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Connecting for Health suppliers told to get busy

The Department of Health's director general for informatics has told CfH suppliers to deliver 'significant progress' by November, and is opening the market for southern hospitals. "We will be working closely with the NHS and our current suppliers to improve the pace of delivery," said Christine Connelly, who has just completed a …
Kablenet, 28 Apr 2009

PAC slams government's 'cosy' relationship with IT suppliers

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has said that Whitehall departments are not routinely checking value for money and applying financial penalties for poor performance. In a report on central government's management of service contracts, the committee says that although most departments monitor the performance of IT …
Kablenet, 28 Apr 2009
fingers pointing at man

Crunch will fuel outsourcing

Local government expert Tony Travers has predicted that the recession will lead to much more outsourcing, in some cases involving all services provided by organisations. "There will be a major move to outsource services to save money," the director of the LSE London research centre told the Society of IT Management's national …
Kablenet, 24 Apr 2009
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GPS, swipe cards to monitor Welsh school kids

Councils in North Wales are equipping school buses with GPS and swipe card technology to help monitor attendance and antisocial behaviour. A trial of the Star smart card scheme will be launched in May with the aim of improving the behaviour of pupils on schools' transport. Children will swipe a smart card as they get onto the …
Kablenet, 23 Apr 2009
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ICO rules against British Council

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has found the British Council in breach of the Data Protection Act after the loss of an unencrypted computer disc Details lost include sensitive personal information relating to trade union membership of over 2,000 members of staff. The British Council reported the data breach to the …
Kablenet, 20 Apr 2009
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Criminal Records Bureau launches e-disclosure service

The Criminal Records Bureau has introduced an e-application system to enable organisations to apply for bulk criminal records checks The electronic application system, known as e-Bulk, will enable those who make more than 3,000 checks a year to make multiple applications and receive the results online. Each year the CRB …
Kablenet, 18 Apr 2009
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Traffic info goes mobile

The Highways Agency has launched a service to provide traffic information from its website to mobile phones and other portable devices It has highlighted the service in advance of the Easter holiday, claiming it will make it easier for people to plan their journeys. The service presents the information in a simple text based …
Kablenet, 09 Apr 2009
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UKBA to exchange fingerprints with US

The UK Border Agency plans to start exchanging fingerprint data with the US, Canada and Australia in the near future The organisation, which gained full executive agency status on 1 April 2009, says in a business plan issued on the same day that that it plans to work with the USA, Canada and Australia to "introduce a system of …
Kablenet, 03 Apr 2009
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BT gets 8 NHS trusts in south

NHS Connecting for Health has agreed that BT will take responsibility for the Cerner Millennium installations at eight acute trusts in the south of England. The NHS National Programme for IT has lacked a local service provider in the south of England since CfH fired Fujitsu in May 2008. "NHS Connecting for Health can confirm …
Kablenet, 03 Apr 2009
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans biometrics bonanza

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans to buy biometric systems for security use in British embassies. FCO Services, the department's internal system integrator, plans to spend around £15m over three years on a new framework agreement for biometric software, algorithms and hardware, according to a notice published on 31 March …
Kablenet, 02 Apr 2009
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DNA database grows faster than forecast

Over 5m profiles are now on the national DNA database, significantly above the level forecast two years ago. Home Office minister Alan Campbell has released the figures in response to a parliamentary question from Sarah Teather MP. They show that on 9 January there were 5.14m profiles on the database, although the estimated …
Kablenet, 31 Mar 2009
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Software generated attendance letter about dead pupil

Capita is modifying its school management software after a letter about poor attendance was sent to the parents of a girl who had died. Macclesfield High School in Cheshire, which uses Capita's SIMS (school information management system) software, apologised to the parents of Megan Gillan for the distress the letter caused. …
Kablenet, 27 Mar 2009
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Home Office details early ID vendors

