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 article, Idox’s Steven McGinty looks at ways in which local authorities in the UK and overseas are harnessing technology to give citizens a bigger voice in the decisions that affect them.
Bromsgrove District Council and Redditch Borough Council have awarded Idox a new contract to provide the councils with a joint shared service for their core Idox business systems within Planning, Building Control, Land Charges, Estates Management and Licensing.
Idox will work with Bromsgrove and Redditch, to consolidate their systems and data transfer, enabling the work processes for both authorities to be managed in one system. Under the contract, Idox will also provide a managed service responsible for the management and maintenance of these systems.
This shared resource, will enable the councils to make significant cost savings whilst providing a modern, competitive and flexible service that matches the needs of citizens whilst maintaining a consistent high standard of service.
Idox has developed a strong reputation for delivering the cost-effective resources and skills local government needs to serve its communities effectively. From its time-saving online planning and building control application service and its regulatory services solutions to its long-standing information and intelligence services, Idox has proved to be reliable partner for local authorities. In this article, Idox’s Heather Cameron looks at the potential impact on local government of the Chancellor’s 2016 Budget.
Full article: Budget 2016 - 5 messages for local government
North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership (NYBCP), the first Local Authority Building Control Partnership in the UK, provides a flexible and modern building control service on behalf of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby councils. NYBCP was one of the local authorities involved in the iApply pilot project and has since become one of iApply’s early adopters.
iApply brings some much-needed ease to the process of planning and building control submissions, increasing time-saving on the part of both applicants and local authorities, and ushering in a step-change in the way customers interact with government. It’s designed to bring greater flexibility and interactivity, providing access to every planning and building control form, including pre-application.
Les Chapman, Head of Building Control at NYBCP, explains why he favours iApply’s new approach. “We have been working with Idox since 2012 and the company has already helped us streamline our online service. The introduction of iApply seemed like an obvious next step and we were keen to be involved in the initial pilot, as it gave us the opportunity to ensure that it would work effectively for our customers. One of the things that has made iApply such an attractive proposition is how simple and intuitive the product is to use. The fact that our applicants can use iApply to collaborate with others involved in the project – from the architect to the client – is also a major benefit, as is the ability to pay online. In addition, iApply will help us become more efficient and our aim is to be able to turn building notices around within one day.”
For further information on iApply, please visit www.iapply.co.uk or find out what else Les Chapman has to say about UK’s first combined online planning and building control submissions service: view NYBCP endorsement.
Reading Room is proud to announce we have received two prestigious awards for our work with The National Archives on the Magna Carta education resource for children ages 11 to 14. At the BETT (British Educational Training and Technology) Awards, we received the top award for Free Digital Content/Open Educational Resources – single issue resource. In March, at the MEDEA Awards we were awarded the Special Jury Prize, a discretionary prize determined by the judges to recognize “exceptional innovation in pedagogic or technical design.” We are honoured to be the recipient of these awards and proud of our staff’s dedicated work on this project.
The Magna Carta is one of the most widely recognised documents in history – but few actually understand what it contains, what it meant then and what it means now. To address this challenge, The National Archives partnered with Reading Room to build a resource targeted at Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14) children. Reading Room developed an education activity focused on the creation of a ‘Chronicle’ which the children write as they move through chronological chapters featuring original videos, maps and other digital assets from the National Archives. Children can earn badges and points by answering questions about what they’ve learned in the chapters and receive instant feedback. Built in just three months, the resource helped mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede. Reading Room was delighted to work with The National Archives and be a part of this important milestone in the Magna Carta’s illustrious history.
This year’s BETT awards saw the most entries ever with stiff competition in our award category from Tesco, CTVC Ltd/TrueTube, iCompute, London Grid for Learning, National Theatre and Frog Education and the Royal Society of Chemistry. The judges were most impressed with our “combination of engaging content, intuitive technology and robust pedagogic design.”
The MEDEA Awards were held in Brussels this March at the Media & Learning Conference, the awards attracted over 290 participants from 30 countries. Reading Room is especially proud to be recognised with the Special Jury Prize by the highly-qualified judging panel at the MEDEA Awards.
We would like to say thank you to the BETT and MEDEA Awards for recognising our work, The National Archives for partnering with us and our staff for their hard work and dedication.
Finding his financial plan £55 billion lighter over the forecast period than at the time of the 2015 Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 Budget announced a series of measures that raised questions in many quarters on the funding outlook for the year ahead.
In this blog, Idox’s Policy team outlines the Chancellor’s key announcements across the VCSE, education, public and private sectors, together with reactions from stakeholders.
Full article: 2016 Budget summary and highlights for key UK sectors
With the UK referendum taking place on 23 June, identifying how best to tap into EU funding has never been timelier. We are pleased to announce that Idox’s next Funding Steps into Europe training event will take place on 12 May 2016 in Leeds, supporting organisations in formulating their approach to EU funding.
