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News shots …. 12 July 2016



Passport Office gets quick win with digital booking

An online system for urgent passport application appointments has surpassed its take-up target in the first month.

The Passport Office anticipated that 41% of applicants would choose to use the service on its launch, increasing to 70% by the end of the year. But it hit 71% in the first month after its launch in February, with a drop in the number of people not attending appointments due to payment being required at the time of booking.

Supplier Toplevel said the system has an iterative digital interface that can be adapted by the Passport Office to meet future requirements.


Defra gives vets animal disease test tool

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has released a public beta version of an online service for vets to request disease tests for animals.

The Animal Disease Testing Service (ADTS) was developed with the Animal Plant Health Agency and replaces a paper process and includes functions to track the status of tests and receive results online, to help choose the correct test and to store results in PDF format.

It has been placed onto GOV.UK after spending six months in private beta under its original name of VICTOR, during which the department’s digital team has made a number of changes based on user experience.

A Defra Digital blogpost said the team will now monitor its use and report performance data to the GOV.UK Performance Platform.


Survey shows shortcomings in network security

Only 55% of UK public sector organisations have an IT budget dedicated to security solutions, despite 85% having reviewed the arrangements after a breach, according to a survey by network security company Gigamon.

It also found that while 69% of the 172 organisations surveyed were concerned about the rise of advanced persistent threats, only 18% currently employ specialised solutions to deal with them.

The major threats identified were malicious code (65%), data loss (55%) and data misuse (40%). But 82% were confident in their ability to identify and remove suspicious traffic on their networks, across physical and virtual environments.

Trevor Dearing, marketing director for Gigamon in Europe, said: “The UK public sector still has some catching up to do when it comes to mitigating the most advanced IT security threats, but this is a trend consistent with the market in general as hackers turn to low and slow attacks which can be incredibly effective and difficult to stop.”


Derby deals with CapacityGrid

Derby City Council has signed a £1.25 million, three year contract with CapacityGrid for specialist assistance with its housing benefit operations and council tax support and processing. It will use the company’s Anytime service.

As part of the contract, the company will handle processing, quality checking and subsidy assurance checking of claims.

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