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Paper 7 -  23 March 2001


23 March 2001


Report by the Policy Manager



(1) That the proposal for a Hampshire Public Services Network be supported;

(2) That authorities work together to ensure that their "Implementing Electronic Government (IEG)" statements are co-ordinated; and

(3) That the Chief Executives’ Group report further when the IEG statements are submitted.


1. The Association’s seminar on 26 January was well attended and heard from Deloitte Touche, British Telecom, DETR, Hampshire County Council and the Chief Executives’ Group. Hampshire County Council outlined proposals developed jointly for a local response to the Government’s proposals. The Government’s proposals were announced publicly shortly after the seminar.

2. The Government will provide extra funds for a small number of "pathfinder" authorities in 2001/2002. All authorities are asked to bid for additional funds in 2002/2003. Bids, in the form of IEGs, need to be drafted by July this year.

3. The Hampshire response is detailed in the annex. It is a proposal to establish a Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN) to provide direct access to services and better, more integrated, service information. It takes the form of a bid for Public Finance Initiative (PFI) funds. Even if this bid is unsuccessful, it forms the basis for an e-Government strategy for Hampshire. The Isle of Wight is also developing an e-Government strategy and Bernard Quoroll, Chief Executive, is one of two local authority chief executives who represent local government on Central Government’s "Champions" group.

4. HPSN will be led by a strategy group of officers, including Peter Robertson, Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council. The Group will report regularly to the Chief Executives’ Group and at least annually to the Association.

Policy Manager

Date: 9 March 2001
Annex: 1
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk



 Hampshire Public Services Network 

“Joined up Projects” PFI Proposal

Author:           Richard Gibson, Hampshire County Council


 Created on: 08/02/01  

1.    Project Summary. 

The essence of this project is to develop an inter-agency co-operative network that can foster and encourage voluntary and other public service organisations to provide new and improved services for the benefit of the local community, exploiting e-government technology, to be delivered over the next two years. 

The Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN) project is supported in principle by the Hampshire district councils, the three Hampshire health authorities, the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils (HAPTC), the Hampshire Police and Fire & Rescue services. Peter Robertson, Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council has agreed to be the project “champion”. 

See the appendix attached to this document for a full list of the organisations that are supporting this bid. 

Substantial progress with the network has already been made but additional funding is required to enable local communities to be brought into the service network more rapidly and develop key infrastructure components. The total capital cost of the project is likely to be around £9m with Hampshire seeking a total of £5m in capital funding from the Treasury to help make significant progress more rapidly. All other capital and revenue costs will be borne by participating organisations.  

2.    Objectives 

2.1  The overall objectives of the HPSN project are to: 

§         create a Hampshire wide public services network

§         provide direct access to services and better service information for the public

§         support e-government implementation targets

§         develop effective inter-agency co-operation and relationships

§         introduce new services that are only possible through higher levels of inter-agency co-operation, particularly at the local level

§         increase the level of electronic service participation in Hampshire 

2.2  Many of the elements of this project are already underway or in the planning and discussion stage among the partner organisations that support the HPSN project. The objective of this bid is to speed up the implementation process, to help guarantee an effective level of participation from voluntary and other public sector groups and to introduce new, innovative, joined up services. 

2.3  The project is aimed at providing a package of services that support the e-government vision for public services in Hampshire. The main elements of the vision are: 

·        The people of Hampshire will be able to gain access to services and service information or to interact with any public service organisation, without needing to be aware of how services are provided or how organisations are structured. Access will be possible through any local information centre or advice centre, through the telephone, the Internet and any other electronic medium that reaches sizeable numbers of the population or a sizeable proportion of a specific community (e.g. Minicom for those with hearing or speech impairment). 

·        Initially the telephone, backed by a range of support systems, including call centres, is expected to be the primary means for members of the public to access services. Information and services will also be available directly through the Internet, digital television and other media as appropriate. 

