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We come in peace to protect you from Covid-19

SafeGroup Covid-19 disinfection vehicle

Reporter: Allan Roach – News

It may look like an unequal contest between a space astronaut and an 23t excavator – but this is how lives are being protected in the construction and quarrying industries.

A decontamination technician from SafeGroup wearing a full body suit and powered respirator gives the excavator long-term protection against Covid-19.

A broad-spectrum electrostatic disinfectant spray destroys the Covid-19 pathogen and bonds strongly to surfaces it is applied to, providing protection against the virus for up to 30 days.

This is helping reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission via high touch points on construction and materials handling machinery, such as cab door handles and controls.

As the government phases out Covid-19 lockdown measures, SafeGroup, headquartered in London, is working with an ever-widening range of businesses needing to protect premises and equipment against Covid-19.

It is also the first emergency cleaning specialist in the UK to provide Covid-19 surface testing – with results returned by the scientific laboratory within 72 hours.

SafeGroup Chief Executive Officer Steve Broughton said: “The local lockdown in Leicester shows Covid-19 has not gone away. Construction contractors and plant operators need to remain vigilant to protect their teams.

“Data from the Office for National Statistics shows male construction workers have among the highest death rates from Covid-19 in the UK with 25.9 deaths per 100,000 males.

“Construction companies and plant operators are doing all they can to change working practices to maximise protection. But building sites are among the most difficult spaces to make Covid-19 secure.

“This is making the long-term protection against surface contamination that we can provide especially valuable. Regular decontamination work to remove pathogens like Covid-19 could become the new norm for years to come.

SafeGroup Covid-19 protection excavator

“Covid-19 is a gamechanger in terms of workplace hygiene. The expectations of employees and customers on personal safety aren’t being heightened they’re being rocketed through the roof, which is why we’re offering testing to prove workplaces is free if Covid-19.”

The excavator treated by SafeGroup was at a quarry in Telford, Shropshire operated by brick manufacturer Michelmersh. The emergency soft FM specialist is also working with construction companies having to find entirely new ways to work due to Covid-19.

Amy Harris, Group Health, Safety and Training Manager for Michelmersh, said: “We want to ensure a safe environment for staff and customers, along with peace of mind that the working environment is being regularly disinfected and protected.

“SafeGroup’s Covid-19 treatment service has become a key part of our strategy to maintain a low-risk environment and has been welcomed openly by all our staff.”

A poll of 431 onsite construction workers by Construction News magazine found that 40% thought too many people flout new worksite social distancing rules and nearly 40% considered it impossible to stay two metres apart on a building site.

www.thesafegroup.co.uk

In an Age of Digital Transformation, Security Is Now a Core Competency for IT Professionals

Sascha Giese, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek, SolarWinds

While cybersecurity isn’t an immediate casualty of increased complexity, the more digitally transformed public sector organisations become, the more vulnerabilities they face. Similarly, as global workforces have recently moved to their homes, IT teams across every industry have been faced with a rapid expansion of attack vectors. Between this rate of change, increasing complexity, and new devices needing to be secured—and in new ways—we continue to play a seemingly never-ending game of catch-up with the cybercriminals.

These challenges require some concerted changes and improvements throughout the sector. Top of the list throughout this extended work from home period, and the months to follow: security must enter the core competency set of every tech pro, whether as a self-managed skillset or outsourced to an MSP or MSSP. To start, tech pros must develop a complete understanding of the IT environment they support to uncover areas of risk and effectively convey priorities to senior management. That’s in contrast to the situation today where some organisations simply don’t understand the depth of cybersecurity risks they face, or worse still, even realise they may have a problem in the first place.

It may feel as though for every few steps taken towards digital transformation, a few steps are taken back when a cyberattack occurs. As it becomes the everyday norm, what changes can be made in organisations to keep progress on track and reduce targeted attacks?

Cybersecurity Solutions for Digital Transformation

Integrating security systems helps increase visibility into a network and helps organisations manage a wider attack surface. By using applications and devices with built-in security or, if developing an application, making robust security settings the default option, organisations can trust their users will be kept safe from malicious threats.

Teams should also undertake regular penetration testing to identify potential vulnerabilities and opportunities to improve security. While many use log management and signature-based deep packet inspection, attacks can still go undetected, so when using these kinds of solutions, ensure they come with an intelligence feed covering zero-day threats—these threats exploit an unknown computer security vulnerability, i.e., there’s no known security fix because developers aren’t aware of the problem.

