AMASE Advanced Multi-Agency Service Environments

Project Leader(s): Ian McLoughlin
Staff: Mike Martin, James Cornford, Ros Strens, Sarah Walsh, Sarah Skerratt, John Dobson, Rob Wilson, Roger Vaughan.
Sponsors: EPSRC

Summary of findings

The need to provide more joined up public services is now recognised by Government as a major objective. The EPSRC AMASE project has explored the problems and issues faced by public agencies as they try to design services and information systems to enable joint working and information sharing across organisational and professional boundaries and within the requirements of law. The major findings suggest that these issues need to be considered at a level above individual agencies or examples of joint agency working. They also require new ways of thinking and understanding on the part of public managers and system suppliers which embrace the opportunities offered by internet and related digital technologies but at that same time recognise the distinctive needs and obligations involved in public service delivery. The research provides a framework for making sense of these issues and detailed examples of attempts to develop multi-agency working from studies conducted in the North East of England.

End of project conference held 25th May 2004

Presentations from the Event -

University of Newcastle 30th June/1 July 2004: Towards Multi-agency Service Integration and Excellence in Service Delivery in the Public Sector

Workshop Outline:

Newcastle Social and Business Informatics (SBI's) work in its' various forms is concerned with the problems of managing the integration of services at the local level. Three years of interdisciplinary research funded by the EPSRC AMASE project has revealed key insights into the problems of multi-agency service integration and studying the problems of e-government in local authorities have developed theories and methodological approaches to these problems.

The workshop reported on the architecting, shaping and reflection on the systems and processes required to deliver service integration within the wider excellence in service delivery debate. It described the emerging understandings from the work of SBI (including the role of FAME) and seek to explore ways forward in the study e-Government and delivery of joined up services.

A full set of papers will be published on the SBI website in the coming weeks please contact for further details.

Final Report (word file)

AMASE (Advanced Multi-Agency Service Environment) is an EPSRC funded project as part of the Systems Integration Initiative. It seeks to address the organisational, managerial, regional policy and technical problems and issues involved in delivering ‘joined-up services’ in situations where multiple services offered by different agencies have to be provided in varying configurations to a variety of client groups. The project is a collaboration between the University’s Centre for Software Reliability, Newcastle University Business School, and the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.

The AMASE project aims to establish whether a more rigorous approach to service architecture, based on brokerage, is able to alleviate some of the severe difficulties of integrating the information and communications systems needed to support the delivery of public services. It aims to deliver a practical framework and tools which embody best practice to a set of pilots. The framework and tools will address professional, social and ethical issues as well as commercial ones, provide an adaptable set of organisation and process models together with resources for planning, deploying and managing telematics infrastructures on a regional scale. Organisations involved include NHS, NiAA, local authorities, voluntary sector organisations and regional development bodies.

The AMASE project will be focused around a number of pilots. At present these are expected to be constituted as follows:

  • Pilot 1 Integrating services for children with special needs:
    sub-pilot a) MARIA network (‘Golden Freeway’)
    sub-pilot b) Integrated child health in an urban environment
  • Pilot 2 North Tyneside Youth Homelessness Strategy
  • Pilot 3 Integration of the Northern Deanery Network with NHS internal networks
  • Pilot 4: Pentagon Electronic Market Place
  • Pilot 5 The Regional Holding Company/city transport SMART card


Project Publications Include:

  • Wessels, B and Bagnall, V (2002), 'Information and Joining up Services: The Case of an Infomation Guide for Parents of Disabled Children', , : .
  • Wilson, R., Vaughan, R. and Bell, S. (2003), Use of Participatory Design (PD) in the development of an Electronic Social Care record (ESCR) for Social Services, Proceedings of the 2003 British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee Healthcare Computing Conference: From Information Strategies to Health Solutions (HC2003), Harrogate, 24-26 March.
  • Wilson, R. and Vaughan, R. (2003), Integration of Services for Children and Young People in the Public Sector: What are the Information Issues for new forms of Organisation - the case of Children's Trusts, Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on e-Government (ECEG 2003), Dublin, Ireland, 3-4 July.
  • Vaughan, R, Bell, S, Cornford, J, Mcloughlin, I P, Martin, M and Wilson, R (2003), Information systems development in public sector organisations – working with stakeholders to make sense of what information systems might do, Proceedings of the 19th EGOS Colloquim ‘Organization Analysis Informing Social and Global Development Sub-Theme 25: Challenges faced by action researchers in bridging the gap between micro-sociological processes and desired macro-changes, Copenhagen, Denmark, 3-5 July.
  • McLoughlin, I, Wilson, R., Cornford, J., Vaughan, R. and Martin, M. (2004), Enacting Technology: From ‘building’ the virtual state to ‘architecting’ infrastructures for the integration of public service delivery?, Paper prepared for workshop on Information, Knowledge and Management – Re-assessing the role of ICTs in public and private organisations, Bologna, Italy, 3-5 March. [WebLink]
  • Cornford, J, McLoughlin, I P and Wessels, B (2001), Exploring new concepts of integration in public service: rethinking information system and organisational architectures, Paper presented to the 17th Colloquium of the European Groups for Organisational Studies, ‘The Odyssey of Managing’, Lyon, France, July 5-7.
  • Vaughan, R and Cornford, J (2002), Fit for purpose or purposeful fit?, Paper presented to the Workshop on Enthnography, Systems and Strategy, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, April 22-23.


Professor Rob Wilson
Director of KITE University Research Centre