Local t-Gov Newsletter - Summer 2006
Local e-gov community migrates to Local t-Gov
The local e-gov National Projects Communications Programme has migrated to the London Borough of Newham.
Previously also led by Newham and headed up by Martin Scarfe (pictured left), the programme aims to migrate the local e-gov community of interest to the transformation agenda – disseminating best practice and success in technology enabled transformation.
The Local t-Gov programme will keep the local government community informed on current thinking in this area via email newsletters, a collaborative website and educational events.
A new editorial board will help the successful programme move to support the local government community in building on the foundations of the local e-gov programme to deliver transformational local government:
- Glyn Evans, Director of Business Solutions & IT at Birmingham City Council
- Jos Creese, Head of IT, Hampshire County Council
- Peter Ryder, Socitm president and e-innovations programme manager at Preston City Council
- Rob Sykes, Chief Executive, Worcestershire County Council
For further information contact: [email protected]
- Build transformation on e-gov foundations, says Birmingham's Glyn Evans
- Take-up is key to efficiency and transformation, says Socitm president, Peter Ryder
- Transformational Government is all about change enabled by technology, says Jos Creese, head of IT at Hampshire
- t-Gov EXPO, 14th-15th November, Manchester - Transformational Government: 1 year on...
- Janet Callender, CEO of Tameside MBC, chair of NWeGG and NWCE, believes that the Transformational Strategy is about evolution not re-volution; and that Government Connect sits at the heart of that evolution process
- International Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy
- First commercial eBenefits offering
- Using Smartcards to Transform Citizen Identity Management
- Share your knowledge with TALK>>>
- Self assessment for change
- Transforming Multi-Agency Information
- e-citizen live
- Planning for the future
- eTSN moves forward with TSI
- DigiTV local news pilot in West Midlands
- Mobile, Flexible and Joined Up
- Valuebill – its fit with Transformational Government
- Fire Gateway Opens to Provide Online Access to Services
- Working with Business/Business Matters Update
- eAdmissions and Local t-Gov
- RYOGENS incorporated into ShareCare
- NePP Update
Build transformation on e-gov foundations
Local e-gov laid the foundations of transformation – now we must put the effort into building on those foundations and delivering something which is truly transformational.
According to Glyn Evans (pictured right), director of Business Solutions & IT at Birmingham City Council, “The e-gov programme, through the national projects, represented a huge investment and a lot of good things came out of it. We have now enabled services by technology. But the focus was predominantly on technology, not change.
“Now, with ‘t-gov' we have the chance to do things differently, to do the things that perhaps we didn't get right in e-gov and effect real organisational change.”
Evans believes that the key to transformation is to engage with the politicians, the chief executives and the business managers in local government. This, he says, didn't happen in the first programme - as it was seen as a technology programme these groups weren't as engaged as they needed to be.
“Unless this is seen to be delivering local priorities, we will never engage local politicians. But transformation is all about delivering the local political agenda in ways that politicians ought to be biting our hands off to get!
“Effectively what we're saying is that, through transformation, there is a real win-win here - you can have better services and you can do it for no more than it costs you now.”
Take-up key to efficiency and transformation
So you think that everything is going to be quiet in local authorities because we've done all the e-government stuff and the egov agenda is now ‘dead' and everyone is e-enabled?
Well, think again, says Peter Ryder (right), Socitm president, e-innovations programme manager at Preston and local t-gov editorial board member.
“We may well all have our services online,” says Ryder. “But the government sees that as merely the start of the journey to transform local government.
“To be blunt, they have given us the money to do e-government, now they are pulling it back under Gershon and transformation. They are looking at efficiencies and efficiency savings and driving take-up of the services already developed.”
Ryder believes that the current Take-up campaign is very successful, but doesn't go far enough: “The real problem for local authorities is not the people who are IT savvy, it's not the people who have got IT resources, it's not the people who have got the training and ability. It's the very opposite of that. It's the people who haven't got the skills, haven't got the training, haven't got the equipment, haven't got the ability - and those are the very people who probably need our services more than anyone else.”
