Category Archives: General

New £3M Cyber Security Centre Opens In Gloucester

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin visited Gloucester today to open Lockheed Martin’s £3 million, job-creating Cyber Security Centre.

The new ‘Cyber Works’ centre, is designed to tackle the complex cyber threats the UK faces. It will create 90 high tech jobs in Gloucester and enable Lockheed Martin to work closely with its UK partners to share knowledge, research and deliver cutting edge capabilities.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said:

With our £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy, Britain is a world leader in the field and the opening of today’s cutting-edge centre is a great example of how partnerships with industry are at the heart of that strategy. Together we are developing solutions to national security risks.

We are already leading in NATO with support to offensive and defensive operations in the fight against Daesh and complex cyber threats, and I’m also delighted that this centre will further boost the UK’s cyber capabilities.

The Government is investing £1.9 billion in cyber security as part of its five-year National Cyber Security Strategy to create a UK which is secure and resilient to cyber threats and prosperous and confident in the digital world.

A key part of that strategy is partnerships with industry, with £10 million being invested in a new Cyber Innovation Fund to give start-ups the boost and partners they need, while the £6.5 million CyberInvest Scheme is building a community of industry, government, and academics to support cutting-edge research and build UK security in cyber space.

The ‘Cyber Works’ centre will support Lockheed Martin’s contribution to CyberInvest, while the company has also signed up to the Government’s CyberFirst scheme which will boost UK skills by inspiring and supporting young people considering roles in cyber security and intelligence.

With National Offensive Cyber Planning allowing the UK to integrate cyber into all of its military operations, defence plays a key role in the UK’s cyber security strategy. Offensive cyber is being routinely used in the war against Daesh, not only in Iraq but also in the campaign to liberate Raqqa and other towns on the Euphrates.

In Defence, the £800 million Innovation Initiative has already boosted investment in UK research and business, with multi-million pound competitions to develop artificial intelligence and automated systems.

In January, the MOD will open a dedicated state-of-the-art Defence Cyber School at Shrivenham, bringing together all our military joint cyber training into one place. And the Defence Secretary recently announced a major reorganisation of the Army’s Royal Signals Corp and Intelligence Corp to equip them to fight the information battles of the 21st Century.

The MOD also has a key role to play in contributing to a culture of resilience. That’s why we set up the Defence Cyber Partnership Programme (DCPP) to ensure that its industrial partners protect themselves and meet robust cyber security standards.

Register My Appliance Day

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to make their homes safer by taking part in Register My Appliance Day this Thursday (January 19).  The call comes as latest statistics show that Staffordshire  Fire and Rescue Service received 119 calls attributed to faulty appliances  or equipment in 2016. Appliance manufacturers are reminding their customers that they can instantly improve their home safety by taking a few minutes to register the white goods that they rely on every day, have never registered, and completely forget they own.

“Remembering to register household appliances is a vital part of keeping one’s home and family safe. These products are the workhorses of the home, often running daily and for many years, but it is all too easy to forget about them. Getting into the habit of spending a few minutes on guarantees the household will receive any relevant safety messages from the manufacturer and they should respond immediately. This simple admin task should become second nature to anyone who is serious about home safety.”

Community Safety Lead James Russell

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is backing this sensible and simple precaution, to ensure that householders can be contacted swiftly if a safety repair is ever needed.

Those who register their January sale bargains or the thousands of older models already running in their homes, will be entered into a free draw for a range of prizes from many of the 60 leading brands on in a new window).
The latest YouGov survey for the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has found that less than half (43 per cent) of British adults usually register their large domestic appliances with the manufacturer.  Of those that don’t always register, 39 per cent said this was because they forgot and 29 per cent didn’t think it was necessary.  Potentially they all risk missing out on product safety warnings.

According to recent official estimates, UK homes are currently using around 93 million (92.7m.) wet and dry large appliances. They are kept for ten or many more years yet, unlike cars, the vast majority are untraceable and have never had a health check.

