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In brief .... 9 October 2015



Intelligent transport system for England

Highways England has awarded a £30 million contract to Austrian company Kapsch TrafficCom AG to install an intelligent transport system at its regional control centre in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

The system will then be rolled out to the rest of the country to manage traffic on England’s motorways and A roads. It is designed to be able to incorporate future technology.

Neil Widdop, services procurement team leader at Highways England, said: “The new system will allow us to improve our operational efficiencies through use of a modern, national, integrated system.

“As we improve our operational efficiency, we can expect road users to benefit from quicker responses to incidents leading to improved safety and greater convenience for drivers.


Northern Ireland claims big back office savings

Northern Ireland’s Finance Minister Arlene Foster has claimed that the Executive has pulled off a £73 million saving through changes to its back office support services under its Public Sector Reform Programme.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPF) Northern Ireland Annual Conference, she said that shared services in HR, IT and finance have been crucial in delivering the savings, beginning in 2006. But she added there will be more to do to find further savings.

“A review is underway across departments to identify new work processes that can generate revenue and reduce expenditure,” she said. “This work is in addition to the OECD Public Governance Review, which is examining how our public services compare globally and where we can make improvements.”


Gloucester extends Civica deal

Gloucester City Council has agreed a three year extension to its contract for Civica to provide revenues and benefits services.

It will follow a seven year agreement that got under way in October 2011, which the company said has delivered more than £200,000 per year in savings to the council, along with increasing its collection of council tax and the speed of processing benefits claims. It forecast the extension will provide additional savings of £100,000 over the three years.

A service centre set up to support the deal is now providing services for almost 50 local authorities across the UK.


Urgent Care 24 signs Advanced

Social enterprise Urgent Care 24, which provides NHS out-of-hours primary care services on Merseyside, has signed up to use Advanced Business Solutions’ integrated finance, e-procurement and document management software. It plans to go live with the system in December.

Daniel Williamson, head of finance at Urgent Care 24, said: “Advanced’s solutions will save up to four working days each month by reducing the time it takes us to complete our month-end process. With faster access to more meaningful data we can continue to improve our services to benefit patients in the communities where we operate.

“Removing paper will also provide huge efficiencies as it will be at least three years before we need to increase headcount within the finance team.”

Urgent Care 24 has been using the Adastra clinical patient management solution from Advanced’s sister business, Advanced Health & Care, for 10 years.


Met Police sets up online press office

The Metropolitan Police has set up a new online press operation that includes a communications workflow, an analytics tool to measure the effectiveness of content, and functions to share stories, official images and social messaging more efficiently.

The system was set up with PR technology supplier Mynewsdesk, which said the Met has the busiest press office in the UK.

Michael Piotrowski, Digital Communications Consultant at Mynewsdesk, said “With so many ways of receiving news, it was important for the Met to be able to efficiently and simultaneously broadcast their stories via email, across social channels, the Met website and more, at just the click of a button.”


Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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