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Ordnance Survey supports the British Heart Foundation’s national database of defibrillators

Ordnance Survey (OS) has supported the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in ensuring that the national database of defibrillators used by the UK’s ambulance services has access to complete and accurate address data including unique property reference numbers (UPRN) and additional attributes to identify a property and locate it on a map with precision.

Known as The Circuit, the national defibrillators network maps and geo references defibrillators across the UK. The Circuit is designed to synchronise every 60 seconds with the live dispatch system of the ambulance services and provide them with the location of the nearest defibrillator in an emergency.

In some cases the use of a defibrillator before an ambulance arrives can be the difference between life and death. Sadly, this happens in too few cases and many opportunities to help save a life are missed. This is in part because the ambulance services do not know the location of the nearest defibrillator which is why having accurate data on the Circuit is so vital.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service supported the BHF in accessing the OS datasets by putting in place a Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) contractor licence for BHF to use on their behalf. The use of the OS dataset within The Circuit is harmonious with existing OS mapping systems used by the emergency services.

To help people register defibrillators as quickly as possible, Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) are used. Sometimes there can be one defibrillator in an entire block of flats or there could be one on the outside of a large building, so traditional addressing methods were not conducive to finding them in emergency situations.

UPRNs are unique references given to address and non-address locations in the UK by local authorities, GeoPlace and OS, and the concept is similar to a car registration or a National Insurance number. They can be up to 12 digits in length and serve as a unique identifier for any location – a building, a bus stop, a post box, or in this case, a defibrillator.

The unique identifier helps reduce ambiguity in a location. Essentially, the UPRN ensures everyone refers to the correct location, even for an object that has no literal address. Like a car registration, the UPRN allows users to link other information and records, such as maintenance information and date of usage.

Defibrillator

The PSGA contractor licence, issued on behalf of the ambulance trust, meant BHF and their technology partner had free access to a range of OS datasets, including AddressBase. The detailed addressing database is updated weekly, and is the most comprehensive address data available, with over 39 million addresses and UPRN property level coordinates.

OS and GeoPlace acted as a trusted advisor to BHF, helping them to confidently understand the best way to embed UPRNs into their service. This helped their project achieve its goals and enabled them to get the best from the UPRNs and geospatial data.

John Kimmance, Managing Director of National Mapping Services at OS, said: “We are humbled to support a critical, national service that can make a difference between life and death.

“Our authoritative data and expert support have allowed BHF to create more than just a map. This is an intelligent database underpinned by a highly accurate addressing referencing system that allows the ambulance service to identify tens of thousands of defibrillators instantly.

“We have a long and proud history of supporting the emergency services with OS data through the PSGA agreement and this further illustrates the importance of PSGA data sharing rights.”

Neil Spencer, Emergency Operations Centre Manager at East Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “When we receive a call for someone who has stopped breathing, an ambulance is dispatched immediately and at the same time our 999 Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) will advise the caller how to perform CPR.

“Making use of technology means our EMDs can see the location and availability of nearby defibrillators and if there is someone available at the scene, our EMD will provide directions to collect the defibrillator.

“Working with the BHF and their partners and making use of the PSGA data sharing rights means the Circuit address database matches exactly the address data we hold in our Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system ensuring the caller is directed to the right place without delay”.

Judy O’Sullivan, Director of Innovation in Health Programmes at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The Circuit is a vital tool in our fight to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. The support of Ordnance Survey in improving The Circuit has been invaluable, both as a trusted and reliable data source and utilising their expertise in mapping.

“But much more needs to be done. Less than 5% of out-of-hospital-cardiac arrests receive bystander defibrillation, and the survival rate is less than 10%. This in in part because there are still tens of thousands of defibrillators not known to ambulance services.

“Registering your defibrillator is simple and it could save a life, as well as being regularly checked and maintained. Join the fight to improve survival rates by registering your defib here: www.thecircuit.uk

Why Legacy Systems Remain Critical in Modern, ‘Cloud Appropriate’ Hybrid Digital Transformation

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds

The impact of budget cuts and austerity, Covid-19 disruption, and concerns about security have resulted in a hybrid of legacy and cloud technology in U.K. government and public sector bodies. The government’s 2013 ‘cloud-first’ policy has driven varying levels of successful cloud migration and little consistency. Critical business processes supported by legacy applications are often too vital to risk migration.

Legacy systems can include all kinds of technology, such as older operating systems like Windows XP, without migration paths into the cloud. When the risk of migrating business-critical legacy systems to newer, cloud-based systems outweighs the benefits, the lengths an IT department must go to ensure compatibility with upgrades can be complex and painful.

So, when does it make sense to maintain legacy systems, and what is an appropriate level of cloud migration for government and public sector agencies? And how best to go about managing a hybrid environment? The latest 2022 SolarWinds IT Trends report reveals over half (55%) of public sector respondents have needed to upskill and/or train their staff specifically to manage their hybrid IT environments, with 40% resorting to outsourcing their IT services altogether.

