Get In Touch

If you've got a story or event for the GPSJ website, e-mail Stuart Littleford at editor@gpsj.co.uk

Recent Comments

    April 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  

    Changing places can change lives – for all

    clos-o-mat at the Everyman Theatre

    clos-o-mat at the Everyman Theatre

    Robin Tuffley, marketing manager at Clos-o-Mat, examines why we should provide better accessible toilets…

    clos-o-mat at Paddington

    clos-o-mat at Paddington

     

    How often do you go the loo in a day? The average is up to eight times! Imagine how that impacts on your daily life if you need help to carry out this most basic personal hygiene.

    Inclusivity and accessibility have been ‘buzzwords’ for a while in any building design, but they are being given new impetus: BS8300:2009- design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people- code of practice, lays down a whole new standard for toileting provision in any building where there are lots of people- from student accommodation to public and civic environments- a code of which many people are unaware.

    The Standard follows on the heels of the Department for Communities & Local Government’s ‘Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets- a Strategic Guide’, in which a key recommendation is that local authorities make appropriate provision for disabled public toilets, and establish specialist disabled toilets in major centres of population. Baroness Kay Andrews observes in the Guide ‘a lack of accessible and good public toilets affects not only the quality of our town centres…it also reduces the dignity and quality of people’s lives. After all they are one of the basic facilities that residents and visitors alike depend on.’ Her views are reinforced by a survey by Help the Aged, which found many people make a conscious decision NOT to visit somewhere if they believe they cannot find a suitable public toilet.

    The need for accessible/ disabled toilets is clear: 10.5m people ie 1 in 6 of the UK population have limiting illness which impinges on their ability to carry out daily life- including going to the toilet. Some 20million are affected by bladder and bowel continence. Research shows ¼ million people including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and a range of other physical disabilities cannot use standard accessible (Document M compliant) toilets because they need support from one or two carers, or need changing. The Government’s Office for Disability Issues has a vision that by 2025, disabled people in Britain should have the same opportunities and choices as non-disabled people to improve their quality of life and be respected and included as equal members of society.

    BS8300:2009, and the Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013 include as ‘desirable’ a whole new concept- Changing Places toilets. These involve the creation of larger, better equipped accessible toilets compared to conventional accessible Document M versions, which only address the needs of someone who can toilet unaided. Each Changing Places toilet aims to meet the needs of people who need a carer to assist, and provides as a minimum:

    • The right equipment ie a height adjustable adult sized changing bench, height adjustable wash basin, shower and shower seat, and track or mobile hoist system
    • Enough space, to enable maneuvering for the disabled person and up to two carers, for a centrally located (peninsular) toilet with room either side for carers, and a screen or curtain to allow some privacy
    • A safe and clean environment, ie wide tear off paper to cover the bench, a large waste bin and a non-slip floor.Changing Places toilets being included into the Standard and the new Document M is a result of the ongoing campaign by the Changing Places consortium to support the rights of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to access their community. The Consortium comprises the Centre for Accessible Environment, PAMIS, MENCAP, Nottingham City Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Valuing People Support Team and the Scottish government. To date, since the Changing PLaces toilet’s inception, some 500 have been installed across the UK

    Clos-o-Mat- the UK’s leading supplier of disabled toileting solutions- has produced an informative white paper: ‘Considerations & Specification of Changing Places Accessible Toilets’. The white paper covers all requirements for compliance in one place, and can be downloaded direct from Clos-o-Mat’s website www.clos-o-mat.com.

    Clos-o-Mat, founded 50 years ago, is the only company in its field with the in-house capability and expertise to design, supply, install, commission and service all the equipment for a hygiene room/Changing Places toilet, from grab rails through hoists and height adjustable basins to automatic (‘wash and dry’) toilets and toilet lifters. It has a proven track record in the successful design, supply, installation and commissioning of scores of hygiene rooms and Changing Places toilets, including Wembley Stadium, National Exhibition Centre, Gatwick Airport, Cadbury World and Bullring Birmingham.

    Local government legal team wins prestigious award

    L-R: Stephen Gowland, CILEx President, Jenny Caprio and Anne Davies from Buckinghamshire County Council Legal Team and Noel Inge, Managing Director of CILEx Law School, the award’s sponsor.

    L-R: Stephen Gowland, CILEx President, Jenny Caprio and Anne Davies from Buckinghamshire County Council Legal Team and Noel Inge, Managing Director of CILEx Law School, the award’s sponsor.

    Buckinghamshire County Council’s in-house Legal Services team received the prestigious Employer of the Year Award from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) at its annual graduation ceremony on Monday, 7 April at King’s House, Bedford.

    The Council’s legal department has a team of 53 qualified lawyers including Chartered Legal Executives, solicitors and barristers. They also employ a number of training legal staff including six who are currently following CILEx’s vocational route to qualifying as a lawyer.

    As an employer, Buckinghamshire County Council assists employees with study fees and also allows them time away from the office for exams. Its aim is to ‘value and empower its employees’ and offer equality of opportunity irrespective of position or professional qualification.

    The team offers regular work experience opportunities for school and university students and it also gives career insights to those considering a career change.

    Anne Davies, Buckinghamshire County Council’s head of legal services, said: “We’re really proud to have won the CILEx Employer of the Year Award – a tremendous morale-boost for the team, and recognition of the Council’s commitment to investing in our people.”