·        All agencies will provide support, through appropriate systems, for people to have feedback on their service or information requests so that they know when to expect the next response and what the next stage of the process is. It will also be clear how complaints or comments on the service can be fed through to the appropriate organisation. 

·        Economies of scale will be sought by all the Hampshire agencies by sharing systems, processes and information so that the cost of service provision can be minimised. 

·        All printed services information for the public will also be available electronically. It will be possible to complete and submit all requests for services electronically.  

3.    Major Themes of this Project 

3.1  There are a number of major themes that underpin “joined up” projects in Hampshire. The actual projects undertaken will depend on the funding available but the County and its partners would expect to make significant progress in support all of these areas. 

3.2  Joined Up Government: A number of key actions are planned to help make the boundaries between organisation less of an obstacle for people. 

-        Provide information and transactions through the Web that allow any participating agency to respond helpfully to issues that involve other agencies as well as their own. This will help remove the hard boundaries between agencies that force people to understand the complexities of public service responsibilities and structures. 

-        Share “back office” information between agencies (data protection legislation permitting) to avoid or reduce multiple visits/form filling. As an example, sharing basic assessment or contact information between Social Services and health authorities.  

-        Clarify overlapping services and seek opportunities for efficiency improvements. Making information about, and access to, public services available through the web forces a systematic review of services and how they are provided that will expose areas needing more fundamental review. 

3.3  Access by the People: The aim is to provide multiple channels for services and information, matched to the needs of individuals. These will include: 

-        Call centres for easy assisted access to information and services through the telephone. 

-        Information points where people can get services and support through the telephone or in person.  

-        Community access points, based in village halls, community centres, or any location where community activities take place.  These centres will provide assisted access and direct access for individuals through the telephone or access to Web based services. 

3.4  Citizen Centric: Information on web sites and in telephone directories will be restructured to gear it more directly to the needs of individuals. For example there will be several routes to web information, such as “life events”, geographical location and by topic. These will work across organisational boundaries. 

3.5   Inclusion: An essential part of the HPSN project is to reach out with services to those who would otherwise be disadvantaged because of their location or circumstances. 

-         Rural areas will be served by community access points using local voluntary groups and agencies to provide information point support and new services directly to the local community. 

-         Mobile access using mobile telephone and/or computer support will provide assisted access directly to those in the community (e.g. the elderly) who could not easily access the services themselves. 

-         Innovative new services allowing isolated or remote communities access to local delivery of services such as library books/videos, home shopping, ordering/delivery services, meals on wheels. 

3.6  Virtual Communities: In addition to servicing local communities based on geography, HPSN will enable people in different locations with common interests to create communities of interest, sharing information and collaborating. This will be supported through facilities such as mediated bulletin boards, web pages, event diaries. This should be of particular benefit to ethnic groups and groups with special needs.    

4.    Infrastructure Supporting the Themes. 

4.1  The services provided by HPSN require a number of key technology elements to be in place. These are: 

4.2  Private Network: A network framework is required that can provide secure, single sign on access to services and information for a number of different agencies. In addition to high-speed data transmission the network must also be capable of supporting voice. This will enable calls to be forwarded across the network so that individuals can be put in direct contact with the specialists to whom they need to talk to. 

The network will support internal staff and contact directories so that public service professionals can have share information and get in touch easily, across organisations. 

4.3  Back Office Systems: The telephone will continue to be the primary medium of information delivery for some years, even though the level of Internet access is increasing and is at its highest in the south of England. To support telephone access a number of call centres, run jointly or by individual agencies will be set up. The centres will: 

§         provide service information

§         enter service requests on behalf of individuals

§         check progress on previous calls

§         forward requests to the appropriate staff

§         arrange visits from/appointments with staff 

Separate agencies, working together, will achieve economies of scale operating these services that would not otherwise be possible Call centres need to have basic call handling facilities (queuing, messaging, menuing systems) backed up by service organisation orientated customer relationship management (CRM ) and workflow software. 