For the government and the wider public sector, there is no one-size-fits-all. For each component in their infrastructure, organisations must weigh the migration effort, cost savings, and flexibility offered by the cloud against the benefits of using legacy systems.

Secure, Compliant, Predictable: The Benefits of Maintaining Legacy Systems

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows two-thirds of government departments and public sector agencies are less than 50% cloud-based, with 46% mainly concerned about service interruption during migration. A further 32% highlighted the length of the process as a challenge to cloud migration. According to the report, at least two NHS trusts have no plans to use the cloud.

Public cloud is not always the most efficient or suitable place for workloads and data. According to government figures—again sourced via an FOI request—more than three-quarters (78%) of public bodies provide services unsuitable for migration to the public cloud. Furthermore, 63% of public sector organisations still do not have a dedicated cloud strategy, while more than 70% of their infrastructure and 73% of their data remains on-premises.

Often, this reliance on legacy systems is due to concerns around data security in the public cloud and applications not being cloud-ready. Entrenched outsourcing and a lack of skills across the sector may also factor into the equation.

Research by IDC reveals 70% of all applications remain outside the cloud. It cites several reasons for this, including concerns about cybersecurity and maintaining regulatory compliance. Unpredictable costs are also a worry.

Scalable, Flexible, Agile: The Benefits of Cloud Migration

So, what infrastructure makes the most sense to migrate to the cloud?

Some legacy systems are easier to move than others. Email, for example, can be an easy win, moving from on-premises to a well-supported platform like Microsoft 365 quickly reducing operating costs.

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, cloud adoption within the public sector accelerated during the pandemic, with 49% of organisations increasing cloud computing as a direct result of the crisis. For those who had already migrated, 97% said the cloud played an essential role in their response to the pandemic, while 42% considered it critical.

Benefits of cloud migration include enabling home-working, with 65% of public sector respondents citing this as key. More than half (54%) considered agility a top priority. Notably, government data anticipates 16% of public services could be fully cloud-based in three years.

The cloud also offers nearly unlimited scale with minimal lead time—you can deploy petabytes of storage in a couple of clicks or a simple line of code. It also provides flexibility around deployment, as most current systems are easily migrated into Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) operations in the cloud.

A successful example of a cloud-first approach is the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which wanted to help its core functions operate more efficiently. Its move to the cloud allowed it to find better ways to collect, process, and interpret data, so the statistics it produced were of higher quality. It also improved data-sharing with policymakers and other stakeholders and now stores data more efficiently and securely.

But this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Increasingly, a hybrid approach to technology brings together the best of both worlds.

The Best of Both: a Combination of Legacy Systems and Cloud

While cloud adoption is increasing, most of the public service infrastructure is still on-premises. The U.K. government and public sector still have many legacy systems simply because they work and continue to support mission-critical functions. For many organisations, it makes sense to combine the benefits of legacy systems and cloud infrastructures, following a hybrid IT strategy.

According to the FOI request made to governmental departments, agencies, and public bodies, 53% of respondent services already use a hybrid infrastructure. With this trend toward hybrid IT, organisations must have centralised visibility into infrastructures located across these multiple environments of on-premises, hybrid, and cloud.

KnowBe4 Kicks Off Ransomware Awareness Month with Resource Kit

KnowBe4 launches a no-cost resource kit to help organisations fight the staggering impact of ransomware

KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, announced the release of a resource kit for IT managers as part of a month-long effort in July to increase awareness of ransomware, its many forms and methods used by cyber criminals to extort funds. Some of the resources for download include a Ransomware Master Class, Ransomware Rescue Manual, infographics, posters, digital signage and more.

Ransomware is a type of malicious attack where attackers encrypt an organisation’s data and demand payment to restore access. This has evolved to include the exfiltration and threatened exposure of valuable information, compounding the extortion. This is one of the many ways bad actors take advantage of the human element in cybersecurity, which is involved in 82% of cyber attacks according to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Globally, ransomware costs are escalating from a reported $325 million loss in 2015 to a potential of $265 billion in 2031, making it one of the most predominate and dangerous forms of cyberattacks. In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received a record number of 847,376 reported complaints with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. This has led to multiple warnings by government agencies, including the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) heralding ransomware as a prime threat.

“There is no question ransomware attacks will continue to be a major threat to organisations,” says Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “IT teams face a critical challenge, as technology alone is not enough to prevent attacks. Humans are an easy target via phishing and other forms of social engineering and continue to dominate as a primary source of infection. A vital addition to the security stack is to strengthen users as a last line of defence.”

