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Peers launch first probe into lessons for public services from COVID-19

Reporter: Stuart Littleford – News

Peers have launched a new inquiry to ask what lessons for our public services can be learned from the coronavirus pandemic.

The House of Lords Select Committee on Public Services, set up to examine the transformation of public services to ensure that they are fit for the 21st century, will look into what the COVID-19 experience can tell us about their future role, priorities and shape.

The inquiry will focus on key areas including:

  • Integration of services;
  • Inequalities in access and outcome;
  • Relationships between local and national services; and
  • The role of civil society (private sector, charities, volunteers and community groups) during the pandemic.

Baroness Armstrong, chair of the committee, told GPSJ:

“COVID-19 has presented our public services with one of the gravest challenges in recent history, and we have seen heroic efforts from frontline staff to ensure our communities are supported during lockdown.

“However, the crisis has also highlighted some fundamental weaknesses in the design of public services, such as the lack of integration between health, social care and other services. The Committee will explore how the lessons from coronavirus can inform public service reform.” 

The pandemic has already encouraged radical thinking in some areas, such as the establishment of numerous community initiatives to support people during lockdown – schemes which have seen collaboration across the voluntary sector, NHS and social care providers, police; local authorities and community services to ensure that the needs of local communities are met.

The crisis has also demonstrated the ability of government to increase the capacity of public services quickly when necessary – as seen in the NHS.

Baroness Armstrong added: “The pandemic has shown what’s possible, but how can government and leaders ensure that the transformation seen in some services remain once the crisis is over?”

The committee is due to hold its first public evidence session on 3 June.

The committee’s Call for Evidence is here.

Covid fighting UK innovation gains export success

ProGuard+ arriving in Spain

Reporter: Allan Roach Sponsored

Evolve Scientific Products (ESP) based in Chesterfield has announced an international order for its ProGuard+ multi-surface cleaner. A surface cleaner that provides long-lasting effective protection against the Covid-19 virus that could make moving towards an end of lockdown safer and securer for everybody, particularly those in key professions.

Mark Nolan, Director of ESP told GPSJ: “We are so proud of ProGuard+, a cleaning agent developed over the last 30 years here in the UK. Originally the product was designed to act as an anti-mold agent, but with technological developments and refinements it’s now recognised as an eco-friendly multi-surface cleaner that kills then protects against bacterial infections and germs. ProGuard+ attacks surface biofilms then coats the area with a positive electrostatic charge that repels any nasties for up to 4 weeks.”

“The product can be used as a general cleaner on any surface but also due to its formulation it can be used on areas such as door handles, banisters, lift buttons, and general touchpoints by just spraying and leaving. The coating wraps itself around such points giving long-lasting protection. Other such toxic disinfectants become obsolete once dry allowing infections to re-contaminate and spread.

ProGuard+

Available in a premixed 750ml Spray, Concentrate and Santising wipes Pro Guard offers a great cost-effective way to not only clean but protect areas for hours, even weeks. This is proving to be a great success in hotels, nursing homes, public transport and general meeting areas. ProGuard+ is also a deodorizer leaving a fresh scent behind from its nontoxic formula.

“We are of course keen that this product is used to help the UK’s fight against the virus, but currently most of our orders are for export, particularly Spain, Eastern Europe and the United States. This is good for the UK economy during this shutdown but it would be nice to have more interest here in Britain,” he continued.

ProGuard+ uses a unique electrostatic cleaning technology that has been developed by UK scientists over the last 30 years to provide the highest level of long-term protection that no other SINGLE product can deliver. Safe to humans and animals, plant-based, non-toxic, non-corrosive and biodegradable ecologically sanitises to hospital-grade standards. Neutralises odours without leaving residual chemical smells. Suitable for food preparation areas and taint free. It removes biofilm formation on 99% of surfaces.

Tested to: ISO9001, ISO13485, EN1276 (MEDICAL GRADE)

“ProGuard+ A revolutionary all-purpose cleaner that replaces the need for multiple conventional sanitisers, disinfectants, enzymes, bleaches and biocides!”

For further information please visit: www.evolve-sp.com

Or email: info@evolve-sp.com

Health and Wellbeing: Why it’s good to talk during the Coronavirus pandemic

Reporter: Graham Jarvis, Freelance Business and Technology Journalist for GPSJ – News

There is nothing better than being able to walk out of the house to exercise in the park, the countryside or even to stroll by the sea. Just the ability to go outside gives us a new sense of perspective, and enables us to maintain our health and wellbeing.

