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In brief … 2 April 2015



FCO launches consular appointment booking

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has set up an online appointment booking service for British nationals requiring paid-for services at overseas embassies, high commissions and consulates.

The available services include online booking for emergency travel documents, certificates for marriage, and notarial services - although the FCO has advised that cases needing urgent help will still require a visit or phone call. Customers without access to the internet will be supported on the telephone by staff in the FCO's consular contact centres.

Minister for Consular James Duddridge said: "The new consular appointments booking service will make it easier for British nationals to access routine, transactional services and will enable consular staff to focus on supporting British nationals in difficulties who need urgent help."

Dstl builds cyber attack facility

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has announced the development of a Cyber Evaluation and Assessment Laboratory to work on understanding where there might vulnerabilities in the UK's cyber defence capabilities. It will also make recommendations on how to offer better protection.

This follows the identification of cyber attack as one of the top risks to the UK in the National Security Strategy. In response, Dstl has been working with several government departments on developing best practice advice on cyber capabilities for the military and protecting the critical national infrastructure.

Legal Aid Agency provides online mediation contracts

A new online service for managing family mediation contracts has been set up by the Legal Aid Agency.

It covers contracts and schedules in the Contract Work Administration (CWA), including those awarded in the recent tender round, mirroring the approach taken for legal help and crime in the CWA. It also makes it possible to submit claims through the CWA.

The agency said it is reviewing the way the payment process will work in the future.

Humber NHS does BT mobile deal

Humber NHS Foundation Trust has signed a contract with BT for its employees to use mobile technology to access real time information on patients. It will use a workforce and workflow management software from Belfast company TotalMobile and take advantage of the wi-fi, 3G and 4G infrastructure provided by BT.

The trust plans to make the solution available to 500 of its healthcare professionals, with the first phase running from June to September. The solution will be integrated with the trust's existing electronic patient record system and is partially funded by NHS England's £65 million Nursing Technology Fund.

Coventry signs Civica for legal admin

Coventry City Council has signed up to use Civica's Legal Case Management system in a five year deal aimed at contributing to an authority-wide target of 12.5% savings. It will provide a central system for staff to process a legal bundle and is expected to reduce the amount of documents printed.

Steve Horsley, the council's legal services manager, said: "From a tactical point of view, we'll be able to significantly reduce the time it takes to file reports; which will improve workloads - helping us to focus our efforts elsewhere. But we'll also become more strategic in the way we operate, which encompasses supporting a more agile and flexible way of working. Also, by setting up this central repository, we should be able to identify key trends to help improve the management of cases and better plan for the future."

Leeds creates online bin collection calendar

Leeds City Council has added a tool to its website that enables residents to enter their postcode to check the dates of all their bin day collections and print off a three-month calendar. It said the 'check your bin day' service replaces mail-outs for routine bin collections and is already receiving about 40,000 hits a month.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, said: "Funding, that would have been spend on routine postage can now contribute to the cost of delivering other vital council services."

The online tool extends the information already available on the Leeds website, showing collection dates for black, green and brown bins over a three-monthly period.


Healthcare software provider Advanced Health & Care has been become an approved supplier on the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Healthcare Clinical Information Systems framework. It is is one of 26 to have a place that lasts for four years, with the possibility of a two year extension, and is valued at up to £1.25 billion.

Advanced will provide its Adastra and Carenotes clinical patient management systems, along with its integrated mobile solutions, on four of the framework's lots which include: Core Clinical System requirements applicable to all NHS services (Lot 1), Integrated Emergency Care System provision (Lot 2), Child Health System provision (Lot 4) and e-Prescribing System provision applicable to all e-prescribing requirements in the NHS (Lot 6).

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