Reading Room has been recognised as a top 10 business-to-business agency in a leading industry report.
The B2B Agencies Benchmarking Report 2016-2017, published by B2B Marketing, is a respected annual paper that looks at the state of the B2B marketing industry.
Alongside research and insights into the market, the report ranks the UK's top 75 B2B marcomms agencies based on a number of criteria, allowing readers to identify the best partners for their organisation.
Reading Room, an Idox company, works with organisations and brands both in the UK and internationally. From websites and apps, to digital content and online platforms, the agency helps organisations better engage with key audiences through a consultative approach combining expertise in strategy, design and technology.
The agency works with a wide variety of clients across the public and private sectors, including London Councils, West Yorkshire Police, Nationwide Building Society, Visit England and Taylor Wimpey.
Reading Room’s work for another client, ŠKODA UK, was awarded the top honour of gold for Best use of Mobile and Portable Devices category at the Digital Impact Awards.
Danielle Howe of B2B Marketing comments: "These agencies are responsible for the fantastic creativity and results we see in B2B marketing, and their contributions to the industry are absolutely vital."
For more information about the B2B Agencies Benchmarking Report 2016-2017, download the full report.
For further information about Reading Room, please visit: www.readingroom.com
In a recent local government by-election held in Glasgow, Idox was on hand to provide eCount and Postal Vote Management Services (PVMS).
Scotland adopts the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, making it possible for the electorate to vote for every candidate in order of preference. This 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 significantly longer and may delay the declaration of the result. With Idox Elections’ e-Counting solution, scanning ballot papers can be achieved in a fraction of the time of manual counting and calculations take just minutes, improving the accuracy and auditability of results.
Upcoming work for Idox Elections
Off the back of a successful 2016, 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year for Idox Elections with the delivery of Scottish Local Elections, English Mayoral and County Council Elections.
As a trusted elections supplier in Scotland, we have once again been selected to deliver our eCount solution to all 32 local authorities in the Scottish Local Elections. We will also print and deliver all of the ballot books and postal packs for such elections. In addition, our work will extend to produce and provide over 1 million poll cards, as well as deliver our PVMS solution, to over 50 per cent of Scottish local authorities.
Would you like to find out more about our dedicated elections services?
Please visit the dedicated Idox Elections pages for further information, including access to our latest papers.Tweet
Socitm’s Better Connected programme has released its latest survey results, which evaluated the digital performance of 353 council websites across the UK, specifically focusing on tasks relating to building control.
The survey found that 34% of Scottish sites and 43% of sites in the rest of the UK (the systems are slightly different), to be good or very good for the task 'apply for building control'.
Responding to the results, Chris Kendall, Digital Strategy Owner at Idox said:
“Idox’s support of the Better Connected programme is all about putting the citizen back at the heart of public service delivery. We acknowledge that at a time of great digital change, councils need to know how and why they can transform their services for the better with the help of digital technologies.”
Better Connected made a series of recommendations in a corresponding report to help councils improve the customer experience of completing building control tasks online.
Advice is geared around simplifying and streamlining the customer journey wherever possible, reducing advertising and ‘hard sell’ space and making information clear and concise with instructions and online FAQs to an audience that expect to find answers to their questions 24/7.
Kendall added: “Our current work here in the area of building control has not just been about analysing how councils support the submission of applications, it’s about identifying and understanding where we can partner with those councils to make the whole submission process easier for their customers and for themselves. Providing enhanced customer journeys not only offers better citizen engagement that meets the growing expectations of internet users, it recognises time, resource and cost-savings for the council itself. Armed with industry and technology knowledge, we’re aiming for mutually-beneficial digital transformation.”
Idox’s partnership with Better Connected will support an ongoing programme of work aimed at identifying and developing online best practice in key areas of local government.
This commitment to accelerating digital transformation is supported by a host of digital products, including solutions such as online application service iApply and new role-based app suite OnSite, all aimed at creating enhanced customer journeys and council savings.
The results of the building control/standards surveys are available to view online. Individual councils can find their results from the council index page here.
The ‘all council’ reports can be accessed by following the links from: Better Connected.
The next Idox-sponsored survey will focus on Licensing. Results are expected in the spring.
