Thursday, 10 July 2014

Digital: Better for Users, Simpler for Staff, Cheaper for Government

With a shared ambition to become ‘digital be default’, maximise service delivery, increase efficiency and lower costs, central and local government along with the wider public sector must explore innovative methods, solutions and tools to achieve their digital ambitions. With this in mind the Digital Government conference took place on Tuesday 8th July at the QEII Conference Centre, London.
‘2014: The Year of Digital Delivery’

Over the course of the day influential speakers focussed on how the public sector can deliver services to the citizen digitally, enhance the UK’s digital skill base, deliver high quality digital channels, harness the power of social media and adapt to a future of more open data and greater transparency within government.

The day was kicked off with an inspiring keynote address on the government’s digital revolution from StephenKelly, COO, HM Government. He highlighted the need to view ‘Government as a platform’ and for all digital services to be ‘user-centric’. Stephen highlighted three goals for the digital government:
- Improve public services
- Drive growth and innovation
- Save money and protect frontline services
The future should be ‘not centralised, not localised, but networked’.

Stephen highlighted several central government departments that were meeting their digital exemplar goals and providing a foundation for innovation, these included Defra, HMRC, Ministry of Justice and DVLA. Another department with excellent digital exemplar track record is the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Tim Knighton the Chief Digital Officer offered the second presentation of the day.

Tim’s presentation highlighted several key factors that should be considered during digital transitions:
- User needs should drive design and digital engagement
- Expect culture change when building digital services
- Don’t take paper forms and put them on screen: Design from the ground up

The challenges highlighted by BIS can be seen below:
The next morning speaker was Joe Dignan, Innovation Service Manager, Bristol City Council was shared with the audience the potential for smart cities in the UK. 50% of the world now live in a city and this expected to increase to 60% by 2030 and the UK is leading the global push for smart cities. According to Joe the foundation for a smart city is open data and connectivity. Steve Walters, CTO, HMRC quickly followed Joe and discussed the departments push towards digital services.

The afternoon keynote address for the Digital Government conference was presented by
Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Digital Leader, DVLA who kicked off the session with the following DVLA by numbers slide:
Stephen Kelly earlier highlighted feedback that claimed DVLA's digital services were on a par with eBay and Amazon. Alongside the digital agenda comes security concerns and these were addressed in the next presentation by Dr Pete Armstrong, Technical Director, Identitiy, CESG. This presentation focused on tackling the increasing threat of cyber crime in the digital space.

The digital agenda is not only being pushed by central government, local government are also leading digital revolution. John Jackson, CIO, Camden Council provided the audience with insights in to how local authorities can redesign services in digital formats to increase efficiency and meet user needs. The conference was closed by Penny Fox, Head of News, DECC - Penny is a social media expert who highlighted the growing trends and use of social media amongst central and local government. Particularly interesting was the use of social media by Defra in their campaigns and awareness raising programmes.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Education ICT

The education landscape is experiencing radical change which is re-moulding the infrastructure of future learning environments. Technology is a high spend consideration for most schools yet smarter spending on the right equipment and infrastructure ensures that learners are engaged and motivated and that every pupil reaches their potential. With this in mind the Education ICT Conference took place on Tuesday 10th June at the QEII Conference Centre, London – attendees joined to explore new ideas and innovations in the curriculum, teaching and resources and to properly equip pupils both in school and in their future careers.

Over the course of the day influential speakers focused on how schools can make ICT investment count, nurture digital skills and creative computer science, upgrade ICT infrastructure to make learning environments fit for the future, safeguard devices and explore BYOD.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Co-Author, NextGen Report, Chair, NextGen Skills Committee, Government Advisor on ICT Curriculum Reform kicked off the day with a motivational speech on the future of computing in schools and highlighted the ways games skills can help children to develop life skills. Next was Peter Hughes, Head of Schools ICT Procurement, Schools Commercial Team, Department for Education with a presentation on what factors add up to effective and best value ICT. Peter highlighted the following exciting statistic:

“By 2015 schools anticipate 53% of pupil-time being exposed to teaching and learning using ICT”

This indicated education ICT will be a huge part of the teaching and learning environment in the future, but what ICT and technology should be used, at what cost and how should it be procured? Sarah Hurrell, Commercial Director – Technology, Crown Commercial Service aimed to answer these questions in her presentation on G – Cloud and central government procurement.

