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UK.gov fishes for ID ideas

Directgov has asked IT suppliers to come up with new thinking on identity verification. The team, which is now within the Cabinet Office, has issued a pre-tender notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union, saying that it wants feedback on potential requirements for the public sector on all aspects of identity …
Kable, 02 Sep 2010
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NHS Online consult service to live on: Calls go to 111

The Department of Health has said there are no immediate plans to drop the NHS Direct web service, despite signalling the end of telephone consultations. It has issued a statement saying that the site, which provides a first stop for medical advice, will remain in operation while the government reviews the wider use of …
Kable, 31 Aug 2010
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Half of UK road users support usage-based road charging

A Department for Transport survey has found that more than half of UK adults believe that road charging should be based on usage. The finding is revealed in the DfT's survey of public attitudes to road congestion, published on 26 August 2010. Over four in five adults thought that congestion was a serious problem for the UK and …
Kable, 27 Aug 2010
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NHS trust tags mentally ill offenders

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is using satellites to track psychiatric patients with criminal convictions. The launch follows a successful 12 month pilot project in which 35 mentally ill patients at River House, a medium security psychiatric unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, took part. The …
Kable, 26 Aug 2010
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Home Office unveils new UK passport

The Home Office has said that new UK passports with 'strengthened security features' will be issued from October. To make the passports more secure, the chip which stores the holder's details has been moved to the inside of the passport cover so it will no longer be visible, the Home Office said. The new 10-year passport will …
Kable, 25 Aug 2010
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CISx plans scrapped

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that it has halted the development of a central data sharing system for government. A spokesperson for the department told GC News on 23 August 2010 that the work has been terminated, attributing it to the government's decision to close the National Identity Scheme (NIS …
Kable, 24 Aug 2010
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Met to improve information handling

The Metropolitan Police Service has outlined a number of IT plans aimed at improving its information processes. Its directorate of information's strategic plan for 2010-11 says that technology will play a big part in delivering secure and reliable information "where and when it is needed". This includes the development of e.Met- …
Kable, 20 Aug 2010
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Lane Fox launches review of Directgov

Digital champion Martha Lane Fox is leading an online review aimed at improving the government's central web portal. The review will remain open until 3 September 2010 and invites the views of the public on four main areas. Firstly, how should the government achieve the objectives of using Directgov to publish new information …
Kable, 19 Aug 2010
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Council staff breach DWP database

The Department for Work and Pensions has disclosed that 124 council employees illicitly viewed personal data on its Customer Information System last year. A Freedom of Information request by GC News revealed that local authorities dismissed 26 employees during 2009-10 for breaching data security. The department's response …
Kable, 13 Aug 2010
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London tenders for speed cameras

Transport for London has published a tender for the provision of average speed cameras for a project it plans to trial. The cameras will be used to "enforce average speed limits in urban areas", according to the notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 10 August 2010. A spokesperson for the department …
Kable, 13 Aug 2010
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MoD bod warns of cyber attack risk

The accounting officer for the Ministry of Defence has said that data losses and weaknesses in the department's information infrastructure have left it vulnerable to virtual attacks. In the MoD's resource accounts for 2009-10, Bill Jeffrey says that although the department is working to improve awareness of potential online …
Kable, 12 Aug 2010
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Northern Ireland gets upgraded spycams

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is planning to spend some of £12.9m in additional government security funding on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras. A spokesperson for the service told GC News that due to security reasons it could not reveal the exact amount being spent on ANPR or any other details …
Kable, 12 Aug 2010
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'Climategate' university to open up data

The University of East Anglia is to receive JISC funding for a project to open up its research on global warming to scrutiny and re-use. The university, which was at the centre of a scandal revealed by leaked emails from its Climatic Research Unit, will examine how best to expose climate data for re-use, make it easier for …
Kable, 11 Aug 2010
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DWP goes old school - loses paper docs, hangs onto e-data

The Department for Work and Pensions has reported data leaks from paper but none from electronic devices over the year. Its resources accounts for 2009-10 (pdf) reveal that in April 2009 it lost paper documents from its offices which contained the names, dates of birth, national insurance numbers and bank details of 145 people …
Kable, 10 Aug 2010
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Treasury considers Coins replacement

HM Treasury is looking at the possible replacement of the Combined Online Information System. A spokesperson for the department told GC News that work has begun on Project Oscar, which could possibly lead to the creation of a new database called the Online System for Central Accounting Reporting. If it is adopted, it would take …
Kable, 05 Aug 2010
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Scotland's police inspector slams data entry record

The accuracy of information on the Police National Computer (PNC) is being affected by problems with IT and data entry at Scottish police forces, according to a new report. PNC Inspections: National overview report, published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland, calls for the country's police forces to improve the …
Kable, 04 Aug 2010
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Data.gov.uk chief admits transparency concerns

The head of the government's website for the release of public sector data has said it is a challenge to ensure that users can understand the statistics. Cabinet Office official Richard Stirling, who leads the team that runs Data.gov.uk, said that if he was at the Office for National Statistics he would have concerns about …
Kable, 30 Jul 2010
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MoD increased annual IT spending by £240m

