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    Viglen wins Toshiba ’Partner of the Year’ and ‘Educational Partner of the Year’ awards

    From left to right: Mark Byrne, Head of Corporate, Education & Public Sector, Toshiba; Nick Offin,  Head of Channel , Toshiba; Bordan Tkachuk, CEO, Viglen;  Neil Bramley,  Sales Director Northern Europe, Toshiba

    From left to right: Mark Byrne, Head of Corporate, Education & Public Sector, Toshiba; Nick Offin, Head of Channel , Toshiba; Bordan Tkachuk, CEO, Viglen; Neil Bramley, Sales Director Northern Europe, Toshiba

    Viglen, a British IT company, has been awarded Toshiba UK’s Platinum Partner of the Year and Education Platinum Partner of the Year, in recognition of its all-round performance and commitment to excellence within its Toshiba partnership and also its specialism within the Education market.

    Achieving Platinum partner status is recognition by Toshiba of a level of excellence at reselling Toshiba products and consistently adding value to the relationship. The award winners were judged by Toshiba as demonstrating a level of excellence at not just reselling Toshiba products, but consistently adding value to the relationship through product knowledge, support, aftersales and integration services to enhance the Toshiba customer experience.

    Viglen has grown its partnership with Toshiba from scratch over less than a decade to become one of the largest Toshiba resellers in the UK.  As a result Viglen customers are benefitting from enhanced levels of support, expertise and resources, reducing the cost and simplifying the process of ICT procurement.

    Commenting on the award, Viglen chief executive Bordan Tkachuk said; “As a PC manufacturer, Viglen benefits from a very close level of partnership with Toshiba.  By pioneering a range of unique support and value-add services, Viglen is able to offer a level of bespoke service to enhance Toshiba’s already strong product portfolio, ensuring that together we offer one of the strongest mobile computing propositions available with justified performance, flexibility and value.

    “This has undoubtedly helped in consolidating our position as a leading ICT supplier to the UK Education and Public Sector.”

    Ofsted award CACI contract to deliver new social care inspection IT system

    Ofsted has awarded CACI a contract to deliver new Social Care inspection IT system

    Ofsted has awarded CACI a contract to deliver new Social Care inspection IT system

    CACI has won a major contract to supply a new inspection solution for Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, to be used in its 4,600 plus inspections of social care providers each year.

    Ofsted inspect and regulate all services involving care for children and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages throughout England, working with providers to promote their improvement, monitor their progress and share best practice.

    The new contract with CACI covers Ofsted’s social care remit and is part of their vision to use technology for the better safeguarding of children. The CACI inspection software, OfficeBase, will be used to integrate and manage the core areas of Ofsted’s social care processes, covering areas such as registration, scheduling, inspection and enforcement, with accurate, timely and quick-to-access management information as a key outcome. OfficeBase will be a key enabler to the efficient and effective delivery of Ofsted’s social care business, and will be used by more than 200 staff involved in over 4,600 inspections of social care providers each year.

    Commenting on the contract, Ollie Watson, Business Development Director at CACI said;
    “Following a rigorous procurement process, we are delighted to have been awarded this significant contract by Ofsted. The partnership is both strategic and high profile and demands the highest levels of collaborative working. We’re also proud to be playing a part in ultimately supporting professionals to make the very best decisions for safeguarding our children.”

    Central to Ofsted’s decision to implement OfficeBase was its ability to securely capture, share and access safeguarding information. Through an extensive implementation programme, where OfficeBase is required to interface with a range of other IT systems, the launch of the new solution will help Ofsted streamline processes in this area and drive efficiency across a broad remit.

    Concluding Tom Zebedee, Head of IS at Ofsted commented, “We are pleased to be working with CACI on this implementation and are looking forward to using OfficeBase to support our core inspection and regulatory work.”

    Nuance announces free “Five Reasons To Speech Enable The EHR” whitepaper

    Nuance Communications Inc, has announced the availability of “Five Reasons To Speech Enable The EHR”, a free whitepaper published to address the current contradiction of the potential benefits of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems being undermined by the time it takes to use them. Studies have shown navigating an EHR can add up to 90 minutes to a medical professional’s day. With EHRs due in force in the NHS by 2018, the availability of the whitepaper and its recommendations could help ease the transition to the broader uptake of EHRs and save doctors’ time when using them.

    The whitepaper, which is available here , focuses on five EHR-related areas that would benefit from being speech-enabled. It explains how a speech-interface – which facilitates the creation and maintenance of accurate, detailed and up-to-date patient records that are easy to navigate – can help to improve doctors’ and nurses’ satisfaction at work, by enabling them to spend more time with their patients and less time on administration.