Incorporating automation into security processes can help organisations continuously monitor for threats and expand cyber protections, even with limited personnel and resources. Good examples are tools designed to scan web applications from the outside to look for security vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, command injection, path traversal, and insecure server configuration. However, it’s not just the tools that are crucial, but the people too, and the communication between them. If information about a possible threat is detected, for example, it should be shared across the organisation, so everyone can take steps to minimise risk.

Upskilling and Training to Keep Everyone in the Know

The importance of cybersecurity skills and training should not be underestimated, because just as gaps can render organisations vulnerable to threats, on the flipside, good training can be an extremely effective supplement to technology-based security solutions. For instance, simple processes such as training staff to recognise emails from scammers can go a long way in avoiding a security breach, and this is an attractive option considering most public sector organisations operate on limited budgets.

For the tech specialists, security is already frequently front of mind. SolarWinds recently shared the findings of its IT Trends Report 2020: The Universal Language of IT, which revealed for 73% of public sector tech pros, at least 10% of their daily responsibilities already include IT security management. This is reflected in the way organisations prioritise their staffing needs, which are now being driven by security and compliance (55%), cloud computing (i.e., SaaS, IaaS, PaaS) (53%), and hybrid IT (37%). Only a collective 18% name emerging technologies—like artificial intelligence, edge, microservices, and containers—as the biggest influence on staffing needs.

At the same time, the top three areas of security skills organisations are prioritising for development include network security (49%), backup and recovery (35%), and security information and event management (SIEM) (29%). This makes sense when you consider organisations aren’t allocating their budget to emerging technologies—particularly as this year’s budgets are re-evaluated in the face of economic challenges. In the same study, nearly two-thirds (62%) indicated their organisation’s tech budgets allocate less than 25% of their spending to emerging technologies.

Technology professionals could, if possible, take advantage of any quiet times and prioritise their own training through upskilling, which would help to maintain good cybersecurity standards and keep digital transformation on track. In addition, it’s important the country’s public sector tech pros start to add a new organisational language to their realm of expertise—the language of business. In seeking a seat at the executive table, tech pros can put cybersecurity and digital transformation higher on the business agenda.

Outsourcing or Insourcing?

Maintaining a solid cybersecurity posture is hugely important for every organisation, but in the public sector, where budgets and resources can present barriers to progress, another option to consider is outsourcing the cybersecurity function to an expert or deploying a managed software solution.

Many organisations are now opting to outsource their cybersecurity, as the benefits gained through this often outweigh the costs. With a third-party involved, organisations have access to the latest technologies and software available to tackle the ever-increasing threats. Along with this comes the experts themselves—people who live and breathe security day in, day out. Teams of experts are typically available 24/7, allowing for a rapid response to security lapses or vulnerabilities, regardless of the time of day or night. When the entire country relies on the public sector, knowing this level of security expertise is always available is a comforting reassurance.

Alternatively, for those either lacking the budget for outsourcing or who’d feel more comfortable relying on their own teams, managed software solutions could be the safest option. These vary between vendors, but most should deliver intelligence to proactively identify threats, take automated action to mitigate damage, and analyse data to prevent future attacks from occurring. Though the best solutions on the market will be very expensive, the different packages on offer may be more affordable than outsourcing—though the onus will be on the organisation purchasing the software to manage it and act on the information it produces.

Whichever way you look at it, security should be a core competency. Being ready for worst-case scenarios is crucial in maintaining a strong defence, so it’s important to find and implement easy-to-use, affordable, and scalable security solutions to work across the varied IT environments found across the public sector.

The imminent challenge of non-Covid-19 patients within the NHS and how Lexacom will support new ways of working in healthcare

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

The Covid–19 pandemic has not only caused worldwide deaths and suffering but has also resulted in a dramatic change in healthcare working practices. In the post Covid–19 world, there will need to be a re-evaluation of how healthcare is delivered and managed. There will be more reliance on remote working together with the need for efficiency and flexibility in working practices. With the whole of the NHS focused on the pandemic, there are now hundreds of thousands of non-Covid-19 patients waiting for primary care referrals and secondary care clinic appointments, not to mention surgery waiting lists. This equates to an avalanche of referrals, letters and other documents which will need to be created quickly, efficiently and accurately.

Document creation is fundamental to the healthcare system, whether it be from the clinic or from home during telemedicine consultations, by secretaries typing out letters or using speech recognition to automate document creation. The UK-based company, Lexacom, is ideally placed to help support these changes by leading the way in digital dictation, speech recognition, remote transcription and document management.

“In the coming months, the backlog of non-Covid-19 patients is going to place a further strain on UK healthcare administration. Lexacom is proven to increase efficiency and speed up turnaround times of referrals, letters and other documents. NHS trusts require quick answers as soon as possible and Lexacom provides the security and accuracy that medical professionals need. Our solutions can also be instantly accessed and embedded into existing admin systems and can be used remotely. This will be essential for future working practice” said Dr Andrew Whiteley, Managing Director, Lexacom.