Simon Peyton-Jones continued the morning’s discussion with a session on creative computer science and the new national curriculum. His session received excellent feedback from the audience and offered insights on how to use technology to teach other subjects. He also focused on how teachers can use subjects to prepare our children to solve problems that don’t yet exist:

Next on the agenda was cyber safety and protecting children online presented by David Wright, Director, UK Safer Internet Centre who noted e-safety is a child protection issue not an ICT issue and 72% of children feel the need to be available to friends online.

Kevin Tansley, Head teacher, Ty Gwyn Special Needs School, Wales offered an inspiring presentation on supported learning for children with special educational needs using technology. Kevin went on to explain how Ty Gwyn went from adequate to outstanding in six years and how a new school was built for £16million with outdoor access for every classroom. The morning’s session came to a close with a presentation by Dawn Hallybone, Deputy Head, Oakdale Junior School and Children’s Centre. The last presentation of the morning offered insights into the development of digital leadership and networks in schools and how digital leaders can help teachers, promote the new curriculum and allow children to develop their digital skills.

The new computing curriculum was a major discussion on the day and Rob Belli, Standards Division, Department for Education presented on:
  • Why do we have a new computing curriculum?
  • What is new about the computing curriculum?
  • What the Department for Education is doing to support teachers in implementing the new curriculum
  • Gaining the involvement and support of parents
  • Examples of good practice
BYOD in Schools was another hot topic of the day and Mike Gunn, Head of Creative Arts, Finham Park School offered excellent insights in to Finham Park School’s BYOD experience. Mike was quickly followed by Drew Buddie, Head of ICT, Royal Masonic School, Junior vice Chair, Board of Management, Naace whose presentation comparing ICT teachers to Game of Thrones characters proved to be very informative. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Preventing and Reducing Fraud and Error

After the National Fraud Authority’s June 2013 report found fraud and error is costing the UK public sector £20.6 billion and the Government’s calls for a zero tolerance approach to fraud and error, there has been renewed pressure placed on both national and local governments to prevent and reduce fraud and error. With this in mind the Fraud and Error Conference 2014 took place on Thursday 15th May at One Great George Street, London – attendees joined to explore new methods, technologies and software that can assist the public sector in improving methods used to identify, detect and prevent fraud and error. 
Over the course of the days discussions influential speakers focused on how public sector initiatives can save £22.4billion between 2014/15 and how new counter-fraud strategies can be used to mitigate future threats. Key questions considered by those in attendance included:

-          How to increase workforce capability and recover more debt
-          How to target resources effectively to tackle social housing and tenancy fraud
-          How to develop greater strategies to assist in the investigation, prosecution and prevention of fraud
The conference was opened with a keynote address from the Cabinet Office, Lesley Hume, Executive Director – Fraud, Error, Debt & Grants and Mark Cheeseman, Head of Fraud and Error Policy joined the event to offer updates on the Fraud, Error and Debt Taskforce, paint a picture of the evolving fraud and error landscape and discuss the real cost to government. They highlighted the fact that exposure to F&E could equal half of government borrowing but distribution of losses was uneven – 80% of known losses from HMRC and DWP. Lesley and Mark’s presentation was followed by a session lead by Coactiva (Andrew Davis and James Rawlins) which focused on the practicalities of tackling F&E with case studies on tax credits and housing tenancy fraud.

Mark Babington, Director, Regulation & Fraud and Money Laundering Reporting Officer, National Audit Office and Member, Cabinet Office Fraud, Error and Debt Task Force closed the first morning sessions with a speech on the methods being used to identity, detect and prevent fraud through process auditing.