The Home Office has listed 3M and nCipher as providers to the early stage of the National Identity Scheme. Home secretary Jacqui Smith said that as well as Thales' £18m contract for development of technology and processes – which was publicised last year – nCipher will be paid about £1.3m for a contract to provide "public key …
Kablenet, 24 Mar 2009
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Ofcom finds few using e-gov

The communications regulator has found that fewer than half the UK population have used online government services. In a report published on 20 March 2009, Ofcom says that 42 per cent of those interviewed had used the internet to search for information about government or local council services, or used online services such as …
Kablenet, 24 Mar 2009
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Online opt-outs for care record

Connecting for Health (CfH) has told NHS primary care trusts that patients do not need to appear in person to opt out of the Summary Care Record (SCR). The agency in charge of the NHS National Programme for IT has issued guidance that suggests it may be possible for patients to opt out through web forms. It made the point that …
Kablenet, 20 Mar 2009

Government funds IT security research

The government's Technology Strategy Board has invited bids for a £6m fund for research into improving information security. Organisations and individuals are invited to take part in what the board describes as the UK's only publicly funded investigation into a "critical challenge for modern society". The aim is to combine …
Kablenet, 19 Mar 2009
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Government flags ID cost increase

The identity minister has indicated that passports will account for a smaller proportion of the national identity scheme's overall cost than previously stated. Meg Hillier told Parliament on 11 March 2009 that introducing and producing passports containing fingerprints will cost "about 70%" of the ten year budget of the National …
Kablenet, 18 Mar 2009
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Voice analysis trial gives wobbly results

Tests of voice risk analysis by the Department for Work and Pensions have produced varied results. The first wave of trials involved new claimants at Jobcentre Plus, and reviews of claimants at six local authorities, being classified as low or high risk by operators with the help of a voice risk analysis system. A selection of …
Kablenet, 13 Mar 2009
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ContactPoint will cost more than thought

The government has revealed that the ContactPoint children's directory will cost just under £44m a year to run, £3m more than previously stated. Children's minister Beverly Hughes provided the figures in a parliamentary written answer on 9 March 2009. "Most will go directly to local authorities to fund staff to ensure the …
Kablenet, 12 Mar 2009
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ID and Passport Service brings in ad men

The Identity and Passport Service has signed up an advertising agency to develop campaigns for its services. Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO won the contract following a three-way pitch organised by the Central Office of Information against CHI & Partners and VCCP. It will work in all media across the agency's entire area of work, …
Kablenet, 11 Mar 2009
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NAO calls for better crown court IT

The National Audit Office has called for improvements to two crucial crown court computer systems In a review of the administration of crown courts, published on 6 March 2009, the NAO says the 20 year-old Crest case management system is no longer supported by its manufacturer and is subsequently vulnerable. In addition, the …
Kablenet, 06 Mar 2009

Government promotes open source for public sector

The government has published a new policy aimed at promoting the use of open source software in the public sector. It is also aimed at promoting open standards and encouraging the re-use of IT solutions. Measures include an education programme, guidance on procurement from the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council and …
Kablenet, 25 Feb 2009
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Hounslow tries STD test result texts

NHS Hounslow is using the internet and text messaging to encourage more young people to be screened for chlamydia. The west London primary care trust has launched an online service to enable Hounslow residents aged between 16 and 24 to request free, painless self-testing kits. The results can then be sent back by text message. …
Kablenet, 20 Feb 2009
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Berry warns about plodding police IT

The former head of the Police Federation has called for the Home Office to mandate the integration of police IT systems by 2015 In an interim report on police bureaucracy for the Home Office, Jan Berry says that although forces are at different stages in their development of IT, there is an operational need for them to have …
Kablenet, 19 Feb 2009
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Scots and pilots brace against ID cards

The Home Office is seeking parliamentary approval to extend the scope of identity cards for non-European nationals, while opposition to the scheme increases. The UK Border Agency said on 13 February 2009 that Parliament will vote on secondary legislation which would mean that many foreign nationals who seek temporary leave to …
Kablenet, 17 Feb 2009
homeless man with sign

