GeoVation Challenge returns to focus on housing solutions
Ordnance Survey's eighth GeoVation Challenge sees Britain's mapping agency teaming up with Land Registry to offer £101,000 in development funding to help develop the best ideas for solutions to current housing issues into successful ventures. Individuals, start-ups and existing businesses and organisations are invited to submit their innovative ideas to improve housing services by 19 November. The best entries will be invited to a GeoVation Weekend Camp from in January 2015, where the innovators can work on transforming their idea into a prototype venture. Those selected to receive funding will be announced at the end of this camp. All entrants to the challenge - "How can we enable people in Britain to live in better places?" - must use Ordnance Survey open or paid for data and Land Registry licensable data in their ideas. Issues outlined in the GeoVation Challenge include:
How can we improve access to services in rural areas?
How do we make it more affordable for people to save for a deposit?
How can we build on flood plains?
How do we equip homes to help the elderly live independently for longer?
How do we create engaging spaces for older people?
How can we minimise empty properties?
How can we boost energy efficiency?
Pictured: Public housing at Braidwood in South Lanarkshire - by James Denham / Geograph.org.uk
Geovation Challenge: os.co.uk/geovation
National cyber security update finds "varied understanding" of public sector threats
The National Audit Office has published an update for the Committee of Public Accounts on the Government's National Cyber Security Programme. The government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security, the report finds. However, the level of understanding of threats to wider public services is varied. While exports in UK cyber products and services have increased by 22% between 2012 and 2013, progress in encouraging trade and exports has been slow, and, according to the NAO's survey of stakeholders, this is the objective against which the government currently has the poorest performance. Some progress has been made in encouraging businesses and citizens to mitigate risks, particularly in getting larger companies to take action. The government has, however, had a limited impact in targeting SMEs, where it has struggled to communicate guidance in a way that meets their needs, the report finds. The programme's financial management and governance mechanisms are strong, and the Government is on track to spend the programme's budget of £860 million by March 2016.
Update on the National Cyber Security Programme: www.nao.org.uk/report/update-on-the-national-cyber-security-programme/
The National Audit Office: www.nao.org.uk
Contest to identify next generation of council chief executives
The LG Challenge, an annual contest run by the Local Government Association (LGA) to identify the next generation of local government chief executives, is open for applications. The winner will receive a £10,000 scholarship to be used to promote localism and local government through the exchange of ideas across the UK, US and Europe. Ten shortlisted candidates will be asked to demonstrate their skills across five tasks based on key issues facing local government today. A panel of judges will assess projects submitted by four finalists at the LGA's conference in July 2015, before choosing a winner. Contestants have to be employed by an LGA member authority. They will face five challenges, held at LGA member authorities, during which they will have to demonstrate creativity, problem-solving and ability to forward think. In previous tasks contestants have been asked for proposals on improving the experience of shopping in Worcester and increasing women's cycling in Leeds. The 2015 competition will be LG Challenge's sixth year. The winner will receive the £10,000 Bruce-Lockhart Scholarship, which will fund the development of his or her project. The deadline for applications is 30 September 2014.
LG Challenge: www.local.gov.uk/lgchallenge