    It also explains how a speech-enabled EHR helps to put the patient back at the centre of care, in part by enabling them to see the creation of their own file or record in real-time. It also gives them the reassurance of knowing their consultation and the next course of action have been captured correctly, in their presence together with their doctor.

    “Five Reasons to speech enable the EHR” explains how speech recognition increases healthcare institution’s return on EHR investment and further exploit their potential; this is because speech removes the biggest barrier to broad EHR adoption and use – that of having to learn another administration task.

    The whitepaper outlines how speech also helps resolve the challenge of structured and unstructured data. Thanks to speech using normal, natural, language, it captures more – and higher quality – data then that achieved when typing or taking notes. This more comprehensive data provides medical institutions and professionals with access to richer and more detailed data for analysis, to facilitate better decision making in the future.

    Through the creation of more accurate clinical documents, the level of patient safety and care is raised, as documents can be shared quickly, reducing the chance of life-threatening errors being made along the patient’s care pathway. It can also reduce or clear patient report backlogs, which is another cause of patients’ conditions worsening in advance of a diagnosis being documented and treated.

    Nuance is deeply invested in a new generation of sophisticated and powerful applications, underpinned by voice and clinical language understanding (CLU), that reinvent the way doctors and patients experience healthcare, providing direct access to the healthcare information that matters most.  Already, more than 750 global developers are utilising Nuance technology to humanise healthcare and pursuing the promise of virtual assistants in medicine.

    Nuance’s speech recognition solutions for healthcare are available to NHS Trusts nationwide through an NHS Framework Agreement. In the UK, Nuance has already partnered with suppliers to install speech recognition-based solutions at Trusts across the country, including London’s Great Ormond Street, NHS Northumbria, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and more.

    Connect with Nuance on social media through the healthcare blog, What’s next, Twitter and Facebook.

    Nuance Communications

    Nuance Communications, Inc. is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with devices and systems. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications. For more information, please visit www.nuance.co.uk

    Pension changes leave public sector workers trapped

    Jamie Smith-Thompson - managing director of Portal Financial

    Jamie Smith-Thompson – managing director of Portal Financial

    In a Ministerial Statement issued today the Government announced that it will prevent public sector workers from transferring their unfunded final salary pension to a private pension, in order to protect the Exchequer and taxpayers, leaving millions of people trapped in a scheme that may be inappropriate for their circumstances in the future.

    The last Budget introduced unprecedented flexibility over pension funds, and was widely welcomed. Those with unfunded state-backed final salary schemes are now being excluded from these new freedoms, and will never have control of their fund. Although many final salary pensions provide a generous index-linked retirement income, there are those who choose to transfer the cash value to a private pension prior to retirement in order to take advantage of benefits such as 25% tax-free cash, flexibility on withdrawals and the option to leave the money to named beneficiaries.

    Public sector workers affected by this change may well be asking the obvious question – why are the Government doing this now? Certainly it brings greater control back within the Treasury, but it isn’t as if there was a great glut of people already transferring public sector pensions away before this point in time. Yes, it suited some people very well, but the majority were quite happy where they were.

    Do the Treasury believe that this year’s budget would see more people taking up this option if they did nothing to stop it? Maybe. Or is it a case of the Treasury closing the exit door on these schemes before they start to reduce the benefits they provide in real terms as part of a long term plan to make them affordable to maintain. Only time will tell.

    The restrictions being put in place are, of course, fine as long as the benefits on offer suit you, and as long as you trust successive Governments to make good on their promise to deliver them. So that’s the key question for those affected to ask – do you trust the Government not to make unilateral decisions on public sector pensions in the future?

    If you think you may be better off transferring out, or if you can’t quite bring yourself to trust the Government to do the right thing by you, then getting advice on your options early is crucial. It’s likely that an awful lot of your colleagues will be thinking the same thing…

    Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director of pensions specialist Portal Financial, comments: “We expect to see many people now choosing to transfer while they still have that option, and our experience is to act now, because it can take a while to transfer funds into a private pension and any outstanding applications that are not completed by the deadline will remain as they are.”

    Ealing commemorates First World War with poppies and art

    Cllr Julian Bell in poppy field at Perivale Park

    Cllr Julian Bell in poppy field at Perivale Park

    The Leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell visited Perivale Park on Monday, 21 July to see the field of poppies that has been planted there marking a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War.