The Ministry of Defence has revealed that its annual ICT spending rose from £1.15bn in 2007-08 to £1.39bn in 2008-09. Defence minister Andrew Robathan said in a parliamentary written answer that the costs include both operational and non-operational IT, satellite and telecommunications. It spent £852m in 2008-09, as well as £ …
Kable, 28 Jul 2010
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Minister calls for more cyber security experts

The minister for security has said the government has to do something about a shortage of emerging cyber security professionals. Baroness Neville-Jones said the problem Britain faces is that it has "a talented, but small pool of highly skilled public and private sector cyber security individuals". Speaking at the Cyber Security …
Kable, 27 Jul 2010
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IT delays cost HMRC £33m

The National Audit Office (NAO) says that delays to a single tax and pensions system cost HM Revenue and Customs £33m in procurement costs. In a report (pdf) published on 20 July 2010, the accounting watchdog says that difficulties with the National Insurance and PAYE Service system led to it being deferred twice before it was …
Kable, 21 Jul 2010
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Home Office publishes draft reform plan

Information sharing, the publication of crime data and support for the e-Borders programme are all in the Home Office Structural Reform Plan. A draft (pdf) of the plan has been published on the department's website. It places an emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, increasing the accountability of the police, …
Kable, 15 Jul 2010
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Coalition spends £3.75m on ContactPoint

A minister has revealed that the government spent £3.75m over two months on the soon to be scrapped children's database. Conservative education minister Tim Loughton said that because ContactPoint "remains in limited operation", the Department for Education paid £3.75m to cover the costs of operating the database from April to …
Kable, 13 Jul 2010
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Government plans 'NHS information revolution'

Patients will use the web to report their experiences, rate NHS organisations and access their records, according to health secretary's white paper. Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS says that a range of online tools will be created for patients, allowing them to access services "much more efficiently at a time and place …
Kable, 13 Jul 2010
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Council websites falter on business services

A Socitm survey has revealed that only five per cent of council websites comply with an EU directive to help businesses find out about licensing and other formalities. The document, based on a survey of how well 433 local authority websites and websites from another 107 "competent authorities" complied with the EU Services …
Kable, 09 Jul 2010
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Barnet and West Sussex breach DPA

The Information Commissioner's Office has taken action against Barnet and West Sussex councils after the theft of IT containing sensitive data about children. The watchdog said that personal information about children had been lost by the two authorities because of a "systemic" lack of staff IT training. Both councils were found …
Kable, 08 Jul 2010
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NAO slams 'redundant' MoJ finance systems

A new National Audit Office report says that financial management at the Ministry of Justice is being hampered by unnecessary data systems. The department has a legacy of multiple data systems that make it less able to monitor its financial position and produce accurate and up-to-date reports, according to the document. …
Kable, 06 Jul 2010
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DWP puts central apps procurement on hold

The Department for Work and Pensions has suspended part of its procurement exercise for a central government application deployment service. A spokesperson for the department told GC News that the competition for two of the five lots has been suspended, but insisted that the process as a whole has not been cancelled. The parts …
Kable, 05 Jul 2010
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NPIA outlines £200m IT savings plan

The chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency has outlined plans to save £200m by 2015 through 'better use of technology and procurement'. Peter Neyroud said the agency will make IT savings of £25m during 2010-11, out of total savings of £1bn across all areas of the agency by 2015. In May, the NPIA was told by …
Kable, 05 Jul 2010
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Former CIO returns to Cabinet Office

Ian Watmore, the government's first chief information officer, has taken up a new position at the Cabinet Office. He is to become the chief operating officer at the head of the new Efficiency and Reform Group, an appointment at permanent secretary level. The Cabinet Office said Watmore will work closely with its senior minister …
Kable, 01 Jul 2010
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Cash woes hold back National Insurance IT improvements

A National Audit Office report says that limited money for IT is hampering improvements to the administration of National Insurance. The report, published on 30 June, says that HM Revenue and Customs' Contributions Office, which maintains personal records on the National Insurance (NI) database, would like to make significant …
Kable, 30 Jun 2010
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House of Commons to digitise parliamentary questions

The House of Commons Commission has said it plans to switch to electronic delivery of Hansard's parliamentary written questions and answers. The commission is "vigorously pursuing a new approach" to set up a secure electronic means of transferring questions and answers to and from government departments to the house, according …
Kable, 29 Jun 2010
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Maude calls for public choice on open data

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has invited the public to comment on what government data sets should be released. He said the move is part of the effort to define clear principles for the implementation of the transparency agenda across the public sector. The announcement came after the first meeting of the Public Sector …
Kable, 28 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Government delays ContactPoint closure

The Department for Education (DfE) has said it will temporarily maintain the controversial children's database but scale back its use. Tom Jeffery, director general of the department, has sent out a letter to directors of children's services in England telling them that ContactPoint will remain in use but that its operations …
Kable, 21 Jun 2010
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Info Chief to get more power