Lexacom has been delivering workflow solutions to the healthcare, legal and professional markets for the last 20 years. Their vision is to help organisations around the world increase their professional productivity and to drive operational excellence through innovative, reliable and cost-effective solutions.

Furthermore, Lexacom has recently been included in the newly released NHS SBS Digital Dictation, Speech Recognition and Outsourced Transcription Framework. This allows NHS trusts and other healthcare organisations to directly access Lexacom’s portfolio of software and hardware.

With over 60% of general practices using their software, Lexacom are in the unique position of improving the links between primary and secondary care and to support the NHS during these challenging times. “Being included on the SBS framework further strengthens the long-standing relationship we have as a trusted and approved partner within the healthcare sector and we are proud to be recognised for this” said Dr Whiteley.

During this pandemic, healthcare delivery has changed to cope with the unprecedented situation. In the post-Covid-19 world, changes that have been instituted will need to be developed to provide the best service for patients, improve workflow and efficiency and to keep both staff and patients safe. Lexacom has a proven track record of delivering this by ensuring easy access to world-leading digital dictation, AI speech recognition and remote transcription technology.

For further information, please contact 01295 236910,  sales@lexacom.co.uk or see www.lexacom.co.uk.

 


The Lexacom Portfolio

Lexacom 3 is an advanced digital dictation and document creation system designed by doctors, for doctors. With its easy to use workflow management, it helps professionals and their teams work together. It is the ideal solution for any healthcare facility looking to evolve current practices and can be configured specifically for any organisation’s requirements or within existing medical admin systems.

Lexacom also provides a wide range of additional services including the latest in professional AI speech recognition, encrypted cloud technology for mobile devices, integrated transcription services and secure cloud based data storing allowing work to be shared across many sites. All of these features will be essential for future working practice.

Echo revolutionises professional speech recognition by using the latest AI technology to produce outstanding levels of accuracy from first use. Lexacom manage and support a UK specific healthcare dictionary for their clinicians, ensuring Echo stays up to date with not only medical terms, but also professional acronyms and abbreviations. 

Cabolo is a unique solution that records and transcribes any conversation with complete security using AI speech recognition. The small, portable, stand-alone device does not require the internet to work. It is an ideal solution to record and share any conversation, business meeting, lecture or video conference. It provides subtitles in real time and delivers a multimedia PDF with synchronised text and audio which can be archived with extensive search functionality.

Mobile can be used on any handheld device and allows professionals to record, track and approve dictations wherever and whenever they like. Fully integrated with a desktop installation, Lexacom Mobile uses securely encrypted cloud technology to transmit dictations between healthcare workers and secretaries, ensuring data remains safe at all times.

Scribe is an integrated transcription service available at the touch of a button and provides all Lexacom customers with instant access to a UK based, high quality, secure transcription service. This brand-new solution is fully embedded within Lexacom 3 and will enable work to be securely transferred, with no additional steps.

Connect is a secure, cloud-based service, allowing document creation at multiple sites, thus sharing resources and increasing productivity and cost savings. The data is stored in a UK-based secure data centre and is encrypted to the highest NHS and G cloud security levels.

The Lexacom Story

Like all great companies, Lexacom was created to solve a problem. Working as a busy GP partner in the 1990’s, Dr Andrew Whiteley was constantly frustrated using antiquated, unreliable dictation recording machines and tapes for creating letters and patient referrals. The numerous problems associated with this way of working inspired Andrew to develop one of the first digital dictation programs. Designed to be easily used by everyone, even the most technophobic senior partner, his practice quickly embraced the new technology.

Word spread and enquiries started to flood in as practices heard about the solution and wanted to use it. At this point, Andrew and his founding partner, Dr Matthew Tytherleigh, decided that Lexacom should be developed into a business.

Two decades later, Lexacom has thousands of customers, tens of thousands of users and a platform of five innovative solutions used to make millions of documents every year, across three continents. Lexacom is one of the most exciting software companies in the UK and with Andrew still the Managing Director, Lexacom has been able to stay faithful to those early ideals of addressing the needs of the user.

Lexacom customers are passionate supporters of the user-friendly software and the inclusive approach to new feature development. There is constant evolvement and refinement of the solutions that are offered in response to customer feedback. Although the company’s early foundations were in healthcare, Lexacom’s approach and ease of use has meant its software is favoured by busy professionals including lawyers, accountants, local and central government, surveyors and estate agents. 