The YouGov survey also revealed that 70 per cent of GB adults with a fridge or  fridge freezer over ten years old  have never had a professional review or check to verify if they are safely connected or running correctly.

The Service urges the public to register any recent purchases and not to forget about their older appliances:

Community Safety Lead James Russell said: “Remembering to register household appliances is a vital part of keeping one’s home and family safe. These products are the workhorses of the home, often running daily and for many years, but it is all too easy to forget about them. Getting into the habit of spending a few minutes on in a new window)  guarantees the household will receive any relevant safety messages from the manufacturer and they should respond immediately. This simple admin task should become second nature to anyone who is serious about home safety.
“It only takes a few minutes to register an appliance at it could save so much time and money in the long run if one their items does have a safety concern.”

On Register My Appliance Day manufacturers are sending reminders to over 4 million consumers. With supporters including RoSPA, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, Electrical Safety First and the National Landlords Association using both regional press and social media to promote registration on in a new window)

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New Proposed Measures For Drones In The UK

The government plans to introduce new measures to ensure the successful uptake of drones is matched by strong safeguards to protect the public.

Measures out for consultation today (21 December 2016) include:

  • mandatory registration of new drones
  • tougher penalties for illegal flying near no-fly zones and new signs for no-fly zones at sensitive sites such as airports and prisons
  • making drones electronically identifiable so the owner’s details can be passed to police if they are spotted breaking the law

The consultation will also consider whether there is a need for a new criminal offence for misuse of drones.

The government is determined to make the most of this emerging technology, estimated to be worth around £102 billion by 2025. But ministers are clear it will only be a success if it is done safely, and with the consent of the public.

Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

Drones have enormous economic potential and are already being used by emergency services, transport and energy providers and conservation groups to improve services, respond to incidents and save lives.

While the vast majority of drone users are law-abiding and have good intentions, some operators are not aware of the rules, or choose to break them, putting public safety, privacy and security at risk. The government is taking a common sense approach to tackling this behaviour, ensuring the safe roll-out of this technology.

Current regulations balance clear rules on safety and strong penalties for misuse, and companies using drones for commercial purposes need permission to ensure they are operated responsibly.

Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said:

Our priority is the safe operation of drones and we cannot underestimate the importance of understanding how to use drones safely and responsibly. The new CAA Dronecode, which forms part of our wider drone awareness campaign, is designed to help protect the safety of the wider aviation industry. Drones have significant potential to drive benefits across a range of sectors, from farming to emergency response, healthcare to logistics. We encourage anyone with an interest in this area to respond to the government’s consultation.

The CAA’s safety code and dronesafe website, and the recently releasedNATS safety app for drone users Drone assist are important tools in encouraging safe and legal drone use.

Andrew Sage, RPAS Director at air traffic control company NATS said:

NATS fully supports the development of the drone industry and is committed to creating a safe and efficient airspace environment that meets the needs of both manned and unmanned aircraft operators. We’d encourage all users of the UK’s airspace to respond to the consultation; it’s only by understanding all perspectives and working together that we’ll be able to find the solutions that will see successful manned and unmanned aviation industries both safely operating in the UK.


Keep Children Safe Online This Christmas

As millions of children get ready to unwrap internet-enabled gadgets on Christmas morning, families are being encouraged to discuss staying safe online.

Mobile phones, tablets and laptops can open up a world of exploration, learning and fun and children should be encouraged to make the most of the benefits.

But there are also risks and dangers to being online, and by working together parents and children can learn to safely navigate the internet and social media.

Advice about the best way to keep children safe is available from a range of websites, and the UK Council for Child Internet Safety has published a useful guide for parents and carers whose children are using social media.

Among the top tips are:

  • Explain how children can use privacy settings to make sure only approved friends can see posts and images, and warn them about sharing personal information
  • Check if any of the mobile apps they use have location services enabled, and disable this if they do not want to be tracked
  • Show them how to report offensive comments or block people who upset them
  • Check ‘tagging’ settings so that when others are posting or sharing photos online, your child’s identity is not revealed
  • Encourage your child to come and talk to you if they see anything that upsets them
  • Ask them to show you which social media apps they use, what they like about them and talk about how to use them safely

Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:

It is essential to make sure children can enjoy all the benefits of the internet as safely as possible – whether that is for playing games, gathering information or staying in touch with family and friends.