“Take Up for these people is absolutely crucial and the Take Up Campaign I suspect doesn't really target them. Councils must take the outputs from this campaign and work with them to increase take-up locally.”
But more importantly, says Ryder, councils must work with strategic partners and the voluntary sector to transform service delivery and take them out to the community – starting with facilitated access at the grass roots level, delivering training and services in the heart of the community.
That, says Ryder, is the key to driving take-up of services: “Obviously you transform your services to make them as slick, as cost effective as possible, you do shared services where it's cost justified, you do a number of things to help make your services better, more effective, more efficient. But at the end of the day you've still got to get the take up of those services or you have achieved nothing.”
Transformational government – change through technology
The ‘Transformational Government' agenda is all about change enabled by technology, says Jos Creese, head of IT at Hampshire County Council and local t-gov editorial board member; and its about to step up a gear.
“In practice,” says Creese (right), “The technology is the least critical part – the really hard bit will be fundamentally changing how government and public services work and what they do.
“However, in all the debate about changing the working practices, culture and functions of government, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that little of this is achievable without effective implementation of modern technologies.”
There are a number of aspects to this that will be, in Creese's view, critical to the success of the national strategy:
- Putting in place much more responsive IT platforms and services in the public sector - many of which are currently fragmented across a disparate array of third party providers, often in contracts which are inflexible, expensive and out of date.
- Identity management – the ability to be able to authenticate different public service workers across different networks and organisations to work in shared teams, and the ability to be able to authenticate the public for personalised transactions.
- Integration – perhaps the biggest single challenge local government faces is around trying to control and harness the growing array of disparate and complex commodity technologies, from physical access devices through to software packages, information interchange and business process integration.
- Shared services and collaboration – ensuring that common IT infrastructure across different public service organisations allows joint working and joined up working.
- Highly reliable and function rich mobile and flexible working tools - enabling work to be something that you do rather than a place you go to.
Adds Creese, “Achieving this will need a pan government Enterprise Architecture approach which identifies the key areas of standards and common services – the railway track on which we can all run services.”
Transformational Government: 1 year on...
This substantial two-day conference and exhibition targeted at 500 local authority decision makers, service heads and practitioners will provide a great opportunity for delegates to explore the significant challenges and opportunities that the transformational government agenda has so far posed - as well as sharing on what to expect in the coming few years.
The core content of the t-Gov EXPO conference programme will focus on implementation of enabling technology, take up of e-services and the transformation of local government through the use of technology.
The event follows the highly successful local e-gov EXPO series and provides a learning forum which brings together the best of public and private sector experiences.
Invited speakers include representatives from DCLG, eGU, Regional Centres of Excellence, SOLACE, LGA, SOCITM, as well as other influential local and central government speakers. The full event programme will be available soon.
Government Connect: Solutions for Transformation
Janet Callender (left), CEO of Tameside MBC, chair of North West eGovernment Group (NWeGG) and the North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE), believes that the Transformational Strategy is about evolution not re-volution; and that Government Connect sits at the heart of that evolution process.
“What we now have is a very natural evolution,” says Janet, “Building on everything we have learned and developed so far in eGovernment.
“I believe these are exciting times because everyone can now see and share in a common vision for transforming services, for delivering the efficiencies we all talk about and for using the technology we have developed to increase customer choice, empower communities and really bring about democratic renewal.
“But whilst the ‘what' factor is now firmly in place, I think people are still a little bit unsure about the ‘how'”.
“How do they get from where they are now to where they really want to be? How can they modernise and re-shape service delivery? ‘How' with regards to affordability? ‘How' in their locality? And ‘how' with regards to change management?”
“Everyone is grappling with the challenges of creating services that not only meet the needs of customers, with access via one single point, with issues of security, authentication and data sharing, but also delivering them at a time and in a way that is convenient to them.”
“We must guard against falling in to the trap of improving the quality of services we provide, yet customer satisfaction falling.”
“Government Connect (GC) has arrived just in time, it sits right at the heart of the Transformational Government agenda. It offers a strong suite of products and a clear road map, helping local and central government to transform services in a way that turns citizens into customers and improves ordinary people's lives.”