Credit crunch hits school rebuilding programme

The National Audit Office says councils are struggling to borrow money under the Private Finance Initiative to build schools fitted with new ICT In a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF), the programme to rebuild secondary schools and equip them with the latest technology, the NAO says that during 2008 problems in the …
Kablenet, 13 Feb 2009
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DSA looks at 3D animated driving tests

The Driving Standards Agency is considering the use of three-dimensional animation in the driving theory test's hazard perception section. Since 2002, theory tests – a precursor to a practical driving test – have included 14 videos, during which candidates have to click on a mouse when they see a developing hazard. Higher marks …
Kablenet, 10 Feb 2009
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MP wants Welsh text on ID cards

Llanelli MP Nia Griffiths has called for the national identity card to include Welsh text. New technologies provide many ways to make services bilingual, said the Labour MP on 3 February 2009, and using Welsh on identity cards would send a clear message that the language has equal validity with English. A supporter of identity …
Kablenet, 04 Feb 2009
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Bosses swear data protection oath

The heads of several public sector organisations, but none from central government, have signed a promise to protect personal information. Richard Thomas, the information commissioner, launched the 10 point Personal Information Promise on 28 January 2009. Those signing have pledged to "go further than just the letter of the law …
Kablenet, 30 Jan 2009
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NHS told to prepare to ditch care records

The Public Accounts Committee says that if the NHS Care Records Service is not ready in six months, the government should consider funding alternatives In a critical report on the progress of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) since 2006, the committee said that the Care Records Service, one of the programme's key …
Kablenet, 27 Jan 2009
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HMRC advertises for new CIO

The new chief information officer of HM Revenue and Customs will initially earn up to £180k, according to the advertisement for the role. The job, initially a three year fixed term appointment, is in a salary band paying £100,000 to £205,000 annually. It is open to UK nationals with "extensive information technology leadership …
Kablenet, 15 Jan 2009
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MI5 head calls for comms data access

Jonathan Evans, the director general of MI5, has said it needs access to communications data to strengthen national security. In the first newspaper interviews given by a serving MI5 director general, Evans robustly defended the government's plans to allow MI5 and the other security and intelligence agencies to intercept emails …
Kablenet, 08 Jan 2009
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Norfolk children get £310,000 of free laptops

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has given Norfolk County Council £310,000 to purchase laptops for more than 400 children. The money from the government's Home Access ICT scheme will be used to target groups of young people who live in deprived areas, who are persistent absentees, traveller children, those in …
Kablenet, 02 Jan 2009
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Seven MPs go a Twittering

Government ministers Tom Watson and David Lammy are among MPs who have signed up to a portal of parliamentarians' Twitter feeds Tweetminster was launched on 18 December 2008, with four MPs: Cabinet Office minister Watson, the Labour MP Andy Reed, Grant Shapps of the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, who …
Kablenet, 24 Dec 2008
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Poor pensioners falling through DWP data holes

Gaps in information are hindering the Department for Work and Pensions' efforts to help pensioners who live in poverty. The department's latest performance report (pdf) says that it does not have sufficient information about the circumstances of all individual pensioners to identify their entitlement to benefits. Although the …
Kablenet, 22 Dec 2008

US delays Royal Navy satellite comms project

A Royal Navy communications project is 31 months late because development of components at the US Department of Defense is behind schedule. A National Audit Office (NAO) report on major Ministry of Defence (MoD) projects says the Naval Extremely High Frequency/Super High Frequency Satellite Communications Terminals programme …
Kablenet, 18 Dec 2008
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Minister confirms low Lorenzo usage

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has acknowledged that so far just 24 people are using one of the core systems in the NHS National Programme IT (NPfIT). Bradshaw said that University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust is making "limited clinical usage in a single ward, with 10 system users", of the Lorenzo patient administration …
Kablenet, 17 Dec 2008
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IBM wins borders deal

The UK Border Agency has awarded a £3m contract to IBM to set up its immigration casework management system. The strategic system integration deal, procured through the strategic supplier group framework established for the National Identity Scheme, is set to last for three years with the option to extend for a further four. The …
Kablenet, 17 Dec 2008
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Government plans emergency extranet

