In brief …. 7 August 2015
Online tax credits surge
HM Revenue & Customs has reported a big leap in the number of people renewing their tax credits online, stating it has surpassed 750,000, almost double last year’s figure.
Half of the people used a mobile phone or tablet to renew their tax credits on the mobile-optimised version of the online service, while half used a desktop computer or laptop.
The figure compares with 950,000 for the tax credits hotline and more than 1 million by post.
Nick Lodge, HMRC’s director general, benefits and credits, said: “It’s great to see so many more people renewing online this year – and giving the service the thumbs up.”
BT wins Euro voice services contract
The European Commission has signed BT to provide voice services to 21 European institutions – including itself, the European Council and European Defence Agency – under a seven year framework contract valued at more than €15 million.
BT will provide fixed line voice services at sites in Belgium, Luxembourg and Strasbourg using its BT One Voice portfolio, which enables users to consolidate their communications infrastructure and prepare the ground for unified communications and collaboration.
Corrado Sciolla, President Europe and Global Telecom Markets, BT Global Services, said: “By modernising the technology, we enable the EU to manage its communications infrastructure much more effectively, combine voice with other media streams and achieve cost-savings.”
In March BT signed a contract with the European Commission, estimated at €55.7 million over five years, for the delivery of dedicated internet access to all major European institutions, agencies and bodies across the 28 member states.
Arkivum wins genetics data deal
North Bristol NHS Trust has begun to use the Arkivum/100 service for long term, large scale archiving of data compiled by the Bristol Genetics Laboratory (BGL).
It is making use of 20TB of long term storage to hold gene sequencing data and digital imaging from 30,000 genetic investigations per year. BGL is delivering services to a growing number of its users, creating the need for longterm archiving of large volumes of data generated by its Illumina NextSeq and MiSeq next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms.
The retention periods run to multiple decades, and the system is fully compliant with the stringent requirements of the NHS Information Governance (IG) Toolkit and is delivered via the North Bristol NHS Trust N3 data network portal.
Eileen Roberts, consultant clinical scientist at BGL, said: “Over the next two years, we’ll generate more than 30TB of data from NGS services alone. The true value of that data is not yet known so we need to store it for the very long term to be able to access and interrogate it over time as new data analysis techniques are developed.
“Long term archiving from Arkivum provides us with the ability to hold the data for as long as we require while guaranteeing its integrity and trustworthiness.”
Haringey chooses Agilisys Digital platform
London Borough of Haringey has signed a deal with Agilisys to act as its transformation partner and for the use of the company’s Digital platform for online operations.
The platform will provide citizens with a self-service capability and be rolled out incrementally to include MyAccount, council tax, benefits, adult social care, environmental booking and reporting, a new flexible e-forms package and a range of single sign-ons to existing digital services. When the new website is launched, Agilisys Engage will help promote the new digital access channel to encourage take-up.
The implementation will include integration with Agilisys Engage personalisation software, which anonymises and processes customers’ digital journeys. This will help the council to understand what people need as they visit its website.
Survey shows FoI causes data mishaps
Some government organisations are struggling to balance demands for transparency with the need to protect data, according to a study from storage and information management company Iron Mountain.
A survey of 150 information management executives in central government bodies revealed that, while 96% of organisations feel prepared for all FoI requests and 88% say their responses comply with data protection laws, 35% feel their skills gap is putting this at risk.
Also, in 61% of organisations documents are regularly lost internally or misfiled, while in 51% the closure or relocation of offices has compromised the accessibility of important information.
“The trials of transparency are proving a real, if unacknowledged, challenge for the public sector,” said Phil Greenwood, director of Iron Mountain.
“We just need to make sure that responses are handled with care, accountability and responsibility so that individual data protection rights are not compromised. Among other things, this requires professional information management and support, skills training and effective policies and guidelines.”
British Legion gets Advanced finance solution
The Royal British Legion has selected a suite of hosted finance, e-procurement and document management software from Advanced Business Solutions to streamline the processing of over 600,000 transactions each year. The planned go live is April 2016.
It will be used by 700 staff at 16 regional offices to support the Legion’s organisational change programme, a major corporate restructure introduced to join up service delivery for members and beneficiaries.
John Graham, deputy director general and director of finance, said: “Introducing automated processes will lead to a substantial reduction in manual effort and reduce the likelihood of errors. This will assist us to accurately make payments for over 600,000 financial transactions each year in a timelier manner.”
Capita scores Irish justice contract
The Irish Department of Justice and Equality has appointed Capita Managed IT Solutions to provide a managed service for infrastructure for up to five years.
In partnership with Evros, Capita will provide the department with a solution utilising an infrastructure as a service model, including all computer, storage and networking services. It will also provide a dedicated on-site technical team, a Dublin-based help desk and a second line support team.
The model will be available to other public sector bodies through the department’s shared ICT service.
CESG extends Certified Professional scheme overseas
CESG, the information security arm of GCHQ, has extended its UK-based Certified Professional scheme (CCP) to non-UK residents in a pilot to run until 31 March 2016.
CCP will be available to information security professionals resident in the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand in two of the most popular roles: the security and information risk advisor (SIRA) and the IA architect.
During the pilot, CCP certifications will be awarded by APM Group and BCS The Chartered Institute for IT and will last for a period of three years with continuing professional development evidence required after 18 months.
GovDelivery acquires Textizen
Digital marketing platform supplier GovDelivery has acquired Textizen, a platform that enabled government to reach the public through mobile messaging. The company said the move will enable public authorities to customise interactive experiences with people using mobile devices.
“The Textizen team has demonstrated that it can use interactive text messaging technology and creative problem solving to help improve government and engage citizens,” said Scott Burns, chief executive officer and co-founder of GovDelivery. “Textizen’s capabilities allow us to help government succeed in the critical area of driving individuals to take action.”
GovDelivery claims to have the only digital marketing platform build exclusively for public sector organisations. It is running a webinar on 19 August about text messaging for government.
Pictured: HMRC by Paul Clarke © | paulclarke.com