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In brief …. 28 January 2016



Socitm proposes four 'S's for digital strategy

Public sector IT association Socitm has urged the Government to adopt four principles in its forthcoming Digital Strategy: simplify, standardise, share and save.

In its response to the call for ideas it has made a number of recommendations that are included in a new briefing paper. They comprise:

  • Building a new collaborative digital leadership capability for the sector at national and local levels and taking forward the work of the Local Digital Alliance.
  • Harnessing data by using information governance and data analytics.
  • Building secure, place based platforms for interoperability and data sharing.
  • Creating and sharing national scalable exemplars to address priority outcomes in areas such as adult care assessments and missing children.
  • Developing and harnessing skills and talent, including those of women and others who are under-represented in the IT and digital workforce.
  • Utilising the platform to measure progress of local councils and their partners on digital transformation.

Wandsworth extends Liberata contract

The London Borough of Wandsworth has extended its contract with business process company Liberata to manage the collection of its business rates until 2019. The company has been working with the borough since 1999, having continued through re-bids and extensions, and said it is collecting £119 million per year from almost 9,000 businesses.

Kevin Legg, assistant director (revenue services) at Wandsworth, said: “The results speak for themselves, as for the past three years the partnership has helped the council to achieve collection rates of 99%, placing it in the upper quartile for business rate collections across London boroughs.”

Whitehall data sharing increases … marginally

Central government departments have increased their data sharing with each other over the past year, but only by a small amount, according to research by IT and business processes company CGI Group. Its survey of 4,400 civil servants conducted at the end of last year showed 71% said they share data with other departments, up by 2% from a similar survey in January.

In addition, 31% said they shared data with local government, an increase of 6%, while 29% did so with third sector organisations and 26% did so with the private sector. But only 8% said they used open data platforms to make it available.

The risk of a cyber security breach was regarded as the largest barrier to data sharing, with 49% citing it in the new survey, although this was 7% lower than in the previous exercise. Other common barriers were a lack of interoperable systems (38%) and the poor quality of data from other organisations (33%).

Steve Thorn, senior vice president public sector at CGI, said: “This research clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done to foster data sharing within the public sector if we are to deliver on the efficiency opportunities presented by greater collaboration. Sharing data within Whitehall is to be encouraged but it's only half the battle, and local government organisations need to be a key part of the action.”

Anglesey signs Insight

Isle of Anglesey County Council has signed IT solutions company Insight to fully manage its Microsoft licensing estate. The contract is worth £33,600 over three years and will involve Insight taking responsibility for the council's licensing compliance and setting up a licence consulting desk service.

This follows an earlier project in which the company helped the council to streamline its licensing system to save more than £140,000 through the redeployment of unused licences.

“Software licensing is an area which is full of complicated, fast changing rules,” said Neil Summers, technical services manager for Anglesey. “Insight had proved itself a valuable partner, and we realised that to ensure we were compliant and cost-effective we needed an expert to help us – which is where Insight came in. Our work with them ensures we are compliant to our software providers and efficient as a local authority.”

Hitachi supports Strathclyde Uni IT upgrade

University of Strathclyde has implemented a new IT infrastructure with a twentyfold increase in storage capacity, working with Hitachi Data Systmes,

The company has provided a solution taking in network attached storage, a storage area network and back-up based on its Hitachi Unified Storage VM. This has come with a guarantee of 100% data availability and increased the university's storage capacity from 14TB to 280TB.

It has also implemented the Hitachi Command Suite for a single management platform, supporting the roll out of the university's Strathcloud secure file sharing and storage service.

Research highlights public data overseas

A third of public sector data is stored outside the UK, according to a survey carried out by Vanson Bourne for cloud infrastructure company VMWare.

Among the findings were that only 60% of public sector organisations know exactly where their data resides geographically, while the same percentage have at least some business critical data residing overseas. 73% said they may need to move their data in line with regulatory, compliance or customer requirements.

Andy Tait, head of public sector strategy at Vmware, said: “40% of public sector organisations couldn’t say with complete confidence where all their data is stored, so it will be difficult for them to assess whether it is compliant in any eventuality. The best approach is to be prepared for change well ahead of the new directive. This includes clear visibility into where public data is stored when using a cloud provider, and having the ability to move it from one location to another if necessary within a short timescale.”

The research included 29 public sector IT decision-makers in the UK as part of a wider group of 250.


Glasgow health board makes more of Orion

Scotland's largest healthcare provider, the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board (GGC), is increasing its use of Orion Health technology. It has taken two new modules from the companyy – Medicines Reconciliation and Problem List – and is extending its use of the Coordinate solution by adopting Healthcare Pathways to support care coordination and patient transfer and handover.

Jonathan Selby, Orion Health's executive vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the new solution will provide healthcare professionals with a comprehensive picture of an individual’s care needs and help reduce the potential for any medication related errors.

“It will allow authorised users to understand a full list of patient allergies and problems, and enable them to keep track of medication changes that occur during an inpatient episode of care,” he said. “After the patient is discharged from hospital it will provide a summary of these changes to other care professionals.”

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