Almost six months after the initial launch of iApply, many local authorities across the UK are benefitting from our innovative online service. iApply enables planning applications and building control consent to be applied for via a single source, directly into the local authority’s back office. This provides significant time and cost savings, both for those making large submissions and the planning departments, which will ultimately lead to a more timely and efficient service.
North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership (NYBCP) was one of the early adopters of iApply, in fact the business was even involved in the initial pilot. We interviewed Les Chapman, Head of Building Control at NYBCP to find out what difference iApply has made to his business.
Idox is a leader in engineering document control, construction project collaboration and computer aided facilities management solutions. In this blog post, Idox’s Stacey Dingwall reports on a seminar looking at the impact of Building Information Modelling on the construction sector.
Full story: BIM: the digitisation of the built environment
We are pleased to announce that a Funding Steps into Europe training event will take place on 23 June 2016 in Amsterdam, supporting organisations in formulating their approach to EU funding.
Expanding to mainland Europe following the success of our UK Funding Steps into Europe event at Chelsea FC in February (which was rated very highly by the delegates), this event offers an exciting agenda packed with the most meaningful aspects of applying for EU funding, including:
- Introduction to European funding; assessing whether Europe is right for you
- Understanding EU policy, lobbying and networking
- Working with partners and building a consortium
- Funding scheme focus: INTERREG
- Funding scheme focus: EFRO
- H2020: Lessons learned and tips on writing funding applications
Available at an Early Bird rate of just €250 per delegate (for those securing places before 6 June 2016), Funding Steps into Europe takes place at Nemo Science Center Amsterdam.
For further information or to book, please visit: Funding Steps into Europe, Amsterdam or contact +31(0)88-2020400.
Idox’s Public Sector Software is a leading applications provider to UK local government for core functions relating to land, people and property, such as its market leading planning systems and election management software. In this blog post, we look at developments since the introduction of legislation in England enabling referendums on council tax rises.
Full article: Council Tax referendums: power to the people?
When Kickstarter, one of the biggest crowdfunding sites in the world, reached $1 billion in pledges in March 2016, the opportunities and backing surrounding this relatively new financial concept were truly realised.
Supporting everything from businesses and economic growth to local communities and the music industry, the dream behind crowdfunding is one of optimism and self-sufficiency.
But is the reality actually different? In our latest blog, Idox’s Julia Banim unravels the true meaning of crowdfunding and what it means for ventures across the world following its expansion at an unprecedented rate.
Read the full article: Crowdfunding: The Future or a Fad?
Following a competitive tender held under the Crown Commercial Service LASA Framework, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council has awarded Idox a four year contract to deliver a new system for Public Safety and Protection, Planning, Building Control and Land Charges.
Under the new agreement, Idox will provide the council with a single fully integrated solution, replacing an existing Civica system, to manage such things as Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Licensing supported by Idox DMS to provide a seamless collaboration between the departments and help streamline processes.
In addition, the new system will be supplemented by Idox’s Public and Consultee Access which will assist the council to improve customer self-service by enabling consultees to receive consultation requests and respond directly through a web portal whilst providing citizens and stakeholders with online access to track applications and to receive automated updates
Finally, the Idox Building Control app for mobile will be implemented to provide flexible remote and home working for their officers.
Idox is a market-leading developer and provider of a broad range of digital solutions for UK local authorities. Our services include Reading Room’s cutting-edge digital consultancy solutions, and the recently launched iApply service to ease the submission process for planning and building control applications. In this blog post, Idox’s Steven McGinty looks at some of the ways in which local authorities are achieving financial savings and other benefits by investing in digital technologies.
Increasing volumes of data, disconnected teams, documents in multiple locations and repositories, with inconsistent or incorrect tag data – the list of challenges faced throughout the asset lifecycle, continues.
Today, technology solutions are finding new ways to address these issues by improving the user experience for engineers. Through designing interfaces specifically for engineers that fit exactly with how they want to work and providing new and intelligent ways to link related engineering documents together, drawings, manuals and diagrams can be searched and navigated quickly and easily.
Rhona Campbell, Product Manager for OnLink, an Idox solution, discusses the challenges faced by engineers in finding and accessing related documents and a new solution that can help. She pinpoints the five key success factors that she believes are critical to driving down costs and improving engineers’ productivity and how a single point-of-truth portal can help increase efficiency.
