Press release by Norfolk County Council Media Team 05 December 2013
Norfolk County Council and HP join forces to transform public services
A ground-breaking agreement to transform and improve public services in Norfolk by harnessing the power of new technology has been announced today between Norfolk County Council and HP, and its key partners Microsoft and Vodafone.
The Digital Norfolk Ambition (DNA) project will deliver more than £10 million of savings from the Council’s IT budget over the next five years, while providing front-line staff with the latest technology to help deliver efficient and sustainable public services.
At the heart of this innovative partnership is the Council’s commitment to its Putting People First strategy. The use of technology and better sharing of data and resources between partners is fundamental to building the right services for Norfolk and the new partnership will support closer and more informed working.
Over the coming weeks the County Council, HP, Vodafone and Microsoft will be inviting partners and other agencies to participate in a number of initiatives to support better education, higher education and sustainable public services.
One of the aims of the DNA initiative will be to break down existing communication barriers between organisations and establish a secure ‘information hub’ which will allow the joining and sharing of data across Norfolk to help public services plan more effective services - targeted at those most in need.
The hub will be developed by graduates from the University of East Anglia alongside HP and Norfolk County Council.
Already a large employer in Norfolk, HP has an insight into the county’s world-class potential. The presence of the UEA, Norwich Research Park and a vibrant business community were key factors in HP’s targeted pursuit of this cutting-edge deal.
A shared vision of a smarter, more inclusive and dynamic future for Norfolk will be supported by the following initiatives that the partnership will also deliver:
• A new four-year degree in Information and Management Analytics at the UEA sponsored by HP will be launched to help provide the workforce of the future with new skills
• A new one-year course for 16-year-olds will be launched to provide technical computer skills in the fast-growing field of information technology. Those who pass will receive an Advanced Technical Associate accreditation from HP
• 50 new apprenticeships will be provided to small and medium sized businesses via the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and free advice and guidance offered to companies by HP and Microsoft
• In addition, all schools in Norfolk will be approached in the coming weeks to gauge interest in joining the initiative with the aim of providing devices for teachers and pupils at heavily discounted rates
• ‘Tech camps’ will be held for teachers in Norfolk to keep them abreast of the latest technological developments, and an online IT academy will be launched along with a new competition - to be called the Norfolk Challenge Cup - to unlock the IT potential of Norfolk school children
• A target of more 10,000 volunteering hours by staff from HP and others partners will be provided in the county to support local communities
As part of the project, Norfolk joins the growing number of cities and regions under the umbrella of the global Microsoft CityNext programme which opens access to Microsoft’s global innovation and corporate social responsibility programmes.
Launching Digital Norfolk Ambition, Norfolk County Council Leader, George Nobbs, said: “Economic growth is at the top of the County Council’s priorities, and this groundbreaking partnership will ensure that we are best placed to achieve that. The financial challenges facing the public sector mean it is essential that we collaborate with our partners across the county to better plan and deliver public services for Norfolk.
“New learning courses for our young people, access to the latest equipment for our school children, new apprenticeships and practical help for businesses add up to a formidable package of investment in our county. Raising attainment of our children and bringing public services together are absolute key measures of success.”
Stuart Bladen, Vice President and General Manager, UK Public Sector, HP Enterprise Services said: “This partnership with Norfolk is unique in local government in the UK: it will provide a new style of public service that enables multiple agencies to effectively participate in joint service delivery. Furthermore, we are excited to bring HP, Microsoft and Vodafone together to focus on the education, skills and jobs agenda here in Norfolk.”
Ian Hacon, President of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, added: “Norfolk Chamber of Commerce is absolutely delighted that HP and Norfolk County Council have signed this agreement. Digital competitiveness has become one of the cornerstones of great business. Norfolk has a real opportunity through this deal to be at the forefront. As well as making our public sector better value for money, we are particularly pleased to see the work that will happen with our young people, both in schools and colleges, and the 50 apprenticeships to support small and medium sized enterprises.”
David Richardson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UEA, said: “I am delighted that the university has the opportunity to be a part of Norfolk Digital Ambition, a visionary project for which we are most grateful to Norfolk County Council. We are particularly pleased that our students will have the chance to gain vital work experience and enhance their employability in partnership with leading companies such as HP, Microsoft and Vodafone.”
Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We see this initiative as an exciting opportunity to better join up public services and improve public safety, whilst at the same time rising to the challenge of having to find the budget savings that we all face at this time. We are firmly committed to exploring the opportunities this initiative offers to better integrate Fire and Rescue service ICT systems within the wider County Council network."
About HP HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. With the broadest technology portfolio spanning printing, personal systems, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com