Pendle Borough Council is predominantly a rural region in Lancashire covering an area of 65.4 square miles and serving a population of approximately 90,000 people. With increasing pressure on resources, improving efficiency is key to meeting the increased demand to deliver improved access and better services to its residents and visitors.
In 2015, Pendle identified a need to rationalise systems across the authority, with a view to reducing costs and overheads as well as enabling more streamlined processes within the council.
The council was using a number of different solutions to support core customer facing services. Pendle engaged Idox to help build a business case to understand how they could benefit from the adoption of a more corporate approach through consolidation of their existing back office systems.
Pendle selected Idox to replace 18 of their existing systems with one integrated software suite. The project commenced in September 2015 and, in the first of a series of staged go-lives for Pendle, the council successfully went live in April 2016 with Idox Planning and Building Control. This included a full migration of documents from its existing Document Management System.
By adopting this approach, it has helped the council to improve data sharing between services, reduce data duplication, save time by enhancing customer self–service by reducing the need for face to face or telephone contact but also lowered their annual costs for systems and infrastructure.
Neil Watson, Planning, Building Control and Licensing Services Manager at Pendle Borough Council commented: “We are very pleased to be working with Idox to bring an integrated software system forward. Not only will this make us more cost effective but will allow us to align our services to the public better across all departments. This will make us a more efficient and resilient organisation better able to deal with the demands of modern society.”
The EU referendum … the Conservative and Labour Party leadership contests …. ‘voter fatigue’ …. over the last couple of months, politics has been dominating the news.
To what extent, though, is the electoral system itself a contributing factor to disengagement?
Idox Elections, one of the premier election service providers in the UK, considers whether electoral reform could reinvigorate democracy in the UK.
Full article: Could electoral reform revitalise democracy?
As the UK’s leading provider of planning and building control solutions to local authorities, Idox is very proud to be continuing our relationship with the RTPI and supporting the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence in 2016.
As sponsors of the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement, the Planning Consultancy Award and the Student Award, we congratulate all the finalists and commend all the entries for their achievements.
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the UK-Ireland Planning Conference in Cardiff on 6-7 September 2016.
For more information about the awards, visit: RTPI Awards for Research Excellence.
Recent polling of Idox’s Open 4 Funding portals hosted by local support agencies across the UK demonstrates an impressive return on investment – with service users reporting a total of over £6.3 million in funding secured.
Open 4 Funding is used by local support bodies including local authorities, housing associations, voluntary umbrella bodies and Chambers of Commerce. It allows these organisations to provide a one-stop shop of EU, national and local Government, corporate, charitable trust and other funds available to businesses and communities in their region. Importantly, Open 4 Funding portals are entirely self-service for users – meaning no additional resources are required from the host organisation.
Open 4 Funding hosts gain insight into the use of the service through polling tools, helping them to measure engagement and return on investment. This feature invites service users to report funding they have received after identification on Open 4 Funding.
Polling data from the 12 months leading up to June 2016 for Open 4 Funding portals across the UK highlighted the following:
- Total value of reported successes: £6,322,272
- Highest total of returns reported in the year:
- £773,346 – a county-wide portal in the South East of England
- £680,000 – a London borough wide portal
- £662,586 – a county-wide portal in the Midlands
- £624,836 – a district county-wide portal in Scotland
- £447,150 – a metropolitan borough-wide portal in the North
The majority of portals reported successes in the £10,000-£60,000 range.
Commenting on the value of the Open 4 Funding service to her organisation, Development, Growth and Investment Project Manager Lavinia Ferguson of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council said:
“We are always looking for innovative ways to support our residents and businesses to ensure they have access to all that is available, whether it is a grant, award or business support.
As a local authority, our residents and businesses contact us regularly for funding and support. We are able to signpost people to our Open 4 portals and allow them to seek funding and support as required, specifically relating to their area of business or community need.
Positive feedback to us shows how businesses and residents are benefiting from the funding opportunities they have identified through the portals.”
Further information about Open 4 Funding can be found at www.open4funding.co.uk
For more than 30 years, Scottish Planning and Environmental Law (SPEL) has been reporting on all aspects of planning and environmental law. Published by the Idox Knowledge Exchange, SPEL is one of the leading information sources on land use planning and environmental legislation across the country.
In this blog post, Idox’s Morwen Johnson previews this year’s SPEL conference, taking place on 29 September in Edinburgh.
Are you looking for funding for your project?
Want to collaborate with companies from other EU member states?
To improve your chances of submitting a successful funding application, join our training seminar: Effective EU funding on 4 October in the NEMO Science Center in Amsterdam.
The EU Funding Programmes provide millions of Euros in financial support to both public and private organisations to help carry out a number of projects and activities throughout Europe which cover a wide range of issues including innovation, renewable energy, climate, health and transport.