Even now that lockdowns are being eased in several countries around the world, including to some degree in the UK, social-distancing can still be a lonely experience. We are disconnected from the friends and family that don’t live in our home. People are taking precautions to be more guarded and are still fearful that they could become infected with Covid-19. When you look around, you can see the concerned expressions on people’s faces, and the reality is that our ‘new normal’ is unsettling.

Come together

People need to talk to family and friends, to meet new people, to organise support for our individual and collective health and wellbeing. This brings to the forefront a key message: A shared crisis, such as a pandemic, is potentially a shared opportunity to use technology and online community apps to connect. After all, as social-beings we need connection and contact with other people at work, at home and to engage socially.

Leepse is the new community app which was created to provide users the opportunity to engage and meet like-minded people, during these social-distancing times. Just having a connection with others can make a huge difference to our self-esteem, our ability to feel loved and valued and to our competence in day-to-day life.

Community matters

Gabriel Mulko, co-founder of Leepse, adds: Social-distancing and self-isolation hurt, a lot. We realise we can’t go to the office to work, we can’t play football, and in some countries we haven’t been able to go  for a run or hang out in the park. Prior to the lockdown, we would socialise with people we enjoy and each interaction supported our health and well-being.

Dramatic rise in suicides: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8320473/Suicides-England-Wales-rise-deeply-concerning-11-cent-4-620-deaths-2019.html

We’ve seen that the most vulnerable are hit the hardest. The elderly, or less tech-savvy population group aren’t using social platforms, which only isolates them even more. Great things come from hard times, and we hope that tech executives will work towards building technology adapted to these groups, much as Leepse is doing for all ages.”

Lockdowns take away the key thing that most of us take for granted, albeit for the greater good: our freedom to go where we want, when we want and to do what we want without having to justify it. Mulko believes that’s what hurts people the most, sometimes without them knowing it.  He adds: “Would they have gone out a lot more if it wasn’t restricted? Maybe, maybe not. But the mere fact that we haven’t had that option and some people still don’t, is overwhelming.”

The loneliness that many people are feeling, including young singletons who can socialise or date, as Mulko suggests, exacerbate our everyday issues. “Socialising with people makes us forget about our struggles, our fears and our insecurities. Communing with others allows us the freedom to stop looking into ourselves”, he explains.

Uncertainty’s impact

Mulko is right to underline that as humans, we often hate uncertainty. Some people can cope with it and even thrive with it, but there are many of us who can’t, for whatever reason, tolerate it – including those on job furlough schemes, ironically designed to protect employment, but suggest to employees that they could still lose their job.

You only have to look at the airline industry, with companies such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, to realise that the economic impact of lockdown is going to be potentially quite severe. British Airways is set to cut around 12,000 jobs, and Virgin Atlantic is to cut at least 3,000 jobs. So, the potential issues that people are facing will inevitably impact their health and wellbeing in some way, shape or form.

Mulko adds: “Humans love to know everything about anything. Is it going to be sunny tomorrow? Are we going to Uncle Joe’s birthday party Saturday? Planning helps to make most people feel comfortable and relaxed. While we can survive not knowing when we’ll see Uncle Joe, we can’t survive not knowing when our next holiday is.” He says a sizeable number of people dislike their jobs to a certain extent, and yet they’re still working hard every day, every week, of every year. But this is to bring them closer to the goal of working towards holidays and vacations, a time for rest, relaxation and time with family and friends.”

At the moment the uncertainty is about whether travel and tourism, and the impact on the hospitality industry, will be able to return to full operations this year. This brings about many unanswered questions. Will people have to self-quarantine once they return home? Will they need to have a Covid-19 test hours before they fly to their destination? These restrictions will further reduce the amount of people taking holidays this year, leading to financial stress about whether or not they will be able to get their money refunded and the cost to wellbeing and health long term.

Enabling conversations

While apps alone won’t solve these issues, they can enable people to talk through these issues by using them – perhaps even to find solutions or a common ground to boost morale. Mulko explains: “Socially speaking, before Covid-19, people were combining online and offline interactions. With the lockdown, the online interactions are filling the communication gap to make up for the lack of physical contact and real-life interactions. Based on user activity, we can tell apps and online communities like Leepse are doing a great job of connecting people across a variety of topics. We also see an increase in public figures providing content and pushing existing online communities for support.