    Flowers have been symbolically planted  at six sites across the borough by the council’s parks team and it is hoped they will flower each year in time for Armed Forces Day in June.

    Gunnersbury Park Museum is also paying tribute to the centenary with two Arts Awards projects celebrating a very special collection of prehistoric flints which was brought back from the Somme by Major Frederick Sadler; a First World War soldier who lived in Acton.

    The first of the Unearthing our First World War Heritage Arts Awards take place from Monday, 28 July to Friday, 1 August; for children aged seven to 11 years old.  This session is an Explore Arts Award and is fully booked.

    The following session, from Monday, 18 to Friday, 22 August; for young people aged 14 to 21 years old is a Bronze Art Award and there are still places available.  To sign up, please contact Lisa D’Agostino at Lisa.D’Agostino@carillionservices.co.uk or 020 8992 2247/1612.

    Children will meet a costumed character of Major Sadler who will explain the collection and talk about life in the trenches. Throughout the week children will also work with the production company Chocolate Films to create an animation about Major Sadler and his collection that will eventually be screened at Gunnersbury Park during Open House Sunday, on 21 September.

    The young people taking part in the Bronze Art Award; from Monday, 18 August will work with the artist Stuart Simler to create a sculptural installation that will also form part of Gunnersbury Park’s First World War Centenary exhibition in the Orangery on 21 September.

    Both Arts Awards will be fun but hard work – children and young people must come to all five workshop days and if necessary continue with their artwork at home.  All of their work will go towards achieving the nationally recognised, Arts Awards.

    Unearthing our First World War Heritage is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) First World War: then and now grant.  HLF is also donating £4.7million to radically restore Gunnersbury Park by 2017 through its Parks for People programme.

    Ealing Council leader, Councillor Julian Bell said:

    “It was very moving to be pictured among the poppies which are such a simple and poignant reminder of the First World War.

    “I am grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing the funding for the Major Sadler projects. It’s important that children and young people know about the First World War and the impact it continues to have on our modern day lives.  Innovative art schemes like this that encourage them to use their imagination and creativity to interpret important historical events are a really fantastic way to remember the past and foster a lifelong interest in art and learning.”

    To find out more about events at Gunnersbury Park and the restoration project itself, visit www.ealing.gov.uk/gunnersbury

    Charity borrowing on the increase, suggesting sector’s confidence is growing

    Patrick Crawford, CEO, Charity Bank

    Patrick Crawford, CEO, Charity Bank

    The value of loans approved by Charity Bank for charities and other social sector organisations almost doubled in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

    Over the first six months of this year, Charity Bank approved loans worth £11 million compared to £6 million in the first half of 2013, an increase of 83%. During the same period in 2012, the Bank approved £5 million in loans.

    Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive of Charity Bank, says, “Our experience is that charities and other social sector organisations are starting to regain confidence about the economy, and becoming more ready to borrow in order to grow their activities where it is prudent to do so.

    “Social sector organisations can benefit if they diversify their sources of revenue and embrace mixed funding, including borrowing. By doing so they can strengthen their organisations, grow their revenues, unlock other funds and expand their impacts.

    “The increase in demand for our loans has also been prompted by the effect of cuts in public sector spending on the social sector, compounded by the lack of finance for smaller charities from large commercial banks.”

    Engaging with communities, overcoming barriers

    Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) is a leading provider of language translation and interpreting services to the UK public sector. We provide language solutions to central and local government, the NHS, the Ministry of Justice, the police, the CPS and the National Probation Service.

    Our portfolio of services includes a comprehensive range of interpreting, translation and transcription services.

    Easy Read 

    Easy Read, which is a form of translation, was developed specifically to help people with learning disabilities and difficulties, by presenting information using simple words and images, making it easier to understand.

    The use of Easy Read is commonly used by health, social care, housing and legal organisations.

    How is Easy Read created? 

    Easy Read is a ‘reasonable adjustment’ helping to ensure equal access to information for everyone.

    Documents are re-written and, for example: 

    • Jargon is removed
    • Simple English is used
    • Sentences are usually short
    • The text is aided by the use of images
    • Complex information is simplified, making it easy to understand.

    A comparison of plain English and Easy Read: 

    Plain English Thank you for your letter requesting permission to display leaflets in the town hall. Before we can agree to this, it will be necessary to see a copy in order to ensure they are appropriate and will not cause anyone offence.
    Easy Read Thank you for your letter about your leaflets. We need to see the leaflets before we display them. This is because they must not upset anyone.