“The opportunity to begin transforming our organisations is very real, and through GC, regardless of your preparedness we can work with you. We know through the extensive technical trailing that we are building on firm foundations that will lead to real outcomes for our communities. GC is also leading to more mature relationship between local and central government based on mutual trust, which will also help to give local authorities the space to lead in their locality.”
“The challenge now is for every authority to engage with us, to fully exploit the GC Solutions, and to make this dream a reality.”
One of the main principles of GC is that it will protect and complement the investment local authorities have already made in their e-government programmes. GC is standards based and it's products simply build on existing infrastructure investment made to date, maximising the impact of it and ensuring the value of that investment is preserved. In many instances this means building on the best of the local e-agenda and combining or enhancing it with GC Solutions.
Government Connect is offering a flexible approach, so that local authorities can choose which GC Solutions they want, and what service areas they apply it to. Initially, there will be a GC ‘Core' offering, which will include connection to the secure network, secure email, XML messaging and citizen authentication.
GC has been working closely with other suppliers to offer the guarantee that GC Solutions will be compatible with existing solutions such as the Government Secure Network (Gsi), the Criminal Justice Network (CJX) and National Health Network (N3). Likewise, if an authority already has a partnership approach with a perfectly good private network in place, a single ‘federated' connection to GC can be provided.
International Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy
The Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy (ICELE) is to take forward the strong foundations laid down by North Lincolnshire Council as part of the Local e-Democracy project and other national projects including ENCORE and some E-Innovations products.
ICELE will be in place by this Autumn and will act as a focus for providing best practice advice, support and practical solutions to help local authorities improve two-way engagement with communities, focusing on the use of technology solutions. Some aspects of the programme are now live and ready for roll-out.
Lichfield District Council is to become the lead authority for the centre, a role that reflects the council's experience as the lead on the Working with Business national project, and its commitment to eDemocracy.
Councillor Matthew Ellis, chairman of ICELE and deputy leader at Lichfield, added: “Democracy is much bigger than party politics. ICELE needs to work across parties to ensure local people are well informed and have a real voice in local decision making.
“Democratic participation is steadily declining, yet opportunities to involve local people in local decision making, are growing every day. From text voting, to online consultations, we need to harness new technologies to make it easy for people across the country to get involved in the democratic process.”
First commercial eBenefits offering
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, in partnership with RBT Connect Limited and Northgate Information Solutions, launched the new commercial eBenefits service last month (June).
In partnership with other suppliers, Northgate will be taking eBenefits to other local authorities committed to transforming their benefits services, and providing citizens with an increased awareness of their potential eligibility for any of the other 61 welfare benefits.
eBenefits is providing strong evidence that public/private sector partnerships of this nature can play a major role in delivering innovative, transformational services built around the individual needs of every citizen - whilst providing the opportunity to deliver more for less to local communities.
For further information on eBenefits then please visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/e-benefits
Using Smartcards to Transform Citizen Identity Management
Local authorities do not have a ‘Smartcard' problem: what they have is a Citizen Identity Management problem in urgent need of transformation.
As individual council services have invested in e-enabled systems, they have necessarily created an electronic identity representing their customers. But one recent audit revealed that in a shire county of under 600,000 population, the councils between them were maintaining over 2.7 million electronic identities; more than four per citizen!
These identities were being maintained on 39 separate databases, and involved over 130 staff for at least part of their working week in the effort to keep everything up to date.
This is classic Gershon efficiency saving territory, as it involves duplication of effort, and the possibility of reorganising that effort by investing in new business processes. It is an opportunity to Transform your Services.
If you do nothing else towards implementing Smartcards, you should at least find out how much staff time and money your council is already committing to managing citizen's electronic identities, and maintaining card schemes. We recommend that counties and districts collaborate because they are serving the same residents.
At this stage, it is not necessary to invest in smartcards or any other infrastructure. SmartConnect can be developed to produce export files which will enable you to carry on producing your existing card types, using your existing card suppliers.