For International Nurses’ Day on 12th May 2020, members of the British Royal Family, including HM Queen Elizabeth, made calls to nurses to thank them, and shared a video of the event. The Queen, who made her first public broadcast on wireless in 1940, broke ground once more at the age of 94 by allowing , as The Telegraph put it, “the first broadcast of audio from an all-family video call to thank nurses for their very important work.” It was the first Zoom engagement by the Royals as a team. The video keeps the moments shared available for posterity, while bringing cheer during the pandemic.

“The lockdown and the self-isolating effects are an opportunity for us, as app creators, to build strong online communities that can act as a safety net during difficult times. The trend we’re seeing is that the apps that are captivating people’s attention are the entertaining ones. Yes, online therapies are also seeing an increase in usage, but the real winners are the ones providing a moment of escape from all the trauma. People need to laugh, relax and think of talk about anything else, but COVID-19.”

Sense of belonging

Mulko also reminds us that we’re in this pandemic together. So we can help each other with the support of online communities to get through it. With apps such as Leepse, he suggests we can “feel closer to people who before were strangers to us. For the first time ever, we have a common shared experience with every human being on this planet.” What is key to him is that communities provide a sense of belonging, which is why Leepse communities are personalised to give users a feeling that they’re in a safe space and amongst peers – people that could potentially become offline friends too, when the crisis is over.

“We give Leepse users an opportunity to meet people they could have met if it wasn’t for the COVID-19. Users are now able to socialise with new people who will make their lives more engaged, and who they could meet when the crisis is over, at a distance of course” he explains, before adding:

“We’re given an opportunity to do all the things we always wanted to do, guilt-free: Reading books you’ve been stacking on the shelf, learning a language you’ve always wanted to learn, being watch the TV shows you’ve always wanted to watch, and those long baths that you never had time for before. This is how you make the lockdown as enjoyable as possible.”

People can also survive the pandemic, lockdown, self-isolation and enforced quarantine by remembering it’s good to talk to new people, and the opportunities haven’t ended because of Covid-19, but are showcasing new ways to engage and connect online.

Talking hasn’t changed

Perhaps this is why Mulko believes that the crisis hasn’t changed much some aspects of our lives: “There is not a single thing that is good to do in lockdown that is not good to do when we aren’t. When you read newspaper headlines and articles, it sounds like the pandemic has changed the world, but it’s simply wrong.

It’s always been good practice to exercise at home, to go for a walk, to talk about your struggles, to connect with like-minded people.” For these reasons it’s good to talk to people during the Covid-19 pandemic – online and offline where possible within social distancing rules. Talking and connecting is more important than ever to preserve and promote health and wellbeing and online supportive communities offer this ability to everyone isolated and social-distancing during this pandemic.

Universal Partners FX Working for Free to Help Vital Suppliers During COVID-19

Reporter: Allan Roach – Sponsored

Universal Partners FX (UPFX) is delivering foreign exchange services, at zero profit to the company, to all organisations bringing in vital COVID-19 equipment. This service is listed by The Crown Commercial Service, the official procurement body. The founders of UPFX, Dhaval Patel and Oliver Carson, introduced the extraordinary measure to give practical support during the current crisis. They are believed to be the only FX company offering this service.

UPFX has created a special team, who prioritises COVID-19 payments. No fees are added to these transfers and it can mean extending credit limits to facilitate faster transactions.

Many UPFX clients were protected by forward contracts coming into the lockdown, meaning they had certainty over the rates they will pay during this time of high volatility. However, UPFX could see that some were struggling, and this was delaying vital supplies reaching hospitals.

Dhaval Patel, co-Founder and Director of UPFX, explained; “We could see that foreign exchange issues were slowing down the procurement process. Those delays meant that medical teams weren’t getting vital supplies in time (including PPE and hand sanitiser), which could lead to loss of life. 

In addition, with sterling rates moving over 10% in a short space of time, many UK businesses saw increased costs on imports. By forward buying, our clients saved that 10% and that value translated to more vital supplies being available to those on the front-line.”

Pai Skincare, a natural and ethical cosmetics company, created a hand sanitiser especially for coronavirus and have donated 8,000 units, so far, to schools. UPFX converted $150,000 and EUR 170,000 for them in March.