Idox is pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of 6PM Holdings plc (6PM), an international provider of specialist software solutions for the healthcare market.
6PM delivers a broad range of innovative systems which are researched and developed, often in partnership with clinicians and healthcare trusts, with the specific aim of fostering efficiency and ease of use. In the face of increasing demand for healthcare services, hospitals and clinics use 6PM to free up budget and spend more time on patient welfare.
Idox already provides facilities management solutions to a number of NHS trusts in the U.K., and views the acquisition of 6PM as a significant step forward in establishing the group’s credentials in the sector.
“Idox has always been very focused on identifying areas where the smart use of software can improve public services – whether through efficient back-end systems or through thoughtfully designed user interfaces.” comments Idox CEO, Andrew Riley.
“This acquisition allows us to gain a firm foothold in the healthcare market, where these principles are even more pertinent. 6PM brings to Idox both a range of market-leading products, and a number of talented innovative people. We are excited by the opportunity this gives us to accelerate our growth and delight our customers at the same time!”
6PM will become known as Idox Health.
East Cheshire NHS Trust has selected CAFM Explorer, Idox’s leading facilities management software, to help improve efficiency, transparency and decision-making across its three hospital sites in Macclesfield, Congleton and Knutsford.
The Trust will use CAFM Explorer, an all-in-one software solution, to replace a number of disparate data management systems, making it significantly easier for the estate team to manage every aspect of their facilities. Using an integrated database to store information across all facilities and properties, the new system gives the Trust greater visibility of their assets, enabling better-informed strategic decision-making and vastly improved reporting.
Mobile capability within CAFM Explorer will also provide the Trust’s estate team with flexibility to access information on the move, increasing both productivity and communication.
East Cheshire NHS Trust is one of over 300 clients using CAFM Explorer to deliver safe, efficient and compliant facilities. The Trust’s transition to the software solution extends Idox’s reach to over 30% of the healthcare market, where it supports a range of organisations with their digital transformation goals.
Cloud Amber is pleased to confirm its success in the Government’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial as announced by Transport Minister, John Hayes.
As one of only 20 organisations selected to receive a share in the £20 million programme, Cloud Amber (an Idox company) was recognised as an organisation capable of supporting the Government’s target to cut emissions and improve air quality.
The winning project, developed by Cloud Amber in conjunction with Checkedsafe, is centred around ground-breaking smartphone application Greenwave – the only solution of its type in existence.
The application uses traffic signal data to transform fleet driver behaviour by encouraging them to drive in a more efficient manner via gamification. Drivers are awarded a green score each time they drive, based on both their driving style and how they approach traffic signals. Points accumulate over the month with a monthly league board rewarding the driver with the highest score.
Cloud Amber’s Head of Transport Richard Thurbin, commented: “The development of Greenwave demonstrates that we are committed to supporting the Government’s agenda to meeting the UK’s CO2 reduction and zero emission targets. There is no known solution of this type in existence – which uses data feeds from existing infrastructure to provide drivers with live updates enabling them to change their driving style. We are excited to see what the future will hold for this type of innovative, transport management solution.”
The solution will be deployed as a trial on 12 Masternaut-equipped vehicles in Amey's Birmingham Highways utility contract over a 6-month period to monitor the impact on MPG and vehicle emissions. The aim being to deliver a 10% reduction in monthly fuel costs and CO2 emissions.
Transport Minister John Hayes said: “It is fantastic that Cloud Amber is willing to explore low and zero emission technologies, which will help improve air quality and reduce pollution in towns and cities.
“This is yet another important significant step towards this government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport to help tackle climate change. We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects.”
For more information about Cloud Amber’s wider portfolio of transport solutions, please visit: www.cloudamber.idoxgroup.com
The new ‘30 Hours’ free childcare policy launches throughout England in September 2017. It will offer working parents of three and four year olds government funding for nursery and childminder places, resulting in savings of up to £5,000 per year.
In support of the scheme, the Department for Education (DfE) has also announced £2.15m technology funding available to local authorities to implement digital systems that will administer and manage the scheme. It is accepting applications for funding until 31 January 2017 and encouraging councils to submit as soon as possible to maximise the likelihood of success.