    Diane Burleigh OBE, CILEx chief executive said: “We were impressed by their commitment to learning and development and by the equality of opportunity that exists; offering responsibility and advancement regardless of an employee’s professional title.”

    Diane continued: “This has to be the way forward; the best legal teams need the best people. Buckinghamshire County Council nurtures talent wherever it is to be found, and provides a supportive yet dynamic culture that clearly makes it a great place to work.”

    The award was sponsored by CILEx Law School. Managing director Noel Inge said: “Buckinghamshire County Council clearly recognises the value of the Chartered Legal Executive training route in creating lawyers of the highest calibre. The quality of work handled by Chartered Legal Executives at Buckinghamshire County Council, and the support and development opportunities offered to enable them to achieve their potential, are clear indications that Buckinghamshire County Council is a worthy winner of the Employer of the Year Award.”

    Budget 2014: UK Companies get Tax Relief and Export Boost

    Insped Truck

    Insped Truck

    Budget 2014 – UK Companies to get Tax Relief and Export Boost ‘The Government wants UK Exports to reach £1 trillion by 2020, and for 100,000 more UK companies to be exporting by 2020. ‘We need our businesses to export more, build more, invest more and manufacture more.’ – George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer ‘The Government is working hard to help UK companies boost their exports,’ Lord Livingston, UK Trade Minister. Taken from www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26642445

    The Economy is finally starting to grow and the green-shoots are definitely there. George Osborne’s commitment to Exports is encouraging but does it go far enough, particularly when it comes down to assisting companies with actually physically exporting the goods?

    Insped Ltd has over seventeen years’ experience within the Logistics Sector and we are the Road-Freight specialists in the Iberian and Italian Export markets. Other road-freight markets include Germany and we have witnessed a notable increases in Exports destined for France.

    However in the past seventeen years, the world has become a much smaller place and selling your products to buyers in far-flung places such as Argentina and New Zealand is now very much a reality. We never ceased to be amazed at what our customers export and to what destinations it goes to.

    With this in mind, Insped has developed Deep Sea and Air Freight departments and we can offer new and existing customers a full portfolio of export services and advice. We are part of the OTS (Overseas Transport System) network and have representation in approximately eighty countries. If we don’t know the answer, then you can bet that one of our offices somewhere in the world will!

    As a Freight-Forwarder, Insped is there to assist customers with Exporting and Importing their goods. We often speak with people and potential new customers, who have the product and have secured the oversea buyer but do not know where to begin when it comes to Exporting their goods. This is where we come in and can ‘hand-hold’ businesses every step of the way to ensure that a smooth and efficient process ‘door-to-door.’

    Insped has put together a Top Ten Tips for Exporting and Importing. The first five are outlined below with the second five following in the next edition.

    Our tips are as follows:

    1) Use a Reputable Freight-Forwarder

    Obviously we are going to recommend Insped Ltd! However, in our opinion, a Freight-Forwarder should ideally be a member of BIFA (British International Freight Association) and RHA (Road Haulage Association) These are key bodies that keep UK Freight-Forwarders up to date with Transport and Legislative issues.

    As you would expect from a reputable Freight-Forwarder, Insped is a member of both BIFA and RHA and we will on occasion turn to them for advice, training and support.

    2) Understand Incoterms

    Incoterms are a series of pre-defined commercial terms that are used throughout the world for International Transactions.

    A separate document has been produced by Insped detailing each Incoterm and the onus that it places both on Sellers and Purchasers.

    3) Understand the different between volumetric weight versus taxable weight

    The example that we always give is to think about exporting a tonne of lead and a tonne of teddy bears. Both weigh the same but both taking up completely different spaces on a trailer, container or the cargo hold on a plane.

    If the volume is greater than the weight (tonne of teddy bears), you will be charged on volume, i.e.; you will be charged for the space that your product takes up. If the weight is greater than the volume (tonne of lead), you will be charged on the taxable weight.

    4) Get any quotes/prices in writing.

    Ask the question, is this an all in price or are there add-ons? This is particularly relevant if goods are going via Air or Sea (CAF and BAF). Hazardous (ADR, IMDG & IATA) goods will usually have a surcharge and there may well be a fuel surcharge.

    5) Always remember that the Logistic Company is often the only physical representation of your company, alongside your product, to your customer.

    You may have spent lots of money, time and effort selling your product to your customer but people do not consider the effect an untidy driver, vehicle, the incorrect paperwork or indeed the lack of paperwork has on your customer.

    May I draw your attention back to Point 1!

    Insped whole heartedly supports any initiatives that support both British Manufacturing and Exports. We are more than happy to assist with any queries that existing and potential exporters have.

    Please contact the Insped team on 01274 670066 to discuss your requirements or email richard.bartlett@insped.co.uk.

    We even have our own Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages too – Insped Ltd and @InspedBradford. Insped – Small Enough to Care, Large Enough to Deliver

    Lauren Bartlett, Insped Ltd

    We care what people say

    Regardless of whether our interpreters are working in a home, hospital, council building, prison or a GP’s surgery, they always listen to what people say. They bring clarity to confusion, and help deliver vital public services to those who need them most. To those who are disorientated and frightened, such as asylum seekers or refugees, access to a compassionate interpreter offers non-English speakers a lifeline.