     Who can Easy Read help? 

    Easy Read can help people with poor reading comprehension, including those with learning disabilities and difficulties such as dyslexia, and people for who English is not their first language.

    Easy Read can also be of benefit to people who experience difficulty understanding complex information, such as legal and medical documents, people with low literacy levels, the young and the elderly.

    Quality 

    Our Easy Read documents meet or exceed current standards, including the European Standard and the new Government Standard. The final document is clear, concise, easy to understand and can be provided in paper and electronic copy.

    We also consult with Learning Disability Focus Groups in order to ensure the quality and accuracy of our Easy Read documents is appropriate for the particular user group it has been produced for.

    Our documents also undergo a strict equality and diversity check during production. This applies to the text and particularly the illustrations. We make sure our documents are a representative of a cross cultural society with particular regard to gender, culture, age, occupation and sexuality.

    Get in touch 

    If you require further information, or have a specific requirement regarding Easy Read, please telephone 0845 367 7000 or email publicserviceenquiries@capita-ti.com

    Ctrack launches Multi-Comms solution for emergency services

    Ctrack Monitoring

    Ctrack Monitoring

    Vehicle tracking specialist Ctrack has launched a new multi-comms solution to enable emergency services organisations in the UK to seamlessly switch between communication channels to meet precise operational requirements while minimising data transfer costs.

    This solution takes advantage of the most appropriate mobile, TETRA or WiFi network to achieve the most cost effective real-time tracking and reporting, while ensuring complete connectivity due to the resilience provided by multiple communication networks.

    This latest tracking solution will enable emergency services organisations to select alternative communication channels for data transfer to support and complement the standard use (Private APN) of the mobile network. As a result, the tracking unit can intelligently select TETRA mode when a vehicle is in an area with no mobile signal coverage, or alternatively an authorised WiFi or even Iridium Satellite network when available.

    Ctrack Multi-comms will automatically selects the most appropriate channel to exchange data, helping to ensure maximum connectivity whilst potentially reducing communication costs. Meanwhile, a least-cost routing algorithm can provide users with the ability to prioritise information based on their exact needs to minimise data transfer expenditure further should this be required. This includes switching to WiFi when available to transfer low priority data not yet sent via more expensive channels.

    This innovative telematics hardware supports multiple digital and analogue inputs which can easily be configured to monitor the status of on-board systems such as blue lights, seat belts, seat occupation, roller shutters and doors. It also supports the extraction of CANBus data from engine management systems supporting many types of vehicle providing metrics such as Fuel Consumption, RPM and subject to the vehicle compatibility, Odometer, MIL Lamp Indications / DTC codes.

    In the event of an incident the rolling buffer provides in depth analysis of the last 12 hours of vehicle data with speed at one second intervals and g forces in three axis @ 250ms. Meanwhile the accident buffer can store 10 x events – 90sec before and 30sec after an event with Speed / RPM at one second intervals and 10 seconds before and after incident utilising the three axis accelerometer to provide 200ms data for incident reconstruction and analysis.

    John Wisdom, Managing Director of Ctrack commented: “This latest functionality enables seamless and least cost data transfer providing emergency services organisations with even higher level of efficiency, reliability and security for their fleets and assets. Ctrack Multi-comms puts them in control to meet precise operational needs, gain added visibility and minimise overheads wherever possible.”

    Don’t take the risk with lone worker protection

    Government and public sector organisations are under increasing pressure to provide protection and security for lone workers. John Wisdom, Managing Director of vehicle, asset and employee tracking specialist Ctrack, takes a look at some of the latest lone worker developments and innovations.

    According to the British Security Industry Association, there are now more than six million people in the UK that can be classed as lone workers, and a significant number of these will be employed within the public sector. There are many roles – from housing officers, social workers and security guards to public transport employees, paramedics and community nurses – working either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk.

    Employers are now having to take their legal duty of care obligations seriously to protect their employees and members of the public under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. In addition, there have also been a number of successful prosecutions in recent years where company directors have been held accountable under the Corporate Manslaughter Act, so it is also important to ensure mobile employees are working responsibly and legally.

    The welfare of vulnerable lone workers is now a priority and has to be given plenty of consideration to ensure appropriate measures are taken and processes implemented. With these mobile employees constantly away from the office and on the move, the biggest challenge is to ensure their safety. Therefore, organisations increasingly want the ability monitor the wellbeing of these employees, whilst enabling them to call for assistance should a problem occur. With advances in technology in recent years there are now a range of options available.