SmartConnect is a Citizen Registration Tool and Card Management System developed by local authorities for local authorities by the NSCP. In July 2005, ODPM transferred ownership and control of the software to Bracknell Forest Borough Council (BFBC). SmartConnect is now being managed and developed by BFBC on behalf of the community of local authority users.
Click here to read our Transformational Government and Smartcards Executive Summary for Chief Executives and their management teams. For more help, please contact [email protected]
Share your knowledge with TALK>>>
The TALK>>> vision is to share tacit knowledge throughout local government. It has been researching and gathering insights from change adopters since its appearance at the local e-gov EXPO this year.
Sponsored by the DCLG, the TALK>>> programme is inviting people to join forces and tell their stories, insights and experiences that have led to transformational success. By using a range of techniques such as emails, observation, blogs, biographies, wikis and video, TALK>>> aims to create a unique community to share this valuable knowledge.
“Public sector reform has become something of a blue riband event. Those who've taken the hard road of transformation know all too well that its not plain sailing,” explains Maura Brooks, TALK programme director.
“Learning from other experienced adopters and networking provides the human insights, experience and support that adds value to the products and e-government 'how to' guides that are available for achieving transformational government. TALK>>> brings people knowledge that will help to achieve this goal. ”
A proof of concept workshop, held on the 18th July, will bring together these insights and experiences, as a test bed for a wider launch in the Autumn, ensuring that TALK>>> meets the needs of the local government community.
If you would like to share some of your experiences and insights, please contact John Docherty, programme manager at [email protected]
Self assessment for change
The NeSDS e Service Delivery Programme provides culture change standards across ten service areas including customer services, ICT and HR.
These standards are drawn from local authority best practice and have been put together by over 200 local authorities and 59 professional bodies. They provide a road map for transformation planning, a gap analysis for current service provision and a blue print for the delivery of shared services across both councils and regions.
All councils can self assess themselves against all ten standards now at www.nesds.gov.uk
Eighty nine councils have already registered for self assessment or provided case studies.
Ray Whitehouse, head of IT at Havering LBC, which is leading the eStandards Programme, said, “The NeSDS eStandards provides a real working roadmap for local government to meet the challenges faced by Transformation.
“We have found them very useful in making the changes we need to make at Havering and are very pleased to see they have been actively supported and taken up by local authorities across England.”
Transforming Multi-Agency Information
Andrew De'Ath (left), programme manager North East Connects and FAME partner, discusses the use of information in multi-agency working.
"In the brave new world of shared services, formal and informal partnerships, local authorities and their partners are increasingly dependent on arrangements to share information in appropriate ways. Whilst local authorities have often been pioneers in forming partnerships, typically technology has been an afterthought. Technology is now enabling the sharing of information like never before.
“When we use information in a multi-agency environment there are huge opportunities for a step change in service delivery.”
Explains Andrew, “Taking the example of mobile and remote working - information is a great enabler for those on the front line, be they a school nurse, a voluntary sector worker in the field, or a neighbourhood warden.
“There are now plenty of solutions to allow these workers to access and input information. E-government freed them from their desks. T-government unlocks the door to better collaboration, and, particularly in multi-agency environments gives more choice for citizens.
“Multi-agency working is therefore often at the root of transformational government- but its not easy to achieve. FAME has identified nine building blocks that are essential to effective multi-agency working. These include information sharing, along with legal powers and responsibilities, federation and governance amongst others. Here in the North East we've found that having recognised these building blocks, and using other FAME tools such as a readiness assessment tool, partnerships can avoid pitfalls at an early stage.”
FAME (the FrAmework for Multi-Agency Environments) offers a variety of solutions and support mechanisms that can help authorities and organisations understand the language and the landscape of their multi-agency environments, in order to effectively transform their services and achieve better outcomes for citizens and communities.
