The current media coverage on budget reductions would suggest that cost-saving and efficiency are new concepts to the public sector. Nothing could be further from the truth as all public sector organisations are constantly striving for cost-efficiencies and innovative ways to improve the delivery of public services. The London Borough of Brent and their approach to achieving Government Connect compliance is a shining example of how local authorities are leading the way in using the transformational power of information technology.
The London Borough of Brent, which is also the home of Wembley stadium, administers public services to one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the United Kingdom. Its 271,000 residents speak more than 120 languages and minority communities make up around 60 per cent of its residents.
To help transform public service delivery, Brent Council is engaged in an ambitious regeneration project supported by information and communications technology (ICT), involving the opening of a new civic centre in Wembley by 2013. It will bring together 1,250 staff and receive an estimated 1 million civic centre visitors a year.
A critical component of using ICT to improve the efficiency and productivity of the council is giving its employees flexible and secure remote access to any application from a broad range of devices and locations and achieving this remote connectivity in full compliance with Government Connect security requirements. To achieve this, the London Borough of Brent’s Head of IT, Tony Ellis, and his team have deployed Microsoft’s Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) with the support of Microsoft partner, EuroData, to protect the borough’s two data centres from unauthorised internal and external access. IAG offers a VPN, a Web application firewall, and endpoint security management, to provide secure network access for mobile workers.
Following the deployment of the Microsoft technologies, Brent Council estimates it will achieve cashable savings of at least £459,000 a year for the authority, reduce carbon emissions by 4.46 metric tonnes simply by reducing mileage claims from employees who can now connect remotely to business critical applications and meet Government Connect compliance requirements for local authority access to central Government data.
According to Tony Ellis, “Taking a more strategic approach to secure communications will help the council meet the broader government requirements on efficiency and improving citizen services”.
Posted by Ian