    VEHICLE TRACKING

    The benefits of vehicle tracking have been widely publicised and offers means of boosting fleet performance in order to reduce costs, increase productivity and enhance customer service. However, this technology also provides an effective tool to gain visibility over mobile workers, access asset location and monitor the activities of vehicles.

    This kind of solution can also include an integrated built-in or remote panic alarm, with the latest remote technology effective at a distance of over 100 metres from the vehicle. Meanwhile, geofencing enables organisations to create virtual exclusion zones that trigger an email or SMS alert should an employee enter a certain area. These zones can also be set up by time of day to better target when a lone worker will be most at risk.

    Ctrack -Online Replay

    Ctrack -Online Replay

    PROACTIVE MONITORING

    The latest tracking technology can now determine when a harsh event has occurred involving a vehicle, which provides a way of offering live protection to lone workers direct from the office. 24/7 monitoring will provide notification of any potential incident, enabling a driver to be quickly contacted to ascertain whether there has been a problem and whether support is required.

    In addition, it is then possible to download detailed vehicle data to gather key facts and determine the events leading up to an incident, which can provide added protection to the employee.

    PERSONAL TRACKING

    Mobile personal tracking and panic button devices can now give workers the freedom to operate in isolated or unfamiliar locations without being cut off, whilst providing organisations with added peace of mind.

    For example, our Ctrack ICE2 device provides employees with direct access to round-the-clock assistance in case of an emergency or accident, but also provides real-time and historical location data to monitor the whereabouts and safety of mobile employees through a sophisticated software suite. Meanwhile, the device offers two-way mobile calls to designated numbers that ensures a cost-effective communication solution.

    ABOUT CTRACK

    Ctrack provides advanced vehicle tracking and telematics solutions that deliver
immediate benefits and financial returns resulting from the ability to better manage a fleet operation. These tools provide added visibility and control that comes from knowing the exact locations and status of vehicles in real-time.

    Suitable for fleets of all sizes, Ctrack delivers real advantage by reducing fuel consumption; validating overtime claims; eliminating unauthorised out-of-hours vehicle use; monitoring driver behaviour; achieving more jobs per employee; enhancing service levels; supporting environmental compliance; and increasing protection against vehicle theft.

    Ctrack is part of DigiCore Holdings, a global company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with more than 750,000 tracking systems fitted in 56 countries across five continents.

    www.ctrack.co.uk

    Three universities sign with Sunrise Software in bid to provide leading edge support services to attract students

    Student service availability and social media support key to new business wins and highlights increased focus on customer service as universities compete for paying students

    Service Management Software company, Sunrise Software, today announced that three leading UK universities have selected its Service Desk platform, Sostenuto, in recent months. Plymouth University, York St John University and one other are all implementing Sunrise’s Service Desk platform across departments including IT, libraries and estate management, with extended deployments planned in areas including social media support.

    “Increasingly, universities are thinking and behaving as service oriented businesses as they need to compete and attract fee paying students to their campuses,” says Geoff Rees, Sales Director at Sunrise Software. “Whilst initial deployments underpin the needs of IT, libraries and estate management, utilising the ‘platform’ capability of the software means that the universities can, and are, extending their student service offering across many of the university faculties – from registration management to catering, accommodation, resource management, health & safety and more.”

    Developed using the latest HTML 5 technology, the software’s attractive and easy-to-use interface, combined with its’ ability to work on  multiple  devices, are two of the key attractions for universities  that seek the latest in contemporary systems to demonstrate the commitment to student services. In addition, Sunrise’s capability for social media interaction will enable universities to provide support via channels such as Twitter and Facebook, which are rapidly becoming the communication channel of choice for students.

    “For many students Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have replaced more traditional methods of communication such as email and telephone.” Says Geoff Rees, “our platform, Sostenuto, allows universities to embrace this shift in the use of technology, extending the Service Desk to achieve greater reach and adoption of services. For example, on average students have four different devices with which they may connect to the network. They expect to be able to ask for support from any of those devices and Service Desks need to be able to provide it.”

    Sunrise allows Service Desks to proactively listen to social media channels, such as Twitter, for comments based on #hashtags, keywords, phrases or public messages sent from, or between specific users. Such automated searches provide important early warnings of potential customer service issues, even before they are communicated formally to the Service Desk.

    At any point in the processing of a Service Request or Incident, the Service Desk can automatically send messages via their favoured social media channels informing the customer of progress so far. Service teams can then proactively broadcast the status of specific identified problems via social media channels.

