13 Dec 2006:
This added to the existing Defra e-nabling contract in place for one of the legacy bodies. Three separate government organizations were combined to create Natural England, and the most immediate benefit of the solution will be the integration of information systems across a common infrastructure, to enable staff to work more effectively and improve services to the public.
Natural England was launched in October 2006, bringing together English Nature, the landscape, access and recreation elements of the Countryside Agency, and the environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service.
"Natural England's purpose is to ensure the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of existing and future generations," said Helen Phillips, Chief Executive, Natural England. "This partnership is fundamental to our business strategy and shows how we strive to be an excellent public body doing our business effectively and efficiently."
Barney Smith, Head of Knowledge Management and Information Systems at Natural England, added, "IBM's ability to match industry insight with world-class technology expertise and genuine business innovation is key to creating the foundation for our transformation to deliver on our strategy."
Under the new arrangements, which come into effect in 2007, IBM will provide strategic IT and business transformation services. They will work closely with Natural England to deliver an IT-enabled strategy for change, improving the body's internal processes, leading to better services for customers, and establishing the basis for a higher return on investment for IT services. The transformation of Natural England's IT and business systems will provide the infrastructure to enable further improvements in operating efficiency.
This agreement is a good example of "joined up government," said Chris Chant, Chief Information Officer, Defra, "as it not only integrates the agencies combined to form Natural England, but by adopting a service based upon the Defra information systems platform, also ensures efficient interfaces with the rest of the Defra family of agencies, demonstrating excellent re-use of government assets."
"Natural England is taking a leadership role in delivering to the government's transformation strategy," said David Dockray, Global Strategy Leader, Global Business Services, IBM, "as not only are they undertaking this forward-looking approach to their business, but they are also the first agency to use the Defra shared services facility developed in conjunction with IBM."
A number of Natural England IT staff will transfer to IBM when the contract begins. The contract was signed in the November 2006.
About Natural England
Natural England was established by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Its purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
Natural England has been formed by bringing together English Nature, the landscape, access and recreation elements of the Countryside Agency and the environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service.
Natural England has a budget of £500 million and employs 2,500 people.
Natural England's headquarters are based in Sheffield.
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