Industry News

BIS: A FREE online public procurement course designed to help smaller firms bid for the £220bn of public sector contracts awarded each year has been launched. The course - Winning the Contract - shows participants how to identify business opportunities to supply goods & services to the public sector, explains the public procurement process and demonstrates how to submit tenders.  It has helpful hints & tips to guide & inform businesses on the bidding process, and where to find public sector contract opportunities.
 
It is a nationally available online training course which all businesses, regardless of size & sector, can access free of charge.  It is part of a series of joint initiatives by the Office of Government Commerce and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills aimed at making the procurement market clearer & simpler.
Press release ~ Winning the Contract ~ Overview of selling to government ~ Glover Review ~ OGC: Policy Through Procurement action plan
 
DH: Employers across Britain will get £1,000 for taking on a young person who is struggling to find work. Additional free pre-employment training packages will also get young recruits off to a flying start through the Care First Careers initiative.
 
To support the introduction of Care First Careers, a series of 11 regional launch events will take place in February 2010 throughout England, Scotland & Wales.  These will involve inviting adult social care employers from each region to learn more about the scheme and employing young people in general.
Related DH press release ~ Care First Careers
 
Defra: Ultra energy efficient lighting could transform Britain’s homes and energy use with a new Government initiative to encourage innovation & research in the lighting industry. A £1.2m research fund from the Technology Strategy Board and the Defra aims to help companies become market leaders in the best ultra energy-efficient lighting, while contributing to reduced energy consumption in our homes.
 
Businesses will be invited to compete for contracts through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, which will be run in two phases:
* In the first phase, companies will be awarded up to £40,000 to carry out technical feasibility studies, lasting up to 3 months - Opens on 22 February 2010 and the deadline for applications is 19 April 2010
* In the second phase, proposals with the most promising technologies will receive up to £450,000 to develop & evaluate prototypes or demonstration units, which will then be subjected to a vigorous 6-month field trial.
Press release ~ SBRI competitions (Ultra Efficient Lighting (UEL) competition for development contracts not listed yet as at publication of newsletter)
 
 WAG: Research carried out by Tesco shows that more of its customers want to buy locally sourced food & drink and need more assistance when it comes to locating them.  In order to help its customers locate quality Welsh produce, Tesco has launched new signage in 29 superstores and 15 Tesco Extra stores right across Wales.  
 
6 award-winning True Taste producers, a Welsh Assembly Government brand, have been selected to feature on the new signage which will feature on shelves up and down the country.  They include Edwards of Conwy, Brains Brewery, Cadog, First Milk, Tomos Watkin and South Caernarfon Creameries.  The signage, which is of post-card size, will include some background information and a photograph of each producer along with the True Taste logo.
Press release ~ Wales the True Taste ~ Edwards of Conwy ~ Brains Brewery ~ Cadog ~ First Milk ~ Tomos Watkin ~ South Caernarfon Creameries
 
LDA: Businesses & organisations in London can learn how to cut carbon pollution from their buildings – with the help of a new toolkit published by the Better Buildings Partnership. Many commercial buildings have multiple tenants who all use energy, but have no idea of how much they use.  This makes it difficult for owners & occupiers to work out where to make savings & improvements.
 
Measuring how much energy a building uses – hour by hour, floor by floor – is essential to understanding how energy is consumed and to working out what changes need to be made. The BBP toolkit provides simple, step-by-step guidance to businesses on what they need to do to measure the energy performance of their buildings.

GE Capital Real Estate recently installed Automated Meter Reading (AMR) technology at their London HQ allowing them to monitor energy and water consumption on a half hourly basis.  By making adjustments to the building management system and installing a waterless urinal system, they reduced electricity consumption by 17%, gas by 42% and water by a staggering 74%.  This resulted in savings of around £60,000 a year, paying back their installation costs within a month.
Press release ~ Better Buildings Partnership Toolkit ~ LDA: Climate change and London
 
OS: An easy to use tool is to be introduced for Ordnance Survey’s online mapping API, OS OpenSpace, making it easy to create mash-ups without the need for technical know-howOS OpenSpace Web Map Builder is a simple set of tools that will allow users to add markers, routes & search functionality to their web map without having to write a single line of code.
 
The move comes as the mapping agency seeks to remove the technical barriers that it believes stop many potential users from making the most of online maps.  Among the OS OpenSpace mash-ups already created by developers is the Big Lottery Fund supported project looking into the benefits of fishing.  The Assynt Angling Research website gathers information on anglers visiting the north-west of Scotland.
 
 Users can add markers, post information about which lochs they used, what they caught and how good the location was.  Web Map Builder should now bring this kind of project within reach of anyone regardless of training or expertise.
Press release ~ OS OpenSpace ~ Assynt Angling Research website
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