Hampshire IT

Our History

The refurbishment of EII Court

2013 - Data Centre capacity

Our data centre (right) has 200TB disk capacity, and more than 1PB of backup data. It was redesigned as part of the refurbishment of Elizabeth II Court (above) in 2009.

2008 - Information Security (ISO27001) accreditation

Hampshire County Council gains Information Security Accreditation, only the second County Council to do so

2008 - Health & Social Care Awards

Hampshire wins the Innovative Information and Communications Technology Award.

IT Services wins at regional level at the Health & Social Care Awards 2008 – South Central Regional Awards and qualifies for the National Award. The award relates to the development of the CareChoices on-line search facilities, which allow people to access up to date information about both Care homes and Care at home services in their area.

2008 - ISO 20000 accreditation

IT Services gains ISO 20000 accreditation, the international standard for IT service management. Every part of IT Services’s activities was reviewed by three external audits. Accreditation enables us to deliver improved IT performance, develop services more efficiently and work with departments to continuously improve the way we respond to the Council's needs. The County Council is the first in the country to achieve this recognition.

Data centre

2007 - 'Transforming through Technology' - short-listed for 'Best IT Strategy'

Transforming through Technology, Hampshire's business-led IT strategy initiative, has been short-listed in the “Best IT Strategy” category of the Computing Awards for Excellence 2007.

2006 - Silver Surfer - "Event holder of the Year"

Hampshire County Council leads the way when it comes to helping older residents surf the world wide web. The Silver Surfer Council of the Year, a new category introduced this year, is awarded to Hampshire for organising an impressive 101 events during Silver Surfers Week in May 2006 - a record since the event began in 2003.

2006 - Hantsnet wins National Awards for Effectiveness and Efficiency

Effective IT 2006 - "Best Public Sector Project". The County Council’s innovative Hantsnet Service scoops the award for the most ‘Effective use of IT in the Public Service’ in the annual Effective IT Awards that are organised by leading IT professionals and celebrate best practice in the industry. The Hantsnet Service delivers IT savings of over £4million a year compared with other public and private sector networks of a similar size.

2006 - e-Government National Awards - Local e-Government excellence: Efficiency

Hampshire is joint winner for using electronic service delivery to improve the customer experience and improve local authority efficiency. "The Hantsnet project to transform Hampshire County Council's computer services and network architecture, in support of the County's modernisation programme, has provided an efficient and effective platform for ICT-based services which already generates savings of at least £4m annually."

2005 - Information Management award nomination

Learn.IT portal - finalist. Hampshire County Council is nominated for an Information Management Award for its on-line learning programme Learn.IT. The interactive learning tool is used by staff to help increase their skills and knowledge. The County Council is in the 'knowledge management' category, for the most innovative and successful knowledge management project.

2005 - Government Computing BT Awards

Hampshire County Council's occupational therapy service OT Direct wins a prestigious national award for innovation in e-Government and use of technology, winning the 'Best Project - Government to Citizen' category. The awards recognise the best and most innovative work in e-Government, and the County Council is one of seven category winners from a record 118 entries.

2005 - Computer Weekly: Hampshire's IT is a great place to work

Hampshire County Council's IT Services wins the overall public sector award as a great place to work.

2003 - Finalist in the Technology Awards Services for HPSN and IT2000

2001 - Back to Winchester

Developments in chip manufacturing processes mean that two air-cooled mainframes are able to do the work of all the water-cooled processors at 2% of the power cost, so all the computing services are moved back to Winchester from Andover.

2000 – New Statesman New Media Award – Commendation

The Road Ahead

1999 – Cited by Bill Gates as an example of ‘An Accessible Face to Government’

1999 – Freedom of Information Award – from the Campaign of Freedom of Information

1997 - Start of the IT2000 project

This project is to introduce thin client terminals across our sites, needing very little maintenance and delivering a consistent desktop to users, with all data saved and protected in the data centre.

1997 – UK Internet Award – Winner

1996 – Winner of the Spin (Public Information Networks) Annual Award for Excellence and Innovation in Electronic Public Information

1996 – Innovation in Electronic Government Award

1995 - Hantsnet, the gateway to the internet

IT Services pilots a gateway facility in Hantsnet, allowing users to exchange mail “with any of the estimated 30 million Internet users."

Our news item from the time continues: "The Internet, for those untouched by this phenomenon, is a global network providing access to remote databases, a standard way of organising information (the World Wide Web) and electronic mail services. Approximately 30% of British businesses now have access to the Internet.”

1995 - New online information service for students

A new information service for A-level students becomes available on Hantsnet, showing current vacancies at the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth, and other regional higher education colleges.

1993 - A world leader in cost efficiency

Compass, an international firm of consultants, places Hampshire County Council’s computer system in the top ten world-wide for cost efficiency.

1993 - New education IT support unit formed in Winchester

It gives support on SIMS (School Information Management System), Local Area Networks and software training. “This is sharpening up our realisation of the need to provide relevant services at competitive prices” - a sentiment which is as true today as it was twenty years ago.

1993 - Hampshire Record Office moves into its new offices in Sussex Street, Winchester

They become the first local authority archive service to offer the public the ability to order documents by computer.