    Based in Manchester, Carmen Hales has been interpreting since 2009. Her principle languages are English and Romanian and she holds a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) Local Government.

    “I love my job, including its challenges! Through the course of what I do, I’m lucky to meet some very interesting people and it doesn’t feel like going to work. For me it feels as if I’m meeting someone new, someone vulnerable who, through working with brilliant, multidisciplinary support teams, I’m helping to get the right outcome and enabling them to live a better life.  Essentially, my job is to facilitate communication between the non-English speaker and the relevant professionals.

    “On a daily basis I see how important my role is and because of that, I get great job satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, the role of an interpreter is an impartial one, I never offer my own opinion or advice. I interpret for the various qualified professionals who are working with the person or family in question. Often, this involves explaining to people about the cultural differences between the UK and their country of origin which ultimately leads to them living a happier, more successful life in the UK.

    “For example, I once worked on a case with a Romanian family whose children were taken into foster care. This was simply due to their non-English speaking mother not understanding the standards of care here in the UK. Different cultures have different ways of doing things. The children and their mother were distressed and working alongside social services, I saw them a number of times. Ultimately, the children were settled with their new foster carer and we helped to educate the mother. Happily, and thanks to the work of the great social services team, Mum gained a solid understanding of what she needed to do and the children were returned to her. It felt very rewarding to play a role in bringing this family back together in happier circumstances.

    “I can be asked to go to A&E departments, police stations, GP surgeries or make home visits with a health visitor; I could be working with a consultant surgeon on a ward or assisting local council staff with a home assessment. No two days are the same, meaning I have to be well organised and ready for anything!

    “Capita TI has a dedicated website for interpreters – this online portal and mobile app enable me to view the various jobs available at any time. The online system allows me to accept jobs there and then, a valuable benefit to me, as it can be difficult to take calls whilst I am working. The system manages my calendar appointments and payments with ease, allowing me to work with clients and not be distracted with administration.”

    At Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI), all our interpreters are sourced locally in response to our clients’ needs and the required checks and qualifications are guaranteed. Capita TI is one of the few language solutions providers in the UK to have its database of interpreters audited by a central government department. This ensures the quality of interpreters we supply to our customers is of the highest possible.

    Our Services  

    We work with public service teams across the UK including: GP’s, CCG’s, healthcare trusts, the police, schools, and legal and community teams. We support them in providing a diverse range of services, from safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, to localised administration services.

    Capita TI also provides translation services to clients, translating anything from a simple appointment card to brochures and detailed technical medical manuals.

    We are proud our service has had a positive effect on asylum seekers and refugees, particularly those who arrive in the UK in need of psychological support. In one area, it was necessary to deliver this service in costly, specialist centres. However, the combination of effective communication and the compassion provided by our highly professional, committed interpreters has enabled us to deliver this service at local GP practices. This has helped to stabilise some of the most vulnerable people in our communities whilst reducing costs for our client.

    Our services include: 

    • Interpreting
    • Translation
    • Transcription
    • Proofreading
    • British Sign Language,
    • Alternative formats including large print and Easy Read
    • Braille
    • Website localisation

    Why work with Capita TI?

    • 185 languages offered nationwide
    • 163 NHS and public service clients in 2013
    • 4,400 interpreting jobs on average per week across the UK
    • Working with 1,850 qualified and fully vetted professional interpreters
    • Dedicated Customer Portal and 24/7 telephone line

    The budget restrictions 

    With the unprecedented demand for interpreting and translation services, balancing budgets has never been more challenging. At Capita TI we listen carefully to our clients and combine our breadth and depth of service with emerging technologies to tailor solutions which exactly meet our clients’ requirements, including their desired level of management reporting, and budget.

    We listen, and make translation and interpreting services easy and efficient to access. Our approach is that no two organisations are the same. Demographics and budgets differ, as do the needs of each CCG, hospital, police force and local council we represent. Working with us, you will have your own client Relationship Manager, responsible for delivering exactly the right service for you, keeping you up-to -date, handling any ad-hoc requests and meeting with you for regular service reviews. You will have access to our customer portal and a 24/7 telephone line, very quickly providing you with an interpreter. We also provide live and historical account information, for real time reporting regarding booking requests, costs and tailored management information – helping you to make informed decisions.

    We are constantly developing new services in line with our customers’ needs. We take pride in developing bespoke, highly specialised services providing cost effective methods to reach a quality solution.

    Always investing in technology to help you

    We have developed an online medical consultation tool including audio support, which is currently being trialled by a large CCG. Complicated three-way communication between the patient, health professional and a telephone interpreter could be replaced by an online, easy to use suite of questions, data and information. The health professional is provided with an immediate translation of symptoms enabling them to provide an effective, timely diagnosis and recommendation for treatment.

    What our clients say about us:

    Salford City Council and Salford CCG – “Capita Translation and Interpreting enables us to effectively undertake our work by increasing the number of people accessing and receiving our services in Salford.”

    Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust – “Due to an increase in Lithuanian speakers within our local communities, Capita Translation and Interpreting provided us with a site based interpreter, to enable the hospital to effectively meet the demands of Lithuanian speaking patients in a timely fashion.’’