Knowledge and expertise
Our training seminar, Effective EU funding, not only offers a general introduction to European subsidies and the different types of European funds available, but explores deeply into the European application process. In addition, we will share valuable tips and tools which can help you successfully launch a European funding programme.
Solutions not problems
During the course of the seminar, we will address key topics such as:
- How EU grants could help your organisation.
- Which EU funding opportunities is your organisation eligible for? Focussing on the European Programmes EFRO, Interreg and Horizon 2020.
- What does participation in European projects mean for you? Speakers from NEMO talk about their experience with European grants.
- How to find international partners and build a consortium.
- How to write a competitive and successful application. What are the do's and don'ts?
- How to create a European project budget.
After the session you will be able to take an idea and transform it into a project proposal.
Who should attend?
Knowledge institutions, governments and companies are invited to explore the opportunities for European funding and cooperation.
Save the Date – 4 October, NEMO Science Center, Amsterdam!
Register early to save! Early Bird Booking Rate: € 249 per delegate, (excl VAT and travel expenses). Offer closes: 16 September.
According to research by Lucy Zodion, a leading designer and manufacturer of streetlighting equipment, smart cities are not deemed a priority for local government. The findings show that 80% of local authorities have little or no involvement with smart cities, and that only a few had specific teams managing smart city initiatives.
The research explains that the challenging financial environment was the main reason for the lack of prioritisation. However, it also finds despite funding challenges, some local councils have been successful at introducing initiatives, through working in partnership with private organisations and universities and encouraging local businesses to participate in developing solutions.
In our blog today, Idox as a market-leading developer and supplier of a broad range of digital solutions to support public and private sector organisations looks at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, a local council quietly leading the way in the smart cities revolution.
With the Housing and Planning Act 2016 passed into law on May 12 2016, it’s timely to look at one of the key planning reforms to the act. ‘Permission in Principle’ promotes the idea that developers will be able to secure ‘automatic consent’ for certain sites – where the principal of development has already been established. The government’s aim is to ensure one million desperately needed homes are built in the UK by 2020, by speeding up the planning process to make it more streamlined and efficient.
Our latest article looks at the impact the introduction of ‘Permission in Principle’ will have on speeding up the planning process to make it more streamlined and efficient. ‘Permission in Principle is one of the key reforms of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which was passed into law in May this year.
Full article: Permission to Land
Announcing the latest release of FusionLive, with new features to support the process of construction and sign off of systems for the commissioning and handover of an asset, including new form builder, package templates, digital signatures and additional out-of-the box reports and dashboard.
FusionLive is our market leading SaaS solution for project collaboration and document management – designed specifically for the construction and engineering industries – to support the successful delivery of projects through design, bid, construction, commissioning and handover.
Some of the key highlights of the new release include:
New form builder
An intuitive form builder to allow you to design and build forms more quickly for use in inspection packages, as well as save as a template for future form creation. This new tool enables the inclusion of form elements such as free text entry fields, number fields, date / time capture and tables, as well as dropdown lists with predefined answers that result in defect creation. Data can also be pre-populated on forms, directly from the metadata contained in the associated package, helping to streamline the administration process of projects.
System package templates
With FusionLive, you can now easily create package templates containing commonly used forms by discipline, which can then be used as a baseline for system package generation. This helps to improve the efficiency of package setup time, and reduce human error through ease of repeatability on large scale projects. Automatic notifications can also be sent to Defect Administrators of specific events to keep the process flowing, such as the resolution of all defects raised against a package.
Our GoCapture defect management mobile application has been further enhanced to include the ability to apply digital signatures to forms on devices when onsite, and is compliant with FDA regulation CFR, part11, required by the Pharmaceutical industry. Manual signatures (stylus or fingertip) can also be captured on forms as images, and then added as attachments as evidence of inspections and testing. All data can easily be synchronized to FusionLive to allow central management and reporting on project progress.
New reports and dashboard
Our reporting tool has new features, with additional out-of-the box reports now available in response to customer requests, and to support the functionality within this new release. Some of the key reports included are:
- Company audit reports (showing documents uploaded, downloaded, opened, viewed and marked-up at a company level)
- Workspace and activity reports (providing information on workspace size, document count, activities open, closed and overdue)
- Punch list status reports
- Inspection package reports for workspace or defect administrators, providing comprehensive information about the inspection packages created in a workspace.
Find out more about FusionLive and learn how companies around the world are using the solution to support the successful delivery of projects through design, bid, construction, commissioning and handover.
Speaking in Berlin last week, Prime Minister Theresa May made clear her commitment to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. With May confirming that the leaving process would not begin before the end of 2016, much uncertainty exists in the post-referendum landscape.
The question for many is: ‘What happens now?’
