• Going for gold

    Mike Buckle

    In sports like running, athletes strive to complete the fastest lap in the hope that they can win Olympic gold. At Oxford Computer Consultants, high performance is just as important. In computing, as in running, high performance is about using the available resources to achieve a specific goal. Computing performance is often measured by the time it takes to make complex calculations or process large amounts of data. Software performance can be improved by scaling up and scaling out. Scaling[...]

  • A question of sport

    Mike Buckle

    How quickly do you need to find out what the legacy of the London Olympics is? Answer: very quickly. Sport England is a non-departmental public body answerable to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and funded by central government and the National Lottery. Each year, it surveys the population to collect data on attitudes to sport, including what sports are played, who plays them, where and how often. In 2010, Sport England refreshed its questionnaire and ended up with[...]

  • The night shift

    Mike Buckle

    Performance may seem like an abstract concept until it involves the care of some of society’s most vulnerable people. ContrOCC is OCC’s finance management software. It is used by about 50 local councils, has more than 1,000,000 lines of code and took over 10 years to build. The software is used by local council social care finance teams to manage contracts and budgets, make payments to suppliers and collect contributions from service users. ContrOCC payment calculations are complex. As the[...]

  • OCC at UX in the City

    Matthew Standage

    Last week Oxford welcomed its first conference dedicated to UX – UX in the City. A collaboration between the organisers of UX Cambridge and UX Scotland, and the organisers of UX Oxford the conference promised to be two days of learning and networking. We sponsored the event and our Head of Design Mariana Morris (@marianamota) was part of the team from UX Oxford who helped to put together the event. Mariana, Ben and I went to promote user experience and[...]

  • Upcoming design conferences we are attending

    Matthew Standage

    As a design team we love attending industry events. We are fortunate that Oxford has a number of great events on our doorstep for user experience designers and front-end developers. Here is our roundup of events we are attending over the next few months. Smashing Conference Oxford Smashing Conference is back for its third year in Oxford Town Hall. The main conference, spread over two days, is set to be a thought provoking mixture of design and front-end development. Talk[...]

  • Designed by design

    Mike Buckle

    Imagine the scene: two people are seated at a table in the conference room of a council office or hospital. One wears a microphone and faces a camera. The camera records everything that is said or done as a script leads the way through an app on a tablet. You are not on the set of Mission Impossible. You are a user experience (UX) designer at OCC, exploring how users interact with a prototype application or their existing system. The[...]

  • Oxford Computer Consultants and Infoshare selected to help detect fraud in Warwickshire

    Mike Buckle

    Warwickshire Counter Fraud Partnership select Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) and Infoshare Limited to provide Data Matching Software for Fraud Prevention Warwick January 2016:  Following a competitive tender, Warwickshire Counter Fraud Partnership WCFP are delighted to announce the award of the contract for Data Matching Software for Fraud Prevention jointly to Oxford Computer Consultants (OCC) and Infoshare as part of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) counter fraud initiative. By bringing together and matching a number of key datasets[...]

  • Walk for Parkinson’s – Oxford

    Laura Walton

    Oxford Computer Consultants has long links to Parkinson’s research, being involved with a number of EU projects including Parreha, ParkService, PERFORM, and CuPiD. A group of OCC employees and their families decided to take part in this year’s Oxford Walk for Parkinson’s on Sunday 25th October. On a sunny Sunday morning, Rosalind Ravelli, Laura Walton, John and Marie Boyle, and Reynold and Liz Greenlaw all walked the 4 mile course in under 2 hours. James Greig, Andy Muddiman, Julie Mabbett[...]

  • The security standards you need to consider when handling sensitive data

    Damian Payne

    At OCC we have been building and hosting software that deals with sensitive public sector data for over a decade. But where do you start if you are embarking on a project/business that has sensitive data at its heart? ISO 27001 The basic standard you need to look at for a company in this sector is ISO 27001:2013. You can purchase a copy of this standard online. If you go along this path the one thing I will say is[...]

  • ContrOCC Hackday V – Part 2

    Luke Canvin

    Carrying on from our first post following the results of our developers’ adventures in the most recent ContrOCC hackday, here is the final set of projects: Client Provisions – Julian Alternative storage – Maciej WiX – Matthew DB upgrades with F# – Nathan Generating test data – Nigel New documentation – Steph Automating deployment – Tom G Automating component testing – Tom L Web-based CSV editor – Tomasz A Parsing & Analysing T-SQL – Trevor Julian – Client Provisions As[...]

  • LocalGovCamp 2015 & Local Democracy Maker Day

    Luke Canvin

    Last month OCC took part in LocalGovCamp 2015 and the Local Democracy Maker Day fringe event in Leeds. LocalGovCamp is an annual “unconference” where the attendees set the agenda by pitching sessions, building a schedule, and taking part in the sessions that appeal the most to them. To people used to formal conferences, it might sound a little chaotic, but it works incredibly well and results in a highly topical and engaging event. Sessions ranged in topic from Open Data,[...]

  • How to write a 5 year plan (and why it doesn’t matter if no one follows it)

    Chris Henry

    Tom Litt & I will be attending The Lead Developer conference in September – it’s a new conference with a great line up of speakers covering new and disruptive technologies (of course), tools, methodologies, and, because it is aimed at Leads, also managing teams, motivation and leadership. To warm up I’ve written an article for the conference blog: How to write a 5 year plan (and why it doesn’t matter if no one follows it).

  • ContrOCC Hackday V – Part 1

    Luke Canvin

    Our ContrOCC hackdays give our developers a day to work on tweaks, gripes, improvements, or whole new features of their choosing and then sharing those with the rest of the team. We have plenty of projects to talk about again this year so I have split this post in two; we’ll post the remaining projects soon. Here is the first set: Code analysis – Adam and Tomasz B Database schema documentation via metadata – Alan Upgrade AllTheThings to .NET 4.5[...]

  • Adding a text size widget to your site using CSS and Sass

    Luke Canvin

    A requirement we hear from many of our Government customers is that a sizable number of their users with sight impairment prefer to have a text size widget on-screen when they browse a website. These accessibility widgets are tough to implement cleanly using HTML and CSS but the advent of CSS preprocessors such as Sass and LESS make the job much easier. In this post we’ll see how we can use Sass to create a text size widget. What we’re[...]