It has just launched the FAME Demonstrator to enable local authorities and partner organisations to explore and develop solutions for joint working in complex environments. This graphical software tool is designed to support multi-agency partnerships in mapping out, visualising and developing a successful implementation strategy. For example, whilst a service manager might like to see a workflow diagram, an IT network manager would prefer to see the network architecture. The FAME Demonstrator will link these together in real-time. At the same time, it can also offer a strategic decision maker a top level view, mapping out the interactions between people, places and organisations.
For further information on FAME, or to book a demonstration session with the FAME team, please contact FAME's Information and Communication Officer, Gill Smith.
Tel: (+44) 0191 277 7595
Email: [email protected]
Local authorities have invested billions of pounds building e-channel infrastructure in order to make electronic services available to citizens - and yet usage of these services remains poor.
The e-citizen project undertook a comprehensive programme of research, the first of its kind in England, to identify what the citizen wanted from e-channels, and took a look around the world for best practice examples of e-channel marketing.
A key phase of the project 'put to the test' results from the research in 13 live marketing campaigns in various, very different, English local authorities.
“The findings of the research were overwhelmingly clear: nearly half the population were ready, willing and able to use e-channels but the biggest barrier to the use of these channels was the public's lack of awareness that these services existed,” said a project spokesperson, adding:
“E-citizen provides local authorities with valuable resources to assist in the running of successful marcomms campaigns. The e-citizen project directly informed the basis for the DCLG's own national take-up campaign.”
Click here for a product brief summarising the e-citizen project's aims.
For further information on e-citizen and help in both raising awareness and driving take-up of council e-channels, visit the project's website: www.e-citizen.gov.uk
Planning for the future
DCLG is continuing to fund the Parsol Planning project in order to support councils' development of e-planning and the transformation of local authority planning services.
The project has recently published new standards for planning services – the Better Planning Services Standards 2006, Delivery through technology – on the Planning Portal website.
Updated advice to local authorities on publishing information on their websites, whilst meeting the requirements of the Data Protection Act, has also been published: Planning and Building Control Information Online Guidance Notes for Practitioners. Produced in collaboration with the Information Commissioner's Office, the project believes that if LAs follow these guidelines they can address some of the issues raised recently over fears of fraud from publication of personal data connected to planning information on the web.
The project is in the process of integrating more fully with the transforming planning agenda and has moved it's planning web pages onto the Planning Portal: www.planningportal.gov.uk/parsol
As part of the mainstreaming of the project, ownership is expected to be transferred to the Planning Advisory Service and the Planning Portal in October.
eTSN moves forward with TSI
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) took over running of eTSN from April this year.
TSI is the professional body for Trading Standards Professionals and already provides a range of innovative electronic information services to central and local government. Currently every trading standards service in the UK subscribes to TSI's secure messaging service, ts interlink. TSI has taken over the hosting of the combined database and is now beginning to integrate eTSN in with its other products.
Northgate has developed an adaptor to work with its M3 trading standards back office system. This means that eTSN adaptors are now available for around 85% of the trading standards authorities in the UK. Two of the first Northgate users to join eTSN have been the London Boroughs of Enfield and Haringey.
eTSN facilitates the automatic sharing of data between trading standards authorities and enables them see the bigger picture of trading activity, breaking down local authority boundaries. This makes it easier to plan and target resources as well as respond to the needs of local communities and businesses with an appropriate level of action, leading to increased efficiency across the service, driving a more effective, intelligence-led enforcement of Trading Standards.
DigiTV local news pilot in West Midlands
DigiTV is linking up with the BBC in the West Midlands to offer interactive services to complement the new local news coverage being piloted in the area. The BBC is running an ultra-local news pilot to its viewers in the West Midlands, offering community news alongside standard national news programmes. To take advantage of this new local view and digital TV technology, many of the West Midlands local authorities have signed up to DigiTV and created interactive sites with a wealth of public information and services.
When a BBC news story relates in some way to local authority work or where the local authority has information or a service to support the news story, the BBC will offer a link to the viewer to find out more. This will direct the viewer to their local authority micro-site in the Looking Local portal.
This is the first time DigiTV and local government will have established a link between live programming and their interactive services. It is an exciting initiative and hopes to lead to increased usage and galvanising digital TV as a citizen option in terms of accessing local government services.