    Sunrise is in discussion with a number of other universities that are seeking to raise their standards of student support and join up their support and communication processes.

    Total Solution to school hygiene enhances disabled student life

    clos-o-mat

    clos-o-mat

    Installing a hygiene room in an educational environment is proving to have positive benefits, in the popularity of the faculty and the quality of pastoral care.

    Leading disabled toileting solutions provider Clos-o-Mat is seeing a growing number of schools utilizing its expertise for the supply and installation of a hygiene room, which is recommended as good practice under the Department for Education’s BB102. And several of those that have already installed such a facility are reporting back that they are seeing a growth in pupil and student requests to attend the establishment.

    “Latest statistics reveal that the number of disabled children has increased by 62% in the past 25 years, to almost 800,000. Some 150,000 (equivalent to 60%) of statemented children are now in mainstream schooling. Over 20,000 students have a disability – almost 6% of the student population. Legally, Statutory Instrument No 2 specifies the number of toilets that pupils MUST have, and lays down a minimum of 1 toilet for every 20 pupils over the age of 5, and the number of toilet facilities must be adequate having regard to age, gender, and any special requirements,” explains Robin Tuffley, Cllos-o-Mat marketing manager.

    “We are unique in being able to offer valid design advice, then supply, install, commission, and then service all the equipment for a hygiene room- whether a basic one with a mobile hoist, conventional WC, fixed changing bench and fixed basin, through to a comprehensive room with ceiling track hoist, height adjustable changing bench and basin, and a Clos-o-Mat ‘wash and dry’ toilet.” 

    Bishop David Brown School in Woking, and Wakefield College are just two seeing the benefits after using Clos-o-Mat to provide their hygiene rooms.  

    Richard Charles, Bishop David Brown’s business manager, explained, “We are only a small school with some 520 pupils. We have a new student who is a wheelchair user, and upgraded the accessible toilet to enable them to participate as fully as possible in school life. Because we’ve installed the equipment, we already have other disabled students coming next year!”  

    A spokesperson for Wakefield College further added, “We are showing a 1% increase a year in the number of learners who declared a disability. Our inclusive accommodation strategy aims to ensure that physical access is a major priority in all new developments. The provision of the hygiene rooms has been a major benefit to the students: the rooms are used every hour of every College day!”

    Clos-o-Mat ( www.clos-o-mat.com)is the UK’s largest supplier and manufacturer of disabled toileting equipment. Its Clos-o-Mat Palma Vita ‘wash and dry’ toilet is the only one of its kind manufactured in the UK; since the concept was first introduced 50 years ago, over 40,000 have been installed, some of which are still in daily use 30 years after first being fitted.

    The European Commission eGovernment Benchmark: Action required to meet commitments for digital transformation of public services

    Delivering on the European Advantage ‘How European governments can and should benefit from innovative public services’ reveals an environment of ‘quantity over quality’

    Paris, May 28, 2014 – The European Commission released today the 11th Benchmark Measurement of European eGovernment Services, carried out by Capgemini Group, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, and its partners. The study, Delivering on the European Advantage ‘How European governments can and should benefit from innovative public services’, provides insight on where Europe is on ICT delivery and uptake whilst delivering a call to action going forward. This year marks Capgemini’s ongoing partnership with the European Commission, after recently being awarded the mandate to deliver eGovernment benchmarking insights for a further four years.

    The report, which surveyed over 28,000 citizens from across the EU member states, reveals an environment of ‘quantity over quality’ – whilst government online services are now widely in place, usage of them has slowed due to several challenges including ease of access, speed of use and lack of transparency of the service delivery process. The report offers insight into how services can be made ‘twice as good, in half the time, for half as much’, and can stimulate public service providers to respond faster and smarter.e Government Benchmark_22May 2014_Infographic_page_001

    This year a focus of the report was on uncovering benchmarks against four key pillars and how Europe needs to digitally transform in order to predict new models of public delivery, foster innovation and leverage these services and the companies that deliver them internationally, for local value and international economic advantage. As the eGov action plan concludes in 2015, there are many areas where Europe needs to adapt in order to achieve predicted targets. Key findings from the report highlight progress and gaps in the following four areas:

    1)  User Centricity – The indicator for online usability measures the relevant aspects of the quality of the user experience, by assessing usability (support, help, feedback functionalities), ease of use and speed of use. Although usability features are widely present on government websites (78%), this hides the fact that the user’s experience, within the customer journey, is less favorable: the evaluation of ease and speed of use comes out 20 percentage points lower (at 58%).