Building on the success of our previous Funding Steps into Europe event at Chelsea FC in February (which all delegates rated as either Excellent or Good), this event offers an exciting agenda packed with the most meaningful aspects of applying for EU funding, including:
- Assessing whether Europe is right for you
- Understanding EU policy
- Identifying opportunities for EU funding following the UK referendum
- Lobbying and networking
- Writing a successful funding application
- Partnership working
Each session will be delivered by a seasoned European funding professional including Brussels-based European Affairs Adviser Katie Cavell, East Sussex County Council External Funding Manager Véronique Poutrel and East Riding of Yorkshire Council External Funding & Policy Manager Claire Watts, as well as content experts from Idox Grants.
Available at an Early Bird rate of just £200 (+VAT) per delegate (for those securing their place before 18 April 2016), Funding Steps into Europe next takes place at Leeds Beckett University.
The dedicated event website can be accessed at: www.idoxopen4training.co.uk/events
As the European Commission’s largest ever Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020 has secured its status as the financial instrument intended to remove the barriers to innovation, drive economic growth, support excellent science and industrial leadership, tackle societal challenges, and secure Europe’s global competitiveness on the international stage.
However, low success rates, coupled with issues of complexity, time-intensiveness and disparities between EU Member States, has led the Commission to look at solutions aimed at tackling such criticisms.
Here, the Idox Grants team takes a look at both the numbers and the solutions being proposed…
The constantly shifting political climate determines how export control is regulated. For example, while sanctions against Iran have loosened and will continue to ease over the coming years, there are new, stricter regulations against North Korea. These trends determine how German companies win and lose business partners. This is all the more reason for German companies to endeavour to stay informed about the newest regulations. This includes providing employees with suitable training to help them avoid breaching the law or incurring additional costs.
The new ‘Export-Related Duties and Responsibilities’ e-learning program offered by digital spirit helps companies carry out preventative training courses for employees who handle legal transactions and other activities in foreign trade. The trainees will receive an introduction to the topic together with all the necessary tools to help them recognise when export regulations apply to them. In addition, they will learn how to act in accordance with the law and in the interest of their company. The e-learning program not only provides valuable tips for day-to-day work, but also takes into account the loosened sanctions against Iran.
Further information can be found at: 'Export-related Duties and Responsibilities' e-learning program
The German SME Initiative (“Initiative Mittelstand”) every year honours particularly innovative IT solutions that demonstrate strong benefits for small and medium sized companies. This year, Idox Compliance has been awarded a BEST OF 2016 grade with “Compliance to go: Compliance-Training for SME”. Using this service, SMEs can choose from the sophisticated compliance e-learning library of Idox Compliance and start their training campaigns’ in a quick and easy manner. The training can be used off-the-shelf, and is offered as Software-as-a-Service on a platform that is available all over the world.
The independent award jury, comprised of scientists, industry experts and journalists, nominated 56 category winners from several thousand applications. The winners were announced today and will get their awards at CeBIT.
Bad press, the decline of charitable sector funding and pushing the need to understand impact are just some of the topics covered in Idox’s latest blog following our attendance as Trusted Supplier at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (NCVO) Annual Funding Conference.
With NCVO Chief Executive Sir Stuart Etherington warning in his keynote address that 2016 ‘will possibly be the most challenging of the next five years’ for the sector, what can be done to improve perceptions of the UK’s charitable organisations? Idox’s Sabra Aswani explores…
Full article: Key funding conference spotlights England’s charitable sector
London Councils is the local government association for Greater London that promotes the interests of London's 32 borough councils and the City of London council and runs a number of pan London services.
Reading Room created a website for London Councils that allows users to easily access information about the 32 borough’s services and policies. We also provided an intuitive and simplified Drupal Content Management System for the London Councils team.
View the website http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/
Tackling the topic of forschung (research) funding was the main aim of this year’s annual gathering of German research and innovation professionals in Potsdam. The 2016 event – the most successful to date with over 300 research coordinators, managers and administrators attending from German universities and research institutes – was the first major German-speaking funding conference supported by Idox Grants.
Workshop discussions focused on available research funding streams, effective data management and research cooperation, marketing and researcher career development to name but a few topics. As the main event sponsor, Idox also hosted a well-attended session on identifying, qualifying and disseminating funding information. RESEARCHconnect client Dr Ursula Diefenbach of the Technical University of Graz was on hand to provide valuable insight into her use and experience of the system, and outlining her reasons for supporting the market entry into Austria.
Following on from a successful first conference, we look forward to the next opportunity to engage with this audience.
