178628-2013: UK-London: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 31-05-2013 | Deadline: 01-07-2013 | Document: Contract notice
178614-2013: UK-Norwich: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 31-05-2013 | Deadline: 01-07-2013 | Document: Contract notice
The bank’s mobile app fails for the second time in eight days as it pledges to spend more on IT infrastructure
NatWest customers have found themselves locked out of the its mobile app for the second time in eight days, as high demand for the service caused the latest in a series of IT glitches at the bank.
For about 40 minutes from 9am today, some of the 2 million regular users of the app were unable to log in to the apps run by NatWest, its parent company RBS and Ulster Bank to check balances or make payments, although the bank said all existing payments had gone through as expected.
With the final day of the month falling on a Friday it is pay day for many employees, and a spokesman for the bank said the failure of the app had been caused by huge demand as people attempted to log in and check their balances.
He said the bank was investing an extra £450m in its IT infrastructure over the next two years, on top of its normal technology spend.
The bank has been trying to encourage customers to increase their use of its apps, and the NatWest homepage carries prominent adverts for its mobile phone-based “Pay your contacts” service.
However, it has experienced a series of technical issues, including a break down in the mobile app on 24 May which lasted more than two hours. That was not due to user demand, but the bank has not announced what went wrong.
In April, the Financial Conduct Authority began an investigation into a technology meltdown at the bank in June 2012 which left some customers completely locked out of their accounts for several weeks.
176139-2013: UK-Leeds: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 30-05-2013 | Deadline: | Document: Contract award
SAP says it aims to train 650 workers with autism to become IT specialists by 2020
Declaring its eagerness to find workers that “think differently”, a German software giant has announced it plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism within the next few years.
SAP said it aimed to train 650 workers with autism to become IT specialists by 2020. The figure amounts to 1% of the corporation’s multinational workforce, matching the proportion of the world’s population that has the condition.
The project has already started in India and Ireland where a total of 11 people with autism are employed by the company. The programme to take on software testers, programmers and data management workers will spread across Germany, Canada and the US this year.
People with autism have a neural development disorder that often undermines their ability to communicate and interact socially, and their brains process information very differently to people who are not autistic, leading to repetitive and restricted behaviour.
But in the world of computers the tendencies they often display such as an obsession for detail and an ability to analyse long sets of data very accurately can translate into highly useful and marketable skills.
The move was welcomed by Germany’s largest organisation for people with autism, Autismus Deutschland. “This is the first major company to make such a commitment, and from that point of view alone it’s groundbreaking for sufferers of autism,” said Friedrich Nolte, of the group. “We will be watching closely to see that they follow through and also looking to see that these workers are not being exploited.
“People with autism are used to being ignored. Even if they have managed to obtain qualifications, they will often fail getting a job because they can’t get past an interview. They do not want to tell a company that they suffer from autism because that will risk their application being turned down, but if they don’t admit to it, know they risk being considered strange and unsuitable for the workplace anyway.”
He said 5-6% managed to find a workplace, with most of the rest forced to live on benefits with few prospects. But he said IT offered a huge area of opportunity for people with autism. “Meticulousness and logical thinking, just the skills the branch needs, are conspicuous features amongst them.”
Nolte said he hoped the appetite to consider applications from autism sufferers would spread to other fields of industry such as logistics and contribute to a rethink about autism.
Around 20% of people with the milder forms of autism such as Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism are in work, but experts estimate that with the right kind of encouragement and training the number could rise threefold.
SAP has pledged to provide job coaches who will act as mediators between the workers and their employers and colleagues, for instance to help them with the challenges of communication or the stresses of working under time pressure.
Anka Wittenberg, who is responsible for diversity and integration at SAP, said the initiative offered a chance for the company in the highly competitive labour market “to secure talented workers around the world”.
DAX-registered SAP, which is based in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, in southern Germany, created the initiative together with the Danish company Specialisterne, or The Specialists. Set up by Thorkil Sonne after he recognised the cognitive talents of his own son Lars, who suffers from autism, the social organisation aims to equip one million sufferers of autism with skills for the workplace within the next few years.
Melanie Altrock, 27, who has Asperger’s, spoke of her relief at having found work after a Berlin company, Auticon which specialises in finding IT roles for people with the condition, took her on. She said she had spend years moving from one low-paid job to another, knowing she had more to offer.
“Even my psychiatrist told me that he wouldn’t employ me. And I know you just have to look at me to know that I’m different and don’t fit into the normal workplace,” she told German radio. Now she works as a software tester where her memory skills and attention to detail are highly valuable. “Finally I feel I have something to offer,” she said.
161527-2013: UK-London: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 17-05-2013 | Deadline: | Document: Contract award
158683-2013: UK-Halifax: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 15-05-2013 | Deadline: 15-07-2013 | Document: Contract notice
157524-2013: UK-London: Supply of interim staff for IT and general administration
Publication date: 15-05-2013 | Deadline: | Document: Contract award
Chairman of bailed-out bank faces hard questions over pay deals as he tells AGM of further changes ahead of privatisation
Job losses and branch closures are looming at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the chairman of the bailed-out bank has warned as shareholders accused the bank of having “cosy” and “unsustainable” pay deals.
Sir Philip Hampton told his fifth AGM of the 81% taxpayer-owned bank that £450m would be spent on computer systems after last year’s “big IT failure” when customers were unable to access their accounts.
The meeting was attended by 130 private investors and Jim O’Neil, the outgoing chief executive of UK Financial Investments, which looks after the taxpayer stake. One shareholder asked for reassurances that there were “no more skeletons in the cupboard” after last year’s £390m fine for rigging Libor and IT failures and the continuing mis-selling scandals.
Hampton, speaking at the AGM in the bank’s HQ on the outskirts of Edinburgh, said he couldn’t make any promises but insisted the worst was over at the bank. He said earlier this month the bank would be ready for privatisation next year.
He cleared the way for job cuts and closures – the bank has 1,900 branches before 316 are sold due to EU state aid rules. “We have work to do over the coming years to get our business in the right shape … and that could mean further impacts on employees”.
Stephen Hester, named chief executive when Fred Goodwin was ousted amid the October 2008 bailout, has already axed 40,000 staff, leaving a workforce of 135,000.
Hampton fielded a string of hostile questions, including from private investor Kenneth Cramond, who called for the remuneration committee to resign because it had a “cosy” relationship with the bank. He said the vote on the pay policies was a sham because of the influence of UKFI – the remuneration report was passed with barely any registered dissent – and that if the bank had not paid out bonuses “we’d have turned a profit a year ago”. Some £600m was paid in bonuses last year.
“We can’t go on rewarding failure,” said Cramond. He pointed out that the 2% pay rise for branch staff was higher than those of public workers, who have had a three-year pay freeze.
Another shareholder, Gavin Palmer, interrupted the AGM to hand out a petition to try to set up a new committee on the board.
Campaigners against mining in the Appalachian mountains protested outside the AGM, and in the meeting Paul Corbit Brown urged the board to rethink financing such activities. He held up bottle of Appalachian tap water to complain that it was not fit to drink because of mining activities.
Hester, who waived his 2012 bonus following the IT failures, said it would take a further 18 months to get the bank’s capital ratios “in the final shape that we and our regulators want”.
155904-2013: UK-Stoke on Trent: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Publication date: 14-05-2013 | Deadline: | Document: Contract award