To download the KnowBe4 Ransomware Awareness Month Resource Kit, visit www.knowbe4.com/ransomware-resource-kit?hs_preview=jWLYMIeR-76301550774

ENFORCEMENT CONDUCT BOARD ANNOUNCES NEW BOARD APPOINTMENTS

  • The Enforcement Conduct Board, the new oversight body for the enforcement sector, has announced the appointment of four new Board members, following the announcement of Catherine Brown as Chair in March
  • The new Board members include a former Vice-Chair of the Money Advice Trust and individuals with a wealth of experience across local government
  • The Enforcement Conduct Board is due to formally launch in the autumn

The Enforcement Conduct Board, the new independent regulator for the enforcement industry (bailiffs) across England and Wales due to launch in autumn 2022, is appointing four non-executive directors effective from 1 July.

The new appointees are; Alan Cavill, Ged Curran, Althea Efunshile, CBE and Jenny Watson, CBE. They will join Catherine Brown, the inaugural Chair of the Enforcement Conduct Board, whose role was announced in March. The purpose of the Enforcement Conduct Board is to ensure that all those who are subject to enforcement action are fairly treated.

The four new Board members were selected following an open recruitment process:

  • Alan Cavill is Director of Communications and Regeneration at Blackpool Council, supporting a town that has 8 of the ten most deprived neighbourhoods in England and is at the forefront of the Government’s levelling-up agenda.
  • Ged Curran was Chief Executive at the London Borough of Merton for twenty-one years with direct experience of the complexities involved in enforcing debt recovery including the establishment of an in-house enforcement agent team. He is also a non-executive director on Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Integrated Care Board.
  • Althea Efunshile, CBE, is Chair of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, and Chair of Ballet Black. Althea previously served as Executive Director, Education and Culture, at the London Borough of Lewisham and has worked at the Department for Education and Skills.
  • Jenny Watson, CBE, is Chair of the House of St Barnabas and GAMSTOP and is a trustee of the Norfolk Community Foundation. Jenny is also a former Chair of the Fawcett Society, the UK Electoral Commission, and the Equal Opportunities Commission (before the creation of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights), and Vice-Chair of the Money Advice Trust.

Commenting on the appointment of the new Board members, Catherine Brown, Chair of the Enforcement Conduct Board, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Alan, Ged, Althea, and Jenny to their new positions. Their extensive experience across a range of sectors relevant to the Enforcement Conduct Board’s work will be invaluable as we develop our forward plans and prepare to launch later in the year. Until now, there has been no independent regulatory oversight of the enforcement industry and although minimum standards, published by the Ministry of Justice, expect enforcement agents to treat those in debt fairly, these are not legally binding.

“The FCA has identified that more than a quarter (27%) of the population having low financial resilience, a figure set to increase as the cost-of-living crisis unfolds in the months ahead.[1] Set against this, the National Audit Office reports that the likely combined cost and non-tax income pressures following the pandemic may be as high as £9.7bn, increasing the importance of local authorities being able to collect debt effectively.[2] The future role for the Enforcement Conduct Board is a vital one.”

Commenting on his new role Ged Curran said: “I am pleased the enforcement industry is committed to regulation. Through my own experience in local government, including setting up an in-house enforcement agent team in Merton, I know that there are real improvements that can be made in this industry. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Enforcement Conduct Board to shape our future priorities as we head to our launch in the autumn.”

Funded by a voluntary industry levy, the Enforcement Conduct Board will be wholly independent and committed to working openly and transparently to secure widespread confidence in its ability to serve the public interest. Both the enforcement industry and debt advice charities have welcomed the establishment of the Enforcement Conduct Board and agree that the new regulatory body ought to be given statutory powers. The Government has committed to review the emerging arrangements by 2024.

[1] FCA tells lenders to support consumers struggling with the cost of living | FCA

[2] Local government finance in the pandemic (nao.org.uk)

The Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Selects Unit4 ERP and FP&A to Provide a Unified, Modern and Flexible Finance, Procurement and Planning Solution

Unit4 implementing an integrated, common system to support delivery of unified Trust and better serve its 400,000 residents

Unit4, a leader in enterprise cloud applications for people-centric organizations, has announced that its’ ERP and FP&A solution was selected by  The Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Devon) to implement a next-generation ERP platform that will help unify the organization’s processes, boost productivity and reduce costs. With Unit4, Royal Devon will be able to free up resources to focus more on the work that matters most – delivering safe and trusted emergency services.​

The Eastern site operates across a number of locations in the county of Devon, providing specialist and emergency hospital services to about 400,000 residents. Its reputation as an innovative, leading acute hospital has developed over 25 years. The Eastern site, formerly the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, was one of the first Foundation Trusts to be created in England & Wales. This status has enabled it to foster closer links and a better understanding of what local people expect and need – now and for future planning.

In 2006, the North site, formerly the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) took over the management and ownership of local NHS community services, including five community hospitals, a health centre, resource centre, district nursing, therapy, and sexual health services.  In January 2021, NDHT was approved to merge with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) to become one integrated Trust with an aim of offering high quality, sustainable and resilient services to the people of Devon. The combined Trust will provide acute, community and specialist services across Exeter, Eastern, Mid and Northern Devon, as well as some services further afield.