Next Alan Bryce, Head of Counter Fraud, Audit Commission offered his thoughts on the ways local and central government can prevent fraud and ‘Protect the Public Purse’ – his presentation highlighted the following:

-          Greater transparency in the national approach to fraud detection
-          Significant media coverage required nationally
-          Local approach should focus on tailored briefings for different councils
Next Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader, Stevenage Borough Council, Deputy Chair, Local Government Association provided her insights in to the £845million tenancy fraud issue and the ways local authorities can tackle social housing and tenancy fraud.

Councillor Lindsey Hall, Anti-Fraud ‘Tsar’, Westminster City Council offered practical solutions and suggestions to reform F&E:
  • An LA Political Fraud “Tsar” to act as conduit across departments and from ‘coal face’ to lawmakers!
  • WCC Published ‘Cutting the Cost of Fraud’; LAs need not be frightened of reputational damage.
  • Co-operate with the media; fair coverage serves to remind us this is not about politics but about crime.
  • Popular with public & taxpayers to know public purse protected and managed “with ownership”
  • If we expect honesty from tax-payers – they deserve honesty and respect for the way we spend their money
  • UNIVERSAL CREDIT; huge ambition to reform 51 different benefits, so much at stake, failure not an option
  • SIFIS? An obvious, sensible solution but must be in conjunction with LA – politically and practically. A challenging time for LAs.
A panel of expert speakers also joined the conference to discuss the importance of collaborative working to tackle fraud, they included:

-          Justin Freebairn, Counter Fraud Champion, Crown Prosecution Service
-          Donald Toon, Director, Economic Crime Command, National Crime Agency
-          Graeme Thomson, Programme Manager (Counter Fraud and Error), Cabinet Office  
-          Tom Smith, Benefits and Credits Director, HMRC  

The Fraud and Error conference was closed by Mark Astley, Head, National Anti-Fraud Network (NAFN) who offered a presentation on counter fraud strategies to mitigate future threats.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Open Source - 'Creating a Level Playing Field'

This was a common theme presented by speakers and attendees at Open Source, Open Standards 2014. The conference took place on the 3rd April 2014 at the Business Design Centre, London.

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chairman and Co-Founder, Open Data Institute (ODI)delivered the opening special address, which focused on the importance of open data globally in an increasingly virtualised environment. Examples used to highlight the importance of open data focused upon the relationship between open data and transport, local government, public health, governance and crime. This was followed by a presentation on the future of open source and its ability to increase organisational agility by Bryan Cheung, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Liferay.

Agility and open source remained a theme for the rest of the day and was also discussed by James Stewart, Head of Technology, Government Digital Service (GDS). James focused his presentation on how the GDS team utilised open source technology and how central government departments are using open source in the Digital by Default 25 exemplar services. The Digital by Default Service Standards included:

  • Assemble a multidisciplinary team that can design, build and operate the service, led by a suitably skilled and senior service manager with full authority and decision making responsibility.
  • Make sure that you have the capacity and technical flexibility to update and improve the service on a very frequent basis.
  • Use open standards and common government platforms (eg identity assurance) where available.
  • Make all new source code open and reusable, and publish it under appropriate licences (or provide a convincing explanation as to why this cannot be done for specific subsets of the source code).

Adrian Keward, Strategist & Senior Solution Architect, Red Hat UK then discussed the importance of open source in the enterprise and the importance of reliability and supportability provided by open source solutions. Next on stage was Mark Taylor, UK Director, Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) who stressed the estimated UK spending on government IT is about 1% of GDP "more than we spend on Wales". Mark highlighted the opportunity to Government to change the way it operates in the ‘Age of Open’.

