Government making progress in flexible working and green tech

flexible workingThe Government has published the latest edition of its ‘Greening Government ICT Strategy’ report, which looks at how central public sector bodies in the UK are addressing environmental issues directly associated with hardware as well as related issues such as travelling to work, the use of property, working cultures and the delivery of services. For the first time the report includes details of energy consumption. The main commitments of the strategy are the ongoing shift to cloud based ‘digital by default’ operations and a focus on the flagship the Way We Work (TW3) flexible working programme which aims ‘to ensure that civil servants have the modern tools they need to enable them to work effectively together and with customers. New greener digital technologies and working practices will help do just that.’

The report highlights areas of progress as well as challenges and also highlights a number of case studies to document progress in individual departments. It claims that nine Central Government departments are ahead of their targets and overall 80 percent or above of departments have now reached a ‘Level 3’ maturity – representing a ‘practiced’ rating on a five point scale – across a range of measures including  end user support arrangements, consolidation of devices, travel reduction, flexible working, space and energy optimisation, and corporate reporting, with significant improvements shown for Information and Data management, investment decisions, and electronically enabling customer services.

The report also finds that:

  • Three departments have achieved ten or more Key Target Outcomes from the strategy’s ‘roadmap’.
  • The average energy consumption per member of staff has reduced by 324kWh/y or 90kgCO2 kwh.
  • There are over 500 video conference installations reported across the survey respondents’ estates.
  • Staff are being provided with access to a wide range of collaborative working tools from shared working spaces to video and audio conferencing facilities and social media, allowing them to work together and with customers, at a wider range of locations. This has facilitated not only more efficient working practises and more timely outcomes, but also helped to reduce travel costs by allowing staff not to have to travel to meetings.
  • Nine departments have provided statistics on their reusing, recycling and disposing of redundant IT assets, covering some 91,700 items weighing 945 tonnes and achieving nearly 94 percent level of landfill/incineration avoidance

Case studies presented in the report include:

  • The Department for Transport reducing the number of printers it uses by nearly 75 percent, significantly reducing the number of desktop PCs and laptops in use and moving towards more agile forms of working.
  • The Ministry of Justice introducing systems to turn off PCs at night.
  • Greater use of videoconferencing at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
  • More efficient use of datacentres and servers at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills  and the Ministry of Defence.