One key element of the integration of the two trusts is a significant investment to replace legacy Finance and Purchasing software systems across all the facilities, within both Trusts and local NHS community services. Within a year, the combined Trust has been able to plan and begin implementing a modern, forward-looking ERP platform that will be regularly updated to keep ahead of changes.

By selecting Unit4 ERP and FP&A, Royal Devon will benefit from:

  • A joint service across East and North sites that will boost people productivity, optimize processes and projects, and reduce costs to deliver maximum efficiency in times of budget pressure
  • An innovative solution that can adapt to rapidly changing priorities
  • Delivery of a trusted, high-standard financial, procurement and planning services across the new combined trust
  • Alignment across the newly formed Trust to effectively respond to changing circumstances to leverage smarter, more flexible service delivery
  • Unit4’s extensive experience in the emergency services and healthcare sector and proven implementation models that deliver rapid time-to-value, plus easy self-service configuration
  • Increased visibility across The Trust to equip decision makers with the real-time information they need to make the right calls at the right time​

“Unit4’s extensive experience in working with public sector organizations, shared services and merger environments, made it an easy decision for us to partner with them”, said Andy Clark, Associate Director of Operational Finance, The Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. “By implementing modern, connected ERP systems we can make better-informed decisions to deliver more responsive services to the community and support our team to be more efficient and productive.  Unit4 will enable us to make better use of resources by streamlining processes for employees, suppliers and citizens.”

“Robust processes and planning are key to preparing for frequent change and now more than ever, it’s vital for healthcare services to make the best use of their teams’ precious time,” said Chris Richards, Regional President, UK & Ireland, Unit4. “With unprecedented levels of demand, it’s never been more essential for organizations like Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to take control and ensure their technology is future-proof, provides business continuity and is ready to adapt to a changing world.”

Further Reading

Discover how Unit4 helps organizations that deliver emergency services to the public sector get up and running twice as quickly

Read two case studies on how East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust benefits from Unit4 ERP and Unit4 FP&A

Car Benefits Schemes increasingly seen as more than just a perk by public sector employers

In today’s climate of competition among employers to attract and retain workforce talent, they are having to think beyond the traditional mainstays of salary and pensions to ensure they stay competitive and attractive for employees.

As salary sacrifice car benefits schemes offer staff access to new, safe, environmentally friendly and above all, affordable vehicles, they remain a highly attractive proposition and one which is a cost-effective option for payroll, too.

Importantly, as a result of the unique way the schemes can be set up, they’re open to all staff, rather than those afforded a car as a perk of their role or status. For many organisations, this is crucial in ensuring that these important staff members have access to affordable, brand-new vehicles, often for the very first time. Tusker, the UK’s leading car benefit provider, finds this is often the case for its customer organisations, with 20% taxpayers making up over 70% of its drivers.

The pandemic saw an increase in the uptake of schemes, as access to cars became favourable to public transport for many, especially key workers and front-line staff. More recently, with the cost-of-living crisis tightening the purse strings of many such workers, the affordability and financial stability which can be provided by a car benefits scheme has given peace of mind.

Research carried out by Tusker, has shown that for key workers, the majority of whom are lower rate taxpayers, the schemes have given access to new vehicles which they would have otherwise not have been able to afford. As the average age of the vehicles being taken off the road is over eight years old, these schemes have immediate safety, environmental and well-being benefits for drivers.

Not only are salary sacrifice schemes helping lower the UK’s emissions, supporting the Government’s Road to Zero strategy, but they also help companies address grey fleet issues, by reducing the number of drivers using their own vehicles for commuting or company business.

Tusker is unique in its car benefits schemes, as it is the only truly carbon neutral car benefits provider in the market. Independently verified as carbon neutral since 2010, Tusker went one step further in becoming a net-positive contributor to the environment in 2021 – removing more carbon from the environment than it produces. Tusker ensures that every vehicle that it provides is fully carbon offset for the lifetime of the contract. Not only does this cover the petrol and diesel vehicles, but also includes all charging emissions for EVs, calculated on a ‘worst case scenario’ basis for drivers who do not use green energy tariffs.

On top of this, Tusker also provides protection for employees with comprehensive early termination, redundancy, and long-term sickness protection so employees and employers are not penalised in the event of any of these situations arising. Increasingly, Tusker’s salary sacrifice car schemes are seen as a win-win for employers and employees alike.

For any public sector employers looking to introduce a car benefits scheme, Tusker has approval and access to the CPC Drive procurement framework, meaning that there is no need for organisations to conduct their own individual internal tender processes, vastly reducing the administration burden on the introduction of car schemes with Tusker. Even better, as access to the framework is free for such organisations, it is accessible to all such public bodies with no addition budgetary considerations.