There will be a number of local call rate or freephone telephone numbers that will give access to the call centres or enquiry lines operated by any of the Hampshire public service organisations. 

4.4  Active Catalogue of Services: One of the most frustrating aspects of community service provision from the individual’s perspective is the difficulty in finding out which agency deals with which service. Whether the service request comes from the public directly or through assisted access at a call centre, information centre or help desk, there needs to be a comprehensive electronic catalogue of services in place so that queries or service requests can go straight to the right organisation. 

The service catalogue must be capable of overcoming the differences in organisational structure, web site structure, navigation and language to provide a consistent, easy to use reference accessible through a variety of electronic and assisted means. To help avoid information getting rapidly out of date the catalogue must be founded on the concept of ownership and responsibility for information residing with individual organisations coupled with devolved updating facilities. The catalogue will also include facilities for extracting details for other purpose such as producing local printed directories of services or services targeted at particular communities. 

The catalogue will be directly accessible for organisations so that they can, if they wish, directly amend details themselves. The catalogue will also enable smaller organisations without web facilities to create their own web pages and link to them from the catalogue. 

The catalogue will be an “active” catalogue in that it will allow services to be directly accessed – for example booking local facilities, making appointments to see people or notifying defects, such as housing faults, street lighting problems or holes in the road. 

There will be several different routes to the catalogue information including access by life events, keywords, free text search, service type, geographical area and by organisation. The aims will be to make it as easy as possible to track down which organisation provides which service. 

Redevelopment of the current community services directory (COUSIN) has been on Hampshire’s agenda for some time and is a key component of the joined up government project. 

4.5  Community Organisation Support: Small organisations need to be able to manage and promote themselves so the HPSN project envisages a package of web based facilities to support the operation of voluntary and similar organisations. This would include web site space, web page/service development, discussion groups, notice boards, Intranet facilities, booking systems, email services and entries into the Community Services catalogue. Again the aim is to encourage the smaller agencies to actively participate in electronic service delivery and cross agency information sharing, by reducing the network entry cost to an affordable, sustainable, level.

 Some of the services we see being delivered from these sites are:

 §         Local information points

§         Assisted access to the Internet or freephone telephone for the elderly,  or other disadvantaged groups for information and services

§         Distribution points for equipment, mail/internet orders, shopping services

§         Training and learning opportunities (through the CALL initiative)

§         Locally produced web services and content 

4.6  Support for Individuals: A set of web based functions will be made available so that individuals can create communities of interest, based on affiliation rather than just location. The package of functions, similar to those for organisations, will include discussion groups, notice boards, information pages and events diaries. 

4.7  Search Engines: There will be a region wide search facility to help bring together the full information and service resources of all public services in the area. Global search engines such as Google or Altavista usually only reference a small proportion of the pages on a web site. A search engine that references all pages for all public service organisations in the area will make it much easier for people (or call centres) to get the information they need.  By linking to geographical information systems it will be possible to limit, where appropriate, information retrieval to the most relevant local information.  

Hampshire County Council already has a search facility (Hantsferret) but this will be extended so that it is available to all agencies and will include geographical information systems (GIS) links.  

5.    Benefits for the People. 

The people of Hampshire will see a large improvement in the way they can access public services. They will not need to know who provides the service they want to use, they only need the phone number of a local call centre or information point . All an individual has to do is: 

-        Phone the local call centre or information centre


-        Visit the web site of any public sector organisation on Hampshire


-        Call at the local information centre 

Once contact with the service provider has been made the individual will have confidence that they will be kept in touch with progress on their service request or enquiry. 

Voluntary and other community groups will be encouraged, through the low cost communications lines provided by HPSN, to offer additional services to people in communities across Hampshire. These groups can act as local information points providing direct or indirect access to services or provide help and guidance to all sections of the population, especially disadvantaged groups who do not have easy access to the telephone or the Internet. 