1992 - Hantsnet goes multi-platform

IT Services holds a product briefing, demonstrating how Hantsnet is available on Apple Macs and Windows PCs.

1992 - Hantsnet goes live with general election results as they are received

This gives the Press Room the ability to see results from the Hampshire counts about five minutes after they are declared.

1992 - Colleges put their faith in IT Services

Sixth Form Colleges and Further Education Colleges all become independent of Local Authority control. However, all 22 colleges in Hampshire opt to remain connected to Hantsnet.

1992 – A fine ROMANSE

IT Services assists in creating ROMANSE, the ROad MANagement System for Europe. An important partnership project which delivered a service which is still active, more than twenty years later.

1992 - Working to protect children at risk

A project is under way to link local Accident and Emergency Units with Hantsnet, to allow authorised staff access to the Social Services Child Protection Register in Hantsnet.

1991 - Hantsnet continues to grow

The Hantsnet software suite runs on a combination of an IBM 3090 and a 3081 at Winchester plus an IBM 3081 at Andover.


1991 - Hantsnet reaches Southampton and Portsmouth

800-900 users are logging on each day to use Hantsnet, the menu system, and PROFS (IBM's office support system). There are links to the systems at Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils, so that authorised Hantsnet and City Council users can access the other systems. The Portsmouth to Hantsnet link uses a single SDLC line but the Southampton to Hantsnet line requires two BSC lines.

Babbage House, Andover

Early 1990s - Purchase of Babbage House in Andover

Babbage House (shown right) becomes our main computer centre. At one stage it holds four big mainframes, with a fifth in Winchester acting as a network concentrator.


Late 1980s - exponential increase of terminals in the Castle

The increased need for remote sites to have access to computer systems leads to the development of the Hampshire Public Services Network.

c1986 - The Advice Centre

The Advice Centre has a staff of seven and handles over 2500 queries a year, most of them by telephone. “It runs over 100 courses, embracing information technology, micrcomputers, HANTSNET, data bases, spreadsheets, word processing (including IBM DisplayWrite/370, which is coming into use).”

c1986 - Digital mapping

We launch a pilot project “linking the techniques of digital mapping with database management … bringing together information from disparate sources … simplifying the management of County property”. “The IBM Geographical Facilities Information System (GFIS), which is based on the IBM Graphics Program Generator (GPG). can display the location of specific crimes or a pattern of traffic accidents, which may be partly attributable to factors like design or lighting.”  

1985-86 - Helping beat the snow.

The hard winter sees the use of email for the first time by snow-clearing teams, rapidly directing men and equipment to where they are most needed

1984 - First emails exchanged by Hampshire County Council

The use of our own large, low cost mainframes to provide the service meant that, unlike other local authorities, cost was not a significant issue for Hampshire. The last 1401 IBM card reader was sent to the scrap heap.

c1984 - Hampshire County Council starts work on Hantsnet

Hantsnet was regarded as a revolutionary information sharing system that predated the World Wide Web.

It was coupled with the use of IBM’s PROFS document management system which helped all word processed documents to be available electronically across the organisation.


1979 - An early Help Desk

There are 500 separate enquiries from users every day using the Hampshire County Council ‘enquiry package’.

1979 - Growing the business

The Computer Division derives £102,000 per annum in income from external sources.

Kevin Stocks at a teletype console in front of an IBM 370/145 mainframe. [1973]

1979 - Predicting the internet

Hampshire County Council's Discussion Paper and Draft Computer Development Plan for Hampshire County Council observes that databases carrying a wide variety of reference material are becoming available “to computers which can dial into the appropriate network.

"In the next few years Prestel will be carrying a very large volume of information … External databases are available now and inside five years they will be carrying a very significant, perhaps indispensable volume of information ...

"Data of this sort has to be made available through a network of some sort. So far the most important networks have been those started initially by collaboration between a few large computer installations, such as ARPANET. However, the postal authorities are now starting to get involved. Prestel is a form of network that will be particularly apparent for the user but the UK will shortly be offering a packet switching service (PSS) that will facilitate networking of this sort in a more general way, as will several other countries. In this environment national boundaries and distance should become of less consequence for information of this nature.”


Late 1960s - Our revolutionary approach to new systems.

We pioneered a revolutionary approach which allowed the development of systems very simply with minimal programming effort.

Rather than use conventional programming languages such as COBOL or PL/1, we developed our own environment for building systems: a single program handling all data input (cards and paper tape), a single update program and a single ‘enquiry’ program. This rapidly reduced development time, allowing us to build powerful new financial and other systems at significantly reduced costs during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Much of the software was still running up to the end of the century.


1963 - Hampshire County Council's first computer

Hampshire County Council approves the purchase of “an Electronic Computer for the County Treasurer’s Department at a cost of £121,500 and of ancillary accounting machinery at a cost of £6999.”

The equipment was to be installed in the Superintendent’s living quarters in the basement of Elizabeth II Court, the Superintendent being given alternative accommodation. The water softening plant “for water used to cool the air circulated by the air condition plant” would cost £145.


The new electronic equipment was due to be delivered on 1 January 1964.