Wednesday 28 November 2007

All aboard for free travel in Coventry

People turning 60 in Coventry will be able to apply for their free travel pass on their doorstep thanks to a revolutionary new application service being launched in the city on 03 December.

West Midlands public transport developer, Centro-WMPTA has teamed up with Coventry City Council to launch a new Check & Send facility across the city to make it easier for people to apply.

In a UK first, the service will be available on board the Coventry Direct Express bus, a one stop shop that travels into the heart of the city’s communities to give residents help and advice on a wide range of services.

People approaching their 60th birthday can hop on the bus or visit one of the council's one-stop shops to apply for their free travel pass. This gives them free use of buses, trains and trams in the West Midlands, and, from 01 April 2008, local buses across England too.

Trained advisors will help people fill out their forms and check they are correct, helping to ease the worry of making mistakes and delaying the application.

Their form will be sent back to Centro-WMPTA free of charge where it will be processed. A new pass will land on their door mat within four weeks of them applying.

Public transport information and advice, including personalised journey plans, timetables and details of ticket ranges will also be available.

Coventry’s two main Post Offices will stop producing travel passes on the 01 January 2008, when Check & Send will completely take over.

Cllr Andrew Williams (Con, Bablake), lead member for Coventry for Centro-WMPTA said: "Free travel passes often provide a lifeline to senior citizens by making it easier for them to access healthcare and shops, and visit family and friends."

"By moving the application service to Check & Send centres, applying for one of these key passes has never been more straightforward. It gives people a much wider choice of where to apply, taking the service into the heart of communities together with the help and travel advice they need."

Cllr Heather Johnson (Con, Woodlands), Coventry City Council's Cabinet Member responsible for customer services said,

"Our one-stop shops are about making it easier for people to use the services they want and need, close to home. Joining forces with Centro-WMPTA will help us improve the range of services available and help make a difference to local people."

An added benefit to Check & Send is that all photos will be electronically scanned. This means if people lose their pass they can simply call Centro-WMPTA and have a replacement sent straight to their home, instead of them having to go through the process of getting new photos and reapplying.

The Coventry Direct Express bus will take Check & Send to nine different locations every week - Radford, Holbrook, Holyhead Road, Hillfields, Quinton Park, Wyken, Willenhall, Courthouse Green and Canley.

The service will also be available at one-stop shops in Tile Hill Library, Bell Green Library and the Barley Lea, and the Coventry Direct outlet in Stoke Aldermoor.

People can go to a Check & Send centre a month before they turn 60 to ensure they have their pass in time for their birthday.

Importantly, people who become 60 in January 2008 will need to apply for their pass during December if they want to travel for free from their birthday. People whose 60th birthday is during December should still apply at the Post Office.

Thursday 22 November 2007

HM Revenue and Customs data loss

So HM Revenue and Customs have lost a data disc containing a list of all Child Benefit claimants that they sent by post to the National Audit Office via unrecorded post.

Beyond the obvious question of why it was not sent via recorded delivery several questions spring to mind.

Firstly since the NAO requested that bank account details be removed from the data before sending and HMRC didn't want to spend money on doing this, (See here) you have ask what is going on in their IT department. It would not have been hard to do something like DELETE sortcode, accno FROM exportedtable; would it?

Secondly why were they sending an extract on disc anyway? Could the data not have been transferred electronically down a secured link? Or even better, could a secure link not have been set up with an appropriately secured view to allow the NAO to access the data direct from the HMRC server?

Perhaps I should offer them some consultancy.

It seems to me that there is complete lack of process procedure in place. Paul Gray, the civil servant in charge has resigned - are any of the politicians in charge of the department going to do the same?

Tuesday 6 November 2007


Interestingly every time I have done one of these tests it comes out the same.

You Are An ESTJ

The Guardian

You're a natural leader and quick, logical decision maker.
Goals are important in your life, and you take many steps to acheive them.
You enjoy interacting with others, mostly through work related activities.
Your high energy level means you are great at getting things done!

In love, you tend to bring stability to relationships.
You feel comfortable being in charge, and you enjoy being a provider.

At work, you take charge. You thrive in structured environments and don't mind enforcing the rules.
You would make a great teacher, judge, or police detective.

How you see yourself: Realistic, stable, and pragmatic

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Rigid, bound to rules, and a bad listener