Eight local authorities are early implementers, piloting the scheme. One of the key findings of the pilot to date is that regular and transparent communication to parents and early years providers is essential. The pilot has also found that digital solutions are key to meeting tight timescales.
Open Objects has developed its Early Years Provider Hub to provide a secure, digital solution that makes it easier for local authorities to work with childcare providers to implement and manage the 30 hours policy. It brings local childcare providers and council Early Years teams into a single, shared digital space.
The Hub meets all the DfE requirements for IT solutions which can be supported under the Digital Accelerate funding and includes:
- Instant validation of eligibility codes
- Automatic re-checking of codes and notifications of changes for each registered child
- Easy submission of funding claims
- Automatic calculation of payments and integration with the back office
- Full audit trail for Early Years team reporting and claims analysis
Additionally, it extends the provider engagement possibilities to include:
- Easy gathering of annual Census data from providers
- Pupil progress tracking for the Early Years Foundation stage
- Easy flow of all provider-collected data back into the Council
The Knowledge Exchange is the information and intelligence arm of Idox. Over the past forty years, this established information service has been the first port of call for policymakers and practitioners across the UK, providing useful intelligence on public and social policy and practice.
In our latest article, Idox’s Stacey Dingwall reports on The Knowledge Exchange’s partnership with Skills Development Scotland in managing Research Online, which provides free access to labour market information and research sourced from around the world.
Want to find out more? Click here to read the full article.
In the second article in our building control series, we explain how the building control profession is responding to the challenges of skills shortages, demographic change and inclusivity.
From the sector’s humble beginnings to the demands and expectations of a modern-day building control workforce, Idox’s James Carson covers the key factors encouraging the next generation of building control professionals.
Read the full piece on the Idox blog: Constructing a modern, diverse building control profession
Recent media reports have indicated that the Government is preparing new proposals to prevent electoral fraud, including the introduction of ID checks at polling stations.
Pilot schemes are expected to be announced early this year, in response to the 2016 report by the Government’s anti-corruption tsar, Sir Eric Pickles. Securing the ballot: review into electoral fraud recommended changes to the rules on electoral administration which included: requiring voters to produce a passport, driving licence or utility bill as evidence of their identity; nationality checks; and a requirement to use only English or Welsh in polling stations. The full recommendations were covered in Idox’s previous short paper on trust and security in electoral management.
The new rules are also expected to ban political campaigners from handing in ballot papers on behalf of postal voters who have missed the deadline.
Securing the ballot
The proposals have been welcomed by Idox Elections who, for more than two decades, has provided systems to deliver modern democracy in a flexible and trusted manner.
Meeting the demands of election officials, candidates and the electorate, Idox Elections provides administrative services to respond to the changing needs of the UK and international electoral services market.
The proposed changes will reinforce the systems which Idox has put in place to guard against electoral fraud:
- Idox Individual Electoral Registration provides the tools to manage the process of application verification required to add voters to the electoral register.
- Idox Selcheck enables Returning Officers to compare 100% of signatures and dates of birth on returned Postal Vote Statements with stored masters. In addition, Idox Selcheck allows Returning Officers to conduct full checks on failed signatures against other postal voters for electors, property, postcode and district.
- The Idox Postal Vote Management Solution (PVMS) allows for the scanning and verification of all postal ballot papers and accompanying Postal Vote Statements, to ensure that only authentic votes are put forward for the count. PVMS enables accurate processing of 100% of postal packs issued and detailed reporting to allow councils to submit required returns to the Electoral Commission
Delivering democracy with accuracy and security
Voting is one of the most important rights a citizen can hold. As we saw in 2016, choosing where to put an X on a ballot paper – or choosing not to participate – can result in seismic changes that will influence the course of a country for decades to come. It’s important, therefore, that the electorate can put its trust in the way that democratic polls are delivered.
As further challenges emerge, the experienced team at Idox Elections will continue to ensure that democracy is well served with accuracy and security.
Want to find out more? Visit our dedicated Elections pages today or meet the team at the 2017 AEA Annual Conference, (5-7 February, Brighton).
As an existing Crown Commercial Service provider, Idox is delighted to announce that following a successful tender, Cloud Amber (an Idox company) has been awarded a place on the new Traffic Management Technology 2 (TMT2) Framework Agreement.