    Please contact us to discuss your translation and interpreting requirements on 0845 367 7000 or email publicserviceenquiries@capita-ti.com

    Peterborough City Council Places first order with Honeywell to cut energy costs at eight council sites

    Peterborough Town Hall

    Peterborough Town Hall

    Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced in February that it has received an energy performance contract order from Peterborough City Council to perform energy efficiency upgrades to eight facilities owned by the Council, including the town hall, swimming pools, a leisure centre, a library and a car park.

    Honeywell has proposed a range of energy conservation measures for the facilities that are expected to generate annual energy savings of £163,000 at current usage rates over the 15-year period. The energy savings are guaranteed by Honeywell, and the upgrades to the facilities are expected to be completed in about six months.

    Measures include upgrades to or replacement of building control systems, an air handling unit, lighting systems and pool filtration systems. A behaviour management programme will be supported by the installation of information dashboards within a number of the facilities. The Council selected the measures to be implemented following a comprehensive engineering analysis of the current energy performance at each facility by Honeywell.

    “We’ll be using our experience, expertise and resources to drive energy reductions and to ensure ongoing demand is both minimised and optimised,” said James Napier, general manager-energy for Honeywell. “With more contract awards anticipated in the future, this framework will help the Council to cut its energy bill and to reduce its carbon tax. The same framework is also available to other organisations and local authorities, meaning that they too could enjoy similar benefits from a proven and effective programme”

    “Implementing appropriate energy efficiency programmes using energy performance contracts enables us to benefit immediately from the improvements while using future, guaranteed operational savings to reduce capital budget requirements for maintenance and refurbishment,” said John Harrison, Executive Director, Resources at Peterborough City Council. “We’re delighted that we’re seeing a real return from this exciting initiative.”

    The performance contract order follows Honeywell Building Solutions’ appointment as Peterborough City Council’s framework delivery partner in 2013.

    New chief executive for NALC

    Jonathan Owen

    Jonathan Owen

    The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has appointed Jonathan Owen as new Chief Executive of the organisation, it was announced yesterday.

    Dr Owen joins NALC at a crucially important and exciting stage in the development of the organisation and of its member local (parish and town) councils. Dr Owen will be responsible for leading the corporate management of NALC.

    Cllr Ken Browse, Chairman of the National Association, said: “I am delighted to welcome Jonathan as Chief Executive of NALC. He brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked at different tiers of local government as well as at a national local government body.

    “Jonathan’s skills, knowledge and contacts developed in previous high-profile roles at borough, county and national level will be invaluable in ensuring local councils have a strong and authoritative voice.

    “Jonathan proved himself to be the stand-out candidate among a very high calibre group, and I look forward to working closely with him to drive forward the localism agenda.”

    Prior to this appointment, Jonathan was Director of Ipswich Borough Council for four years, Assistant Chief Executive of London Borough of Havering and Head of Policy at Suffolk County Council.  With a Doctorate in Local Government Studies and 10 years experience working at the Local Government Association’s predecessor bodies, Dr Owen has extensive experience of lobbying civil servants, MPs, Peers and MEPs on local government matters.

    Jonathan Owen said: “I am delighted to be joining the NALC team at this exciting time.  They have achieved so much in recent years helping put localism at the centre of political debate.

    “NALC have a very ambitious strategic plan to achieve even more: providing high quality services to members; creating new local councils and ensuring they have a strong national voice.

    “I look forward to working with member councils, county associations, NALC National Council, NALC Chairman and Vice Chairs, to make that vision a reality.”

    Jonathan Owen will take up his position as Chief Executive of NALC on 1 April 2014.

    Budget comment: more action on housing and growth needed

    Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils

    Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils

    Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils said: “The Chancellor’s statement is inadequate in the context of London’s housing crisis. However, finally there is recognition of the acute challenges London is facing. The capital’s population is set to increase to over nine million by 2021, meaning 800,000 homes are needed to meet both existing and future demand. (1)

    “Polls show that affordable housing is consistently the top concern for Londoners (2). Housing is not only an issue for London’s rising numbers of homeless, or the young families and professionals struggling to rent, but is vital to the UK-wide economy. Business in London is increasingly looking for reassurance that government is tackling its concerns about affordability for their employees.

    “Local government is a key partner in delivering the homes London needs. The failure to devolve real power is hampering local government’s ability to build homes and create jobs and growth.

    “Today’s announcements will only scratch the surface of dealing with the long term and daunting scale of London’s housing shortage. The government needs to do much more.”

    Housing borrowing cap

    Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils said:

    “It is disappointing that the Chancellor did not take this opportunity to scrap the Treasury’s block on councils investing in building new homes, when backed up by a stable funding stream. Lifting this Housing Borrowing Cap would create 60,000 new homes and 19,000 new jobs, adding 0.6 per cent to GDP, and further stimulate competition in the construction market.” (3)

    Support for small builders

    Mayor Jules Pipe, Chair of London Councils said: “The Chancellor’s announcement of half a billion pounds of finance to small house builders is a welcome move. We know that just 27 companies are responsible for around 70 per cent of the housing starts in London. Yet 20 years ago, around two-thirds of housing was built by companies employing fewer than 500 people.

    “Encouraging small businesses into the market would provide more competition and foster the right environment to deliver badly-needed homes. Early and constructive engagement with local government is absolutely essential to ensure support is finding its way to where it will make the biggest impact.”

