Clare Burnett

Member Article

Leeds' BJSS contracted by Foreign Office to help Brits abroad

Leeds-based IT consultancy BJSS has developed a‘Crisis Hub’ for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office using a digital platform to aid Brits involved in international crises.

The system is designed to make it easier for Brits affected by a crisis overseas to ask for help, and has already been used to support the FCO response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the evacuation of British nationals from South Sudan.

The FCO’s Digital and Consular Strategies “envisage” a Foreign Office that provides better quality services, provides more of those services digitally, and delivers an improved crisis response.

The system replaces the FCO’s previous system which was decommissioned in May 2013 and follows a commitment by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr William Hague, that the FCO would introduce a new crisis IT system for British nationals affected by crises overseas.

Updating Parliament on December 12 2013, William Hague said, “The FCO used the Crisis Hub to help British nationals in the aftermath of the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“It was a highly effective part of the government response, giving our crisis teams around the world access to the same information.”

The Crisis Hub was also used to help British nationals in the evacuation from South Sudan in December 2013. The system collects data during crisis situations from both the FCO’s crisis response team, as well as British nationals affected by the crisis.

This information is then used by the FCO to aid the effective planning and delivery of its response to the crisis.

Mike Buck, Head of BSS Public Sector Practice explains, “The platform is hosted in the Cloud and has been designed to support a wide-range of communication channels such as SMS text messaging, telephone and a webform on gov.uk.

“Further extending its reach, Crisis Hub also features an online portal with an intuitive user interface that can be accessed by the FCO’s crisis team from most computing and mobile devices.

“The nature of the delivery and approach taken means that the FCO is well positioned to continually add functionality in a rapid manner.”

The Crisis Hub project was delivered on-site at the FCO Crisis Centre using the BJSS Enterprise Agile approach to software delivery and relies heavily on Open Source Software.

Glynn Robinson, BJSS Managing Director comments, “In line with its IT strategy various Departments in HM Government are now engaging with delivery partners that are experienced in both agile software development, Open Source Software and the Cloud.

“Agile is about running fast and efficient projects that don’t compromise on feature or quality, enabling organisations such as the FCO to derive the significant value for the taxpayer from their project investment.

“Our proven BJSS Enterprise Agile delivery approach coupled with 20 years’ delivery experience and our expertise in Open Source software positioned us well to help the FCO on all counts.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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