    2) Transparency – Transparency refers to elements of service delivery in which crucial information any user needs when dealing with public administration: Informing if an application has been received through to where the application stands in the entire process are all factors. The transparency benchmark is scored at only 48%, and this is due mainly to the insufficient information provided for users during the delivery of eGovernment services: the transparency level is slightly higher for the provision of institutional information about the administrations and of personal data related with the services. However, there is still a long way to go if governments want fully open and transparent services and organizations.

    3)  Cross Border Mobility – Mobility for businesses and citizens implies seamless services, without any burdensome procedures when crossing borders within the EU. Cross-border mobility is also quite low with a benchmark at 49%: the range of services offered to support citizens’ mobility within the EU is very limited, especially as regards transactional services. This is shown by the very large gap between the benchmark of online availability of domestic services and that of cross-border services (a full 30%). It shows that most countries are still not considering cross-border online services a worthwhile investment.

    4)    Key Enablers – key enablers and innovative technical approaches (Cloud, IPv6, SOA, big data, mobile and social media) are vitally important to fully exploit the potential of ICT; to do ‘more with less’. The key enablers benchmark clocks in at 49%, but the level of implementation of the 5 technology tools measured varies considerably, from the 35% score of eSafe to the 62% of eID. The enablers were measured in connection with the delivery of services.  Even the most widely implemented of them, eID, is still far from full deployment.

    Citizens expect the public sector to adapt and adopt

    With technology pervading every avenue of daily lives, expectations towards government performance and quality of services is growing. Citizens now see what is possible in the private sector and await the public sector to adapt and adopt. From the commercial sector citizens now experience user friendly, intuitive, online services that work and as such now expect this of Government services. And on those occasions where citizens don’t, they generally come with supportive customer service, and are increasingly responsive to social media feedback. The commercial world starts service design from the customer’s end. It is harder to do so with public services; it is however just as important.

    This gap between citizens’ satisfaction of commercial services compared to public services is significant. For example citizens are significantly more satisfied by the services provided by banks (satisfaction 8.5 out of 10) than for regular public services (satisfaction 6.5 out of 10). There is also a worrying inverse relationship between interaction and satisfaction for public services: the more interaction with government is required, the lower satisfaction results. This also results in lower usage for each of these services.

    Additionally, limited collaboration between government organizations is also a barrier for full online, seamless service provision. It prevents governments and citizens from reaping the benefits of digitization of government services. As long as governments do not collaborate closely, more money will be spent on the development of the same solutions, solutions will not be interoperable and information cannot be easily exchanged between government organizations.

    “With wider services now in place, governments across Europe should now focus on innovating to streamline customer communications with citizens to increase satisfaction and close the gap on expectations,” comments Dinand Tinholt, Vice President and EU Account Executive at Capgemini. “The public sector could innovate further by modelling elements of user-centricity from the commercial sector. However, this needs to be balanced with increased transparency around what citizen data is being used for, whilst collaborating more effectively between organizations.”

    Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda commented “It is great news that governments are making on-line public services more user-friendly, but we are still not enticing citizens to engage on-line with public administrations as they would with their bank or other digital service providers.  Europe’s citizens and businesses are already thinking digital and living digital. Now it’s time for governments to be digital and more transparent in the service delivery, and this can be achieved by opening up their data, processes and services. There is no need to hesitate, governments can provide better services at less cost, create jobs and growth opportunities, and increase accountability and trust.”

    The report insights map benchmarks against the eGov action plan that the European Commission and Member States adopted in 2011 which is due for completion in 2015. The results build from a variety research data, using different methods, with collaboration from Member States. With Europe’s vision of both the eGov action plan towards 2015 and Horizon 2020 in mind and an assessment of the current performance of the member states, action needs to be taken that clearly shows how the region must adapt and change, to exploit the untapped potential of our European advantage.

    To access the full report, please go to www.capgemini.com/egov-benchmark

    For more information about the EU’s digital agenda, please go to

    ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/

    Site for Doncaster’s potential HS2 rail college revealed

    Rail College proposed site

    Rail College proposed site

    An artist impression of the potential HS2 rail college on the site at Lakeside - created by Bond Bryan Architects

    An artist impression of the potential HS2 rail college on the site at Lakeside – created by Bond Bryan Architects

    The location of the potential HS2 rail college in Doncaster has been revealed.

    The 5.1 acre site at Doncaster’s Lakeside, would see the campus located close to the town centre, motorway network and Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield.