    Tewkesbury Borough Business Guide and Directory to help encourage business growth

    untitledA free directory detailing the wide range of businesses and services available in Tewkesbury Borough is now available.

    The Tewkesbury Borough Business Guide and Directory aims to help people and businesses to find local suppliers and service providers, as well as promoting the borough to potential investors looking to locate to the area.

    The directory also provides information on the help and support available, including details of local business support organisations, key economic data and a location map of industrial estates and business parks.

    The directory is available in hard copy and electronic format – as CD Rom and on Tewkesbury Borough Council’s website – and will be widely distributed to businesses, residents and potential investors to the area.

    It has been produced by Burrows Communications Ltd in partnership with the borough council, and is self-funded through advertising.

    Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Lead Member for Economic Development and Promotion Councillor Dave Waters said: “Business directories are an excellent way of helping local companies trade with each other and promote themselves to a wider audience, so we’re really pleased to be able to introduce one for Tewkesbury Borough. This new directory will be widely distributed to help stimulate new business activity and promote existing business growth within the borough.”

    For a copy of the directory, please contact Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Economic Development team on 01684 272249 or email: economicdevelopment@tewkesbury.gov.uk

    Alternatively, to look at it online, please visit: www.tewkesbury.gov.uk/business-support

    Building Lives awarded as most innovative training provider

    Award winning Social Enterprise Building Lives appeared as proud as punch as they picked up the Award for Best Training Programme in Feb 2014. According to Housing Innovation Award event organisers, these are the only awards to focus solely on genuine enterprise in the sector.

    The 2014 winners were decided by an independent panel of industry experts and announced at the annual gala dinner on 06 February 2014, where housing’s most enterprising professionals had converged on London’s Grand Connaught Rooms.

    Berkeley Homes North East London sponsors of Building Lives Most Innovative Training Programme Category. John Sanders, Head of Construction said he was ‘delighted’ to present the award to the Building Lives team. And it appeared that the Berkeley Group are just one of Building Lives many partners in London, which include social landlords and local authorities such as: Peabody, Camden Council, Hackney Homes, Sutton Council, Poplar HARCA, Thames Reach and many more… 

    Steve Rawlings, CEO Building Lives commented ‘Achievements like this are all down to the dedication and hard work of the Building Lives staff and simply would not be possible without the fantastic army of partners that Building Lives is proud to work with. Thanks to everyone involved who made this possible.’

    Partnerships in fact plays a vital role in the success of this rapidly growing Social Enterprise. And it seems it is only in collaboration, that Building Lives have managed to establish five training academies in deprived areas across London (Camden, Hackney, Sutton, Tower Hamlets & Southwark). Some may suggest their growth strategy which includes a further four new Academies in 2014, is rather ambitious. But it is worth that noting Building Lives is no ordinary Social Enterprise. It was set up by  entrepreneur Steve Rawlings, a man with a track record of building successful construction businesses. When Steve Rawlings, founder of Lakehouse, discovered around half of people living in social housing were unemployed, he decided to do something about it.

    “I’m delighted that an entrepreneur like Steve Rawlings has stepped in with the Building Lives model.” Former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

    “I grew up in the East End and started my career as an Apprentice Roofer having left school with no qualifications. In 2010, I realised lots of people were struggling to get jobs. And I realised there would soon be a huge skills shortage unless we acted quickly. To help others get into an industry that I fell in love with, I set up Building Lives and have never looked back! The thing that makes us different, is that we are training for jobs, not for someone just to end up with a certificate. I spent my whole life trying to make money, but now I’m building lives, which I’ve discovered, is so much more rewarding.” Steve Rawlings, CEO & founder of Building Lives.

    With each Training Academy helping 50 local unemployed people every year secure paid apprenticeships and 4 out of 5 apprentices going on to sustain employment 6 months after they have completed their apprenticeship – it is no wonder Building Lives already has a waiting list of Social Landlords for 2015.

    Not only are local unemployed people trained up an supported into sustainable construction careers, but neighbourhoods are transformed, as unloved community spaces are converted into training academies, revitalising entire communities. Building Lives mission says: ‘we welcome everyone’ and their impressive stats evidence this:

    10% Women, industry average is 1%
    40% Ex-offenders
    50% NEET (young people Not in Training Education or Employment)
    50% BME (industry average 3%)
    30% Homeless

    Building Lives has successfully brought together former competitors from across the housing and construction sectors to build lives for everyone, no easy feat. And they appear to be helping hundreds of people into construction careers who wouldn’t have a hope in hell without their support, whilst also injecting fresh talent into an industry at a time of great need. New government statistics published recently show a steep decline in construction apprenticeship starts and completions. But the Building Lives Apprenticeship Training Model seems to be bucking that trend, with many SMEs thankful that someone has stepped in to support them to take on apprentices flexibly and with limited risk.

    By the end of 2014 Building Lives will have engaged with over 1000 Londoners and will be offering 250 apprenticeships per year. So its no surprise that increasingly people and organisations are knocking down their door to be part of the Building Lives journey. They receive around 300 applications for each new Academy. Many of these form part of the 1million young unemployed people, but we discovered there really is no age limit for Building Lives Apprentices as their oldest on site at the moment is 58.