Lexacom is based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, serving clients throughout the UK and Europe. With several forward-looking partners, Lexacom also distribute their software throughout the Middle East and Australia.

Zhaga standards break barriers to smart and connected lighting

The Zhaga interface standard for street lighting future-proves luminaires to keep pace with rapid developments in digital technology. It enables a multi-vendor eco-system of interoperable luminaires and sensor/communication modules and breaks existing barriers to smart and connected lighting.

The Zhaga smart interface specifications will have a major impact on the value of the lighting infrastructure for connectivity and on the investment decisions of city governments, specifiers and utility companies. It will drive innovation in in sensor/communication modules incorporating new smart applications.

Zhaga is an open and global consortium of lighting companies that creates interface standards for components of LED luminaires. Zhaga so enables multi-vendor eco-systems of interoperable products.

Zhaga has now applied its vision to connectivity and smart streetlighting. The standard in the Zhaga Book 18 was published in November 2019 and is called “Smart interface between outdoor luminaires and sensing / communication modules”. This standard defines a smart luminaire interface, including mechanical socket and communication and control aspects, so that a sensor/communication module can be externally mounted on the luminaire supported by plug-and-play. The interface is in this respect similar to the USB slot on a computer.

This short paper describes the vision leading to the standard, the standard itself, certification aspects, and ends with a brief conclusion.

Connectivity vision

The increasing digitisation in many areas of our society presents new challenges to manufacturers, specifiers, installers and users of lighting installations. The long lifetime of outdoor lighting is very difficult to match with the dynamic developments in digital technology.

This inability to combine the long-lasting nature of the lighting infrastructure and the rapid changes in digital communication and sensor technology has led to an underutilization of the lighting infrastructure for smart applications and has regrettably reduced the solution toolbox for smart city and smart buildings. This has hampered progress in this space.

To resolve the challenge and secure a central place for lighting in smart city, a connectivity solution for lighting should at least meet the following requirements. From a functional point of view, the solution should enable the lighting to connect to the IoT, enable light management through control and energy and status reporting, and support beyond lighting applications.

From a more methodological point of view, the solution should be future proof and easily upgradable to keep pace with rapid developments in digital networking technology. It should also be based on standards to avoid vendor lock in.

Zhaga solution

Zhaga has now addressed this problem by creating a new interface standard for outdoor luminaires. This standard turns the streetlighting infrastructure into a strong enabler for smart cities.

The Zhaga standard for smart streetlighting defines a smart luminaire interface which includes both a mechanical socket and communication and power aspects. It allows a sensor/communication module to be externally mounted on the luminaire and supports plug-and-play. The interface is in this respect similar to the USB slot on a computer.

Luminaires with the Zhaga interface can be equipped – in field – with sensor/communication modules to extend their initial functionality. In one case, the module includes radio communication, and enables remote light control and the transmission of diagnosis and energy data to a central management system. In another case, the module includes sensors. In yet another case, the module includes even more advanced smart city applications for e.g. city security of environmental control.

Certification

The Zhaga vision on connectivity hinges on the interoperability between luminaires and sensor/communication modules of multiple vendors.

To create trust in interoperability, Zhaga has defined a certification program to accompany its standards. The program is carried out by independent test houses and the certification status of products can be verified though a publicly accessible database and though logos which are trademarked to prevent misuse.

The logo also presents business advantages to end-users, as it encourages a wide supply of innovative solutions and multi-vendor sourcing options. For manufacturers, the certification logo offers a strong marketing tool, and shows that the product derives added value from a strong product eco-system.

Conclusion

The Zhaga interface future-proves a luminaire and ensures that it can keep pace with rapid developments in digital networking, sensing and smart-city technology. Modules incorporate the developments and are easily replaced. An installed base of luminaire with the Zhaga interface drives innovation in the module market; innovations in the module market add value to the lighting infrastructure. A certification and logo program create further trust in the interoperability of luminaires and nodes from different vendors.

The Zhaga smart interface standard for streetlighting, the Zhaga Book 18 was published in November 2019. First certified products and infrastructure installations are now available. Zhaga will shortly publish a standard for indoor lighting, based on an approach comparable to the one used for outdoor.