Digital TV and mobile phone channels for e-services
DigiTV now offers local government the opportunity to deliver useful information and services to citizens via digital TV and mobile phones.
Wholly owned and managed by Kirklees Metropolitan Council, DigiTV is widening the options available to local government to connect with communities and give citizens the choice of how and when to access services.
With over 70% of homes now viewing digital TV and over 85% of adults owning a mobile phone, local government can engage a wider number of its citizens and create efficiency savings by offering a range of relevant and useful services on these accessible channels. DigiTV makes it cost effective and easy for both the organisation and citizen. Services are free to the citizen at the point of access on digital TV and the charge to local government is only £10,000 pa to publish on all these new, soon to be ubiquitous, channels.
Using the DigiTV XML plug-in schema allows integration with back end systems to offer citizens real time transactions on the move or in the comfort of their living room. By adding these e-channels your authority will not simply be available to those with Internet access, but available to virtually all in the community 24/7. Digital TV and mobile are helping bridge the digital divide and are currently being used by an increasing number of local government authorities and agencies to offer a wider range of services on always-on channels.
By keeping up with technical change and attempting to use all channels possible to reach those with a need in the community, local government will only increase usage of its services, reach the disenfranchised and keep up with communication trends.
Free access to Sky subscribers
Looking Local - the portal of local authority information and services on digital TV – is now free to Sky subscribers. Previously citizens paid to access the 65+ local authorities offering services on the Sky interactive platform, but now the Looking Local portal is available via a free phone number. Cable customers have always had free access to the portal as the costs were bundled into their overall package.
A number of local authorities had cited the Sky cost as an issue, and so DigiTV is now funding access for Sky subscribers, in an attempt to increase usage. Guy Giles, DigiTV operations manager, says; “Visits to the Looking Local portal were traditionally a lot longer on cable, with Sky viewers only dipping in quickly for information and not browsing the wealth of services of offer from local government. We have made this change in an attempt to equal the cost of access on all digital TV platforms and to encourage Sky viewers to use the services more.”
Mobile, Flexible and Joined Up
Sitting at the centre of mobile and flexible working in local government, Nomad aims to ensure that authorities have the key tools and guidance available to help deliver the goals of the Transformational Agenda.
Mobile and flexible working are today all pervasive, changing the way in which citizens both communicate with and view local government.
These new technologies enable communications and interaction with the public to be transformed – and allow authority workers to spend more time in the field, face to face with clients. Citizens can make use of key services using easily accessible methods such as SMS messaging. And developments in wireless technologies are becoming more and more prevalent to achieve real-time savings and to increase the choices around service delivery.
“Nomad strongly believes in achieving efficiencies through collaboration between authorities,” said Nomad director, Ian Laughton. “Working with funding groups like the Regional Centres of Excellence, Nomad has seen new mobile initiatives designed to deliver joined up services emerge.”
Nomad Wireless Forum
In partnership with London Connects, Nomad has established the ‘Nomad Wireless Forum' to work with local authority ICT professionals and decision makers in order to develop wireless strategies and increase understanding of the opportunities available through the adoption of wireless technologies and digital community solutions.
“The Forum is represented by trailblazing local authorities, academia and industry sponsors/suppliers who are committed to developing and implementing best practice wireless strategies,” said Laughton. “To make best use of these exciting new opportunities, local authorities will need to work closely together to avoid duplication of effort and resources and exert maximum influence with central government and suppliers.”
For further information about the Nomad Wireless Forum and information about how to get involved, contact Bharat Jain by email: [email protected] or telephone: 07951 206055.
For further information about Nomad, please visit www.projectnomad.org.uk
Valuebill – its fit with Transformational Government
‘Ensuring that IT supports the business transformation of Government itself so that we can provide better, more efficient, public services.' The Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Transformational Government requires engagement by every public sector organisation as they all provide services to citizens and businesses throughout the country. Valuebill contributes to T-Gov by:
- Providing the catalyst for major improvements to property data management, essential to service delivery in all sectors;
- Enabling data exchange using metadata within LAs and between them and other public sector organisations, enhancing data processing;
- Creating efficiencies throughout LAs through reductions in the effort required for data maintenance and management;
- Enabling process changes which lead to greater efficiencies and more effective staff;
- Improving the transparency of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates to customers.
