PROMOTING SILVER SURFING

Features: July 17th, 2015

Many older people are unable to use the internet and as a result they’re missing out on the numerous benefits of connectivity. Christine Maclean argues the case for more accessible training to get the elderly generation online.

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HOW CAN HOSPITALS PROTECT THEIR MEDICAL EQUIPMENT FROM MALWARE

Features: July 10th, 2015

Medical equipment does not hold any information about patients, but it can be infiltrated to provide back door access to sensitive data. Adam Winn argues that hospitals should use the same vigilance and a similar approach to cyber infection as they do to biological infection.

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ASDA GIFT CARDS DELIVER RELIEF IN TIMES OF CRISIS

Features: July 3rd, 2015

This feature describes how West Sussex County Council partnered with charities to being help to people in need.

Following changes to funding available to the Department for Work and Pensions*, local welfare funding was made available directly to Local Authorities to assist people in their regions who are either on a low income or on benefits, and find themselves in a crisis situation. Since April 2015 West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has been funding this assistance itself.

According to Guy Rodgers, Service Development Worker at WSCC, “To help facilitate the Local Assistance Network, as our scheme is called, we partnered with local organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB); local charities who provide used furniture and white goods; Probation, the youth service; and local Children & Family Centres. One of the ways in which we assist those people who are in need, is the provision of retail gift cards. If a person presents at Probation, the CAB or the Youth Service and is in need of food or toiletries, for example, then they are given either a gift card or a multiple of gift cards to enable them to get what they need. We also hold vouchers for local foodbanks, however they are not all open every day during the week and they don’t carry supplies of all essentials.”

People may be in need for a variety of reasons – they may be on zero-hours contracts, low income, or on benefits and have had their benefits suspended due to a change in circumstances or are under a sanction.

Guy continues, “We chose Asda gift cards as one of our preferred retailers because West Sussex covers a diverse area. As such there is a need to offer gift cards for a corresponding diversity in stores, and we try to provide cards that can be used in the nearest store to the recipient to save them additional expenditure in travel. Fortunately, by purchasing in bulk directly from Asda Business Rewards, we are able to obtain a discount, which means we can make our limited funds go further. In 2014/15 we had over 6,000 applications for assistance and were able to provide help in 99% of cases.”

“The benefit of adding Asda gift cards to the list of available items means that applicants can have greater access to food and essential household items. It is also crucial that we are providing access to stores across West Sussex that offer good value for money to ourselves. Asda Business Rewards has definitely met expectation, and delivered a very prompt service with good discounts.”

West Sussex County Council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal. The council delivers its services to around 800,000 people across the county.

*As part of the funding review in April 2013, the Government felt that Local Authorities were best place to help those in crisis in their areas. Following the success of the Government-funded scheme locally during the first 2 years, West Sussex decided this service was something that was essential in helping people through their crises and, in addition, helped them change their habits to avert further, similar, crisis situations. It decided to fund this scheme itself, expecting that the Government was going to cease further funding. The scheme, locally, is called the Local Assistance Network and is accessed through local, regional, partners. This means that applicants can get an almost instant response to their request for assistance and has resulted in increased visibility of the partner organisation services. Applicants can obtain white goods, furniture, food, clothing, some travel costs, and energy top ups. Where possible, the Local Assistance Network provides pre-used items of furniture and white goods, however when these are not available newly purchased items are provided.

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EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING: FORGING A NEW FUTURE IN THE FACE OF AUSTERITY

Features: June 29th, 2015

With Local Authorities budgets across the UK reducing, Steve Smith of Welbeing discusses whether this could be an opportunity to create a new model for community alarm and telecare services which are person-centred and cost-effective

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COST CUTTING IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG WHEN DRIVING EFFICIENCIES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Features: June 19th, 2015

Buying at the best price is important in cutting costs, but Nigel Crunden explains that it is only part of smart procurement.

A report by the chairman of the NHS Procurement and Efficiency Board, Lord Carter, has highlighted that ensuring every hospital pays the best price for their supplies could provide significant cost savings to be reinvested in frontline care.

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WHY THREATS FROM INSIDE ORGANISATIONS ARE SUCCEEDING

Features: June 12th, 2015

Data security is quite rightly focused on external threats, but many breaches of security do come from inside the organization. TK Keanini describes some of the steps that can be taken to protect the organization from the inside.

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ICT SERVICE DISAGGREGATION TO ACHIEVE COST REDUCTION EFFICIENCY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Features: June 8th, 2015

Simone Hume describes how outsourcing services to multiple suppliers can cut costs, boost efficiency and manage risks better.

Over the years many government departments and agencies have outsourced their ICT services to large System Integrator (SI) organisations, in some instances believing they had also outsourced the risk by doing so. However, outsourcing everything to SIs has been proven not to work on many levels.

The practice has led to: contract lock-in with departments paying a premium in both time and money for any ‘contract changes’; business risk in moving away from the chosen supplier leading to multiple extensions with no real competition; capital investment in physical infrastructure that becomes outdated and sub-optimal over the course of the contracts, requiring constant upgrades (in many cases legacy infrastructure becoming either over- or under-specified to meet an organisation’s changing requirements and a barrier to transformation); and an inability to take advantage of new technology and cost reductions; to name but a few.

The world, however, has changed. Government has woken up to the fact that having a small number of large SIs controlling billions of pounds of government ICT spend isn’t driving innovation or efficiency and, more importantly, isn’t delivering the new services UK citizens expect, need and deserve. So, what is the answer?

Disaggregation challenges

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ANTIBACTERIAL COATINGS NO PANEACEA IN FIGHTING INFECTION

Features: May 22nd, 2015

Bacterial infections are widespread and show no signs of reducing in intensity. Modern communication devices, such as keyboards and smartphones, provide new situations for bacteria to flourish. In this article Andrew Jones warns against relying on anti-bacterial coatings to prevent infection and argues for a more comprehensive approach to tackle the problem.

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HOW THE NHS MUST ADDRESS THE PERILS OF DIGIT BY DEFAULT

Features: May 15th, 2015

As the dust settles on the general election and attention begins to turn to how the newly-elected Conservative majority government will implement the policies detailed in its manifesto, Tony Pickering looks at the NHS and the seemingly growing challenges around its paperless mission.

A recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed that with only three years remaining until the deadline for a paperless NHS, two-thirds of medical professionals still rely on pen and paper for recording information. While targets are in place to ensure this is not the case in 2018, there are significant steps the NHS must take in order to achieve this feat – and these should start long before new technology is even talked about.

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FLEXIBLE FLEET OPTIONS: THE FUTURE OF CONTRACTOR WORKFOR

Features: May 8th, 2015

John Cameron discusses the importance of leveraging flexible fleet options to better serve the needs of an increasingly dynamic field service workforce.

There are a plethora of technologies on the market today that enable fleet and field services organisation to measure, record and analyse every aspect of their field operation; from knowing where their drivers are to controlling fuel costs, ensuring drivers’ safety and working to keep customers satisfied through intelligent scheduling.

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