Further to our announcement of last week, welcome to the first of our twice weekly updates, the second of which will be broadcast on Wednesday evening. This is therefore the last of our full weekly roundups so all future newsletters will be necessarily shorter and more up-to-date.
HO: It’s everyone’s responsibility - A ‘new approach to community activism that will see people reclaiming their streets, tackling local issues and improving their environment’ was set out in a report published by Baroness Newlove last week.
The report from the government's Champion for Active Safer Communities - 'Our Vision for Safe and Active Communities' - calls for a change of culture so neighbourhoods no longer see crime, antisocial behaviour (ASB) & disorder as 'someone else's problem'; and for services to go beyond simply asking communities what their problems are and see them as equal partners in resolving those issues.
Baroness Newlove's recommendations for local areas to take forward include:
* Community Reward – where information provided by the community leads to a conviction the community is given a reward to spend on crime prevention work
* Bling Back – where money made from selling local drug dealers' assets is handed back to the neighbourhood they blighted
* pooling agencies' budgets, giving communities a choice in how it is spent
* changing the '9 to 5' culture of local agencies so they are there to respond when people need them most
CO: New strategy, old themes - Francis Maude has launched a strategy for 'cutting public spending on Government information & communication technology (ICT) by £ms'. The Government ICT Strategy also aims to encourage more innovation & SME participation in Government contracts. It sets out ‘how Government will adopt the right methods, policies and skills to ensure that its ICT supports efficient public services’.
The Strategy aims to cut duplication & waste in Government ICT and it sets out how Government will adopt the right methods, policies & skills to ensure that its ICT supports efficient public services. Francis Maude also announced the appointment of leading digital expert Tom Loosemore to lead work on a prototype for a single Government web domain, as recommended by Government Digital Champion, Martha Lane-Fox.
Among the things the strategy specifically commits to are:
* publish a toolkit for government procurers on best practice for evaluating the use of open source software
* establish groups to educate, promote & facilitate the technical & cultural change needed to increase the use of open source software across government
* establish the common technology components to enable smaller, more flexible projects that can be replicated from one department to another
* create a programme to utilise & develop talent amongst civil servants in the field of ICT
* require Senior Responsible Officers to stay in post until an appropriate break in the ICT programme or project life to reduce the risk of project failure
PwC: No more payments under the table - The final version of the guidance on anti-bribery policies & procedures was issued by the Government (pursuant to section 9 of the Bribery Act) last week. The Act will come into force on 1 July 2011.
NAO: ‘For want of a nail’ - The chain by which military operations, such as those in Afghanistan, are supplied with essential equipment & supplies would be much more efficient if directed by a modern information system supported by appropriate skills & procedures.
The National Audit Office has reported that the Department faces considerable challenges ensuring front line personnel get the ‘materiel’ they need. The amount of time troops wait for supplies has declined since the spending watchdog’s 2009 report on support to high intensity operations.
However, the Ministry of Defence is still not meeting its own performance targets. Highest priority items sent by air should arrive in theatre within 5 days. However, in 2010, this was achieved in only around a third of cases.
Failure to deliver the right item on time is primarily due to items being unavailable for transport. This means that either the Department is not accurately forecasting usage & repair rates to ensure the right amount of stocks are held; or suppliers are unable to respond to demand.
EH: Can you help remember ‘our darkest hours’? - To celebrate the opening of a major new visitor experience at Dover Castle in the tunnels where the desperate operation was masterminded, English Heritage has begun a search for veterans who played a part in the Dunkirk rescue mission at the castle. Veterans traced will be invited to the castle as guests of honour at the launch event on 9 June 2011, the day before it opens to the public.
Free White Paper: Ensuring Compliance through Data Security free whitepaper for the public sector - In today’s interconnected world it is no surprise that the type of data being shared is diversifying rapidly and the volume of data is rising steeply. Data sharing raises many considerations for any organisation and the balance between enabling collaboration and ensuring compliance with regulatory governance is a difficult one to get right.
Allowing data availability and complying with regulations is only part of the formula. Public sector organisations need to consider whether simply meeting compliance standards also means that their valuable and sensitive data is secure. Security along with compliance and availability needs to be considered in equal measure.
A recent White Paper explores the issue in more detail.