6.    Outline Project Plan 

At this stage the plan can only be very rough, until funding and partnership arrangements have been worked out in detail. Some of the early work will be to establish a project board, with members drawn from all the project partner organisations, which will develop more detailed plans for the major sub-projects. 

The likely overall project duration will be two to three years but we expect to have some “quick wins” so that substantial benefits will arrive within the first 12 months, with all the community sites being linked by the end of the second year. Effort in subsequent years will focus on building up the number of e-government services. 

Year 1: The basic infrastructure elements of services catalogue, search engine, community and individual support packages, call centre support and other back office systems will all be live and in use. All major sites will be linked to HPSN. In addition there will be pilot call centres and a substantial number of community sites linked in to the network, from across the county. 

Year2: All remaining community sites linked into HPSN and expansion of call centres. 

7.    Funding 

7.1  The Hampshire bid is seeking £5m to offset a proportion of the capital cost of the project, with the rest of the capital expenditure and the running costs being borne by Hampshire County Council, its partners and the organisations that will be connected into HPSN. The major capital costs for this project are shown in the remainder of this section. 

7.2  Network Infrastructure: This will cover the installation costs for the communications links from the existing backbone nodes to new networked sites, a share of the backbone capital costs and the site costs, including router. The estimated capital cost per site is of the order of £7,500 to £12,500 depending on the capacity of the links being installed (between 64k and 2Mb). Assuming 400 connected sites, mostly lower bandwidth this gives a total of £4.0m 

7.3  Local Computer and Communications Hardware: Most sites will require computer equipment to provide Internet access. Estimated capital cost per site £2500. Assuming a total of 400 sites requiring equipment this gives a figure of  £1.0m. 

7.4  Central Server Hardware: Central services will need to be upgraded to provide data storage, additional servers and licences, firewall hardware and software. Assuming £100k per 100 sites and a total of 400 sites, the estimated cost of this will be of the order of £0.4m. 

7.5  Project Management/Acquisition: Setting up the service, managing provision of the equipment and services will incur non-recurring costs of around £0.2k, based on a total of 400 sites.

7.6   Software, local and remote: Software will need to be acquired to provide the services catalogue, service facilities for community groups (e.g. Extranet facilities, discussion groups etc), development of web pages and interfaces. Licence and other costs are likely to be of the order of £2.0m. 

7.7  Call Centres: Hardware, software and equipment costs (e.g. call management) likely to be of the order of £100k per centre. Assuming 10 centres, the cost will be around £1m.

7.8  Summary Figures

 Network Infrastructure                               £4.0m

Local computer hardware                           £1.0m

Central server hardware                              £0.4m

Project management/acquisition                   £0.2m

Software, local and remote                          £2.0m

Call centres                                                £1.0m

                                          Total               £8.6m

 7.9  Other costs: Producing business cases, analysis, design and implementation are likely to cost an additional £0.3m. There will also be running costs of the order of £700 per site per annum for equipment and services. These costs will be met by participating community organisations as the running costs for the services they use. Other costs (service catalogue maintenance and overall system management) probably around £100k per annum will be shared and absorbed by the major partner organisations.

 7.10          Procurement: Hampshire has already been through a competitive tendering process to select Unisys as a partner capable of providing the full range of services required for the successful implementation of the HPSN project.

 8.    Hampshire’s Credentials

 8.1  Hampshire has already made significant progress towards meeting the government’s e-government targets for delivering all possible services electronically by 2005 and is well positioned to make further progress on the development of joined up services. Hampshire agencies have a good track record for the management of multi-disciplinary and innovative new projects focussed on the development of more integrated interactive services that directly support the public and service providers.

The key areas of Hampshire’s expertise lie in:

 8.2  Early adoption of Internet/Intranet technologies: Hampshire is a recognised pioneer in the delivery of electronic information and “joined up” government. Over the last decade and a half the County’s Hantsnet system has provided services information and direct services to a community of more than 17,000 users in over 400 public sector and voluntary/community organisations. Hantsnet predated the development of the World Wide Web but helped instil an information sharing/electronic communication culture in the area long before the more sophisticated tools of the Internet arrived.