Sarah Brown, the Founder of Pai Skincare explained; “We are a global business. There has been so much volatility in the markets with Brexit and now Covid-19. Universal Partners has kindly provided their service at cost during the Covid-19 crisis, as we are providing essential items related to Covid-19.”

JAG UFS, a logistics solutions company, has brought in 10 x 747 aircrafts carrying PPE (including 10 million face masks in each aircraft) to supply NHS Scotland & Wales.

UPFX has been forward buying on $7million for supplier payments.

Gary Wilcox, the CEO of JAG UFS commented; “UPFFX has been instrumental in the PPE deliveries, allowing us to forward buy on currency. During so much uncertainty, they have really added value to our business and to the NHS in Scotland and Wales.”

UPFX has also donated care packages to local hospitals. These include additional hygiene supplies and snacks.

UPFX is renowned for their extraordinary growth. Founded in 2017, they achieved a turnover of £113m during their first year. In 2019 their turnover had grown to £945 million with £2.8 million profit

Oliver Carson, the co-founder of UPFX concluded: “We’ve been extraordinarily successful, and it was time to give back. This virus has affected all our lives, we’re pleased to be able to play our part in the work to fight it.”

Knowsley Council announces extra funding to support under pressure Adult Social Care system

Reporter: Stuart Littleford News

As a result of the increasing pressures being placed on the Adult Social Care system as a result of COVID-19, Knowsley Council has allocated funding and agreed system changes to enhance its support for care providers across the Borough.

These enhancements recognise the increasing demand on services, higher than usual staff absences amongst care providers due to COVID-19 and the additional costs being incurred across the entire system.  The Council is extremely grateful for the support of frontline social care staff and wants to ensure that those working in this sector feel as valued as they possibly can at this time.

Councillor Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council’s Health and Social Care Cabinet Member for commented: “Care workers really are the unsung heroes of the health and social care world.  They work incredibly hard to provide important care and support for our residents when they need it most.  The pressure on the system currently is incredible and organisations and individuals really are struggling in the face of the significant challenges arising from COVID-19.

“We have been working closely with our care providers to understand their challenges and do what we possibly can to support them during this difficult time.  This is why we have today announced some practical and meaningful changes which we hope will help providers to continue to deliver such a valuable service.  We also want all workers within this sector know just how much their contribution is valued.”

The Council has announced that it will:

  • Increase payments permanently by 7% to all domiciliary care providers – to ensure that workers across the private care sector are paid at least the National Living Wage rate
  • Increase payments by 5% to all providers until the end of June 2020 (with the option to extend by a further three months if the crisis continues)
  • Make further payments to all providers to meet the costs of sickness absence across their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Make changes to the payments system in order to get money to providers even more quickly

The Council is hopeful that these changes, which will be implemented with immediate effect, will provide crucial additional support for a system that is already under significant pressure.  The cost of these measures is expected to be in the region of £2.4 million in 2020/21.

Councillor Donnelly added: “COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge for us all. There is no magic wand to wave and we will be dependent on Government support to help us to meet these costs, but there is a real will to do what we can in Knowsley to look after those who most need our help.  And if that means ensuring the people and organisations delivering some of that care have some more support practically and financially then we will do what it takes to do just that.”

Nottingham launches COVID-19 fundraising appeal

VC Professor Shearer West

Reporter: Stuart Littleford News

An online fundraising appeal to support coronavirus (COVID-19) research and ease student hardship has been launched by the University of Nottingham.

The University is at the forefront of global efforts to understand and control the coronavirus pandemic, with a multidisciplinary team working to find the best vaccine to combat COVID-19, discovering vital new treatments and protecting the world against future outbreaks that could save many thousands of lives.

The University is also supporting students at home, in the EU and internationally, for many of which the coronavirus pandemic has created overwhelming hardship.

Professor Shearer West, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham told Government & Public Sector Journal: “The world has dramatically changed for us all in such a short period of time. I am incredibly proud of the many ways our community is leading the fight against COVID-19.

“Our talented researchers are undertaking essential work to protect us against future outbreaks and develop new treatments to care for those suffering from the disease. Meanwhile our Student Services team is providing urgent support to help ensure the students hit hardest by the financial impact of the pandemic can continue their studies.

“Nottingham is in a unique position to help tackle the pandemic, but access to flexible funding is essential.”

Annually the University allocates over £300,000 to support students through times of hardship and crisis, but is already seeing unprecedented need. More than 200 students have so far applied for emergency financial assistance directly as a result of the pandemic, with 60 requests for help based on anticipated hardship which cannot be supported at this time.