With Tusker’s full suite of business support services on hand to take care of the administration surrounding a scheme’s introduction, its cast-iron environmental credentials, ease of procurement and importantly, the offer of a cost-effective benefit provision for employers, can your organisation afford not to find out more?

www.tuskercars.com/

Annual Study: Hybrid IT Acceleration Has Increased Network Complexity and Lowered Public Sector Tech Pros’ Network Management Confidence

  • SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity examines the current state and areas of opportunity for public sector technology professionals managing increased complexity as hybrid IT accelerates
  • The continued shift to hybrid IT drives increased levels of IT management complexity, but tech pros feel a lack of confidence in how to best manage it
  • More than half (55%) of tech pros said their organisation manages hybrid IT complexity through training staff and adopting IT monitoring/management tools (45%)

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of simple, powerful, and secure IT management software, released the findings of its ninth annual IT Trends Report today. This year’s report, The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2022—Getting IT Right: Managing Hybrid IT Complexity, examines the acceleration of digital transformation efforts and its impact on public sector IT departments. The report found the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased network complexity for some  organisations and caused several worrisome challenges for public sector IT professionals.

Hybrid and remote work have amplified the impact of distributed and complex IT environments. Running workloads and applications across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure can be challenging, and many public sector organisations are increasingly experiencing—and ultimately hindered by—these pain points. According to a report by IDC, as more and more mission-critical workloads move to connected cloud architectures that span public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments, enterprises recognize they need to invest in the tools that will help them ensure consistent policies and performance across all platforms and end users1.  However, they simultaneously face challenges such as budget, time constraints, and barriers to implementing observability as a strategy to keep pace with hybrid IT realities.

The new SolarWinds report also found public sector tech professionals feel less confident in their organisation’s ability to manage IT. While nearly half of public sector tech pro respondents (45%) state they leverage monitoring strategies to manage this complexity, 67% revealed they lack visibility into the majority of their organisation’s apps and infrastructure. This lack of visibility impacts their ability to conduct anomaly detection, easy root-cause analysis, and other critical processes to ensure the availability, performance, and security of business-critical applications.

“Operational complexity prevents organisations from capitalising on their technology-driven transformation and investments and delivering benefits for end users,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna , president and CEO, SolarWinds. “As organisations look beyond the pandemic, they must re-examine their investments from the past few years. Part of that requires organisations to have visibility into their IT environments to understand what’s working and not working, and where to prioritise their efforts to achieve the ROI targeted in their planned projects.”

“Observability is increasingly becoming the clear answer for tech pros charged with managing greater levels of complexity in these diverse and distributed environments spanning on-premises, private and public clouds,” added Ramakrishna. “However, organisations must set aside time and resources to upskill and train tech pros to help them properly implement observability strategies and manage hybrid IT realities more effectively—and set up their teams and business for success in the long run.”

2022 Key Findings

The continued expansion of hybrid IT is driving increased levels of IT management complexity, but tech pros feel a lack of confidence in how to best manage it.

  • Almost one in five (17%) tech pros responded that the acceleration of hybrid IT has increased the complexity of their public sector organisation’s IT management.
  • These tech pros reported the following top drivers of increased complexity:
    • New tools and/or technologies (50%)
    • Outdated staff skill sets no longer aligned with new technologies (40%)
    • Increased technology requirements from multiple departments (40%)
  • When asked about how confident tech pros were in their organisation’s ability to manage IT complexity:
    • Only 12% of tech pro respondents said they felt extremely confident
    • Half of respondents (50%) admitted they weren’t fully equipped to manage complexity and felt only somewhat confident
    • One-third of tech pro respondents (33%) were confident their organisation is equipped to manage IT complexity adequately
    • An additional 3% were not confident at all

A particular area of concern among respondents is visibility. With the increased shift to complex, hybrid IT environments, technology professionals say they have limited visibility into their networks, apps, and infrastructure.

  • When asked about current IT monitoring/management strategies, 67% of respondents stated they only have visibility into about half or less of their apps and infrastructure.
    • Anomaly detection (57%), correlated metrics (43%), easy root cause analysis (29%), and the ability to gather metrics from disparate systems (29%) were revealed as the top four aspects lacking from respondents who felt their current IT monitoring/management strategies provide visibility into less than half of their apps and infrastructure strategy.

Public Sector Organisations’ lack of insight into their networks impacts ROI. 

  • Most respondents (88%) agreed that return on investment (ROI) was impacted during an IT project they oversaw in the past 12–18 months due to increased hybrid IT complexity.
    • Thirty-six percent of respondents said the IT project in question took an additional four to seven or more months to complete
    • More than half (52%) said the project in question was extended by up to three months

Overcoming IT complexity obstacles and improving ROI will be difficult, with lack of implementation resources looming. 

  • Respondents say the largest barriers to improving visibility and implementing observability as an IT strategy are:
    • Lack of implementation resources (staff, skill sets, and tools) (48%)
    • Lack of knowledge about observability platforms/solutions (38%)
    • Siloed teams (38%)
  •  As it relates to planned investment in IT management tools over the next 12 months:
    • Nearly all (80%) of tech pros responded their organisation plans to invest less than 20% of overall IT budget
    • Only 16% indicated their organisation will invest 20% or more
      • Three percent of all tech pro respondents reported they are unsure or have no insight into their overall IT budget.

