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Food Standards Agency plans for Digital Workplace



Agency looks for strategic supplier for development of platform to support ‘location agnostic’ approach to working

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is preparing to build its first digital platform under its Our Ways of Working (OWOW) programme, aiming to be one of the first government departments to be completely ‘location agnostic’.

It has begun to look for a strategic supplier to help transform its digital services over the next two years, indicating that the first job will be to support the OWOW approach with the development of a Digital Workplace. This is intended to enable staff to work from any location using any device.

The project will involve replacing the FSA’s existing foodweb intranet, shared drives, people finder and the Yammer enterprise social platform with one platform for sharing documents, information and collaborative working.

The agency has indicated that it should be based on Microsoft Office 365 – to which it has full access under its Evolve IT programme – make use of SharePoint for single source file publishing, use data from the iTrent HR system and emphasise the use of Skype for Business for communications. It also wants a channel for its employees to quickly find any relevant news and information.

It is aiming for an incremental implementation of the new system.

“Our people would be overwhelmed if we were to roll these out in one go,” the agency states in the work package document for the Digital Workplace. “Developing a digital workplace platform allows us to effectively hide some functionality, and roll these out to our people as they become more digitally confident.”

Tacking back control

A core element of the Evolve programme, under which the FSA is taking back control of its management as it exits a managed services deal with Capita, is the development of a few systems for specialist purposes while using commodity software for everything else. It is aiming to have these in place before the end of the Capita contract in January 2018.

The costs of the programme have been estimated at £1.5 million over two years.

“Digital will be the primary way we carry out our work, listen to and empower others to deliver food we can trust,” says the work package document. “It is a game changer and key to achieving our ambitions.”

Image by Javier Leiva, CC BY 2.0 through Wikimedia Commons

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