Idox Grants' focus in recent years on European funding programs has led to some notable grant wins in The Netherlands. One of the most distinctive wins was a substantial grant from the European Regional Development Fund for an innovative project from Vencer, creator of unique supercars. Vencer has developed a technique for a modular chassis which can be copied by many other sports car producers.
Applications for other European grants, for example the European Social Fund (100+ applications), LIFE+ and Horizon 2020, have also been very successful. Idox Grants attributes this success to the focus the company has placed on developing and expanding their knowledge of European funding programs which has resulted in numerous grant wins for innovative projects within The Netherlands.
Lack of knowledge
Idox Grants noticed that a lack of knowledge is one of the main reasons companies avoid European funding programs. An approach based on expertise and professional ability has shown itself to be the most successful way to gain the confidence of organisations to guide them in their European adventure.
To help establish Idox Grants as an authority in this area, they have undertaken a series of activities to share their knowledge and expertise with organisations both in the UK and Europe.
The Vencer grant was awarded on the 12th of February by the European Commission and they have showcased the Vencer project as a model project on the website www.op-oost.eu.
Idox Grants is delighted with this latest success which has encouraged them to build and develop upon their services, enabling them not only to provide support to organisations with their European applications but also to assist in building consortia, with the help of Idox’s international network.
Chesterfield Borough Council have extended their portfolio of Idox solutions with the implementation of Idox’s EDMS solution which will replace their existing Civica system.
Idox EDMS is a web based document storage solution designed to enable organisations to improve information sharing and save valuable space by eliminating the need to store paper documents locally. The new solution will be integrated with Chesterfield’s existing Idox solutions such as Planning.
Chesterifeld will also be supported by Idox Enterprise, a solution that enables council officers to monitor and balance staff workload. Idox’s Public Access solution, designed to deliver online digital services to citizens and businesses will also be implemented as part of the project.
Reading Room designed a digital strategy for the NHS Lambeth Federations, to help them get more people to interact with their surgeries online, establish trust, and then develop a set of new digital features. This included digital triage of symptoms and conditions, tools that will support online appointments with a GP, a new website that positions their brand at Lambeth level and a social media campaign to support it all and encourage behavioural change.
Idox Elections is one of the premier election service providers in the UK, providing outstanding expertise and knowledge across all areas of election management. In this article, Idox’s James Carson looks at concerns about declining turnouts in UK elections, and a fall in the number of people in the UK registering to vote.
CAFM Explorer, Idox’s leading Facilities Management software solution, is excited to announce a year long sponsorship deal with Facilities Management Journal (FMJ), supporting a programme of regional networking events around the country.
Following 2015’s successful and well attended Summer events at the Oval Cricket Ground, five events have been announced between March and October. Members of the CAFM Explorer team will be at every event and look forward to meeting facilities managers, estates teams and industry colleagues.
The first event will be on the 10th March at Birmingham’s Fazeley Studios, a short walk from the Bullring. Places are free, and booking and further event information can be found below.
- FMJ Networking Event, Birmingham, 10th March
- FMJ Networking Event, London, 20th April
- FMJ Networking Event, Manchester, 12th May
- FMJ Networking Event, Bristol, 7th July
- FMJ Networking Event, Suffolk, 5th October
To learn more about CAFM Explorer, please visit http://www.cafmexplorer.com
The future of effective housing in the UK is dependent on a number of factors, from the availability of land to construction speed. In our latest article, we take a brief look at the importance of keeping track of new building technologies and legislation, and their impact on new building requirements.
Full article: The way we build for tomorrow
Behavioural economics is a rather young field of study that uses methodologies from economics and psychology for studying human behaviour in individual decision situations. Interesting experiments were conducted, amongst others, by Dan Ariely and colleagues. Here, Compliance experts can draw from a plethora of ideas, to improve effectiveness of their compliance management systems (CMS).
One important result of these studies was, that the bias to cheat in simple calculating tasks decreased significantly, when the subjects were asked to name the Ten Commandments before the experiment. Also, when they were told that the experiment was subject to the University’s code of honour. The bias to cheat was also lower, when the subject had to sign a form AT THE HEAD, before he or she entered the number of allegedly correctly solved tasks into the form. In that case, the subjects were supposedly reminded of a positive or integer self-image.
Such findings could be transferred into applied compliance, e. g.:
- Employees to be trained confirm by their signature beforehand, that they attended the training and that the training content will be used in daily business in the future.
- Employees finding themselves in situations that constitute a compliance risk (e. g. contact with competitors), receive advice on behavioural standards or information on ethical role models immediately in advance. This may help to reduce a propensity to non-compliance.
- The perceived value of compliance guidelines and their application could be increased, if employees were involved in their development. This can be concluded from a related study, where subjects attached more value to ideas that they participated in developing themselves. In this way the not-invented-here-bias was avoided.