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In brief …. 5 November 2015



Hull signs Civica for seven years

Civica is to take over the running of revenues and benefits for Hull City Council under a seven year contract that has been reported to be valued at about £40 million.

All 213 employees from revenues and benefits and some other related services have been transferred across on protected terms and conditions. 

Deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for finance, Councillor Daren Hale, said: “This partnership is a positive one as Civica are able to safeguard all 213 staff and it will also save the council £5 million. This deal has come at a significant time as we continue to have our budgets cut and we try to protect services we consider are important to residents. 

“If this partnership agreement had not been given the go ahead we would have seen up to 30 FTE staff redundancies as part of a need to reduce the service budget by £700,000 per annum.”

Under the agreement Civica will have the potential to provide services for other local authorities through a transaction processing centre in Hull’s existing Treasury Building.


Barking harnesses Dutch digital tool

The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham has teamed up with charity Community Resources to produce a digital tool to provide diagnostics in locating advice and support in finding local services.

The Community Connect tool has been deployed locally as BanD Together and is based on technology that the charity said is used by local government throughout the Netherlands.

It is designed to help frontline workers find information through a single menu that can be customised to the needs of the resident with whom they are dealing. It enables them to state what they need to know or what is the problem, then diagnoses and provides signposts to help.

Avril McIntyre of Community Resources said: “Navigating the changing world of benefits and council services can be quite bewildering but this tool makes it much easier to find the right support and advice locally."

The platform is provided by the charity’s private sector partner BeInformed.


Crawley chooses RAM for accounting

Crawley Borough Council has selected Real Asset Management’s (RAM) capital accounting software to control and report on its £582 million asset base.

The council made the decision in response to the approach of new financial regulations relating to faster closedown, which are due to come into effect at year ending 2017-18. These will dictate that audited accounts are fully complete by the end of July, two months earlier than at present.

Mary Gaskins, Crawley’s corporate accountant, said: “We felt it was a good opportunity to get ahead of the game and implement a future-proof capital accounting solution which would improve departmental efficiency and relieve any unnecessary pressure at year-end. The new software from RAM will now provide us with the ability to import year-to-date transactions part way through the accounting year, thus spreading the workload and speeding up our year-end close.”


Kensington & Chelsea extends business rates service

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has extended its contract for Capita the management of the collection of its business rates. The deal will run for an extra three years to 2018.

The extension will see Capita introduce a number of new systems over the next 12 months, such as an electronic document management system and self-service functionality.

The company has been collecting business rates for the borough since 1992 and said collection rates have not fallen below 99% since 2010.


University of the Highlands joins SWAN

The University of the Highlands and Islands has joined the Scottish Wide Area Network. It joins more than 50 other organisations signed up to use the network for Scottish public services.

Fiona Larg, the university’s chief operating officer and secretary, said: “The university is a unique higher and further education establishment which operates from a huge number of locations across Scotland, so the strength, resilience and cost-effectiveness of our network is vital.

“Joining SWAN will mean that our network is faster and more reliable – and will mean that we can benefit from SWAN’s significant economies of scale.”


Capita and Cisco collaborate in cloud

A new cloud based unified communications service has been launched by Capita in a collaboration with Cisco.

The Cisco Powered Capita Unified Communications in the Cloud service brings together the network company’s Hosted Collaboration Solution with Capita’s cloud and service management expertise to deliver a package that includes instant messaging, voice and video from desktop and mobile devices.

The private cloud service is hosted in Capita’s secure, tier 3 UK data centres, guaranteeing UK data sovereignty and data security up to Official.


Image: Old Town, Hull, by Robert Haywood, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons



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