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In brief... 4 September 2015



Digital fast stream opens for applications

Applications opened for the civil service fast stream on Tuesday, including the Digital and Technology scheme. Those accepted on the programme undertake four six-month placements and a one-year role in various parts of the civil service, and can expect to see rapid promotion thereafter. “Roles range from content designer or user researcher to performance analyst or project delivery manager,’ says the page. “You could also work on digital policy or in digital communications, on GOV.UK Verify, or within the government’s technology transformation and ‘Government as a Platform’ programmes.” The closing date for applications is 2 November.

Pictured: GOV.UK Verify | licensed under Open Government Licence v3.0


Hull signs Civica deal

Hull City Council has named technology and BPO firm Civica as preferred bidder to take over the running of its Revenues and Benefits Service, which is responsible for paying housing benefit and collecting council tax, business rates and debts. The seven-year, £40m deal is expected to save the council £5m in savings – but Civica has pledged to avoid job cuts among the 214 staff who will transfer across from council employment, with council deputy leader Daren Hale promising: “There will be no redundancies either before or during this seven year partnership. The 214 staff are safeguarded throughout our deal with Civica.” The deal provides for Civica to establish a transactional processing centre in the city, improving its ability to offer similar services to other councils.


Freeman announces health app approval system

Three health agencies are to develop a process for giving official approval to health and care apps, life sciences minister George Freeman said on Thursday. “We need to continue to encourage patients and citizens to use new technologies to better manage their health, care and treatment,” he said, announcing that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Public Health England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre will collaborate – under the auspices of the National Information Board – to “help citizens and professionals alike identify digital health applications that are effective and safe.”

Freeman’s speech followed one by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, in which Hunt announced that within 12 months all patients should be able to access their own GP electronic records, and by end of 2018 all doctors and nurses across England should have access to “the most up to date lifesaving information” on any patient held by GP surgeries, ambulance services and A&E departments.


Government releases tranche of IP addresses

The government has successfully released a block of IP addresses, whetting its appetite for future sales. In a blog published on Wednesday Hadley Beeman, a senior technical advisor to the government’s chief technology officer, announced that a project launched earlier this year has released a set of addresses held by the Department of Work and Pensions. The DWP holds “a class A block of IPv4 addresses, much of which they used in their internal networks. Following some planning, we released 40 of the 256 class B blocks without disruption to any key services,” she said. “There was significant demand for the addresses, confirming our hypothesis that others might find them useful. We also found that market interest for those 40 class Bs did cover the work we had to do, plus a tidy profit”. Beeman concluded that “We think there may be more opportunities like this, and will continue to investigate further sales of IP addresses.”


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