    Being a social enterprise, everything (bar frontline delivery) is done on a shoestring, but their vision is grand. Steve’s long term goal is to support 1000 apprentices into construction every year and take the model national. With such an enterprising spirit and passionate workforce, everything suggests this might actually be possible.

    To find out more go to: www.buildinglives.uk.com

    UK legislation available digitally for the first time

    Imprima, the UK’s leading virtual data room and financial documents provider, has been appointed by HS2 Ltd, wholly owned by the Department for Transport, to provide an online payment portal and USB-archived database containing Environmental Statement for the High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) project.

    In a unique appointment, Imprima was chosen to enable the Government to share the hybrid High Speed Rail Bill for Phase One of HS2 (London – West Midlands) with interested parties, which included the press, MPs and the general public, due to its expertise in hosting and managing multi-user access to on-line information and data.

    Following the recent first reading of the Bill in Parliament, Imprima helped the Government make the Bill information accessible and more easily available to the public – the first time electronic format was accepted for deposit of a legislative Bill.

    Imprima optimised and compressed thousands of sensitive files, then indexed and mapped them onto USB memory sticks to allow for easy access. This enabled HS2 to facilitate public access to a well structured file system and also ensured that the data was presented identically to the HS2 website. Imprima also created a bespoke, secure online payments gateway, based on iRooms, where interested parties could easily purchase copies of the Bill and supporting documents.

    Torgny Gunnarsson, CEO of Imprima, said: “We are delighted to be chosen by HS2 Ltd as a partner to assist with the secure sharing of a number of highly sensitive documents related to the HS2 project. Simple access to these documents was crucial and iRooms, our award-winning virtual data room service, proved an ideal and reliable solution.

    “Utilising our bespoke technology to distribute thousands of files whilst ensuring their security and accuracy was our highest priority and represented no easy feat.  The execution undertaken on this project by our team was a huge success and we are delighted to have been able to play a small role in enabling the HS2 project to hit another milestone on its continued journey.”

    Tony Malone, Deputy Chief Information Officer of HS2 Ltd: “Working with Imprima we achieved something never done before by depositing a major piece of transport legislation in an electronic format.  As we move ahead through the Parliamentary stages for the Bill and through the continuing work to deliver the project I am confident that with Imprima’s help, we can continue to perform to the high standards we have demonstrated to date. I very much look forward to continuing to work with Imprima as the HS2 project progresses.”

    Ali or Foreman?

    Date: October 30th 1974

    Venue: The 20th May Stadium, Kinshasa, Zaire

    At stake: The heavyweight championship of the world

    One of the most eagerly anticipated and talked about boxing matches of all time ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. George Foreman, strong and aggressive did his talking in the ring, Muhammad Ali, braggadocio pugilist did his talking everywhere.

    Ali had a plan to beat the strength of Foreman which he executed to perfection. For seven rounds Ali took all the punishment Foreman could muster seemingly ‘on the ropes’ and beaten, yes, he had landed some well-crafted punches, but surely nobody could withstand the punishment Foreman had unleashed.

    In round eight the tables were turned, Ali had soaked up all Foreman could muster and knew it was time to pounce, five punch combination, left hook, right hook, Foreman KO’d and Ali’s ‘Rope-a-dope’ strategy was complete, the punched out Foreman unable to respond having given his all for the first seven rounds.

    Brian Cotter, Director, EDGE public solutions

    Since 2008 whether it has been your own ‘Thunder in Thanet’ or ‘Murmur in Merthyr’ Local Authorities have experienced a relentless onslaught of austerity, forced change and difficult decision making.

    Whilst there is a glimmer of a thaw in the ‘numbers’, productivity is rising and unemployment is falling, the onslaught continues apace in Local Government and with social care and health budgets continuing to be under upwards pressure and education budgets for the most part protected some authorities are having to find up to 40% real cuts in budget from those areas where it can reduce budget. Only in the last couple of months Welsh Local Authorities have received their latest revenue settlement which cuts an average of a further 5% off their revenue budgets.

    In a long term climate of austerity it is completely understandable that any Local Authority should scrutinise their plans to balance the budget and make every effort to gain the most for their citizens out of every pound, but, I would argue that the time for more of the same inward looking re-cutting of the budget will not bring long term success just like Foreman and his seven rounds of haymakers. Local Authorities must craft their own ‘Rope-a-dope’ strategy and make it to their own eighth round with enough fight left to win the bout.

    We all know that public bodies do manage similar services. A simple look at passenger transport tells us that our health services need plenty of non-emergency transport both taxis, minibuses and in some cases scheduled bus services, our Local Authorities contract exactly the same types of services to get children of all abilities to school and to get social services clients to day and activity centres and citizens around our boroughs. Our police and fire services in common with our Local Authorities run large fleets of vehicles (both emergency and non-emergency) and yet the instances of sharing either fleet or garage maintenance facilities is disappointingly low. There are efficiencies available here if only they can be unlocked.

    If we look at the way housing benefit and council taxes are managed these are for the most part standard processes and could be managed much more centrally and with huge economies of scale, whilst retaining a smaller local presence, only the most parochial would argue against this.