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat and Communities and Local Government are developing a National Resilience Extranet. They have signed a contract with BT to provide the service, which will enable the secure exchange of information in response to civil emergencies such as floods and outbreaks of agricultural diseases. The …
Kablenet, 10 Dec 2008

IBM crossed off ID application shortlist

The Identity and Passport Service has cut down its shortlist for the biggest contract within the National Identity Scheme. It has dropped IBM from the competition for the application and enrolment procurement, leaving CSC and Fujitsu in contention. In September, IPS said that all three firms were on the shortlist for the deal, …
Kablenet, 08 Dec 2008
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Jacqui promotes police handhelds

Home secretary Jacqui Smith has told Parliament that she wants police forces to introduce handheld devices quickly and to increase collaboration on IT. In a debate on the Queen's Speech on 4 December 2008, Smith said that police forces have already introduced 10,000 handheld devices and will bring in a further 20,000 over the …
Kablenet, 05 Dec 2008
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Lib Dems call for new NHS data security rules

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to accept a set of priorities to stop the loss of confidential patient data from the health service. The party's shadow health secretary Norman Lamb has set out the priorities following the revelation, prompted by freedom of information (FoI) requests by the Lib Dems, of more …
Kablenet, 28 Nov 2008
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HMRC estimates its IT project costs

HM Revenue and Customs is running 25 major IT projects worth at least £197m, but is unwilling to provide accurate estimates. Its largest IT project appears to be its estates consolidation and transformation programme, valued at £32m-£35m and due for completion in March 2012. In a parliamentary written answer on 24 November 2008 …
Kablenet, 26 Nov 2008

DWP shaves £50m off major projects

The Department for Work and Pensions has cut 3.1 per cent from the cost of nine of its largest IT programmes since March. The nine projects now have total estimated costs of £1.56bn, £50m less than the £1.61bn when the department last reported their budgets in May. However, that still leaves them 17.9 per cent above their …
Kablenet, 24 Nov 2008
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Most biometric checks will bypass ID database

Identity checks will normally rely on the biometric data held on cards and passports rather than the National Identity Register "Verification checks of biometrics identifiers will be made against the card in most cases using the biometrics stored in the chip, for example if the facial image or fingerprint biometrics are verified …
Kablenet, 19 Nov 2008
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MoJ cancels tender for prison mobe detectors

The Ministry of Justice has cancelled a tender for mobile telephone detection equipment in prisons, having failed to find a suitable vendor. The ministry advertised a framework contract in June 2007, planned to last four years and estimated to be worth £400,000, to provide "mobile phone detectors to detect the use of all mobile …
Kablenet, 13 Nov 2008
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Ofcom urges government restraint on new broadband

The public sector should take a minor role investing in high bandwidth broadband capacity, according to a senior Ofcom official. Peter Phillips, partner for strategy and market developments at the communications regulator, said public investment should be "targeted at areas left behind by the markets". Speaking at a Westminster …
Kablenet, 07 Nov 2008
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IPS dismissed 14 over data protection

The Identity and Passport Service has dismissed 14 people over the last three years, most for abusing access to the passport database. Of 16 cases where data protection was breached, all but one involved members of staff who had legitimate access to the Passport Application Support System database, and who used this for …
Kablenet, 31 Oct 2008
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Government negotiating on tax credit refund

HMRC is in 'delicate negotiations' with EDS on retrieving money the firm owes, according to the Treasury's parliamentary secretary. The firm, now part of HP, agreed to pay HM Revenue and Customs £71m following severe IT problems over tax credits in 2003, with £26.5m of that discounted from future government business. HMRC had …
Kablenet, 29 Oct 2008
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Public ID card support holds steady - says gov report

A majority of the public remains in support of the National Identity Scheme, according to the latest figures from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). The latest tracking research on the scheme, carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres and published on 22 October, shows that 60 per cent are in favour with 24 per cent against, 14 …
Kablenet, 24 Oct 2008