Open Source software and technology was demonstrated as a great money saving, agility increasing alternative by the morning speakers but many public sector bodies are hesitant to move towards open source – with this in mind David Munn, Head of Information Technology, Greater London Authority asked ‘What is holding back adoption?’. The final speaker of the morning, Andres Kütt, Information System Architect Advisor, Estonian Information System Authority, told of the Estonian open source experience and highlighted ‘closed source used to be chosen for its superior functionality... this is no longer the case’.

The afternoon session was kicked off with a fantastic presentation from Mark Dearnley, Chief Digital & Information Officer, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who offered insights in to HMRC’s open source strategy. Open Source should ‘create a level playing field’ and was an important development for Britain’s third largest publisher - HMRC. 

Francois Mounier, Head of Development Services, London Borough of Camden was unexpectedly joined by John Jackson, CIO, London Borough of Camden who announced the Open Systems Alliance, a local authority initiative to drive an open approach to ICT. An initiative that was supported by many in the room including Bristol Council.

The final speaker of the day joined the audience from CESG - Chris Ulliott, Technical Director and Member of the Open Standards Board who ended the day with a discussion on the perceived insecurity of FOSS and open source security concerns.

The Open Source, Open Standards speakers demonstrated the importance of open source software and technology in the future fo public sector ICT. The possibility of an 'Open Future' is an exciting one and we look forward to discussing this further and in greater detail in 2015!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

“The digital age is proving to be as transformational as the industrial age of the past”

This was the opening thought presented by Ken Eastwood, Director of Digital Nomads and Chair for the Mobile Government 2014 conference. The conference took place on the 6th March 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza, London.

Chris Ensor, Head of the National Technical Authority for IA at CESG delivered the opening keynote presentation, which focused on the cyber ‘frontline’. He stressed the unprecedented scale, diversity and complexity of the cyber security threats presented by an increasing move to digital and mobile working. This was followed by a talk on ‘mobility reimagined’ presented by Richard Shipton and Richard Fulford from Microsoft. They stressed the importance of balancing control with choice and freedom, and promoted choice and interoperability.

Continuing an efficient, agile working environment in the cloud was the subject of discussion for Tonino Ciuffini, CIO at Warwickshire County Council. He detailed the benefits found from Cloud work, in particular the use of Google Apps for Business for 5,000+ users, which has achieved a cost saving of well over £250,000 pa. He stressed that the benefits of cloud are not theoretical and have been demonstrated over an 18 month period.

Katherine Morgan, RiO Project Manager and Helen Reading, Associate Director of Information and Technology from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust looked at driving forward mobile working across the NHS. As important it is to focus on successes, it’s also important to learn from mistakes along the way; rushing to use laptops, false expectations that laptops would connect anywhere and implementation coinciding with the establishment of new technical services were a outlined as key stumbling blocks.

The final speaker of the morning was Ian McCormack, Technical Director, Public Sector Services for CESG who gave technical insights into the security considerations surrounding BYOD and platform security.

The afternoon keynote presentation was delivered by Derek Hobbs, Head of Digital Services for the Department of Work and Pensions. He explained the DWP’s new approach to Digital Service Development through agile working. The keys to success, he suggested, are constant feedback, collaboration and inclusion, transparency and trust and finally challenge and debate.

Other speakers in the afternoon included Gregg Hardie, Head of Public Sector Sales for Blackberry. He raised the interesting question of BYOD, CYOD or COPE?  Dr Simon Rice, Group Manager for Technology at the ICO, then stated that 47% of UK adults use their personal device for work in his presentation which outlined new regulations, minimising penalties and maximising compliance.

The final speaker of the day was Ed Bullock, Head of Technical Support at Halton Housing Trust. His inspirational talk detailed the work undertaken by the housing trust to radically transform the working environment through closing 3 offices and introducing hot-desking, a paperless office, flexible working and mobile working. With an aim of having 90% of customers accessing services online by 2018 it’s clear, as with many public and wider sector organisations, that the next few years will see even more radical change.