As well as teaching children to be aware of online safety in the curriculum, keeping children safe online is a joint effort, and there are a range of simple and practical steps parents can take this Christmas to better protect their children from online risks.

Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone and executive board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, says:

Parents who are buying tech toys this Christmas should think about it as they would any other gift that requires new skills.

When we buy our children their first bike we know we have to teach them to ride it. It’s the same with technology. Make sure they have the best possible experience using it by teaching them how to use it safely.

Will Gardner, CEO Childnet International says:

We need to protect the fun, the engagement and the opportunities provided by technology for children and young people, and parents and carers have an important role to play here in supporting them online”.

You can find out more about how children use social media, the apps they use, the risks they face, how to use privacy settings, and advice and tips about how to talk to your children at:

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Putting An End To Laser Attacks On Planes

Since 2009 over 10,000 aircraft in the UK alone have been targeted by hand held lasers. The reckless targeting of aircraft poses a significant and growing threat to aviation safety. However it is often difficult to obtain evidence to secure a conviction and existing laser detection equipment is very expensive.

Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have developed an innovative app that analyses laser dazzle events, making it quicker and easier for the police to arrest and prosecute offenders, deter the targeting of aircraft and allow pilots to take steps to prevent themselves from being dazzled.

The Laser Event Recorder app (LERapp) has been developed using an iPhone. It utilises the inbuilt camera, GPS and connectivity to record, analyse and communicate details of the incident. The app can be modified for use on Android phones and other platforms.

The benefits of the LERapp are that it:

  • provides a low cost solution (pilots can use their own phone)
  • is easy and intuitive to use
  • allows pilots to take steps to prevent them being dazzled
  • makes it easier for the police to identify arrest and prosecute offenders
  • deters people from using lasers irresponsibly

Dstl has signed an agreement with Profound Technologies to develop and market the LERapp.

The contract is the first to be signed using Dstl’s Easy Access IP contracting framework. This has been designed to help commercialise IP that is at a very early stage in its development or where there are significant financial risks and uncertainties. Easy Access IP allows companies to develop and refine the work at no cost. This allows Dstl to bring products to market that will benefit the economy and society that would otherwise not be available.

Commenting on today’s announcement the Dstl scientist who developed the LERapp, Craig Williamson, said:

The LERapp has the potential to significantly improve aviation safety. It is another example of the innovative and exciting work that Dstl is doing. Like much of our work, there are clear uses outside the military and security environments. The Easy Access IP scheme is a great opportunity to build new links with industry, and reflects our increasing openness to partnering and collaboration.

Randall Fitzgerald, President, Profound Technologies added:

Profound Technologies is excited about the opportunity to commercialize and exploit the technology developed by Dstl. The Easy Access IP program levels the playing field for smaller entities with fewer resources to compete and enter the marketplace. We believe that the technology is much needed and our goal will be to make it an industry standard from a safety standpoint.

The LER app is expected to be available in the summer of 2017.

LERapp could also be used in a wide range of non-aviation users. This includes car drivers and police officers.


Charity Commission Seeks Public’s Views On Digital Services

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has today launched a new customer survey about its digital services.

The Commission’s digital vision is to protect the integrity of the register of charities and public confidence in charities by providing customers with simple and easy to use services, as well as collecting data to enable it to regulate effectively, and exploiting new and more effective forms of communication to reach trustees.

The Commission recognises the importance of the public’s opinions and user feedback in achieving these goals and is encouraging users to voice their thoughts on the Commission’s digital services by completing the short survey now available online. The Commission is looking for input on what it can do to improve the range and quality of its current digital offering and changes or additions that would improve the overall user experience.