    So why do these things not happen? Is it local politics? Is it senior officers in our public services not wishing to do these things? Is it because it is too difficult? Is it because of issues of sovereignty, local employment or non-contiguous public service boundaries? The truth is that it is any and all of these things and more besides.

    So should central government step in? We can see that the Williams review will imminently announce a new shape for Local Government in Wales, who knows what this shape will be, several things are for certain:

    1.       There will be less than 22 Authorities in Wales in the future;

    2.       The new Local Authority boundaries will be at best a compromise rather than a ruthlessly logical solution;

    3.       The transition to fewer Local Authorities will drive efficiencies and economies of scale but will take at least 3 years to complete.

    Will boundaries be set such that the NHS, Fire, Police and Local Authorities can rub shoulders efficiently? I think unlikely.

    Will the requirement for savings in the existing set up be put on hold in the interim? I think definitely not!

    So can the private sector offer a solution? The trend for large scale outsource ‘partnerships’ seen over recent decades have in many cases stretched the patience of senior officers and members either because the relentless upwards pressure on costs following the initial honeymoon period was unpalatable, or, because the ability to influence the service provided either to improve quality or in more recent years to reduce the cost has been too inflexible. The very areas where Councils have needed to save money (for example Environmental or Central services) have felt too arms length and inflexible, Local Authorities can see the benefit of long term outsource contracts in terms of pound notes but they struggle with the reality of large scale outsourcing.

    The private sector has a big part to play here, they must offer more flexible arrangements that meet the developing needs of the Local Authorities they wish to work with, but, they can be the catalyst to realise some of these hard to get at efficiencies that must be achieved. Who better to assist in collaborative models than the private sector? Provide the incentive to deliver collaboration and it can be achieved; can a private sector operation bridge the political gap between our public services collaborating? I think the answer is yes, we can take the politics and geography out of the equation and whether it is brokerage assistance between public bodies, an outsourced arrangement with clear targets on collaboration efficiency or a joint venture, surely better to let a real partner plough that furrow for you whilst at the same time tying them in to sharing the benefits that arise?

    This could be a powerful additional tool in your armoury as you strive to balance your budgets in to the future. The private sector will provide the innovative models of engagement needed if public bodies outline the broad requirements.

    So the question for me is clear, who do you want to be in the eighth round? George Foreman having thrashed about for seven rounds expended all your energy and resources, punched out and defeated or Muhammad Ali victorious having calmly soaked up the pressure and executed your own carefully planned ‘Rope-a-dope’ strategy?

    Author: Brian Cotter, Director, EDGE public solutions

    www.edgepublicsolutions.co.uk

    Ipswitch File Transfer technology adopted by TFL

    Transport for London

    Transport for London

    Ipswitch File Transfer, a provider of secure Managed File Transfer solutions has won a contract with Transport for London (TfL), to help govern and secure business information workflow between employees, customers and external partners working together to manage the city’s transport systems.

    Ipswitch File Transfer technology is used by TfL employees across more than 60 business units to transparently transfer files and streamline secure workflows to and from all third-party vendors, suppliers and partners.

    Ipswitch File Transfer’s intuitive MOVEit solutions are easy to use an important feature as employees become more involved with critical business strategies, managed file transfers and data workflow requirements. The technology also allows for the automation and simplification of complex workflows, saving internal teams significant amounts of time.

    TFLcommuters

    TFLcommuters

    As part of contractual obligations, Ipswitch File Transfer partner, HANDD Business Solutions, provided TfL with implementation and consultation services when rolling out Ipswitch File Transfer MOVEit in its on-premise data centre. The contract also entailed HANDD Business Solutions working on-site in tandem with TfL’s own operations team to understand the corporation’s setup and requirements. This relationship continues post-implementation with HANDD Business Solutions available as TfL’s first point of contact for regular support responses, architectural discussions and possible improvement recommendations.  

    Rich Kennelly, president of Ipswitch File Transfer, said: “Transport for London is a great example of a foresighted Ipswitch File Transfer customer that was first attracted to MOVEit to help secure file transfers for a specific project, but now trusts our technology to manage its secure file transfers and workflows across its business. We are delighted to know that TfL regards MOVEit as a business critical strategic solution.”

    Southampton City Council appoints Meachers to operate Sustainable Distribution Centre

    SImon Fry and Frank Baxter from Southampton Counicl with Joe McMenemy and Gary Whittle of Meachers

    SImon Fry and Frank Baxter from Southampton Council with Joe McMenemy and Gary Whittle of Meachers

    Southampton City Council (SCC) has appointed Meachers Global Logistics to run a Sustainable Distribution Centre (SDC) for the City region following a competitive tender process.

    Meachers Global Logistics is one of the UK’s leading independent providers of logistics and transport services.  The company, which works for many household brands including Cruise giant Carnival and global packaging specialist Huhtamaki, will run the SDC from a newly acquired 20,000 square foot site based on the Nursling Industrial Estate.

    The Mayor of Southampton officially launched the new facility, which is based on the Nursling Industrial estate on Monday 3rd February 2014.

    The SDC will offer its services to Southampton and the surrounding regions including Winchester, Eastleigh, Hedge End, Totton and the New Forest.  Customer goods deliveries can be received from suppliers 24 hours a day, then either stored or grouped with other loads destined for the same locations, and delivered together, thus reducing the number of delivery vehicles travelling into those locations.  This will have a significant environmental benefit by reducing carbon dioxidelevels, particulates and nitrogen oxide emissions, while having a positive impact on congestion in the areas that the SDC operates.