Friday, 14 February 2014

“To out compute is to out compete”

The High Performance Computing and Big Data conference took place on Thursday 6th February at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster. All attendees left the day with plenty of food for thought and buoyed by the Government’s announcement of a significant investment in this increasingly recognised sector.

Anni Hellman, Deputy Head of Unit eInfrastructure, Director General Communications Networks, Content and Technology at the European Commission started the day’s proceedings with a presentation outlining the European HPC strategy and how it will boost research and innovation in the sector. She emphasised the importance of the Horizon 2020 programme; the EU framework for research and innovation for 2014-2020, with its €77billion budget.

Joe Duran, Director, HPC Systems at Fujitsu gave a presentation on human centric intelligent society and how big data and HPC is driving transformational opportunities for industries and the world as a whole. This was followed by a discussion on e-infrastructure capability, with its £160million investment from BIS, delivered by Cliff Brereton, Director of the Hartree Centre.

Peter Haynes, CORE Director at Imperial College London gave insights into CORE, a shared HPC service between Cambridge and Imperial. The University of Cambridge has one of the largest R&D
budgets within the UK Higher Education sector and HPC forms a key part of the research strategy, with investment of over £1M per year in capital equipment alone. These levels of investment demonstrate the recognition of the importance of HPC and Big Data, a fact that was even further demonstrated later in the day by David Willetts.

Dr Steven Kenny, Director, HPC Midlands and Reader of Mathematical Sciences at Loughborough University took to the stage to discuss the theme of accelerating innovation across the engineering and energy industries using supercomputing.

Tobias Preis, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science and Finance and Suzy Moat, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science from Warwick Business School gave an outstanding presentation on predicting behaviour using data from the internet. The example of predicting stock markets led to questions about the feasibility of predicting genocide and other such phenomenon. This was definitely a ‘get-you-thinking’ presentation.

The afternoon keynote presenter was none other than the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. He announced £14 million to fund the second phase of investment into Big Data in the UK. You can hear his full presentation at This announcement was very well received and sparked many a discussion about what the likely outcomes of this will be.

The final two presenters of the day were Jonathan Mitchener, Lead Technologist on ICT at the Technology Strategy Board and Andrew Houghton, Deputy Head of Unit Flagships, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology for the European Commission who talked about increasing investment through energy efficient and high performance computer systems and how future and emerging technology research will boost excellence in research and innovation in Horizon 2020 respectively.

For more information on this jam-packed programme or other conference details, please visit

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Incentivising and Achieving Quality Provision in the Early Years Sector

With radical changes to provisions, professionalisation and inspections across early years in the UK, looking at innovative ways to improve the development of children from birth to five is crucial for early years’ providers. This common goal was what brought together over 400 dedicated representatives from across the EY sector at the Business Design Centre – despite disruptions caused by the tube strike!

Naomi Eisenstadt CB, Honorary Research Fellow, Department for Education, University of Oxford chaired the morning session. She introduced Katie Law, Deputy Director, Early Years and Childcare Market, Department for Education who gave the opening keynote presentation outlining the Government vision for early years. In her remarks, she highlighted some key achievements for far, including 67% of early years and childcare providers inspected in 2012/13 were judged good or outstanding – up from 65% in 2008/09, a great achievement for the sector. However, she also stressed that challenges remain. Research shows that only 37% of two-year-olds from the poorest 40% of families access any formal early education, compared to 78% of their richer peers. Additionally, a third of children are still not achieving a good level of development at five. The Department for Education, she stressed, are taking steps aimed at incentivising quality provision. These include introducing the 2-year-old offer and extending this in 2014 and developing a new support for families via Tax Free Childcare.

Suzi Gray, City & Guilds Childcare Adviser then gave a presentation looking at how to build a confident and competent workforce. Lorna Fitzjohn, National Director for Child-minding and Nick Hudson, National Director for Early Education at Ofsted took to the stage; a visual indication that Ofsted is taking the early years sector seriously. They shared evidence from their inspections and summarised the state of the sector at the end of 2013, indicating what needs to be done in 2014 and beyond. Working regionally to achieve closer links to local stakeholders to gain an understanding of current local issues and solutions will be a key focus for Ofsted moving forward. Ofqual’s contribution, delivered by Stephen Anwyll, Head of National Assessment, was a natural follow-on and stressed the importance of validity, reliability, fairness and manageability of change.