The survey will stay open for 6 weeks, closing at 5pm on Wednesday 18 January. It includes questions on users’ priorities when speaking with the Commission and their preferred methods of communication. Responses will be analysed and used to help shape the Commission’s future digital communication tools and projects.

This is part of a wider programme of work on user engagement and research. The Commission will be hosting 2 user workshops about its digital services in London on 8 December and in Birmingham on 14 December. If you are interested in taking part in user testing or attending future workshops please email

Jane Adderley, Head of First Contact at the Charity Commission said:

Moving to digital brings a number of benefits including greater ability for charities to self-serve, the delivery of tailored content, and a faster service when charities do need to contact us. User feedback and input is very valuable as we continue on our digital transformation journey and this survey will be a key tool to help us understand customers’ needs and preferences going forward.

We also recognise that not everyone has access to online services or the necessary skills to engage with us digitally and are undertaking further work in this area to ensure trustees are supported in the move to a more digital future.

Complete the full survey.

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Ministers Hear From The UK Tech Industry

Government ministers have heard from leading technology companies during a roundtable on the forthcoming negotiations with the EU.

Continuing the Government’s extensive engagement programme ahead of Article 50 being triggered, ministers Robin Walker and Lord Bridges from the Department for Exiting the European Union and culture minister Matt Hancock held a roundtable with some of the biggest technology companies operating in the UK to hear their views on priorities for the sector.

Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in Britain, expanding twice as fast as the UK economy as a whole in 2014. In recent weeks it has given the UK a massive vote of confidence with Apple, Google and Facebook announcing a raft of new jobs and significant investment in our economy over the coming years.

Among the topics of discussion were the Digital Single Market and access to talent once the UK has left the European Union. Attendees also considered the opportunities that are posed by the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU and how continued growth can be ensured.

Speaking after the roundtable, Minister for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker said:

Britain is open for business as a global tech hub and we intend to make sure it stays that way. Since the UK voted to leave the EU we have seen many companies – including technology giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple – continue to invest here, creating thousands of new jobs across the country.

The technology sector is a high performing area of our economy, and it was great to meet with them for a second time to hear their concerns and talk about how they can grasp the opportunities to stem from our new relationship with the EU.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:

With recent news of big investments in the UK by global tech giants it’s clear that the UK’s digital economy is thriving. We are determined to keep up the momentum and today have been listening to tech firms, large and small, about what matters most ahead of our EU negotiations.

We are committed to protecting and supporting its growth so that together we can make the UK the most advanced digital nation in the world.

CEO of Tech UK Julian David said:

The UK tech sector has been the outstanding success of the UK economy over the last decade and will be vital to the UK’s future growth following its exit from the EU. It was great to have ministers fully engaged in today’s discussion, where tech leaders were able to share their passion for innovation.

Whether discussing the challenges or the opportunities, tech companies believe the UK can have a positive future outside the EU as long as the UK remains open to innovation, talent, trade, investment and collaboration.

By engaging with business leaders and key stakeholders both through roundtables and regional visits, the government is building a national consensus on the approach to the negotiations and and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Representatives from the following companies were present at the meeting:

  • ARM
  • Cisco
  • Coadec
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • HPE
  • HP
  • Huawei
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Samsung
  • Tech-City UK
  • Tech UK


Contracts Available For New Power Generation

Organisations can apply for a share of £750,000 to investigate new technologies that generate power for robotic and autonomous systems.

The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) has up to £750,000 to invest in projects that investigate small and lightweight power generation that can be integrated into robotic systems and carried by a person.

Projects with promising ideas could also be eligible to share a further £750,000 to improve them in a second phase.

The CDE is particularly interested in technologies that:

  • improve endurance – stretching to days rather than minutes
  • are lightweight and man-portable
  • have high energy density – greater than 1,000 watt hours per kg

The military is increasingly looking to robotic and autonomous systems for many functions, including resupply, logistics and other military uses.

Use of autonomous systems is, however, limited by a lack of lightweight power systems. This competition is looking for innovative power systems that could last around 48 hours.

The funding is under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Find out more about SBRI and how it has helped businesses.