Here to help is GRANTfinder – with its UK Post Referendum – What Now? FAQs, published earlier this month, expanded to include dedicated pages for Local Authorities, Higher Education, and the Private and VCSE sectors.
Questions covered include:
- Will UK organisations be able to apply for EU funding after it leaves the EU?
- How will leaving the EU impact public spending?
- What funding challenges will sectors face?
Click here to view the expanded FAQs today.
Idox OnSite is a new suite of apps aimed at local authorities, with ‘Building Inspector’ the first of a range of apps to be introduced by leading software and services provider, Idox. It is specifically designed to provide building inspectors access to the tools and information they need at anytime and anywhere
The BI app benefits building inspectors by giving them the ability to quickly and easily search, access and download the information required for each inspection on a tablet – from inspection requests, through to the associated plans and photographs. The building inspector is able to update existing inspection details, including site notes, and create new inspections while on site before syncing records back to the office online.
The app also gives the building inspector the ability to sort, filter and display their workload on a map to efficiently plan their day, removing the need for officers to travel into the office to pick up their workloads and update systems. This helps to reduce wasted time and mileage, making their role more environmentally friendly. Designed with simplicity in mind, it requires little training – if a user is familiar with an iPad then they’ll have no problem with the BI app.
David Whitworth, Idox OnSite Product Manager, commented: “Idox is continually looking for ways to help and support building inspectors, enabling them to save time, and ultimately money, for the customer. Much of a building inspector’s time is spent out on site carrying out inspections on new builds and renovations. Currently, a lot of their time is spent in the office searching for and printing off the relevant data for each inspection, and then updating the files after an inspection is complete. The introduction of Idox’s Building Inspector app means inspectors can easily access the relevant data remotely without physically going into the office, which can then be updated and annotated while still on site.”
Richard Sankey, Head of Product Management at Idox commented “With Building Inspector, we have focussed on designing an app that is intuitive to use and is ready to work as soon as it is downloaded from the App Store. With no long, complex implementation process, the return on investment begins almost immediately.”
Idox is a supplier of specialist information management solutions and services to the public sector and to highly regulated asset intensive industries around the world in the wider corporate sector. In this blog post, Idox’s Steven McGinty looks at the key factors for successful collaboration between the public and private sectors when working on digital projects.
We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of Open Objects by the Idox group.
Open Objects is a leading provider of online transactional services for the UK health and social care markets.
With the expansion of digital engagement and digital services, many local authorities, health bodies and third sector organisations rely on Open Objects to provide them with a wide range of digital services including:
- Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) hubs providing public access to information on who to turn to for advice, how to access support groups, how to access local care and health networks of free and ‘paid for’ services enabling people to live happier, healthier and more independent lives.
- Social Care Marketplaces to help stimulate the provision of local services, by providing choice for users through Product Showrooms and the PA Network for those looking to employ a personal assistant or personal assistants to find care work.
- Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) hubs which allow the publication of information, tracking of individuals and development of support plans for children and young people with a Special Educational Need or a Disability, while supporting the delivery of statutory information requirements.
Open Objects has an outstanding client list, working with many local authorities including – Staffordshire County Council, Devon County Council, Westminster Council, Calderdale Council, Reading Borough Council, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Sunderland City Council and City of London.
Richard Kellett-Clarke, CEO of Idox, commented: "The acquisition of Open Objects is an exciting opportunity which will extend our presence within the Adult Social Care and Family Services domains in local authorities as well as supporting our own digital growth strategy by expanding our capability to help our customers deliver digital services to their local communities.
New Forest District Council has invested in Idox’s Document Management Solution (DMS) replacing a system previously provided by Meridio.
The new solution will be integrated with the council’s existing Idox solutions such as Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health, Licensing and Land Charges which will enable the council to improve information sharing and enhance the delivery of services. It will also be integrated into Public Access to enhance the provision of documents to the public.
In addition, Idox will be responsible for migrating data stored within the Council’s Merido system to Idox DMS.
As a leading developer and provider of a broad range of software solutions for UK public sector organisations, Idox has a longstanding and highly regarded role in enabling engagement between government and citizens.
In this blog post, Idox’s Morwen Johnson looks at the role of crowdfunding in community regeneration.
One of the highlights of the Facilities industry calendar is the Facilities Show at Excel held in June.
At the show CAFM Explorer, Idox's facilities management software solution, led the way in demonstrating the benefits that can be achieved from implementing an all-in-one software solution that is constantly evolving through industry feedback and input from an active user group.
'Simplicity' was something we heard repeatedly throughout the show. Many visitors we spoke to were looking for a simpler solution, to move away from their existing systems that they felt were either 'too clunky' or didn't provide an integrated solution.
