key aims of the Government’s IT strategy, the work undertaken by Restore Scan has boosted the organisation’s ability to have its data ready for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into effect from 25th May next year. The record management service provided by Restore Scan is already GDPR compliant and comes with enhanced security assured by having IG Toolkit compliance.1

In conclusion, NHS England should be reassured that one of its leading global exemplar trusts is so far along its path to patient record digitisation and set to meet the triple aims of its IT strategy. Due to the Royal Liverpool’s astute partnerships not only are the people of North Merseyside going to experience fast, efficient healthcare delivered in state-of-the-art premises but crucially will have total peace of mind that their personal data is in the safest of hands.

For more information please visit: https://www.restore.co.uk/

Secure mobile working: Turn the weakest link into the strongest asset

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

By Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA Apricorn

Without question, mobile and remote working offers huge business benefits, but it also exposes organisations to risks that can be challenging to manage. Organisations are not only tasked with managing flexible working practices, but also faced with the need to provide the necessary tools and training to enable employees to do so securely. A survey conducted by Apricorn found that 70 per cent of surveyed businesses said that securing corporate data is an ongoing battle, and 53 per cent said that managing all of the technology that employees need and use for mobile working is too complex.

The Human Element

The crux of the problem, however, remains with the user. Human beings are typically the weakest link when it comes to data security. Forty Eight per cent of the surveyed companies said employees are their biggest security risk, and as many as 44 per cent expect that employees will lose data and expose their organisation to the risk of a data breach.

These risks span across all organisations, and the public sector will always be a popular target due to the nature of the information they house. Earlier this year, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected more than 300,000 computers globally, and disrupted the operations of many major organisations, including the NHS. Whilst this wasn’t a direct result of mobile workers, it was an example of how a lack of knowledge and failure to apply basic security practice can have detrimental repercussions. If public sector organisations want to prevent attacks such as this, they need to ensure that staff have basic cyber-hygiene and recognise the need for policies and how to adhere to them.

Data on the Go

Many organisations are underestimating and neglecting the risks they’re exposed to from well-intentioned employees. For the first time in history, more users last month accessed the web from mobile devices than they did from desktops or notebooks according to data released by StatCounter. With the rise in mobile working, the security risks are mounting, and this is despite 29% of Apricorn surveyed organisations admitting they have suffered a data breach as a direct result of mobile working.

Even with the increasing emphasis on cyber security, many employees are neglecting information security practises, whether it’s password security or leaving devices on public transport. In 2014, Londoners left 25,000 devices such as phones, tablets and USB sticks on trains, buses and trams, with USB devices numbering almost 1,500. Just last month an unencrypted USB device was found on a London street containing security details for London’s Heathrow International Airport, including security measures and travel details for the Queen. The security implications surrounding this are huge, and had the information fallen into the wrong hands, the repercussions don’t bare thinking about.

Device losses such as this merely highlight the need to have provisions in place to protect information on the move and ensure that our weakest link, employees, can become the strongest asset. Below are three steps that covers policy, people, and tools and encryption as a way of removing the risk of human error altogether.

Policy

Organisations must get their houses in order, but this is not a simple process, and the ownership of data is often an issue. As part of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, businesses must demonstrate that they are controlling who is authorised and has access to sensitive information, and why. Employees require adequate education and necessary policies should be created and enforced to avoid putting company data at risk.

Organisations need to establish security policies and procedures that cover all types of removable media, mobile devices and flexible working if they are to effectively manage the risks. Since one in ten companies, regardless of size, does not have a strategy that covers removable media such as USB sticks and 23 per cent of organisations admitted that they have no way of enforcing relevant security strategies they have in place, it is clear organisations have a long way to go.

Apricorn’s survey also revealed that 24 per cent of the surveyed companies were not aware of the impending GDPR, due to come into force in 2018, or its implications. Worryingly, 17 per cent of those who were aware had no plan for compliance. Organisations will benefit by maintaining security standards and keeping abreast of changing compliance mandates to ensure the security of the user, device and the data that it houses.

People

Frustratingly, employees often see security policies as a barrier to productivity. When it comes to the mobile workforce and data security, employees should be trained on the secure use of their mobile and removable devices and the necessity to follow the corporate security policy at all times. Organisations must monitor how data is processed, stored, retrieved and deleted in order to remedy any shortcomings and ultimately avoid a costly data breach.

Tools and Encryption

Encrypting valuable or sensitive data enables organisations to manage their risk and is a critical piece of the armoury. When properly embedded within an information security plan, it will provide the most effective last line of defence.   Encryption should be automatic and invisible – without the option for users to choose to encrypt or not. An organisation’s information security policy should be enforced through technology where possible, by locking USB ports to only accept corporately approved hardware encrypted USB devices for example.  Data Encryption is an important element in GDPR compliance and helps mitigate an organisation’s obligations in the event of a breach and will be considered in mitigation should any fine be deemed necessary.

The combination of policy definition and enforcement, employee education, and data encryption, will enable employees to take control over intellectual property and help protect themselves, and the information they access, from the threat of a breach.

For further information please see: Twitter @Apricorn_info and their website is at: www.apricorn.com/

How the Albanian Government has created the optimum conditions for business investment in the country

By professor Rob Atenstaedt, on behalf of the Albanian Embassy in the UK

Introduction

When you hear the word Albania, what do you think of? A communist country where Norman Wisdom’s films were the only Western ones which were allowed to be shown as its leadership believed that the movies, in which Pitkin “got one over” his bosses, were a socialist parable on class warfare? Or a modern Western parliamentary democracy which has one of the fastest growing economies in the Balkans? By the end of this article, I am sure that you will have been persuaded of the latter.

