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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
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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
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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