There is a planned lack of investment despite the fact nearly half of respondents (45%) said the best solution to manage increased complexity is to adopt IT management tools.

  • Three-quarters (73%) of tech pro respondents state their organisation has prioritised adopting a hybrid IT strategy for their technology environment within the next three years.
  • The biggest areas of impact respondents expect to see if their organisations implemented these IT management tools would be:
    • Improved end-user/customer experience (40%)
    • Reduced IT monitoring/management complexity (40%)
    • Cost optimization which drives budget savings (37%)
    • Converged roles and responsibilities which drive collaboration (35%)
  • Other strategies respondents mentioned as important to help to meet complexity issues include:
    • Training staff and upskilling (55%)
    • Adopting IT monitoring and/or management tools (45%)
    • Planning to reduce/consolidate/modernise cloud systems (42%)
  • When asked to select the top ways their organisation’s experience with IT management complexity has influenced future technology investments:
    • 52% of tech pro respondents selected increasing/ramping up investments
    • An additional 45% selected creating new roles/hiring specialists, with a further 45% selecting AI and/or automation solutions to increase efficiency/reduce human error

Please visit the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, a dynamic web experience exploring the study’s findings and additional insights into the data broken down by region into charts, graphs, and socially shareable elements. Like previous IT Trends Reports, this year’s study features an interactive component where visitors to the web experience can see how they compare to the results.

The findings of this year’s UK Public Sector report are based on a survey fielded in March 2022, which yielded responses from 60 technology practitioners, managers, directors, and senior executives in the United Kingdom from public-sector small, mid-size and enterprise organisations. All regions studied in 2022, as reported on the SolarWinds IT Trends Index, were North America, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom, with 1,138 respondents across all geographies combined.

1IDC Market Forecast: Worldwide Intelligent CloudOps Software Forecast 2021-2025, July 2021.

ORCA Computing provides UK MoD with first quantum computer

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

British quantum computer developer, ORCA Computing, is working with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to develop future data processing capabilities.

In a year-long programme of activity, MoD will use ORCA’s PT-1 model, the first computer of its kind to operate at room temperature and be based on-premises.

ORCA computing has developed software that allows small scale photonic processors, which use single units of light, to be applied to complex machine learning and optimisation tasks.

These include image analysis, handwriting recognition and decision making.

After installation, the MoD is expected to develop programmes for the PT-1 in collaboration with partners.

Stephen Till, Fellow at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), an executive agency of the MoD, commented: “This work with ORCA Computing is a milestone moment for the MoD. Accessing our own quantum computing hardware will not only accelerate our understanding of quantum computing, but the computer’s room-temperature operation will also give us the flexibility to use it in different locations for different requirements.

Richard Murray, CEO – ORCA

“We expect the ORCA system to provide significantly improved latency – the speed at which we can read and write to the quantum computer. This is important for hybrid algorithms which require multiple handovers between quantum and classical systems.”

The ORCA PT-1 contains unique technology that avoids bulky and expensive refrigeration. It puts the power and potential into a compact, plug-and-play rack-mounted system built with easily available components, such as standard optical fibre. The PT-1 system will be supplied with ORCA software libraries that allow for easy mapping between its hardware and current ML libraries such as PyTorch.

ORCA Computing CEO Richard Murray told GPSJ: “We’re delighted to be working with the MoD. This represents a significant vote of confidence, particularly given the critical importance of national defence.

“While there has been much discussion and debate in the industry over the realities of near-term quantum computing, our partnership with MoD gives us hands-on close interaction; and working with real hardware will help us to jointly discover new applications of this revolutionary new technology.”

About ORCA Computing

ORCA Computing is developing a full-stack, photonic quantum computer. Its multidisciplinary team of quantum scientists, engineers and computer scientists is devising unique hardware and architectures. These will change the face of high-performance computing and networking, from near-term quantum devices and applications to universal fault-tolerant systems.

The ORCA platform is the first to include a ‘quantum memory’ allowing quantum computers based on single photons (units of light) to become scalable. Photonic quantum computing does not require complex engineering such as advanced cryogenic cooling and vacuum.

The ‘quantum memory’ storage of quantum information also reduces errors so that fewer components are needed. This allows ORCA to build computers in optical fibre without silicon processing since silicon is unreliable, highly expensive and prone to failure.

The company recently announced the completion of its Series A funding round.

Employers are underestimating personal safety fears of nearly 7 million workers

  • Nearly 7 million workers worry about their safety each week
  • 57% of employers underestimate the level of concern felt by their staff
  • 57% of employees are concerned about facing aggression from the public
  • 22% of former lone workers and front-line staff said safety concerns were among the reasons they chose to leave their job
  • One in four people do not want to take a role that involves face-to-face contact with the public, with 62% citing safety concerns among the reasons for that

A landmark study into perceptions of personal safety at work found 6.8 million workers worry about their safety each week, while the majority of employers underestimate the level of concern.