Professor Jonathan Ball is the Director of the University’s Centre for Research on Global Virus Infections.

Professor Jonathan Ball

He said: “We bring together virologists across veterinary and human virology. The University of Nottingham has a leading vet school and a leading medical school – this rare combination allows us to fully understand the dynamic interplay between animal and humans that allows deadly spill over events like the coronavirus outbreak to occur.

“Working with active clinicians means our ideas and inventions can be rapidly progressed to help prevent and treat current and future virus outbreaks.”

Donations of all sizes will have an immediate impact on the University’s response to the crisis, filling gaps in funding to ensure that clinical trials can continue, that supply lines keep moving, and that researchers are able to work at both speed and scale.

Find out more and donate by visiting the University of Nottingham’s COVID-19 research effort fundraising page.

Further information about the work being undertaken across the University can be found on the University’s Response to the Coronavirus webpages

Innovative Covid-19 service tackles the pathogen and the fear

Reporter: Stacy ClarkeAdvertorial

A leading emergency soft FM specialist has launched a disinfection and testing service that aims to deliver industry-leading Covid-19 protection and help employers reduce the anxiety of staff and clients as workplaces reopen after lockdown.

The three-step process, developed by SafeGroup Services Ltd, involves a premises deep clean and a revolutionary Covid-19 (Coronavirus) treat and protect service. It also includes, for the first time, Covid-19 testing of treated surfaces to allay the predicted fears of staff and customers as they return to the workplace.

The service is being taken up by organisations and companies across the public and private sectors, including schools and care providers, where a wide range of stakeholders, some in high risk groups, need assurance that all efforts are being made to make premises safe.

Cygnet Healthcare, which provides mental health care, is one customer. Regional Facilities Manager Craig Keates said: “Our environments are high risk. SafeGroup provides the best in market disinfection services that we need 24/7 and our staff and clients have full peace of mind.”

Schools see the service as a way to underpin other measures to make classrooms Covid-19-secure, such as social distancing, by greatly reducing the risk of transmission from person to surface to person, while tackling the concerns of parents, pupils and teachers.

SafeGroup Chief Executive Office Steve Broughton said: “Our Covid-19 Back to Business Clean and Safe service is a comprehensive cleaning and disinfection response to the major challenges facing businesses as they leave lockdown and reopen their premises.

“They recognise they have a duty of care to ensure their workplaces are safe and clean. They are having to address the very real wellbeing and mental health concerns of their employees and customers.

“They also want their workplace to have long-term protection against Covid-19 so staff and customers have peace of mind over the weeks to come. Our Back to Business Clean and Safe service delivers all three.

“Businesses and FM providers alike know they don’t have the in-house expertise, technical capability or capacity to carry out disinfection to the standard customers, staff and regulators expect, which is why interest in our new service has been intense.”

During the pandemic, SafeGroup has provided Covid-19 decontamination services for a wide range of businesses, including facilities management providers, hospitals, care homes, schools and manufacturers.

One of them is London Stansted Airport. Nick Henderson, the airport’s Business Continuity and Resilience Manager, said: “We needed to respond quickly to reassure passengers and staff that decisive action was being taken on their behalf. SafeGroup’s decontamination service has been an important component of our strategy.”

The new Back to Business Safe and Clean service is tailored to deliver a complete package of technically advanced cleaning and disinfection services to support businesses as the government seeks to phases out the Covid-19 lockdown.

Step 1 – Deep Clean: a full and thorough mechanical clean of premises using professional techniques and chemical products to create a clean and fresh workspace. Staff and employer organisations, including the CIPD, have emphasised the need to carry out deep cleans as part of a Covid-19 return to workplace strategy.

Step 2 – Treat and Protect: SafeGroup is treating premises with a revolutionary broad spectrum anti-microbial chemical treatment proven to be greater than 99.99% effective against Covid-19 and which provides surface protection against the virus for up to 30 days. It is delivered as an microfine electrostatic spray, maximising coverage.

Step 3 – Testing: SafeGroup will collect multiple test samples and arrange to have them analysed for Covid-19 at a scientific laboratory, with results returned within 72 hours. The testing process is the same as the one used by Public Health England.

All three elements will be carried out to an exemplar standard, including the use of full microbiological PPE where necessary.