Competition information

  • the competition is open, and the deadline for applications is 1 February 2017
  • the competition is open to any organisation and is for fully funded development contracts
  • phase 1 projects are expected to be worth between £40,000 and £80,000 and to last up to 9 months
  • a briefing event for potential applicants will be held on 1 December 2016

New Digital Service To Help Businesses Launch Onto Global Markets

The announcement of a new platform was made today (14 November) by the International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox. The platform will:

  • give UK businesses secure preferential deals through the Department for International Trade to help them start exporting
  • provide a brand new searchable export directory to match businesses according to the worldwide demand for different UK goods and services

The launch of the trade hub for businesses will help them access millions of pounds’ worth of potential overseas business, give practical advice, and signpost support to help them win lucrative contracts.

The site will act as a single digital destination for trade and investment, bringing together and connecting UK businesses, international buyers and international investors. Whether businesses are new, occasional or frequent exporters, they will be able to take advantage of the new suite of tools and exclusive deals on fees or commissions with some of world’s leading online marketplaces.

By registering, businesses will become part of a brand new searchable directory of UK exporters which government will use to match their products and services with worldwide demand.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:

Maximising the opportunities for international trade is not only in our best economic interests – it’s crucial to the UK’s future prosperity to ensure we’re building and maintaining an economy that works for everybody.

We have always been at the forefront of the free trade-supporting countries in the EU, but despite this only around 11% of registered British businesses currently export beyond our borders.

Some businesses have told us they don’t know where to start or how to make the next step onto the global marketplace. That’s why we want to support UK businesses large and small as they grow, and help them connect with global demand to fulfil our greatest economic ambitions. will show an international audience that we’re home to the most dynamic and innovative companies in the world and that Britain is open for business as never before.

Of the 2.5 million businesses registered in the UK, an estimated 360,000 who have an exportable product or service mistakenly believe there isn’t a global demand for it.

The government’s existing E-exporting programme has assisted over 3,000 companies to become exporters and has delivered export deals totalling £388 million since 2014.

The new digital trade hub is part of a push to help a further 100,000 more UK businesses export by 2020. Through e-exporting alone government intends to deliver an additional 20,000 online exporters and £2 billion worth of value to the UK economy by 2020.

Businesses will be able to access the best advice and financial support through from government, from public and private sector business champions, and from GREAT partners, all specifically designed to help them to grow and succeed through exports.

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Digital Economy Bill: Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice to accompany data access measures in the Digital Economy Bill.

Changing technology provides the opportunity to deliver better public services. That is why through the Digital Economy Bill, government is improving services to benefit citizens, reduce fraud and debt, and deliver world class research and statistics.

The Digital Economy Bill contains a host of measures that will support the digital transformation of government, ensuring the delivery of better public services through world leading research and statistics. For example, it will allow the Government to identify those in fuel poverty and provide financial support to those most in need. It will also clamp down hard on benefit fraud.

To ensure that departments, local authorities and the wider public sector understand what safeguards are in place and need to be followed, the Government has published four codes of practice to give clarity and transparency over how the powers in the Bill will operate. They cover:

  • A code of practice on Public Service Delivery, Fraud and Debt;
  • A code of practice for civil registration officials;
  • A code of practice and accreditation criteria for access to data for research purposes; and
  • A statement of principles and procedures and code of practice for changes to data systems.

The proposals in the Bill have been widely consulted on for over two years, working with a range of civil society and public sector representatives.

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution, said:

New and emerging technology provides us with a great opportunity to provide public services more effectively and efficiently. The measures in the Digital Economy Bill will support people to access services they need, transforming the relationship between people and the government.

The measures are a highly positive step towards helping the most vulnerable in society on a range of measures, including the warm home discount and helping with managing debts.

These codes of practice will ensure departments, local authorities and the wider public sector understand their obligations to use the powers responsibly.


The codes of practice are drawn from, and should be read in accordance with, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) code of practice on data sharing, which provides the framework for how the Data Protection Act applies.

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