In the last few months, over 80 councils throughout the United Kingdom have chosen Idox for system integration and consolidation. Amongst the recent migrations are Medway Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Isle of Wight Council and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
Many of the projects undertaken by Idox have resulted from a desire to integrate services across an authority, provide a common shared service delivery platform with other councils, to reduce costs by using solutions which work well together or simply to increase effectiveness by improving customer self-service.
In this article, we highlight some of the reasons why councils are considering consolidating their core business systems.
digital spirit GmbH advises and supports organisations and companies to implement ISO 19600, preparing them to have their compliance management systems certified in accordance with the ISO 19600 standard by Austrian Standards.
Many companies organise their compliance management systems (CMS) in accordance with the standard, which was published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in December 2014 with a representative from digital spirit among those involved in the development processes.
Its decisive advantage over local or regional standards is clear. ISO 19600 incorporates approaches taken by previous standards and is recognised and can be applied by all organisational structures of all sizes internationally and in all industries. What this means in practice is that business partners on different continents can share a common language regarding their CMS which enables them to easily understand each other. Furthermore, companies can substantiate their integrity and present themselves as reliable business partners in all legal and organisational areas by getting their CMS certified.
For further information regarding our services, visit: http://www.compliance.idoxgroup.com
Manchester City Council has extended its portfolio of Idox integrated solutions with the implementation of Idox Total Land Charges (TLC) together with a supporting electronic document management system.
Idox’s TLC is designed to automate land charge searches thereby reducing manual collection and entry of data.
Manchester will also be supported by Idox EDMS which will be integrated with their existing Idox solutions such as Planning and Public Access enabling the council to improve the sharing and flow of information across the Directorate thereby increasing efficiency and improving services.
On engineering projects, it is fair to say that communication can be challenging. When it works well, the collaborative process between the designer, the engineer and the wider team can deliver the desired results, exactly as a project was envisaged in the planning stages. In reality, teams often work in silos. Construction teams are disconnected from design teams and there is an even larger disconnect with operations teams who maintain the assets further down the line. The people working across the asset lifecycle are using disparate systems, which can make it difficult to search and find engineering content when it is needed, leading to misunderstandings and delays on projects and maintenance work.
Similarly, the sheer volume of information that needs to be managed and shared during the construction phase, and into commissioning, handover and then operation, can be stored in multiple file formats and across systems – perhaps in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or in external systems such as asset maintenance and management systems. This impacts productivity and efficiency as time is wasted searching for content related to a particular asset. Engineers need to be able to recognize the relationships amongst the separate data points and ensure they are working from the most up-to-date version of a document. However, the systems they are using have not been designed specifically for their role and their ways of working, which results in difficulty accessing the information they need quickly and easily.
This year, the Idox Information Service is once again providing sponsorship for three of the Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Research Excellence. In addition to the student and planning consultancy awards, we shall also be sponsoring the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement. Last year, this award was won by Dr Paul Cowie from the University of Newcastle’s School of Architecture Planning and Landscape.
In this guest blog post, Paul reflects on his Town Meeting project, which uses theatre to engage communities in planning, and describes the impact of winning the award.
Idox is a leading supplier of applications to support government and other public sector organisations in managing information and knowledge, documents, content, business processes and workflow. In this article, Idox’s Steven McGinty looks at the UK government’s ambitions to become “digital by default”.
Image caption: Mike Bracken, former Executive Director Digital for the UK Government, speaking about ‘The digital transformation of the UK Government”
Image: via Creative Commons Licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
The next Scottish local government elections will take place in 2017, and will result in the election of approximately 1,200 councillors in 353 wards across all of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities (see Local government in Scotland).
Scotland uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, making it possible for the electorate to vote for every candidate in order of preference which is considerably more complex than the first past the post system – where the public votes for just one candidate.
Due to this complexity, manual voting in an STV election can take considerably longer and may delay the declaration of the result. After the successful delivery of the 2012 elections, once again, the local elections will be electronically counted using the same system previously supplied by Idox Elections.
With Idox Elections e-counting solution, scanning ballot papers can be achieved in four hours and calculations take just minutes improving the accuracy and auditability of results.
Charles Reppke, Deputy Returning Officer for Argyll and Bute Council commented: “We used the Idox e-count solution at the last Local Government elections in 2012, including the rescheduled count for the countermanded Dunoon ward and also for four by-elections.