The study, conducted on behalf of employee safety experts Peoplesafe, found that one in five of all employees worry about their safety at least once a week and that negative experiences involving safety issues can often contribute to decisions to leave their jobs.

Policy makers and businesses across the UK are facing a recruitment and retention challenge in front line roles. Although the study found that many businesses want to do more to protect their employees, many struggle to know how they can help.

Naz Dossa

Naz Dossa

The new report, published today by Peoplesafe, explores this issue of workplace safety and presents solutions for how employers and Government can work together to address these challenges.

The report recommends that in order to better protect employees, regulators must give clearer guidance and Government should work with all parties to set out a standard of protection that employees can easily understand and access.

Lower cost security measures now exist and can be better tailored to a wider array of employees. The most effective are personal safety alarms that provide a strong level of protection, can support the prevention of incidents, and critically manage issues. Where CCTV systems may cost thousands of pounds, some personal safety alarms are now the price of a cup of coffee for near instant access to the police.

There is a clear, tangible benefit to recruitment and perceptions of roles if prospective employees are offered technology, and in particular, personal safety solutions.

Naz Dossa, Chief Executive of Peoplesafe commented “Britain’s workforce is our most valuable asset, and it has faced up to considerable challenges throughout the pandemic while continuing to deliver fantastic services.

Despite this, we are facing a cross-industry problem that few have come to terms with. It’s clear that safety concerns are real for millions of employees in all types of roles, and that employers underestimate their concerns, and feel it is hard to know what they can do to protect their employees.

We need to shift the dial on the importance of employee personal safety. By supporting businesses to act in the best way possible, and by giving employees greater peace of mind through recognised standards, we can make a genuine difference. We’re calling on employers and government to work together to achieve a step change in how workers are being protected.”

The survey was conducted with 2,081 non-vulnerable and potentially vulnerable workers. Download the study report here: peoplesafe.co.uk/whitepapers/overcoming-the-employee-safety-gap/

Smart Cities: Taking a Security-Minded Approach to Open and Shared Data

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds

In our increasingly crowded urban settings, delivering better, safer, and more sustainable environments for citizens is central to both short- and long-term national and local government strategies.

As a result, the accelerating development of smart cities is driving huge advances in technology and the use of data across the world. Building the infrastructure and systems required to collect and process information from citizens and devices alike meant global revenues from smart city projects was in excess of US$129 billion last year alone.

Several core technologies are key to building a successful and integrated smart city infrastructure. These include performance monitoring and infrastructure management, which are employed to provide full-stack visibility across hybrid IT infrastructures and applications. In particular, their role is to monitor and troubleshoot network and application performance issues across fixed and wireless links.

Next is application, user experience, and web app monitoring, which provides visibility into

the health of key applications and sites, including software as a service (SaaS) use cases. These tools are also used to reveal application dependencies and related performance across the smart city networks.

Underpinning everything are IT security and automated vulnerability management tools, which help save time and dramatically improve IT security. And when performance or reliability issues come to light, support desk solutions are vital to help authorities track tickets and optimise resolution rates and reporting.

Security and Service

Given the growing complexity and integration of the data sets required to operate a smart city, security has become a particular priority. In response to the rise of risks such as ransomware, smart city infrastructure needs to implement technologies to not only monitor vulnerabilities but also aggregate logs and automate threat responses, even dividing up network segments for triage reasons.

Security information and event management (SIEM) systems, for instance, can aid in the detection of new attack vectors by monitoring logs. In addition, the city’s IT team can employ device configuration management to help eliminate known vulnerabilities, establish baselines to monitor configuration drift, and back up device configurations to recover from failures by successfully managing vulnerabilities.

In this context, service management also plays a key role because smart city technology creates a wide range of support requirements needing to be reported, tracked, and resolved quickly and efficiently. For instance, problems may arise from VPN or connectivity issues, and in larger cities, tracking these service desk demands and managing delivery can present huge resourcing problems. As a result, putting remote access tools in place to manage systems and endpoints and help resolve technical issues is a crucial part of the infrastructure equation.

Data Decisions

Given the size and complexity of today’s smart cities—and the huge scope there is for their continued growth—focusing on the security of shared and open data is essential to maintaining public confidence and support.

City authorities must carefully assess the chances data may be misused. Depending on what data is collected, for example, it’s possible to monitor the route taken by individual citizens on their journeys around a city, their commutes to and from work, or where they go as part of their social lives. Though there are circumstances where access to this information may be considered crucial to personal and general public safety, citizens don’t want to be in a situation where they feel every move they make is being unnecessarily monitored by smart city technologies.

As the scope for gathering data across smart cities increases, so does the range of applications and services—and the associated potential risk. Last year, for instance, the Mayor of London announced almost £1.5 million of investment in air quality monitoring, which would support 195 sensors creating real-time data shared publicly via the Breathe London website.