One of the trends of 2016 was an increased interest in space planning, possibly born out of the BIM level 2 deadline passing in April. Our space planning functionality and integration with Autodesk was well received as well as our BIM & Cobie integration.
Alongside visitors looking to move supplier, we saw an increased number of people who were looking to implement a CAFM solution for the first time. Many appreciated how we highlighted pain points and benefits on our stand, with workforce efficiency, risk mitigation, easy access to key data (and no more lost data!), critical event alerts and compliance management all being topics of conversation throughout the week.
In addition, there was a very positive response to our on-stand product demos with many attendees expressing their preference for CAFM Explorer's 'single solution', as opposed to several modules of software being bolted together
Claire Visser, CAFM Director, comments, "It has been a great week for us; we've had interesting conversations with customers, prospects and industry partners we are working with such as SFG20. It was also great to be able to offer a record number of live demo's on our stand, many of which were booked before the show opened. Being part of the facilities show ensures we can showcase our leading software solution, open new opportunities and network with interesting 3rd parties that can add value to our offerings.
For more please visit www.cafmexplorer.com
As councils strive to implement effective cost-cutting measures, they are tasked with looking beyond ‘what we have always done’ and thinking strategically for the long term.
Looking at councils more closely, the latest GRANTfinder whitepaper:
- takes an in-depth look at the importance of external funding;
- evaluates the role of the external funding officer in local authorities, supplemented with UK-wide examples; and
- identifies the benefits and challenges that come when competing for resources.
A digital copy of the paper is available to request here
Since the elections that were held in May 2016 and the recent EU Referendum – Idox Elections has been delivering a wide-range of electoral services and managed solutions to assist our customers during this difficult and busy period. In addition to these elections, we have also assisted in delivering by-elections, community council elections and Neighbourhood Planning Referendums.
To give you an idea of the scale of what we have delivered to our customers this year take a look at the following statistics:
- Number of polling cards printed and delivered = 3.5 million
- Number of postal vote packs printed and delivered = 1 million postal packs including 500,000 which were combined packs and included 2 ballot papers and a regional list in Scotland
- Number of ballot papers: 11.5 million ballot papers across books and postal applications
- Number of signatures (postal votes) scanned and checked = 1 million postal vote statements scanned and verified
This would normally be a major challenge for most suppliers, but Idox Elections managed to deliver theses services with ease.
At Idox Elections’ we offer a comprehensive range of fully-managed electoral services; from consultancy, staff training, data management, to print, distribution, e-counting and e-voting as well as the project management and supervision required to deliver success in conjunction with the council’s own workforce
From our ever growing experience, we are fully aware of the professionalism and integrity that applies to providing our customers with the high levels of service and quality this specialist sector demands. We actively engage with the issues and challenges that the electoral administrators continually face and we specialise in designing and delivering a wide range of innovative and cost effective solutions to meet these needs.
For more information about our range of elections services, visit: Idox Elections.
As the nuclear industry confronts serious financial challenges, a new benchmarking survey will assess nuclear plants’ progress in automation and help them take the next steps towards modernisation and reducing costs.
Nuclear power has come a long way since the world's first commercial nuclear power station started up in 1960. Today, nuclear supplies more than 11% of the world’s electricity, and in some regions this figure is even higher: in the United States, almost 100 nuclear reactors produce over 19% of total electrical output, while the European Union depends on nuclear power for more than a quarter of its electricity.
Since the 1970s, the nuclear industry has dramatically improved its safety and operational performance, and is now seen as a reliable, carbon-free source of energy. The industry also has a significant economic role. In the US alone, nuclear power contributes $60bn a year to the economy, and employs half a million workers.
5 ways to impress your EU evaluator with your grant application
Companies from all around Europe who participate in an international consortium and are working on innovative technology projects that contribute to solving a social problem can apply for funding from the popular European Funding Programme Eurostars.
This month a new Eurostars call for projects opened. Consortia consisting of at least one high-tech SME joined by at least one other company or research institution are invited to apply. History shows that competition among Eurostars applicants is high. Therefore Vindsubsidies, the Idox Grants authority in the Netherlands, shares five tips that will help you to impress your EU project evaluator and increase your chance to win funding for your project.
Eurostars is a joint programme between EUREKA and the European Commission, co-funded from the national budgets of 34 Eurostars Participating States. Eurostars is aimed at companies across all sectors, providing the project is technology based. Furthermore, there must be an international consortium consisting of at least two organisations, and the project leader must be a high-tech R&D performing SME. Most consortia consist of three parties, two of which are SMEs.
Eurostars application can be submitted until 15 September 2016. Contribution from the Eurostars programme varies from 25% to 50% depending on country of origin, type of organisation and type of activity (e.g. Research or Development).
Read full article: Eurostars: funding for high-tech solutions and international cooperation