The mid-morning presentations began with Sue Robb, Head of Early Years at 4Children. “More great childcare” and “more affordable childcare” were at the heart of her presentation, a sentiment that was supported by Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Minister for Childcare and Children. She focused on Labour’s plans to ease the burden of early years childcare for parents, including extending free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for three and four year olds with parents in work.

Sarah Mitchell, Headteacher at Blagdon Nursery School then gave the practical insight from a school that is doing all the right things to provide an outstanding setting for early years’ provision. She detailed the school’s journey from satisfactory to outstanding and highlighted the value in being part of an Excellence Cluster. She ended the morning session with encouraging words: maintain a strong belief in the impact of high quality early years education.

Lady Diana Whitmore the Chief Executive and Founding Director of Teens and Toddlers joined the conference for the afternoon. She introduced June O’Sullivan MBE, Chief Executive from London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), who was the final speaker of the day. Her presentation was informative and amusing, a difficult balance to strike. She talked on the subjects of sustainability, marketing, compliance, audits and how to approach an often feared Ofsted inspection. Attendees walked away from the day armed with new ideas for improving their early years’ provision, as well as a clearer understanding of how government and industry are driving forward this sector.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease” (William Osler)

Ensuring England is one of the best countries in Europe at helping people with long term conditions to live healthily and independently was the driver behind the Long Term Conditions conference which took place in January at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre.

Healthcare professionals from across the UK gathered at this annual event, which was sponsored by leading organisations in this sector, including the British Heart Foundation, the main sponsor of the conference.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Bob Ricketts, Director of Commissioning Support Services, Strategy and market Development for NHS England. The focus of this presentation was delivering service transformation through commissioning and looked at two main areas; outcome-based population commissioning and value-based commissioning.

This was followed by a thought-provoking presentation given by Simon Gillespie the Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation; also the main sponsors of the conference. Simon challenged the attendees to explore how the care system can properly exploit the creativity, innovation, knowledge, skills, drive, determination, patient-focus and public accountability of the charity sector in helping to deliver for people with long-term conditions.

Dr Mark Davies then gave a presentation which focused on using quality information and technology to plan services and make informed decisions. Building confidence in the use of information and providing information to support better care were main themes running throughout this presentation.  

Bev Matthews and Dr Jamie Day from NHS England then took to the stage. They focused upon driving improvement with a long-term condition year of care funding model. Dr Martin McShane, Director (Domain 2) for NHS England identified key areas for action to support the overall mission of providing high quality care for all and illustrated the tools and levers of the Quality Framework which will be used to achieve this. He ended with a final thought that “the good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease” (William Osler).

The afternoon conference programme was streamed, giving attendees the opportunity to choose which area they wanted to focus on. Topics under discussion ranged from improving diagnosis and care for patient s with respiratory disease to clinical leadership in long-term condition management in the community.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Government ICT - Effective Operation of Government in an Increasingly Digital World

Information and communications technology is critical for the effective operation of Government, and the delivery of citizen services in an increasingly digital world. This was the message that ran throughout the 10th Annual Government ICT conference, which took place on Tuesday 14th January 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre.

The event brought together over 400 senior ICT representatives, over 10 high profile speakers and a range of the leading suppliers in the field in a day of intense discussion and networking.