SafeGroup Strategic Business Director Chris Macdonald said: “Covid-19 has reframed the response to workplace cleanliness. Our discussions with businesses tell us that they see making sure employees having confidence in workplace hygiene standards as being a critical priority as the Covid-19 lockdown is phased out.

“This is a key reason why we’re offering the Covid-19 testing service and why it has been enthusiastically welcomed by customers. It gives businesses scientific evidence that workplaces are Covid-19-free. Combined with the long-lasting effectiveness of our disinfection treatment, staff can be confident everything is being done to keep them safe.”

SafeGroup expects its Back to Business Clean and Safe service to be particularly attractive to business services providers, like banks and insurance companies, operating large office spaces, as well as government agencies and retailers.

The service is also ideal for service organisations that have been working hard to protect against Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, including hospitals, care homes emergency services and transport providers.

For more information, contact SafeGroup: backtobusiness@thesafegroup.co.uk

Tel: 0800 668 1268. www.thesafegroup.co.uk.

Are you ready for the Cloud?

Reporter: Allan Roach Advertorial

Over ninety-two percent of midsize businesses use at least one cloud-based application. And the majority of enterprises expect at least half of their management infrastructure to be cloud-based. Cloud-managed networking, often provided “as-a-service,” is rapidly growing in popularity.

What is cloud-managed networking?

Cloud-managed networking is commonly used when referring to the ability to manage Wi-Fi, wired and SD-WAN network infrastructure as a cloud-based service. This service is typically hosted in the cloud by a 3rd party as a subscription-based purchase model.

An immediate benefit is the cost and time savings achieved by eliminating the need for hardware and the resources needed to host traditional on-premises services. And because there’s virtually no ramp-up time, cloud-based solutions provide significant time-to-market and time-to-value that help businesses achieve a competitive advantage. These same benefits apply to managing a network infrastructure. Cloud-managed networking, which refers to the ability to manage network hardware and software using the SaaS model, is also increasing in popularity. In fact, Gartner research states that the adoption of cloud-managed networking is expected to double by the end of 2023.

Here, we highlight the key benefits of cloud-managed networking:

  •  Centralized Visibility & Control – a single location for Wi-Fi, wired, and WAN networks, devices and clients
  •  24/7 Anywhere Access – perform management, monitoring and control from any device at any time
  •  Stable & Secure Platform – avoid legacy maintenance and redundant configurations to ensure uptime
  •  Significant Resource Savings – over deploying and managing appliance based on-premises solutions

Presented by Aruba and European Electronique.
To learn more, please visit: 
cloud-managed-networking.com/ee/

KNIGHTHOOD FOR COLONEL TOM MOORE

Colonel Tom Moore (left) with General Mark Carleton-Smith, CGS – (photo courtesy of the MoD)

Reporter: Stuart Littleford – News

Hero fundraiser Colonel Tom Moore is to be knighted, following a special nomination from the Prime Minister.

Col Tom, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month, is to be recognised for his extraordinary fundraising achievements after capturing the hearts of people across the country.

The Second World War veteran became a national hero after raising £33m for the NHS – a Guinness World Record – having walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden.

Following Col Tom’s amazing charity feats, the Prime Minister personally recommended Col Tom be exceptionally honoured to Her Majesty the Queen.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus.

“On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He’s a true national treasure.”

Col Tom’s honour, which has been graciously approved by Her Majesty the Queen, is due to be formally announced tomorrow.

The Government is also set to give further details on plans for how frontline heroes, who have been fighting coronavirus across the country, will be honoured in the coming months and how the public will be able to play their part.

A Government spokesperson told GPSJ:

“We know there is huge appetite to say thank you to all those supporting the nation during this emergency and doing incredible things day in, day out, up and down the country.

“We will ensure these unsung heroes are recognised in the right way, at the right time.”

How Digital Twins Can Transform Government and Society

Sascha Giese, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek, SolarWinds

Imagine being able to design a digital version of just about anything in the real world, infuse it with data, and use the knowledge it provides to create or improve its real-life physical entity. This is the concept behind “digital twins,” which first emerged in an industrial and manufacturing context. Since then, it has grown to describe the creation of digital replicas of physical devices, entities, people, processes, and places. By creating a digital twin, activities such as product development may be cheaper and quicker, and performance may improve.

