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In brief …. 19 November 2015



AccessNI cuts turnaround times

Northern Ireland’s online system for clearing people to work in sensitive public sector positions has reduced its turnaround times from 19 to eight days since it was introduced, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The new AccessNI check was introduced in April. Justice Minister David Ford (pictured) said the eight day figure was the average for the first six months of this year. 

“In addition, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has recently reviewed and improved the processes for dealing with those enhanced checks referred to them,” he said. “This has resulted in a 70% reduction in the backlog of enhanced AccessNI checks with police over the past three months.

“There will always be some cases which take longer to consider to ensure children and vulnerable adults can be protected, but this is less than 2% of applications received.”

AccessNI is a branch within the DoJ that supplies certificates that show whether people who want to work in certain types of jobs, for example with children and or vulnerable adults, have a criminal record or if other important information is known about them which ought to be disclosed.

The number of applications for clearance totals about 125,000 per year.


Public servants join award winners

A handful of individuals and teams from the public sector were among the prize winners at this week’s UK IT Industry Awards, staged by BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and Computing.

Phil Blavins of the University of Derby was named IT service and support professional of the year for his week in implementing new audio-visual technology to support new learning methods around the campus.

A joint effort between the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Indigo Blue to create the National Fraudulent Identity Document Database won the best not for profit IT project award, and the Home Office also picked up the prize for best use of cloud services with its Immigration Platform Technologies Programme.

The Met Office was the winner in the big data/analytics project category for its Space Weather Visualisation and Alerting programme, and HM Revenue & Customs won the digital project of the year award for its Multi-Channel Digital Tax Platform.

Paul Fletcher, group chief executive officer of the BCS, said: “BCS is here to make IT good for society. The awards are a major part of this, demonstrating how excellence is being achieved across the IT profession. This year the calibre of applications we received was outstanding, but the winners stood out as exceptional and inspiring, and they should be very proud of their success.”


Rossendale extends Capita contract

Rossendale Borough Council has announced that it is extending its contract with Capita for the delivery of its revenue, benefits and customer contact services for three more years until October 2019.

Capita has forecast that the move will provide savings of £1.2 million over the next four years through service improvements and efficiencies, and generate £160,000 through single person discount reviews and the New Homes Bonus. Following the extension, all office hours enquiries to the council will be handled by a call centre in Rossendale.


Bucks Fire signs Updata for Skype move

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) has awarded Updata Infrastructure a £140,000 contract to migrate its telephony infrastructure to a Skype for Business solution. It will involve transferring all of BFRS’s 20 sites to Skype.

Updata has provided a wide area network to the service since 2012.


Socitm pushes digital roles for women

Public sector IT association Socitm has launched a leadership development programme for women who work in a digital environment. It is aimed at new and aspiring leaders, with registration open until 30 November.

The course will run from January to April 2016, and is chargeable professional training with discounts for Socitm members. It is part of the Women in IT initiative launched by the organisation’s current president, Nadira Hussein.


Ancoris launches housing maps

Cloud solutions provider Ancoris has released Ancoris Maps for Housing, an online mapping and visualisation tool for housing associations, available on an annual subscription basis.

It gives housing association workers access to live data from their existing systems such as property types, voids, rent arrears, housing officer patches, administration boundaries and maintenance status, which are then overlaid securely on a familiar Google Map. It can be used for purposes such as ensuring gas safety checks are valid, and that repairs are done on time by allocating appropriate staff based on location.

“We want to help housing associations experience the transformative nature of going digital with applications based on the simplicity of Google Maps,” said Ancoris chief executive officer David McLeman.



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