Dr Mark Thompson, Strategy Director at Methods and ICT Futures Advisor to the Cabinet Office chaired the morning sessions and in his opening remarks highlighted the new interest in local government IT that appears to be growing for this year.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Tony Singleton, the Chief Operation Officer and Deputy Director of Operations at the Government Digital Service. Tony was clear to stress that the role and responsibility of the GDS is to provide simpler, clearer and faster services and information for citizens and businesses. He stressed the transformation from working to deliver what the government wanted to now focusing on what users need and delivering this in an agile way. Highlighting that IT is a commodity, he urged the delegation to select the supplier not the solution and to focus on business outcomes rather than detailed requirements. G-Cloud, he stated, is simply a series of frameworks for the public sector making buying IT simpler, clearer, faster and most importantly cheaper. To date there are 1,186 suppliers of these services to Government, 58% of which are SMEs. With 13,000+ services and 30,000+ buyers, the total sales have been £78m. But this is not the end. The GDS are still focused on building the product catalogue, developing the supplier base, refining the web experience and building the customer base and demonstrated how the Digital Services Framework will deliver this.

Ben Grinnell, Director of North Highland, who were also the headline sponsor for the day, looked at the Digital Transformation and reducing the cost of government and thereby the national debt. Public sector debt has increased every year since 2001-2 and it will continue to increase until 2018. The annual interest on that debt is about £45 billion or to make that real £1500 a year from every person paying income tax. Ben’s message was that focusing on two major contributions the IT function can help reduce this: the first is to reduce the cost of IT which the OfT estimated at £13.8Bn for 2011-12. If we could reduce this by 25% over the next few years we would end up saving £3.45bn a year. The second area of focus is to help Government use IT to reduce cost through becoming Digital by default saving £1.7 billion and through achieving full Digital Transformation, with projected savings of £24 billion.

John Jackson, Chief Information Office and Assistant Director (ICT) for London Borough of Camden delivered a highly engaging and though-provoking presentation looking at agile working and BYOD and how these have been implemented within Camden Council. His presentation looked at delivering a hugely ambitious programme of Council change whilst delivering cuts of £150 million to Council services between 2012-2017. The closing thought was “love it or hate it –BYOD is here to stay so let’s release its potential and harvest the benefits rather than lock it away and pretend it can’t happen … because it will …”.

Other presenters for the morning session included Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director at CESG, who looked at working with Government, industry and academia to manage information risk and Jeremy Boss, Chief Information officer at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who focused on Green ICT.

The afternoon sessions were chaired by Bryan Glick, Editor-in-Chief for Computer Weekly.

The afternoon Keynote address was given by Sarah Hurrell, Commercial Director for IT and Telecoms for the Crown Commercial Service and PSN Senior Responsible Officer. Her presentation looked at the importance of PSN as the technology underpinning the transformation of public sector ICT. Her message was that PSN is a foundation for shared services – a cloud enabler. It allows cost saving and improved choice. She stressed that the PSN market place – is ‘open, fair and transparent’ and in the last 2 years was worth £700 million. Under new frameworks the opportunity for end users and service suppliers alike is evident.

A discussion on Open Standards followed, with input from Mark Thompson and Tony Dawson from Methods. There is a need for convergence on open standards across the public sector; sharing code and good practice in particular will be important. One of the key areas discussed was the need to gain buy-in into your IT programme; starting with educating senior leadership and communicating the benefits of more joined up services.

Sally Collier, Managing Director for the Crown Commercial Service (formerly the Government Procurement Service) drew the day to a close with her Keynote address. 2014 will be a massive year for commercial reform within Government. The landscape is set for £190 billion to be spent on third party goods and services and will set the scene for a major change in the way we manage procurement. The aspiration is for 25% of contracts to be delivered by SMEs by the end of this Parliament, with ICT leading the way. For the CCS, this will require a shift in focus to the beginning and end of the procurement process to reduce unnecessary complexity. For the supplier, there are clearly high, yet achievable, expectations of the service they should be providing; ranging from embracing competition to demonstrating high levels of corporate responsibility. She ended the day on an inspirational note, stating that “success is 99% attitude and 1% aptitude”.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Government ICT conference and we look forward to welcoming you to the autumn 2014 conference, taking place on the 17th September.