THE LATEST EDITION

September 2018
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

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/

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: www.kodakalaris.co.uk/go/IMnews

Appeal following murder of RAF Aircraftswoman

GPSJ

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 helprita@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk 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.”

www.zetaled.co.uk

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 POLICE OFFICERS RECEIVE GPSJ AWARD FOR ACTIONS ‘ABOVE AND BEYOND’ DUTY DURING LOCAL FLOODING

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.

UK’S FLEET HEROES REVEALED AT MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS

  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

Innovation:

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 www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/fleet or email transportadvice@est.org.uk