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In brief …. 22 December 2015



NAO says HMRC should improve data analysis

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has to improve the way it uses data and analysis to understand the effect of its actions in the long and short terms, it has been told by the National Audit Office (NAO).

Head of the NAO Amyas Morse highlighted the issue as it published a report on HMRC’s record in tackling tax fraud. He said the department’s performance on how it uses data will be one of the prime issues to monitor.

HMRC estimates that losses to tax fraud amount to £16 billion each year. This is nearly half of its £34 billion estimate of the tax gap - the difference between the amount of tax it should and actually collects each year.


Defra opens up marine and nature data

Data from a new source under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) umbrella is to become available under the Open Government Licence, effectively making them freely available for re-use.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) has released the first batch of marine survey data, and published  its data inventory as part of its parent department’s open data campaign.

The marine data was collected in large volumes during more than 250 surveys in the 1990s and takes in characteristics of different marine areas and species found there. JNCC said it could be used for developing predictive models, detecting changes in the marine environment, and supporting more efficient regulation.

Its data inventory provides an initial index of its holdings and will be regularly updated. It highlighted a number of datasets include biodiversity indicators, protected areas data and Earth observation data.


Leeds extends telecare service

Leeds City Council is to continue with the final phase of spending on its Tele Care Service, following approval by its executive board last week. It will provide the final £1 million tranche of funding from the beginning of next year, following the provision of two previous instalments of £1 million each in 2010 and 2012.

It involves the installation of sensors and alarms in the homes of older and disabled people to help them live independently. They can also be equipped with the devices on pendants, watches or belts, and the technology makes use of GPS systems.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults said: “More and more of the adults we work with tell us that is what they want, but to meet that demand, we need to be able to ensure they can do it safely and that means investing in innovative technology like Tele Care, which allows customers the freedom to choose to live at home whilst knowing the support is there if and when they need it.”


Living it Up joins myaccount

Living it Up (LiU), Scotland’s health and wellbeing website for people aged over 50, has joined the Scottish Government’s myaccount service, which will provide sign-in services to the 19,000 subscribers.

LiU is currently active in five areas: Forth Valley; Highland; Lothian; Moray and Western Isles. myaccount will provide sign-in services to its 19,000 subscribers. The website is also a platform for SmartCare, a programme for falls management in Ayrshire & Arran, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Beth Murphy, service delivery manager of LiU, said: “As a health and wellbeing digital platform, Living it Up is keen to be part of something that spells a brighter online future in Scotland. This is particularly important for people over 50 who, like our audience, didn’t grow up in a technological age and so need reassurance that things are management easily and securely.”


Gloucestershire libraries get free Wi-Fi

Gloucestershire County Council has completed its project to install free Wi-Fi in all of its public libraries. It has also invested in upgrading the PCs in the buildings.

The project was funded by a £100,000 investment aimed at enabling more people in the county to get high quality internet access.

Jane Everiss, from Gloucestershire Libraries, said: "Our libraries are a hub of activity and a source of information and support to people in Gloucestershire. The introduction of Wi-Fi across the county will only strengthen this service, as we've already been providing free Wi-Fi in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester.”


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