New Strategic Direction For The Emergency Services Network (ESN)

The programme will save £200 million in public money per year once it has fully replaced the existing network

Home Office

Home Office

The emergency services will begin benefiting from their new mobile-based communications network in the New Year following the Home Office’s decision to roll the project out in phases.

The department today announces it has set a new strategic direction for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) following an in-depth review.

The decision secures the future of ESN, which will save the public purse £200 million a year once it has fully replaced the original radio-based network, Airwave.

The new incremental approach means police, fire and rescue services, ambulance services and other users will be able to use data services over the network from early next year, with voice capabilities following soon after.

It will also leave the emergency services free to test and choose which ESN products they want as and when they become available, rather than having to wait for the network to be fully implemented.

The dedicated 4G network will transform emergency services’ mobile working, especially in remote areas and at times of network congestion, with sim cards giving them priority over commercial users.

Products will include a ‘push-to-talk’ capability for mobile phones, effectively turning them into emergency service radios with data capability, a package of telephone, messaging and data services, and an air to ground communications app.

ESN also has the potential to enable emergency services to communicate on the London Underground.

The Home Office is engaging with its commercial partners, EE and Motorola, regarding future changes to their contracts.

Further details will be provided to Parliament in due course.

Information And Events For British Citizens In France

The British Embassy in Paris has been holding meetings across France to update British citizens working and living in the country and answering their questions regarding Britain's departure from the European Union

British Citizens in France

British Citizens in France

The British Embassy in Paris has been holding meetings across France to update British citizens working and living in the country and answering their questions regarding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

In our team’s continuous effort to reach as many British expats in France as possible, we will be announcing further outreach meetings below.

Upcoming citizens outreach meetings across France


Previous citizens outreach meetings across France

£7.5 Million Fund For Councils’ Digital Innovation Opens

Councils seeking to transform their public services through digital innovation can apply to a new £7.5 million fund from Monday 24 September

Digital Innovation

Digital Innovation

Councils seeking to transform their public services through digital innovation can apply to a new £7.5 million fund from 24 September, Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP has announced.

Speaking at the LocalGovCamp event in Birmingham, Minister Sunak invited applications from local authorities to change the way they invest in technology, share expertise and ensure members of the public receive the best quality digital services from their local council.

Grants of up to £100,000 will be available for projects which demonstrate they benefit local public services and have the potential to be rolled out more widely across the country.

Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak MP, said:

Digital innovation is re-shaping our lives, and many local authorities are at the forefront of embracing technology in ingenious ways to improve services for the public.

Whether it’s an app to report fly-tipping, or a slick web solution to pay your council tax, we want to know the best ideas so we can help to make them happen.

I would also like to encourage councils to sign up to our Local Digital Declaration, so we can all support each other and build on each other’s work to revolutionise public services.

The fund will also be used to provide digital skills training for at least 1,000 staff working on digital solutions at councils.

The fund’s opening comes after the government made a “digital pledge” backed by the £7.5 million of government funding with the launch of a Local Digital Declaration in July. The declaration aims to connect the work of local government digital teams to deliver better local public services.

Alongside this, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government established a new team to work with councils to help them deliver on their declaration commitments.

Local authorities can apply and find out more information at

Defence Secretary Announces Extension Of Support To Ukraine’s Armed Forces

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has reaffirmed the United Kingdom's commitment to Ukraine in visit to Marinka and Kyiv

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson meets troops in Ukraine. Crown copyright

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson meets troops in Ukraine. Crown copyright

In his first visit as Defence Secretary to Ukraine, Gavin Williamson announced that the UK will be extending its military training operation there for a further two years until 2020.

Mr Williamson met with Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak and General of the Army, Victor Muzhenko, to discuss the threats faced by Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also announced the expansion of the UK Defence Section in Kyiv and introduction of a permanent Naval Attaché to help build Ukrainian naval capability.

The Defence Secretary also met President Poroshenko reaffirming the UK’s commitment to their country. He also discussed the Russian security forces continuing to disrupt merchant vessels trying to access Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, posing negative effects on Ukraine’s economy.

He also travelled to Marinka in the east of Ukraine to see the effects of the four-year conflict in the Donbas region, and received an operational update from the Joint Force Operation Commander Lt Gen Serhiy Nayev. The visit to Marinka highlighted the severity of the ongoing conflict, including its humanitarian and environmental impacts, driven by Russian aggression.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

I witnessed first-hand the suffering caused by the brutal conflict in eastern Ukraine – a conflict that is being prolonged by the Russian-backed separatists.

By extending and expanding our training programmes, we are sending a clear message – we support the people of Ukraine and are firmly committed to its sovereignty as it faces down blatant Russian aggression.

The training, delivered through Operation Orbital, has been expanded in 2018 to include anti-armour, infantry skills, counter-sniping and mortar planning. This is in addition to the defensive skills programmes such as the identification of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), medical care and logistics that UK personnel have been delivering since early 2015.

British personnel have trained over 9,500 of the Ukrainian Armed Forces since the start of Operation Orbital in 2015. The coming year will see a continuing growth in joint training activity with our Canadian allies as well as initiatives between UK personnel and other nations who have also committed themselves to supporting Ukraine.

Basic Disclosure Changes

From January 2018, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are making changes to the basic check process

Parliament Street

Parliament Street

Basic disclosure check changes

From January 2018, if you need a basic disclosure check for a job in England and Wales, you should apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

If you need a basic disclosure check for a job in Scotland, then you should apply to Disclosure Scotland.

If you want a check for personal reasons rather than work purposes, you should apply where you live – DBS if you live in England or Wales or Disclosure Scotland if you live in Scotland.

If you are applying to DBS you will be able to use our new online application route that will be available on GOV.UK. Alternatively, you can use a ‘Responsible Organisation’ (RO) – a third party registered with DBS – to submit checks on your behalf.

A list of Responsible Organisations can be found at

Responsible Organisations

Organisations that can demonstrate that they can submit a minimum of 1000 basic checks a year, meet our processing standards and agree to the Terms & Conditions will be able to apply to become an RO and build a web service.

If you are eligible and thinking about becoming a RO please email to find out more.

DBS has already increased staffing levels to deal with the additional checks. Those organisations that have already transferred their basic disclosure checks to DBS are already benefiting from a speedy service, with checks taking on average less than one day to process.

Individuals and ROs should send basic disclosure checks to the right organisation, DBS or Disclosure Scotland, so that the correct Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) rules are applied. There is a risk of legal action if incorrect ROA rules are applied and impact a recruitment decision.

For any enquiries please contact

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