 8.3  Award winning Hantsweb web site: Since the mid-nineties the public information role of Hantsnet has been taken over by the award winning Hantsweb system. Hantsweb not only provides 700,000 pages of community information directly to the public, through the Web, but also acts as a support service for community information centres based in libraries, information centres and the offices of other agencies. A key component of Hantsweb is the Community Services directory (COUSIN), which holds details of over 13,000 services from several thousand individual organisations. 

However, size alone is not as relevant as the level of usage. Hantsweb’s access statistics, published on the home page, reveal that every month there are over 7.5m hits on the site, equivalent to 3.3m page accesses, from over 130,000 hosts (and many more individuals).   This represents significant use of the site by a sizeable number of people in Hampshire.  

Examples of information on Hantsweb that have attracted national recognition include the Hampshire Transport Management Plan, the hosted inter agency Road Casualty Reduction web site, young carers information  and the guide to residential care in Hampshire. 

The more recent awards given to Hantsweb include:

 ·        New Media Awards 2000: Commendation in the “government category”

·        Local Government Association 1999: Winner "Tourism and Community Information" category of LGA web site awards.

·        Campaign for Freedom of Information 1999: Winner “Online Information” category of the Freedom of Information awards. 

·        Society of Public Information Networks (SPIN) 1999: Winner of the award for Excellence and Innovation in the field of electronic public information systems.

·        Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) 1998: Winner “See it Right” web site award. 

8.4  Track record of working with local agencies: Hampshire’s network of information centres is based on co-operative working with a large number of local government, health and voluntary agencies. The COUSIN system again relies on network of separately funded agencies working together. The European funded Tourist project required several different tourist information providing bodies to work together on a common approach to the provision of information and online booking services for the public.

 8.5  Successful European Projects: The TourISt and Infoville projects have been valuable experience for Hampshire in the development of e-services involving both the public and private sector organisations. These two projects also involved a significant degree of local co-ordination in the area of tourist information where agreement had to be reached in several areas, between a number of information providers, for example in the adoption of standard ways of classifying information.

 Another significant feature of this project was the extensive user testing and street/postal surveys of users (the public as well as service providers)

 8.6  Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN): In 1999 Hampshire initiated a tendering process for new network services with the aim of providing a modern IP based voice and data network service for the County Council and for any other public sector agencies in the Hampshire area. Following a European tender process Unisys was selected as the commercial partner to take over provision of the core voice and data communications facilities for Hampshire. HPSN is an IP based network service that can provide a range of bandwidths and telephone services across the county of Hampshire. Roll out of data services was started in 2000 with the County Council and a third of the Hampshire districts already connected. Voice services roll out will follow in 2001.

 Unisys fully supports this PFI bid as this fits in well with the services they already supply to Hampshire and its partners.

 8.7  In summary, Hampshire has already taken the lead in a number of the key areas that support the introduction of joined-up e-government services and is committed to further investment to make electronic service deliver a reality. The additional funding from a successful PFI bid would help to speed up the process significantly and be a powerful demonstrator of organisation and technology for other authorities as they attempt to meet government targets.  

Appendix: List of Organisations Supporting the HPSN Project

 Given the timescales for this bid, this is a provisional list of organisations that have already given their support to the project.  

 Hampshire County Council

Portsmouth City Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

East Hampshire District Council

Eastleigh Borough Council

Fareham Borough Council

Gosport Borough Council

Hart District Council

Havant Borough Council

New Forest District Council

Rushmoor Borough Council

Test Valley Borough Council

Winchester City Council

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire Police Authority

Portsmouth and SE Health Authority

Southampton and SW Health Authority

North and Mid Hants Health Authority

Hampshire Association of Parish Councils





Last update: 14/03/2001
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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