As concerns about global warming mount, the profile of the Environment Agency is likely to become more prominent as both consumers and businesses need to take account of their impact on the environment.

The agency is at the centre of a complex set of regulations that affect businesses and is also charged with taking steps to protect the UK’s biosphere – half of its £855 million funding is set aside for flood barrier construction, for instance. “IT is a big part of modernising and improving the way we deliver services,” says its IT strategy director Beverley Charles. “We see it as key to changing and simplifying the way we do business as well as a tool to influence consumer behaviour.”

The first part of that equation is a new unified regulatory processing system that is using technologies like business rules, data repositories and workflow to create a common platform that by 2009, should make it much easier for firms to work with the agency, she told MIS 100. The second part is a revamp of the web site, now six years old, that is being aided by use of a single web content management system.

The agency is also committed to working with service management and ITIL disciplines. Along with Prince 2, it is using ITIL in a wide number of contexts beyond the service desk. Third-party audits suggest that using it will return some £2m over the next five years in efficiency savings, to be re-invested in other business priorities.