The government is planning to increase the power of its chief information officer as part of a range of measures within the Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan. The plan (pdf) said the move will be a key element of of reducing the cost structure of ICT in central government. The first point in the plan's section on ICT …
Kable, 18 Jun 2010
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TfL admits congestion charge autopay problems

Transport for London has said that it is 'aware of some problems' with the IBM-managed system used by fleet companies to pay the congestion charge. Customers have reported issues with the the autopay system, including being overcharged and receiving wrongly issued fines. The online service is used by companies that regularly …
Kable, 14 Jun 2010
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IPS spent £38m on consultancy last year

The Treasury's publication of its Coins database of government finance has revealed details of the Identity and Passport Service's cashflow. The agency, which is responsible for issuing passports and identity cards – although the latter are about to be scrapped – spent £38m on consultancy and £275m on other non-capital purchases …
Kable, 07 Jun 2010
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NHS is top sector for data losses

The NHS has reported 305 data breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) since November 2007. The figure for the NHS compares to 288 for the private sector, 132 for local government and 18 for central government. "It could be because of reporting differences or the NHS could be more prone to data breaches because …
Kable, 01 Jun 2010
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Senior IT officials among top paid civil servants

Seven senior IT officials are on the newly published list of top paid civil servants. In the list published by the government to provide greater transparency of high earners' salaries, Joe Harley, IT director general and chief information officer (CIO) at the Department for Work and Pensions, comes out top of the information …
Kable, 01 Jun 2010
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Government yet to set ContactPoint closure date

The Department for Education has yet to set a timetable to abolish the controversial database of all children in England. A spokesperson for the department told GC News that, unlike ID cards and the National Identity Register, the abolition of ContactPoint does not require primary legislation. She said that necessary changes to …
Kable, 26 May 2010
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Janet, E2BN procure network for education and local authorities

The national education network and a broadband provider to public services have shared a £6m deal for new infrastructure in the east of England. The Joint Academic NETwork (Janet) and the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN), have jointly procured the network to support broadband services for schools, higher and further …
Kable, 25 May 2010
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LibCons to reduce vetting and barring

The new government has announced plans to scale back vetting and barring. The detailed coalition agreement published on 20 May 2010 extends the list of systems the government will scrap or scale back in the name of civil liberties. It says the vetting and barring scheme, used to check the backgrounds of people working with …
Kable, 20 May 2010
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Highways Agency seeks £40m central IT system

The Highways Agency has published two separate pre-tenders, for a centralised database and for data transmission and telecommunications cables. The deal for a fully integrated and centralised database "to support the agency's strategic road network operations" is worth between £35m to £40m. According to a notice published in …
Kable, 20 May 2010
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National Archives preserves Labour government websites

The National Archives has published online historical copies of key government websites, including responses to emergencies like swine flu. For the first time since the archives started preserving websites in 2003, online government information published in the weeks before and immediately after the general election has been " …
Kable, 14 May 2010
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Archives director calls for simplified data

The director of information policy and services at the National Archives has said the public sector needs to make information more easily accessible to people to achieve efficiency. Carol Tullo said organisations could deliver more for less if they "provide access to information and enable others to use it". "If we empower and …
Kable, 11 May 2010
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TfL signs £27.6m road CCTV deals

Transport for London has awarded Easynet and Serco contracts to upgrade its CCTV cameras monitoring roads. As part of a project to upgrade the transport authority's CCTV system, it has signed a £22.6m deal with Easynet to deliver data transmission, network integration and support services. It has also signed a separate £5m deal …
Kable, 05 May 2010
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NPfIT ignored NHS culture, says Halligan

One of the founders of the NHS National Programme for IT has told HC2010 that it failed to understand that "culture eats strategy for breakfast". Professor Aidan Halligan, who now works in senior roles at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, said that the programme has been …
Kable, 28 Apr 2010
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LGA and Socitm call for open election data

The Local Government Association and the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) are calling for local authorities to publish election information and results in an open format. The two organisations said the Open Local Election Data Project, which has been developed as a guide for council web managers and …
Kable, 28 Apr 2010
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Johnson: ID cards will pay for themselves

The home secretary has said that the identity scheme's budget will be recouped through charging the public for the cards. Speaking during a crime debate on BBC Daily Politics programme on 20 April 2010, Alan Johnson said scrapping the identity card scheme at this stage would be counterproductive and a "waste". "The money all …
Kable, 21 Apr 2010
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G Cloud guy Bellamy says bye-bye to Cabinet Office

The former Connecting for Health director Martin Bellamy is planning to leave his role in charge of the Cabinet Office team developing the G Cloud. The Cabinet Office confirmed the move but declined to give the date of his departure. A spokesperson said that Bellamy is continuing with work on the G Cloud – the plan for an …
Kable, 16 Apr 2010
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OU: Digital divide now between clued and clueless

The vice chancellor of the Open University has said the digital divide is now between people who do and do not understand how to exploit IT fully. In an opening speech to the Jisc conference in London on 12 April 2010, Martin Bean said that the digital divide was no longer about haves and have-nots in terms of access to IT and …
Kable, 15 Apr 2010