It also enables LAs to gain from new and developing initiatives by central government and its agencies which build on the work of Valuebill, and are designed to achieve further improvements in data transfer, with resulting efficiency gains for all stakeholders.
Steve Pennant, London Connects
Fire Gateway Opens to Provide Online Access to Services
The new Fire Gateway web portal has gone live, bringing fire & rescue services closer to the communities they serve and providing opportunities for enhanced working relationships with local authorities.
Developed with the Local Government Association and CFOA, as part of the government-funded e-Fire project, the portal provides users with a single point of entry to all English fire and rescue services.
Next month, additional functions will allow users to make online requests for services, such as home fire safety visits, enabling carers and social housing providers to enhance the services they provide to the vulnerable members of the community.
The Fire Gateway has been developed to allow the Service to be well positioned to contribute to future e-government developments, help deliver further community safety benefits and enhance partnership with related organisations.
For further information contact: Neil Thompson on 020 7944 4400 ext 17574, or email: [email protected]
Working with Business/Business Matters Update
Although the national Working with Business project has ended, the West Midlands regional Business Matters project which tackles the issues raise by WWB continues to move forward. The first stage of the project delivered a number of outputs including a high level business case which reflects the benefits to authorities and businesses of the Single Business Account, guides on how to run a pilot and a definition of the data that should be held as a standard to develop a consistent approach.
The project now has funding from the West Midlands Centre of Excellence to look at the efficiency opportunities and process design issues that would follow from bringing together information and transaction history for businesses into a single account .This will also include continuing to work with CRM vendors on the practical implications of holding a single business account.
An exciting development is in relation to discussions recently with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs regarding a common approach to business identity. Rita Wilson, project lead from Lichfield District Council, said, “This work goes to the heart of the Transformational Agenda and a consortium is being developed of government agencies/projects that can work together on taking this forward in a way that will truly benefit businesses.”
Further information is available at www.wmlga.gov.uk/businessmatters
eAdmissions and Local t-Gov
As LAs move their attention from e-Government to t-Government, how does eAdmissions relate to the three challenges for transformational government; engaging citizens; reshaping service delivery; and making it happen?
Achieving customer centricity requires the involvement of customers in the design of LA services. Early research indicated that parents/carers are keen to use an online school admissions service. Take-up in 2005 clearly supports that argument. Regular feedback gathered from parents is used to drive improvements in both usability and process. This tangible example of citizen power has typically been rewarded by a step change in service take-up.
Reshaping service delivery involves improving efficiency, and ensuring joined-up service provision. London eAdmissions is delivered as a shared service. A single web system provides online school admissions for all 33 London boroughs, supported by a robust sustainability model which recognises that accountability for admissions remains with the individual boroughs. This approach ensures a consistent customer experience and reduces development and operational costs through economies of scale.
To face the challenge of making it happen, eAdmissions has run a number of experience sharing and supplier led workshops to ensure LA project managers have all the support, skills and tools they need to succeed with their individual projects. As all LAs near their admissions go live dates, an implementation help desk is available to ensure one-to-one support on a range of technical issues. In addition, eAdmissions is providing direct support for marketing with promotion plans and sample materials for LA use.
eAdmissions is a shining example of what can be achieved through collective collaborative working – that it is indeed possible to deliver an eGovernment service by building on relationships within central and local government, suppliers, schools, libraries and local communities.
A new eAdmissions system for the 33 London boroughs is now accessible via a single portal. The system is closely aligned to the Transformational Government Strategy, and is compliant with the Minimum Feature List developed by the eAdmissions National Project.
The idea of a single portal stemmed from the success of the Pan London Coordinated School Admissions project, which demonstrated that the London boroughs could work together, using common processes and a shared IT infrastructure, to achieve significant improvements to the school admissions service in the capital. The system was developed in partnership with London Connects whose YourLondon portal (www.yourlondon.gov.uk) provides a single point of access for London's public and community services.