For further information please visit: www.zhagastandard.org

Everbridge Launches Fully Integrated Critical Event Management (CEM) Solution in Europe That Helps Organizations Mitigate Crises and Manage the Safe Return to Work After COVID-19 Lockdowns

 

Global CEM Leader that Provides Software to Top Multinational Brands like Goldman Sachs, Tiffany & Co. and Nokia, Expands its Award-Winning Platform to Europe

CEM Platform Helps Employers and Governments Conduct Coronavirus Contact Tracing and Critical Communications for a Safer Return to Offices and Other Public Spaces

Registrations Now Open for Virtual Executive Panel Discussion and Product Demo on June 17th

 

Everbridge, the global leader in critical event management (CEM), today announced the expansion of its award-winning software platform in Europe, just as businesses, healthcare facilities and governments focus on the safer return of people to offices and other public places following COVID-19 lockdowns, and navigate multiple crises at the same time—spanning the coronavirus pandemic, active shooter situations, terrorist attacks, severe weather, supply chain disruptions, IT outages, cyber-attacks and other incidents.

Over 5,000 global firms rely on Everbridge to keep their people safe and organizations running in anticipation of or amid critical events, whether natural, digital, or manmade. The Everbridge CEM solution provides an integrated, end-to-end approach for managing all phases of a critical event, accelerating the time to identify and resolve threats, and providing a unified, organizational view to facilitate more coordinated action. CEM helps organizations, such as Goldman Sachs, Tiffany & Co., and Nokia identify and assess the severity of events; determine their relevance to an organization’s people, assets, suppliers, and supply chains; automate taking action to mitigate threats and track progress; and analyze performance to improve future response. The Everbridge CEM solution leverages 225 out-of-the-box, pre-existing integrations, more than 100 communication modalities, and 22,000 risk data sources to provide a unified enterprise-wide, end-to-end platform that digitally transforms the critical event management process. For customers currently using Everbridge software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in Europe, the common architecture allows for seamless and rapid upgrades from the existing point solution to the full CEM suite.

Everbridge CEM also includes COVID-19 Shield™: Return to Work and Contact Tracing, which help organizations manage the complex process of returning to the workplace and other public spaces during the pandemic. This turnkey solution incorporates a specialized coronavirus-specific data feed to alert on new outbreaks, changes to local policies, and transportation / production disruptions that could hinder supply chains. It also offers quick-start templates and integrated modules to Know Your Risks, Protect Your People, and Protect Your Operations and Supply Chain. Organizations can get up and running in 48 hours or less. To date, customers have used the Everbridge platform to deliver over 400 million COVID-19-related communications.

“There has never been a more important time for organizations to manage risk, communicate with their employees and get people back to work safely,” said Javier Colado, Head of International, Everbridge. “Adopted at enterprise scale by a growing number of organizations in the U.S. and now available in Europe, Everbridge’s critical event management solution provides a comprehensive approach for leaders planning how to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and manage the many threats that continue to occur at the same time. This CEM launch will both benefit organizations headquartered in Europe and multinationals who operate there.”

Everbridge’s CEM expansion offers several new enhancements tailored to Europe: enriched risk data leveraging the world’s largest vetted database of threat incidents, severe weather tracking and updates, transit disruption updates, and an expanded database of key points of interest including nearby hospitals and embassies. These new data sources benefit multinationals using CEM worldwide, as well as Europe-based organizations.

“At Accenture, the safety and well-being of our people is always our top priority. So it’s important that we have the ability to reach our people quickly wherever and whenever they face a potential threat to their security,” said Arlin Pedrick, Chief Security Officer, Accenture. “Our Emergency Management System has proven to be invaluable in supporting our people before, during, and after a significant event.”

In addition to more than 1,000 customers in Europe, Everbridge also provides Public Warning systems on a countrywide level and is the only company with five European countries deployed, including Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Iceland.

The Everbridge CEM solution is available today and complies with major data regulations, including GDPR, ISO 27001 and C5 in Germany.

Siemens and Finastra to Speak at Launch Event on June 17

Everbridge will demonstrate its newly expanded CEM solution on June 17, 2020, during a special virtual executive summit. Finastra CEO Simon Paris will deliver a keynote speech on how his global firm, the third-largest Fintech company in the world, uses the technology to keep staff safe. Finastra uses Everbridge to significantly reduce the time it takes to respond to IT incidents on its applications and to respond to external crises.

Other speakers at the summit include:

  • Arlin Pedrick, Chief Security Officer of Accenture, who has responsibility for protecting hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide
  • Marco Mille, Chief Security Officer of Siemens, #62 on the Fortune Global 2000 and a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission, as well as for medical diagnoses
  • Andy Cox, Partner, Crisis & Security Consulting, Control Risks, a global risk consultancy firm with 36 offices that has established a CEM practice
  • John T. McRae II, Group Vice President & General Manager, Syniverse, the world’s most connected company™

Limited registrations for the special event are currently open. Please register for the event here. 