    The green field site, which already has outline planning permission in place, is on the doorstep of a number of major rail and engineering employers including DB Schenker, Volker Rail and Unipart. Hitachi who recently announced plans to take possession of a site at Doncaster Carr to build a £70m maintenance depot creating 160 jobs will also be close by.

    Peter Dale, Director of Regeneration and Environment, said: “The Lakeside Campus site is a prime location. It is in the heart of Doncaster and offers easy access to road, rail and air links.

    “Doncaster enjoys a rich rail heritage and this HS2 rail college would be a rocket boost for our already expanding rail and engineering sector. This ‘ready to go’ site should be an attractive proposition to the Government who by choosing Doncaster would help rebalance the national economy by spreading the benefit of the planned HS2.”

    The bid to bring the college to Doncaster was recently submitted to Government by the private sector led Centre for Rail And Technical Excellence (CREATE), coordinated by Doncaster Council and supported by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, business leaders and partners across the region.

    The HS2 rail college will be a research and teaching centre focussed on developing world class engineering skills. It will help businesses develop and grow, offer excellent training for local people, deliver quality jobs and drive economic growth.

    People and businesses are being encouraged to join the ‘back the bid’ campaign at: www.businessdoncaster.com

    Capita: We care what people say

    Salford Council’s service

    Salford City Council exists to serve its residents and provides a comprehensive range of services and facilities.

    The council’s mission statement is ‘’to create the best possible quality of life for the people of Salford’’.

    Many of its services are high profile and include aspects of education, social services and health, land use planning, libraries, physical communications and community safety.

    Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissions high quality services to enable their population to live longer healthier lives.

    Salford City Council and Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (formerly Primary Care Trust) has provided a language service within the community since1995, when approximately seven languages were spoken across the city.

    Since 1995, the number of languages spoken in Salford has increased significantly, and there are now approximately 40 languages spoken across the city.

    Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) has provided language services to Salford City Council and Salford CCG since 2009. In 2012, the council undertook a procurement process and we now provide services as part of the Shared Business Service Framework.

    ‘’Capita Translation and Interpreting enables us to effectively undertake our work by increasing the number of people accessing and receiving our services in Salford’’.

    Deborah Siddique
    Principal Officer – Commissioning
    Salford City Council

    The services Capita provide include:
     
    Interpreting
    Face to face
    Telephone

    Translation
    Information leaflets

    Capita TI’s translation and interpreting service has enabled Salford City Council and Salford CCG to ensure the non-English speaking people of Salford are aware of council and the health care services and treatment options available to them.

    This form of effective communication has led to increased access amongst the non-English speaking communities of Salford to services they were not previously aware of.

    Council services

    Over the past four years, the provision of language services provided by Capita TI has assisted Salford City Council in enabling the delivery of a wide range of services to their customers including:

    Adult social care
    Assessments
    Welfare rights
    Safeguarding vulnerable adults
    Children’s services
    Child protection
    Foster placements
    Housing services
    School & education services
    Environmental & community safety services
    Health improvement
    Public health

    Healthcare services

    An example of the effectiveness of our service has been the production of information for key healthcare providers, and its dissemination by our Relationship Manager. This approach led to a significant increase in the uptake of the dental services provided by Salford CCG.

    We are proud that 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.
     
    Service delivery

    The service we have provided is highly responsive, flexible and tailored to the specific needs of our client.

    Our interpreters attend assignments at a time and location specified by the council or health professional and they also attend home visits and residential care visits for the purpose of Home Assessments.

    On one occasion, one of our interpreters attended a funeral in order for a non-English speaking family member to feel involved and part of the service.

    Whenever possible, we allocate the same interpreter to attend a number of appointments for the same   non-English speaking person. This ensures consistency and encourages the non-English speaker to feel as comfortable as possible. It also enables the non-English speaker to gain confidence regarding the council’s communication process.

    Our dedicated Relationship Manager is the point of contact regarding day to day operations, queries, concerns, training, regular face to face meetings and performance reviews.

    Relationship Managers provide regular updates for the council and CCG regarding booking requests, they also issue monthly management information and handle ad-hoc management information requirements such as Freedom of Information requests.

    Quarterly management reviews are held in order to discuss overall satisfaction of service and continuous improvement.

    Outlined above are examples of the positive outcomes it is possible to achieve, when organisations understand and work in partnership with each other.

    We care what people say, so why not contact us to discuss your translation and interpreting requirements on 0845 367 7000 or email publicserviceenquiries@capita-ti.com