The system has proved reliable and efficient on all of our deployments across a range of venues and has delivered accurate prompt and transparent results.”
For more information or to discover how Idox Elections can support your council, contact: Idox Elections.
Each year, thousands of policy documents are published, covering a variety of subjects ranging from education and business development to regeneration and housing.
Endeavouring to keep up with the latest policy and insight, many organisations find themselves on the back foot, reacting to trends rather than anticipating them. But how do seemingly abstract priorities held by the Government affect individual organisations and their work? And what kind of policy outcomes flow from the Government’s favoured topics?
In this blog, Idox’s Policy team explores how these issues connect with approaches to economic and social priorities, funding, and the support available to organisations to help them stay abreast of the policy issues that impact on them.
Full article: Why policy matters in the public sector – and beyond
For a long time, compliance officers have had to make difficult decisions regarding their compliance management systems (CMS) based on unreliable information with little evidence. Uncovering efficacy shortcomings in the CMS was no easy task. digital spirit has now remedied this situation with a web-based collection and evaluation method: Integrity Compass.
“This is a tool that companies can use to verify the success of their compliance measures,” says Dr Jörg Viebranz, Compliance Partner at digital spirit. “It provides compliance officers with quantitative statements about the knowledge, acceptance, awareness and implementation of compliance among company employees and managers. This makes it possible to identify further potential for optimisation. When used regularly, it allows compliance officers to document their success to internal and external interest groups,” says Viebranz.
Compliance experts at digital spirit GmbH developed Integrity Compass in collaboration with the Centre for Business Compliance & Integrity (CBCI) at the Hochschule Konstanz University of Applied Sciences (HTWG). It uses a pool of over 100 scientifically developed questions to provide compliance officers with a reliable basis of data. The tool uses the answers provided by employees questioned to calculate a score for the different areas of a CMS and simultaneously offers a benchmark between participating companies.
Integrity Compass is suitable for companies with an established compliance programme that need a method of continuously improving and managing success. It is also designed for companies that have recently launched their programme and need a method to benchmark progress against their initial score.
Further information can be found at: Integrity Compass
Many government institutions in Europe lack the technical expertise and organisational capacity to implement large energy efficiency and renewable projects. The European objectives in the field of sustainability and the need to reduce energy use are clear, but to actually realise major projects in this area appears to be a big challenge for local government.
The European Investment Bank runs an interesting funding programme called ELENA (European Local ENergy Assistance) that offers a solution to this problem. Funding for ELENA comes from the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy Europe II (IEE) programme and covers up to 90% of the technical support cost needed to prepare, implement and finance the investment programme, including market studies, energy audits and tendering procedure preparation.
ELENA funding helps local and regional authorities to develop project plans to execute large investment projects (over £20 million) in the field of climate and renewable energy. ELENA supports local authorities in their objective to achieve the European '20 -20-20 target' (20% less CO2, 20% less energy and 20% of total energy consumption must come from renewable sources).
Examples of Investment programmes where Elena can help:
- Increase energy efficiency of public and private buildings (including social housing, traffic lights and street lighting)
- Integration of renewable energy in the built environment
- Renovate, expand or build district heating and cooling
- Sustainability in transport
- Improving local infrastructure receivers for energy efficiency, smart grids, ICT, intermodal transport facilities and alternative fuels
In addition, ELENA can help cover the cost of hiring new employees to develop the plan.
Energy saving and renewable energy is a hot topic in many European, national and regional funding programmes and ELENA is one such programme that focuses on the planning and deployment phase of major energy projects undertaken by government.
ELENA also supports funding opportunities for research and development projects in companies and research institutions and from 2017, ELENA will also be open for grant applications from the private sector.
In February 2016, the Cabinet Office announced that a new clause would be attached to government grants, stating that the money could not be used to support lobbying ‘for new regulation or increased funding’.
Known as the ‘anti-lobbying clause’, this policy change will be reflected in such grant agreements from next month (May 2016).
In the latest Idox blog, Sharon Pryke looks at the debates and arguments being voiced by key stakeholders in the VCSE and academic sectors.
Idox Elections is one of the premier election service providers in the UK, providing expertise and knowledge across all areas of election management. In this article, Idox’s Heather Cameron looks at the role of social media in elections and political participation.
Full Article: Social media: does it influence political participation?