The stars of 2014
Amid the Georgian splendour of Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, the second annual Connect Awards was an occasion to recognise, promote and commend the significant achievements of public sector ICT professionals in Scotland.
The aim of the awards is to encourage practitioners to develop innovative and creative ICT solutions, sharing best practice and rewarding innovation and progress for ICT initiatives that are really working.
It was a chance to shine the spotlight on these projects and give them the recognition that they deserve.
Technology writer Bill Magee, who was chair of the awards judging panel, commented: “The public sector, together with the innumerable services within it here in Scotland, is in the midst of great organisational culture change in light of financial, demographic and operational challenges it currently faces.
“And so, there has perhaps never been a greater need for clever technological solutions, in order to aid in the delivery of those services – we’re talking about public sector bodies built around people and communities working together to achieve better outcomes for those that use the services.
“The digital world – in which we are all operating, every one of us – is fast evolving and ever changing; it’s now all about being better connected and providing instant services at lower costs.
“Such a broadening of digital delivery is reflected tonight, with the judges highlighting a significant broadening in the scope of award category applications.”
Magee said the series of innovative technology solutions represented by the entrants, nominees and winners was an inspiration. People could be confident, he added, that “our public sector remains at the forefront of innovation and endowed with a real cutting edge”.
Connect Project Delivery Award
■ Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
The SFRS has implemented a national MS Dynamics (CRM) solution to provide a true “digital first” engagement channel with members of the public. This platform has enabled the eight different processes from the legacy services to be “digitally re-mastered” creating a digital case management system and realising increases in process efficiency, improved workload management and real-time reporting.
Connect ICT Team Award
■ Scottish Public Sector – SWAN Team
A pan-public sector team, encompassing staff from NHS Scotland, Education Scotland, Scottish Government, local authorities including Highland, Argyll & Bute, Moray, Orkney, Western Isles, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders, was responsible for the delivery of the first project in the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) programme.
Overcoming geographical boundaries and the broad range of expertise required, including procurement, technical, security, policy, legal and many more, the SWAN team has delivered the procurement of a very significant broadband data network which will underpin shared IT/digital services across Scotland for years to come and deliver significant improvements to the quality of service for organisations and their communities.
Connect Innovate Award
■ South Lanarkshire Council
South Lanarkshire Council has implemented new online mapping processes enabling citizens to log roads and lighting faults straight to the back office system, supporting the council’s Customer Contact Programme’s aim to encourage channel shift, reduce cost and improve service. This solution replaces a multi-channel environment beset with a plethora of manual processes, forms and multiple handles that was prone to poor quality data and officer misinterpretation.
Connect Citizen Award
■ Wheatley Group
Research shows that social housing tenants in Glasgow are amongst the most likely to not be connected to the internet. Glasgow Housing Association has been working with tenants, suppliers and the Scottish Government to find an affordable model that would connect all their citizens, closing the social divide and ensuring equality of access to online services.
Connect Leader Award
■ Martin Leven, CIO, Police Scotland
Having overseen the technology strategy behind the merger of eight regional police forces and the SPSA into Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority, Martin was appointed CIO of Police Scotland. In the time since then he has been responsible for overseeing one of the largest, high profile and most challenging integration projects in the public sector, if not in Scotland.
■ Sandra Fox, Head of ICT, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service
Sandra was appointed Head of ICT for the newly merged Scottish Fire & Rescue Service in April 2013. Sandra has overseen the integration of eight regional fire and rescue services into one national entity, overcoming significant geographical, technological and operational challenges, all the while ensuring that one of Scotland’s most valued and critical public services maintains its high standards of response.