Peter Wylie, director of education for the London Borough of Croydon and executive chair of the London eAdmissions Programme, said, “We have been working towards this launch for the past 18 months to ensure that the system is not just up and running in time for September, but also supported now that it is complete.
“Now that we have achieved these goals, we can finally start to look forward to parents, schools and the boroughs themselves enjoying the benefits. Parents, for example, will be able to easily retrieve and amend the application as many times as necessary right up until the deadline date. In addition, they will also be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with receiving a confirmation of receipt via email once the application is completed.”
RYOGENS incorporated into ShareCare
The RYOGENS National Project developed and delivered a secure, multi-agency, information sharing system with online assessments, episodes of care and referral management functionality that was in many ways ahead of its time.
The multi-agency system was designed to be complementary to the DfES Information Sharing Index and was referenced on the DfES website to this affect. Five local authorities implemented RYOGENS during the national project phase.
Following the transfer of the RYOGENS IPR to Esprit in Autumn 2005 the established RYOGENS multi-agency functionality, along with additional local authority requested Client Consent Management, Lead Practitioner management, CAF, ICS and SAP form enhancements were all incorporated into the new ShareCare system. ShareCare now has 15 local authority clients.
In 2005 the DfES Cornwell report highlighted the solution as one of the leading systems in terms of its ability to manage the emerging Common Assessment Framework. The new ShareCare:CAF system maintain this position by delivering a complete 'off the shelf' solution for Common Assessment that follows the 'multi-agency' technical model recently announced by the DfES.
For further information on the ShareCare system (ShareCare:CAF, ShareCare:ICS or ShareCare:SAP) contact: Chris Andrew, director, Esprit Limited.
Tel: 01332 648 150
Over the past three years the National e-Procurement Project (NePP) has created a wide range of products to help local authorities practice successful e-procurement.
In phase 3 of NePP the Resource Development Strand has focused on the following areas:
- Guidance on e-Marketplaces including Business Case Development
- Capacity and Skills through e-Learning and Guidance on Engaging external consultants
- Guidance on e-Procurement for the education sector
- Guidance on new Consolidated EU Directives
Over the last two to three years those authorities seen to be in the vanguard of developing successful e-Procurement Strategies have as part of their Procure to Pay activity implemented e-marketplace solutions. This is supported by Implementing Electronic Government Priority Service Outcome E5, which, states that access to a virtual marketplace is established. To meet this requirement councils will need to identify the mix of e-Marketplaces that meet their procurement requirement and establish a business case for the procurement of this type of solution.
Consequently, the NePP has developed guidance to help local authorities understand the importance of e-marketplaces and the difference between the various solutions on the market.
In addition successful pilots have been carried out in the East and North East Regions to assist councils develop their own business case for marketplace. To facilitate this process the NePP has developed generic templates and a model business case supported by workshop tutorials where councils can pre-populate their council specific template and then attend a one-day workshop, enabling them to complete the business case for marketplace.
Specific guidance has also been produced for the education sector where the NePP and the Centre for Procurement Performance (CPP) are working to support and enable this sector to gain the benefits available from e-Procurement. As part of this work the NePP has developed entry level guidance notes for use by Local Education Authorities and Schools as they work to implement e-Procurement.
Insufficient capacity and skills in councils has long been identified by NePP has one of the main reasons why councils have been unable to make progress in implement e-Procurement. To assist councils in this them the NePP has developed jointly with the IDeA, e-Learning guidance where council officers can access from their desk top entry level guidance on the benefits of e-procurement solutions and the resulting efficiencies. There is also an interactive functionality where users can test their understanding by resolving simple problems in a virtual environment.
Staying with the capacity and skills theme the NePP has produced guidance on the use of consultants by councils specifically in relation to e-Procurement Projects. The guidance provides advice on all aspects of using external consultants ranging from identifying the need to project close and sustainability.
Guidance has also been provide on the new EU consolidated directives which were introduced in January 2006