Everbridge also recently hosted its “Coronavirus: the Road to Recovery” virtual leadership summit, which brought together the best minds across public and private sectors, including C-level speakers from the The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Cleveland Clinic, U.S. Army, Accenture, Biogen, The NBA’s Boston Celtics, a former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner and more. On-demand content from the event may be found here.

Get ready for the relaxation of lockdown restrictions with Tillr’s Post-Lockdown Recovery Toolkit

Tillr’s director, Paul Romer-Ormiston

Reporter: Stacy Clarke – Sponsored

It is acutely ironic that 2020, a number associated with complete clarity of vision, is a year of unmatched confusion when it comes to looking into the future. Given the unprecedented nature and scope of the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody can claim any expertise in knowing what happens next.

However, it can be stated with certainty that the organisational and logistical challenges associated with the relaxation of lockdown will be enormous.

Local government will be faced with a fiendishly difficult task in overseeing and implementing measures introduced by Whitehall.

As a developer of a software platform that facilitates the rapid digitalisation of operational and regulatory procedures, we have experienced requests from many of our local authority clients for content related to Covid-19 to be added to their accounts. They need help protecting their staff, the public and local businesses.

We have responded by offering a Post-Lockdown Recovery Toolkit, which will help with the creation and maintenance of Covid-secure workplaces, open spaces and local amenities. 

In the five years since Tillr was founded in 2015, our eponymous platform has become a trusted name in the sphere of digitalisation of local authority processes, with more than 20 councils across London and the South-East using us to digitalise their operations in areas such as sports and leisure, waste management, parks and open spaces and highways.

Councils see a reduction in administrative tasks, followed by a gradual improvement in the way they understands their own data through enhanced analytics.  Every client is different – and the platform is designed to be highly configurable to cater for the particular circumstances of each organisation and the use they wish to put it to.  

It is the flexibility of the Tillr platform that will be a crucial facet of the Post-Lockdown Recovery Toolkit. Each local authority will face varying challenges when the time comes to implement and monitor activities after restrictions on people’s movement are relaxed.

Our toolkit contains templates that will help with areas such as social distancing, the unauthorised opening of premises and the implementation of policies relating to new rules governing locations such as shops and restaurants.  Speed is key. This is an asset that can be delivered quickly – and updated fast too. If an announcement in Westminster changes social distancing parameters at 5pm, that will be reflected in our service by 9am the following day.

The toolkit has already been used to good effect, as one London borough was concerned about breaches of social distancing guidelines in its parks and decided to start monitoring. We added a template to its Tillr account within 24 hours of receiving the request so that the council could record instances of breaches.

There has been a considerable interest in this product across the public sector, with discussions being had with the Mayor of London’s office, the Greater London Authority and several boroughs in the capital, as well as Sussex Police.

This asset has not been produced as an opportunity to exploit the desperation for solutions in the post-Covid world. We want to make it as easy as possible for local authorities to access the toolkit and trial it. It will be a useful tool for the public sector so we are making is available quickly and on a non-profit basis.

To underline this, existing council customers – more than 20 bodies across the South-East – will be offered the toolkit completely free for 12 months, provided they agree in advance to contribute to the content on the platform.

Tillr is already actively preparing to develop a separate version for police forces, whose requirements will be different to those of councils and is currently in discussions with several Police forces, one of which is already taking advantage of the Tillr platform.

A version of the Toolkit will also be of help to educational establishments such as schools and nurseries, where the application of social distancing restrictions will be particularly challenging.

Contact us today to access the toolkit

We are in discussions with existing clients already. But for those new to Tillr, the best way to register your interest is to contact us on hello@tillr.io or via our website.

We suggest getting in touch as early as possible so that you can be ready to implement and monitor post-lockdown restrictions as soon as they are in place.

David Frost comments on the conclusion of the fourth round of negotiations with the EU on our future relationship

Reporter: Stuart Littleford News

David Frost, Chief Negotiator has spoken to GPSJ on the conclusion of the fourth round of negotiations with the EU on our future relationship.

He said: “We have just completed our fourth full negotiating round with the EU, again by video conference. It was a little shorter than usual and more restricted in scope. We continue to discuss the full range of issues, including the most difficult ones.

“Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in tone. Negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome.

“We are now at an important moment for these talks. We are close to reaching the limits of what we can achieve through the format of remote formal Rounds. If we are to make progress, it is clear that we must intensify and accelerate our work. We are discussing with the Commission how this can best be done.

“We need to conclude this negotiation in good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreements reached.

“For our part we are willing to work hard to see whether at least the outline of a balanced agreement, covering all issues, can be reached soon. Any such deal must of course accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called “level playing field”, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues.”