The Endless Possibilities of Digital Twins 

Today’s digital twins are more than simulations—they use real-world, real-time data to power replicas. As such, the growth in technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) have helped accelerate their use. It’s an exciting concept, and as our capacity to build more powerful and complex IT systems has increased, so has the ability to develop digital twins for bigger and more complex use cases.

These use cases include testing aircraft engines and landing gear components using sensors on real-world equipment to generate the data necessary to make performance and durability predictions. In Formula 1, teams use digital twins to measure a huge range of informative data points to improve reliability, performance, and safety. Some organisations also use them to support their software development process, improving efficiency and reducing time to market. These uses all add up to a growing market; and according to Grand View Research, this market will be worth more than US$26 billion by 2025.

Applied to the government across the board, the scope is truly enormous. Imagine the possibilities, for instance, of creating a digital replica of an entire city and using this replica to plan transportation infrastructure. This is particularly important in the current era of rapid transportation technology changes and the need to change public policy to improve the environment over the long term. The emergence of autonomous vehicles, for example, is a transportation concept in which no one has much experience. As a result, digital twins are likely to become an important planning and prediction resource for government bodies needing to understand, predict, and maximise the benefits of this rapidly emerging trend.

As Gartner put it in its “Hype Cycle for Digital Government” report last year, “In the midterm, governments will use digital twins for automated command-and-control operations that will require fewer staff to respond to incidents. Over time, digital twins will be used to test scenarios related to policy and legislation. That’s when this technology becomes truly transformative.”

One day, we may see entire government functions and infrastructure created as digital twins. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and IoT will contribute to the development of more complex, accurate, and reliable digital twins. Some expert commentators predict digital twins will be used to understand, predict, and manage public health issues. In the longer term, we may all possess a digital twin of our own bodies, which will be used as a preventative healthcare tool and to help us recover from illness and injury. Clearly, the principle will be of interest to those with the job of funding and delivering public healthcare systems, which are already stretched thin by a growing and ageing population.

Don’t Run Before You Can Walk

Despite the potential of digital twins, there are various technology and process hurdles to overcome. Securing data from the real device to the network, from the network to the digital twin, and from the monitoring stations viewing this data is tremendously important. If the data can be viewed, copied, interrupted, or manipulated and reinserted surreptitiously, then serious problems are likely.

There’s also the issue of cost. Creating the infrastructure, whether done securely or not, represents a duplication of efforts and budget, which begs the question of whether the investment will reduce costs sufficiently to pay for the new twinning technology. Similarly, scaling digital twinning to a large environment—particularly when security is critical—requires a large and highly available network on which you can communicate reliably and store the twins’ data.

In practical terms, however, governments have been increasingly committed to the study, development, and use of digital twins. In the U.K., for example, organisations such as the National Infrastructure Commission have argued strongly in favour of creating a digital twin of our national infrastructure. This work was taken forward by the Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) and others with the objective of developing the National Digital Twin programme, which has since delivered an initial roadmap. Clearly, there’s much more to come, and future generations will work with and benefit from digital twins on a routine basis. It’s yet another exciting and transformative digital trend to watch closely.

www.solarwinds.com

Historic Immigration Bill returns to Parliament

The Bill takes back control of UK borders and paves the way for a new points-based immigration system

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020 introduced on 5 March will have its Second Reading in the House of Commons today (Monday 18 May)

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allpay Launches Event Driven Payment Analytics

Real-Time Payment Notifications provide real-time updates on card acceptance transactions

Payment specialist allpay limited, has launched Event Driven Payment Analytics. Real-time payment notifications now provide instant updates on card acceptance and payment transactions.

Teejay Townsend, card acceptance product manager allpay explains: “We are now offering this new feature to update organisations instantly on payments made

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New Book: Why Alec Wilson was thrown out of MI6 during the Second World War

New edition of a biography of Alexander Wilson throws new light on how and why the ‘Alec Wilson’ of the BBC series ‘Mrs Wilson’ was thrown out of MI6 during the Second World War.

The book reveals he could have been unfairly discredited because of mistakes by the country’s intelligence agencies.

Professor Tim Crook of

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Bridgeworks COVID-19 Offer supplied by the UK Crown Commercial Services Office

The race is on to find a vaccine to COVID-19 and big data analysis is at the forefront of data modelling trends of the pandemic.

The Crown Commercial Services office has selected Bridgeworks to offer the NHS and qualifying medical research organisations data management services over the next twelve months, at no cost.

Bridgeworks letter

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