    Southampton City Council successfully secured funding through the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund to kick-start the SDC.  The council will use these funds over a four-year period to support the development of the operation through a tapered subsidy that will support its expansion and assist in it reaching critical mass.

    Commenting on the appointment, Meachers Global Logistics Commercial Director, Gary Whittle Said:  “Winning this tender is great news for Meachers, our customers and the Southampton area.  With extensive experience running consolidation centres we have been strong advocates for the creation of an SDC for the region for many years. The new offering will bring significant commercial opportunities for customers and environmental benefits for the City.

    Through smarter sustainable logistics users will benefit from just in time deliveries, a smarter use of warehousing space and ultimately reduced costs and increased efficiency.  We are already in discussion with a number of public sector organisations regarding the service and intend to roll it out to the private sector mid 2014.”

    Southampton’s Cabinet member for Environment and Transport Cllr Jacqui Rayment said: “Southampton City Council successfully bid for the funding required to set up the Sustainable Distribution Centre so we are delighted to have chosen the freight management experts Meachers as the operator and that they will be making it operational by February. I would encourage businesses of all sizes from within a 20 mile radius of Southampton to find out how using the SDC can help them to become more efficient through its affordable delivery and storage solutions, while also reducing the level of carbon emissions and traffic in the city. This news further consolidates our reputation as the ‘Transport City of the Year’ as we lead the way with our partners in providing innovative transport solutions to local residents and businesses.”

    How long will it take to be Digital by Default?

    With the digital by default agenda moving more services online, the Government aims to save between £1.7 and £1.8 billion a year. However, is the infrastructure in place to support this move, both from the provider and the user perspective? And how are CIOs preparing for these 2015 targets?

    CIOs across the country are coming under increased pressure to reduce IT costs whilst delivering improved services. Never has this been truer than in the Public Sector, following the Civil Service Reform Plan. The UK Cabinet Office has declared that it wants to bring IT spending down from c.£26bn to c.£16bn and is therefore looking for smarter value propositions from vendors, and smarter purchasing from enterprises. Ovum Live is bringing Public Sector Enterprise Insights to the Cavendish Conference Centre in London on 13 March 2014 to help deal with these issues. The event is based on thousands of hours of Ovum research into what Public Sector can learn from enterprise, in terms of IT procurement, infrastructure upgrades, cost savings, migration to the Cloud and more. Speakers include the CIOs from the Irish Government, Essex County Council, City of Edinburgh Council, London Borough of Brent, West Midlands Police, Director of Parliamentary ICT, Head of Transparency at the FCO and Deputy Director, ICT Business Strategy and Planning at the Welsh Government, as well as think-tank viewpoints from Policy Exchange and the Open Data Institute.

    The UK is the most open public sector market in the world and the UK government is determined to broaden its supplier base and include SMEs. G-Cloud, Public Sector Networks and shared services have opened up many opportunities to: significantly reduce costs, roll out ICT systems that deliver improved and more flexible services, and achieve large economies of scale. However this has also thrown up challenges: how does one go about choosing credible partners and suppliers in this new marketplace? Panel sessions and practical case studies explore some of these challenges at the event, demonstrating how local and central government is pushing forward with great procurement success.

    According to Government Digital Strategy, government departments need to develop services that allow straightforward access to information and services in times and in ways that are convenient to the users rather than the providers, and that are more efficient and cost-effective to develop and run. With government pushing public cloud first policy, why are so many public sectors organisations still lagging behind in the adoption of cloud services, despite significant ICT savings and ever-increasing security measures? This event explores some of the concerns and challenges of CIOs who have moved towards the cloud, and what ROI they have demonstrated.

    While the foreseeable future will see CIOs and IT leaders continuing to grapple with challenges of demonstrating the value of IT and delivering ‘quick win’ solutions whilst simultaneously keeping the lights on and improving services to citizens, there is also great opportunities for innovation, agility and customer engagement. Ovum’s Public Sector Enterprise Insights Conference will provide holistic thought leadership across two days, tackling key issues such as procurement, data sovereignty, security, cloud services, mobility and next generation technologies.

    Co-located with Public Sector Enterprise Insights, Smart Strategies for Healthcare Technology has been developed to provide critical input for IT leaders in healthcare, providing objective, timely, evaluation of the different healthcare challenges and applications and solutions for tackling them.

    The format of the event is discursive with roundtable discussions and case studies from leading CIO and Clinical Directors in healthcare providers, sharing their experiences on what works and what does not.

    These conferences will give you the knowledge and tools to:

    ·Implement and sustain effective ICT strategies without breaking the bank

    ·Maximise resources in the current financially constrained environment

    ·Support real-time decision making

    ·Share information across institutions

    ·Get in early on the mobile apps curve

    ·Better enable collaborative team working

    Join these events to learn from peers, discuss best practices, understand and discover new technologies and gain valuable insights into the latest trends. Public Sector executives can register for the event for free – simply visit www.publicsectorict.com to claim your pass, entering PSEI/GPSJ as your Priority Code. Solution providers in this space can register with a 20% discount by entering GPS20 as your priority code on the paid registration form.