Using this information, authorities can take preventive measures to maintain air quality. When public transit vehicles enter locations with higher pollution levels, for example, they can be switched to an all-electric mode. When air quality deteriorates, some towns use the data in public awareness announcements to encourage people driving or walking to find alternate routes.

As these innovative applications are implemented, security and compliance become more difficult, not least because of the increase in data volumes and complexity. Organisations are becoming more aware of their regulatory requirements, and the impact of legislation like UK-GDPR means administrators are increasingly responsible for data integrity and protection. As a result, smart city administrators are responsible for not just securing these expanding volumes of data but also ensuring they and their third-party partners don’t misuse it.

Clearly, there must be a dividing line between the nature and volume of data being collected and the ways it can be used. At the same time, this data must be kept safe from cybercriminals, nation-state adversaries, or anyone who would seek to exploit it for unethical or illegal purposes. Striking the right balance will prove essential to the effective long-term development of our smart cities.

Bright Initiative: Global data for good Initiative expands support for the UK’s National Data Strategy with new partnerships

Bright Initiative has joined the UK Government-backed Data Skills Taskforce to help tackle the UK’s data skills challenges Initiative also set to begin work with members of the UK Parliament on an inquiry investigating issues around governance and ethics in data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) New collaborations complement ongoing support for UK Government officials

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Going waterless could cut public sector urinal running costs by more than half at the same time as slashing CO2

Vortex triple seal valve (TSV)

Public sector organisations could more than halve urinal running costs, at the same time as slashing CO2, by switching to waterless urinals. The findings, announced by Smarti Environmental to coincide with Water Saving Week 2022 (23-27 May), show that savings of over £1,200 are possible for every three urinals

Continue reading Going waterless could cut public sector urinal running costs by more than half at the same time as slashing CO2

Veteran homelessness rising sharply warn leading charities

Local authorities and housing providers being asked to ‘think veteran’

Charities providing support to former members of the Armed Forces have seen a rise in the number of homeless veterans seeking their help over the past two years. With further increases expected, they’re asking local authorities and housing providers to identify veterans and steer them

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BRADSHAW TO SHOWCASES INNOVATIVE VEHICLE SOLUTIONS AT ITT HUB 2022

Goupil Utility Vehicles to take centre stage on Bradshaw stand

The UK’s leading manufacturer of industrial electric vehicles, Bradshaw, is set to exhibit its range of Goupil utility vehicles at one of the industry’s leading trade shows, ITT Hub on Stand No: A332

The two-day show, which takes place on the 11th/12th May at the

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Anne Cooper joins the Highland Marketing advisory board

Anne Cooper

Well-known digital nurse leader @AnnieCoops looks forward to joining a leading forum for debate on the big issues shaping health tech and the digital health industry

Highland Marketing has welcomed a digital nurse leader to its advisory board of NHS IT professionals and health tech industry experts.

Anne Cooper, known as

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How to comply with new sanctions prompted by the conflict in Ukraine By Barley Laing, the UK Managing Director at Melissa

Barley Laing – UK Managing Director at Melissa

The invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a large number of new sanctions by many countries against leading politicians, businesspeople, and entities in both Russia and Belarus.

The UK has been one of a number of states leading the way in imposing sanctions, and as the

Continue reading How to comply with new sanctions prompted by the conflict in Ukraine By Barley Laing, the UK Managing Director at Melissa

LGfL to bolster public sector online defences in response to National Cyber Security Centre alert to act now following Russia’s attack on Ukraine

“LGfL-The National Grid for Learning is set to bolster public sector online defences in response to the National Cyber Security Centre’s alert to act now following Russia’s attack on the Ukraine,” says John Jackson, CEO, whose organisation has stepped up its cybersecurity resilience package to include monitoring, identification, sandboxing1 and the eradication of ever-evolving threats

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Increasing children in care – the causes, the problems, and the solution

Danny Wilson, head of children’s residential at Bedspace

By Danny Wilson, head of children’s residential at Bedspace

Before the pandemic, Local Authorities in England were already under significant pressure, as budget cuts made the increasing number of children being put into care difficult to manage. Following nearly two years of Covid restrictions and lockdowns

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Why Complex Public Sector IT Needs Full-Stack Observability

By Sascha Giese, Head Geek™ at SolarWinds

Organisations across the public sector are embracing digital transformation, and as a result, IT infrastructure is becoming more complex. On top of significant levels of legacy hardware and software to manage, the addition of various cloud-based services means IT professionals are looking after a diverse set of technologies—from

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Trusts to HIMSS5 by December 2023: will they make it this time?

Sajid Javid – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has announced a new target to complete the digitisation of the acute sector. The Highland Marketing advisory board discussed the approach being developed by NHS England’s transformation directorate, and the challenges to making it work.

Continue reading Trusts to HIMSS5 by December 2023: will they make it this time?