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News shots …. 1 December 2016



Surrey County Council extends BT deal

Surrey County Council has added two years to its contract with BT for the provision of its Unicorn (Unified Communities over Regional Networks) integrated voice and data solution. The deal will now run until 2021.

The news comes just after the partnership connected its 500th site after including more than 40 libraries in Surrey.

Denise Le Gal, the council’s cabinet member for business services, said it was on track to achieve the £3.5 million in savings from the seven years of the contract.


Defra sets up plant data portal

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a website to provide access to plant health information. Named the Plant Health Portal, it has been designed to help professionals in the field share information on pests and diseases.

It was first proposed in the Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain, published in 2014, and is intended as a tool in upholding good biosecurity.

The existing version is in beta form and Defra is taking feedback to develop it further. There are plans to add more data, improve the search functions and include risk assessments to underpin actions to mitigate threats.


Civica study shows social housing tech priorities

Technology will play a vital role in achieving organisations’ objectives in social housing, according to the results of a study by software provider Civica. It said that a survey of social housing providers has showed that 50% plan to use digital technology to modernise customer services and unlock savings.

Among the other findings of The Changing Landscape of Social Housing, was that 59% of organisations are prioritising flexible working supported by mobile devices, 57% automating communications and workflows, and 48% outsourcing aspects of the IT business to experts.

Also, there is a need for skills to drive transformation, including those in risk management (which 41% identified), change management (41%) and strategy and development (37%).


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

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