Albania is located in south-eastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas to the west, Greece to the south and Kosovo and Montenegro to the north (1). The country has a population of about 3 million, about the size of Wales; its capital Tirana has around 800,000 inhabitants.

Albania is a nation rich in natural resources (1). These include petroleum, gas, bauxite, chromium, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt and timber. It also has a large capacity for the production of sustainable energy such as hydro, wind and solar. Albania has a strong manufacturing sector, especially in the clothing and footwear industries (2).

Modernising the Business Environment in Albania

Albania’s foreign trade regime has been liberalized since 1990 by its Government and is now in compliance with guidelines set by the European Union (EU) and World Trade Organisation (member since 2000) (1). To this end, the Albania Government has signed several Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with key markets – EU, Turkey, Central European Free Trade Association (CEFTA) and European Free Trade Association countries (EFTA); these offer customs free access to a huge number of consumers. The Albanian Government has also signed 43 bilateral treaties for the promotion and protection of investments and 41 bilateral treaties for the avoidance of double taxation and fiscal evasion. In June 2014, Albania was awarded candidate status by the EU.

The Government has also invested in transport infrastructure. Albania has ports in four main cities – Durres, Vlora, Saranda and Shengjini and there are plans to expand these. Tirana International Airport is named after Mother Theresa, who was Albanian by birth (2). There are a number of road improvement projects ongoing in the country, as well as a comprehensive railway network which is being upgraded.

Foreign Direct Investment annual inflows in Albania have increased substantially since 2008, averaging close to USD 1 billion per year for the period 2008-2015 (1). The largest recipients of investment are the mining sector (primarily oil and gas), telecommunication, financial service, wholesale and retail sales. At the end of 2015, there were around 10,500 foreign companies operating in the country (3).

The Government of Albania is currently focussing on promoting and attracting foreign investment in the renewable energy, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and service sectors (1).

Improving the Legal Environment for Investing in Albania 

The new “Strategic Investment Law” has strengthened the contractual and judicial security of foreign enterprises and provides a fast track route for investment projects (1). Strategic investments are classified as all private, public, or public-private investments in the energy and mining sectors, transport, telecommunications, infrastructure and urban waste, tourism, agriculture and fisheries, economic zones and priority development areas. The investment values based on these strategic sectors varies from $1m Euro to $50m Euro.

The new “Tourism Law” offers incentives to investors in the tourism industry, with a view to improving quality and raising standards (3). According to the Albanian Government’s fiscal package for 2017, all companies that invest in building 4-5 star hotels and resorts will benefit from tax free status for the next 10 years of their activity.

The new Strategic Investments Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister of the Albania, is the competent authority for prioritising investment projects (1). The Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) is responsible for supporting investors through a one stop shop model.

Two types of Strategic Status have been created for investments in Albania – Assisted Status and Special Status (1).  In the former, the investor may benefit from: Application and support through AIDA, priority treatment, fast track procedures, land consolidation and access to immovable state properties.  In the latter, the investor may also benefit from expropriation of immovable properties, private properties and investment contract endorsement by the Albanian Parliament.

The Law on “Foreign Investments” creates a hospitable investment climate (1). This provides guarantees to all foreigners (either physical or judicial persons) investing in Albania and stipulates the following: No prior government authorization is needed and no sector is closed to foreign investment; There is no limit on the share of foreign participation in companies (100% foreign ownership is possible); Foreign investors have the right to expatriate all funds and contributions in kind of their investment; The tax system does not distinguish between foreign and domestic investors; Foreign investments may not be expropriated or nationalized directly or indirectly and will not be subject to any measure or similar action, except for public purposes determined by law; Foreign investments will be treated in a non-discriminatory manner. There are some limited exceptions to this liberal investment regime, most of which apply to the purchase of real estate. There are no restrictions on the purchase of private residential property. However, agricultural land cannot be bought by foreigners and foreign entities, but may be rented for up to 99 years. Commercial property may be purchased, but only if the proposed investment is worth three times the price of the land.

Benefits of Investing in Albania

There are many good reasons to invest in Albania apart from a liberal and reformist investment climate and free access to large markets due to the FTAs that Albanian has negotiated (1). These include: Competitive labour cost – the average wage is one of the most competitive in the region; Young and well educated population – 57% of Albania’s population is under the age of 35 years; Competitive taxation and incentives; Optimal geographic location – the country’s vicinity to major European markets; Strong growth potential – export-oriented, with 21% annual growth rate for the past 5 years; The Law on “Free Economic Zones” has created a competitive environment for economic and technological development areas; Albania benefits from the Generalized System of Preferences with USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan; Macroeconomic stability – Albania is characterized by stable prices, low inflation and solid exchange rates.

GPSJ In summary, Albania is a country of great economic potential because of its geographical location, natural resources and young and highly educated population. According to the Albanian Government, the country’s business philosophy is characterized by “minimal governmental intervention, transparency and zero bureaucracy.” (1). High priority has been given to foreign investment through the creation of a liberal and competitive business environment. This is a great time to invest in Albania.

For more information on investment opportunities in Albania, contact the Albanian Embassy in the UK, London, on +44(0) 20 7828 8897

References: 

  • Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA): Albania Calls: A Country of Opportunities 01.
  • Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA): Albanian Calls: A Country of Opportunities 02

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 marketing@idoxgroup.com or visit www.idoxgroup.com/?utm_source=GPSJ&utm_medium=article_transformation&utm_campaign=awareness

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: calipsa.io  / +44 20 7484 5007 / @Calipsa_io  / info@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.

www.esriuk.com/