The TMT2 agreement is for the supply of traffic management technology products, solutions and professional services for use by UK Public Sector organisations. Cloud Amber has been awarded a place on the Framework in respect of:
- Lot 3: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Data Systems
- Lot 7: Urban Traffic Management Control and Common Database Systems.
- Lot 14: Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
- Lot 15: Catalogue
Cloud Amber is a leading innovator who delivers intelligent and deeply integrated transports solutions across all forms of transport including Network Management, Fleet Operations and Informed Personal Travel.
For further information visit: Cloud Amber
For more information about the Framework, visit: Traffic Management Technology 2 (TMT2)
Smart growth, inclusive growth and sustainable growth are the three strategic priorities that form the basis for the leading European funding programmes in 2017 and beyond. In an interview with Marnix Smit, European Grant Specialist at Vindsubsidies, we uncover the latest funding opportunities available for the public sector from the European funding pot.
“The largest grant opportunities for public sector organisations lie in related topics such as sustainable urban development, smart mobility and energy efficiency,” Smit commented. He added, “threats from large international investment programmes and Brexit will have a profound influence on future funding opportunities for those operating in the public domain”.
What funding is currently available and what are the anticipated changes for the public sector in 2017?
Digital technologies present significant opportunities for improvements and savings in local government. With their ability to aid cost-savings, assist economic growth and deliver better outcomes for local residents and communities, digitisation is becoming ever more important for local councils and their partners.
However, whilst many are already reaping the benefits of digital, significant barriers are preventing others from keeping up with the pace of change and achieving their digital vision.
As a leading supplier of digital software, services and content to local authorities across the UK, Idox’s latest whitepaper The Digital Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Local Government outlines the digital challenges facing local authorities, and presents practical examples to demonstrate how councils can make – and have made – digital transformation a reality.
As the first in a two-part digital whitepaper series, The Digital Landscape provides the digital context ahead of Digital Solutions for Local Government, expected to be published in the New Year.
As part of plans to expand its research funding information service across Europe in support of public sector and related organisations, RESEARCHconnect is able to report an impressive year of activity.
With over 40 new clients joining the RESEARCHconnect family since the beginning of January and building upon its existing footprint in the UK, RESEARCHconnect is fast becoming the online research funding service of choice for universities and research institutes across Europe, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Slovenia and Sweden.
The value of the RESEARCHconnect service is reflected in feedback from its users. Tina Rucigaj, Business Secretary at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia commended the service, finding it “very satisfying”, with “added value coming from the product, besides saving time, in the additional information about specific calls that you cannot find elsewhere.”
Rolf Klappert, Head of Grant Office at Switzerland’s Université de Neuchâtel, also had positive findings to share: “In a country where industrial, export-oriented activities are crucial for economic development, it is essential to identify tailored funding opportunities for research and innovation that will contribute to maintaining and enhancing competitiveness. The RESEARCHconnect service helps us discover new and interesting funding opportunities to be shared with the researchers of our institution and also the private sector in our region.”
2017 holds further opportunities for RESEARCHconnect to build on these successes in Europe, extending into new countries for the first time. A key opportunity for universities and institutions to see the benefits of the service will be at the EARMA Annual Conference, taking place in Malta in April. RESEARCHconnect is returning as Gold Sponsor of this flagship event in the European research calendar and looks forward to welcoming all those with an interest in enhancing their research funding identification processes.
Idox announces the integration of Sport England’s back office planning application management system with its integral Consultee Cloud service.
Idox’s Consultee Cloud links local planning authorities and consultees via a direct, online channel, and provides the solution necessary to speed up the process of distributing, coordinating, receiving and responding to planning consultations of which there are hundreds of thousands per year. Town planning process stakeholders use the e-consultation cloud to complete both internal and external consultations online, benefitting from both time and resource savings.
Mark Critchley, GIS Manager at Sport England explains, “The integration of the Consultee Cloud service with our in house planning application management system ensures applications are received and responded to directly instead of by email. The integrated service reduces effort and removes errors for our administration team to log applications, whilst also establishing a more streamlined process for our Planning Managers to send responses back to planning authorities.”