Bristow & Sutor set to support Transport for London

Reporter: Allan Roach News

Bristow & Sutor is excited to announce that they are now working with Transport for London (TfL). Since May 1, 2020, Bristow & Sutor has been collecting unpaid Penalty Charge Notices at warrant stage for all road charging schemes and also traffic enforcement contraventions.

Bristow & Sutor is one of the UK’s leading players specialising in debt recovery and has over 42 years’ experience in the collection of local council tax, non-domestic rates and unpaid Penalty Charge Notices.

Winning the debt management and enforcement contract with TfL has resulted in the production and implementation of new letters, business rules, action codes and reports. Bristow & Sutor employees have adapted their own processes to fully immerse themselves in the TfL way of working, strategically positioning their service delivery to reflect an extension of the iconic TfL brand.

Investment in the use of technology is key to the Bristow & Sutor approach and success of recent years. The company has a range of innovative portals, apps, and debt recovery tools which gives debtors an easy, secure way of making online payments; resulting in efficient route information to aid the reduction of Enforcement Agents (EAs) carbon footprints.

Bristow & Sutor has delivered the new TfL project against challenging milestones, hitting every deadline required, and now see this success as a prime example of the company’s capability and reliability when implementing new contracts and transferring existing needs painlessly.

Andy Rose, CEO at Bristow & Sutor, says, “Bristow & Sutor is delighted to be embarking on a new partnership with TfL. Our aim is not only to successfully action existing cases, but to be recognised as the number one performer and innovator throughout the duration of this contract. Winning new contracts such as TfL, means significant expansion and job opportunities over the coming years. We already directly-employ over 168 EAs around the country.

“Our talented and hardworking team has worked painstakingly over the past weeks and months to ensure this project will perform optimally. Coupled with the unprecedented interruption of COVID-19, it has been a remarkable achievement by our tremendous team to ensure we a ready and raring to go”.

Regarding COVID-19, in accordance with the Government measures to combat this virus, EAs are not being deployed until social distancing measures have subsided. However, Bristow & Sutor has undertaken a massive mobilisation exercise to help foster a ‘business as usual’ approach, albeit without enforcement visits. Portals, apps, emails, telephone lines and debt recovery tools all remain accessible for debtors who need to discuss their situation. Consequently, the company has already been able to begin the compliance process for this new project with TfL.

Bristow & Sutor prides itself on delivering an ethical, compliant and high-quality service to the public and private sectors. Agents regularly assist debtors with completing questionnaires, setting up payment arrangements and directing them towards support and advice where appropriate. They are trained to the highest standard and use modern technology and data to achieve market-leading performance, whilst protecting the most vulnerable in society and the reputations of clients.

www.bristowsutor.co.uk

A national energy data platform, YODA

Reporter: Stacy Clarke – News

If you are an energy app developer or energy innovator; a local authority energy manager or an electric vehicle (EV) charging provider; a grid or micro-grid operator;  an academic or one of the many other energy-interested individuals or organisations, Siemens would like to hear from you. You can have your say on what you need from a national energy data platform and how you want to access it.

Siemens have won a project with the UK Government’s innovation-agency, Innovate UK, to develop an energy data platform. The platform, Your Online Digital Architecture (YODA), will integrate sources of information throughout the energy system and curate a central energy data catalogue, an energy map of generation and demand, and an asset register for all new energy assets, such as electric vehicle charging points, wind and solar farms.

Siemens will run a series of workshops throughout early June to understand key stakeholders’ needs and ensure these are reflected in the future platform design and fully support projects being carried out by energy producers, distributors and consumers. A concept design for the data platform will be shared openly toward the end of the initial discovery phase in mid-July. This work will build on Energy Data Best Practice and the Energy Data Taskforce to establish an industry baseline of research which could be practically utilised by businesses and organisations throughout the UK to expedite digitalisation and develop products and services to improve energy efficiency in generation and usage.

Siemens, together with partners Energy Systems Catapult and National Innovation Centre for Data, is creating Your Online Digital Architecture (YODA), a national energy data platform for Innovate UK’s Modernising Energy Data Access project

YODA will enable better local energy management and support the drive to decarbonisation by providing a central energy data catalogue, an energy map of generation and demand, and an asset register for all new energy assets such as wind and solar farms, electric vehicle charging points etc.

Energy innovators, generators and users can tell Siemens how they want to use the energy data platform through a series of on-line workshops early in June

2030, the UK’s target date for Net Zero is less than a decade away. Most of the assets and technologies that make up the energy system of today will be present in the future decarbonised system, albeit facing increasing strategic and operational challenges with the continued rise of distributed energy, electrification and digitalisation. The Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA.) project was established by Innovate UK in autumn 2019 and invited competitive bids for projects to solve the fundamental problem of exchanging digital energy information between disparate stakeholders to enable the development and testing of products and services which can be commercialised and scaled. Siemens, with its partners Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) and National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD), is one of three successful entrants through the first round and going forward with developing their project concepts.

