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News shots …. 29 September 2016



Rotherham launches new workforce solution

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has forecast that it can save 264 staff days with a new financial workforce planning (FWP) solution it has developed in partnership with MHR Analytics. The savings are expected to come from time previously spent on setting pay budgets, preparing management information and monitoring performance against forecasts.

The FWP solution is based on the IBM Cognos TM1 system, and can take automated feeds from HR, payroll and finance systems. It provides the council with a single view of the cost and forecasted cost of the workforce, together with the ability to generate medium term financial strategies and in-year budgets.


HMRC saves staff time with robotics automation

HM Revenue & Customs’ digital team has created a dashboard to support 7,500 contact centre advisers, using robotic process automation (RPA).

It automatically opens up relevant case files on screen, and has reduced the number of times staff have to click their mouse during a call from 66 to 10. In turn, this can reduce calls by up to two minutes and give them more time to deal with complex issues.

An HMRC Digital blogpost says the initiative has been part of a broader RPA project aimed at building software to automate manual processes.


New mobilisation solution for emergencies

Thorcomm Systems has developed a mobilisation solution for community first responders. Named Mobilize CFR, it comprises an Android app and managed internet gateway service to deliver mobilisation instructions, status updates and local navigation, enabling emergency service organisations to improve communications with the responders.

The solution also enables responders to provide status updates, and supports stand-down instructions, text messages and an under duress emergency function.

It is said to be highly configurable and interoperable with command and control and computer aided dispatch systems. This enables emergency services to make use of the lower cost and availability of smartphones.


School websites need to improve

A large number of parents are unhappy with their children’s school websites, according to research by digital agency Web Foundry.

It said its survey of 1,000 parents found that only 36% found them easy to use, one in five thought the sites’ layout needed work, and a further fifth thought the information was not updated regularly enough. In addition, 36% said they would engage more with the school if its website or online approach was improved, and only a third rated the sites as satisfactory.

Web Foundry’s managing director, Phil Holt, said: “A good but cost-effective website is definitely achievable, and it’s really important that investing in a robust online strategy doesn’t fall to the bottom of the to-do list, as clearly it’s of value to parents.”

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