Marie White, Senior Planning Administrator at Sport England adds, “With around 2,400 applications handled by Sport England every year, the time saving alone will be significant. We expect this efficiency to continue to rise as more and more planning authorities carry on joining the service. With application numbers running into the hundreds for some, an automated service is definitely the way forward in terms of streamlining and making a success of the process.”
Paul Beaney, Operations Director at Idox, highlights other benefits of Idox’s Consultee Cloud, which in addition to being a service for back office integration can be accessed via a dedicated website with single login. “The website not only provides a clear visual indication of priority by ordering consultations according to expiry date, it’s geographical information system (GIS) feature also allows consultees to plot the location of applications on a map. This allows them to easily identify clusters of development and plan appropriately.”
About Sport England
Sport England is a non-departmental public body under the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for increasing the number of people doing sport and activity in England – no matter what their background, ability or age. This is achieved by investing in organisations and projects that will get more people playing sport and creating opportunities for people to be more physically active. Website: www.sportengland.org
Idox's Public Sector Software division: serves over 90% of local authorities through supplying leading applications for core functions relating to land, property and people. Our planning, regulatory services and election management solutions provide the market-leading tools that allow our customers to effectively administer information, business processes and workflow. Website: www.idoxgroup.com
As cities realise the need to improve sustainability, many are turning to innovative technologies to address challenges such as traffic congestion and air pollution. Here, the ‘smart agenda’, with its focus on technology and urban infrastructure, overlaps with the ‘sustainability agenda’ – usually associated with energy, waste management and transport.
With our broad range of digital capabilities, Idox is supporting local authorities across the UK to address some of these challenges through such solutions as Cloud Amber (enabling the efficient movement of people and goods); iApply (helping to transform Planning and Building Control with a streamlined online application service); and OnSite (a suite of new, role-based apps dedicated to helping local authority staff in their day-to-day work).
In this article, Idox’s Steven McGinty reports on smart-eco city developments in Glasgow, London and Manchester.
In the UK, increased life expectancy means that people can expect to live longer than ever before.
In the second of two articles on planning for an ageing society, Idox’s Donna Gardiner highlights some of the ways in which planners can help support the creation of age-friendly environments by influencing the design of the urban environment, transport, housing and the wider community and neighbourhood.
Read the full article: Planning for an ageing population: designing age-friendly environments
On average, the UK’s population is becoming older and living longer, healthier lives. Between 2014 and 2039, the government predicts that over 70% of UK population growth will be in the over 60 age group. Although this trend is partially countered by migration, by 2037 there will be 1.42 million more households headed by someone aged 85 or over.
In the first of two articles on planning for an ageing society, Idox’s Donna Gardiner looks at key considerations for local government, and in particular for planning departments.Read the full article here: Planning for an ageing population: some key considerations
European funding programme, Eurostars, scores SME driven research projects highly with top scoring projects coming from Health, Life Science and ICT projects in the Netherlands in addition to Biotechnology and Medical Technology in the UK.
Vindsubsidies, on behalf of a consortium formed by Twente Medical Systems International (TMSi), Eindhoven University of Technology and the French partners Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and La Hospital Amiens-Picardie, recently won a substantial Eurostars grant amounting to almost €700,000 for a prestigious health project to reduce preterm birth.
Preterm birth is the major cause of child mortality and morbidity (63%) in the EU. Drugs to suppress preterm delivery are available but they only work if administered at the right time. TMSi and its partners have developed a self-care monitoring device to measure uterine contractions which allows timely drug administration to reduce the risk of preterm birth.
Proud to Contribute
Tim Lage Venterink, consultant of Vindsubsidies, commented: “it was a pleasure to contribute towards such a worthwhile and significant win. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to contribute towards such a fantastic project that offers help to so many people.”
Bringing local government into the 21st century is fraught with well documented challenges. In 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) carried out a survey into local government leaders’ views on digital transformation. The research identified six key barriers to digital adoption:
- Legacy systems and ICT infrastructure
- Lack of development funds
- Unwillingness to change / non-cooperation of colleagues
- Lack of in-house digital skills
- Culturally uncomfortable for the organisation
- Supplier inflexibility
In our latest blog, Idox’s Steven McGinty discusses what’s holding back digital transformation in local government.