Andrew Smyth, Head of Customer Success, Software at Siemens, explains “We are very excited to be working on the MEDA project and are passionate about creating a platform to enable both visibility of the national energy system and to support the drive to decarbonisation. The workshops will explore how energy users are challenged and constrained by the current energy system and how a central data platform could aid their future aspirations. The workshops are planned to allow all participants an opportunity to express their views”.

Dr. Richard Dobson of Energy Data Taskforce adds “Energy Systems Catapult’s mission is to unleash innovation and open new markets to capture the clean growth opportunity. The ability to seamlessly share and access data is absolutely fundamental to this. We’re excited to be working with Siemens on Your Online Digital Architecture to deliver a critical part of the modern, digitalised energy system we need.”

Details of the workshops, which all run between 1st June and 9th June at 9.30am and 1.30pm on the 3rd, 4th, 8th and 9th June plus 9.30 on Friday 5th June, are available on the project website www.siemens.co.uk/yoda.

CCLA’S PUBLIC SECTOR DEPOSIT FUND REACHES £1 BILLION

Reporter: Stuart Littleford – News

Only sterling denominated money market fund exclusively for the public sector

Client-owned fund manager CCLA today announces that its Public Sector Deposit Fund (PSDF), a money market fund, reached £1 billion of assets under management on 3 June 2020 for the first time since its launch in 2011.

The fund’s investor base is made up of 550 parishes, towns, districts, boroughs, counties, pension funds, police, fire authorities and housing associations amongst others.

Peter Hugh Smith, CCLA’s Chief Executive, told GPSJ:

“I’d like to thank all of our clients who have helped us to reach this milestone. A larger fund enables us to increase our lot sizes, to achieve even greater diversification and command better rates in the sterling money markets. This in turn means all clients benefit from the fund’s growth which is so important during these fiscally-challenged times.” 

The Covid-19 crisis is hitting many of the regular income streams councils rely on at a time when councils are having to spend more addressing issues associated with the crisis. To be able to meet potential redemption requests from investors, the fund is holding increased levels of liquidity.

“We can see that some councils are holding up-front cash payments from government to deploy in meeting the challenges of Covid-19, while others are already carefully managing cash on a daily or weekly basis. It is evident that both existing and new clients are using CCLA’s Public Sector Deposit Fund to optimise their cash management and help protect vital services they provide during this crisis,” continued Mr HUGH SMITH.

Following the freezing of deposits in the 2008 global financial crisis, CCLA worked with the Local Government Association to create a UK regulated fund suitable for the public sector, modelled on its successful church and charity deposit funds. The fund integrates ESG factors into its processes through its screening for counterparties’ corporate governance, and approach to climate change and sustainability. Additionally, CCLA leads an active engagement programme on wide ranging issues such as the living wage and mental health.

COVID-19: Why life’s better when apps create communities

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

Throughout the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, news reports have offered a grim picture, with very few reports offering a view of how many people are beating the virus. The focus is on the saddening increase in the number of deaths. Now, as of May

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Highland Marketing welcomes new member to its advisory board

Nicola Haywood-Alexander, an experienced NHS chief information officer and co-founder of Tech4CV19, joins the expert group that advises the health tech agency and its clients

Reporter: Stacy Clarke – News

Highland Marketing has welcomed a new member to its advisory board of respected NHS IT leaders and health tech industry professionals.

Nicola Haywood-Alexander,

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Statkraft selected on UK Re:fit Energy Performance Contract framework

Reporter: Allan Roach – News

Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer and a developer of renewable power, has pre-qualified as new supplier for the Re:fit Energy Performance Contract framework. The Norwegian state-owned energy company can now provide public organisations in the UK with fully funded behind the meter solar solutions. Re:fit is jointly owned by the Greater

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Lexacom awarded a place on the new NHS Shared Business System (SBS) Digital Dictation, Speech Recognition and Outsourced Transcription Framework as a trusted and approved supplier

Reporter: Stuart Littleford – News

The UK based, leading medical software company, Lexacom, has been awarded a place on the new NHS Shared Business Systems (SBS) Digital Dictation, Speech Recognition and Outsourced Transcription Framework.

This award will allow NHS trusts and other healthcare organisations to directly access Lexacom’s

Continue reading Lexacom awarded a place on the new NHS Shared Business System (SBS) Digital Dictation, Speech Recognition and Outsourced Transcription Framework as a trusted and approved supplier