MHRA – The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, XMA Limited, Concept Management Consulting Limited and Cast Northwest.


MHRA wanted to reuse laptops that were end of life and being replaced by XMA Limited as part of a refresh project and to give the old laptops to a charitable cause..

However, MHRA needed to conform with their disposal policy of complying with the Data Protection Act, ensuring that all data bearing devices are overwritten or physically destroyed and adhere to the European WEEE Regulations.

XMA Limited provided all the new equipment and tasked Concept Management to assist with the disposals. MHRA wanted to ensure there was a seamless process of new installations and redundant equipment being appropriately dealt with. Single points of contact, auditable closed-loop processes and for XMA and Concept to be able to demonstrate compliance were the objectives of the project.

XMA and Concept were able to take redundant laptops from the waste stream, overwrite the data, refurbish the laptops and set up the devices, ready to be sent to a good cause.

The charity that was chosen was Cast Northwest. Cast Northwest set out to change young peoples life through angling, not only has this been achieved but has grown to helping people with disabilities, both physical and mental health, ex-service men with PTSD and children in care. The charity helps around 10,000 delegates annually. Their highlight of last year was a royal visit from H.R.H. Prince Henry of Wales K.C.V.O. Prince Harry made a visit to see the only indoor course fishing venue in the country, he also saw the work that is being done primarily for disaffected children, who may have a less than perfect upbringing or schooling. As an advocate of providing life skills through the medium of sport such as timekeeping, attitude and manners, organisation and team work, he was keen to see Cast NW facility. Cast NW have an innovative way that incorporates work based skills into a programme that makes a positive impact of many young lives that pass through their facility.

Disposing of redundant IT and end of life computers safely, securely and compliantly is not new but the thing that takes this initiative beyond current good practice is the determination of staff at MHRA to re-use and utilise the laptops for a better purpose. The easiest, most hassle-free route would have been to task its partners with just disposing of the equipment, however, the team felt strongly that if the laptops could be put to better use than just being recycled.


The project team at XMA also believed that this could be achieved. Concept Management’s standard mode of operation was to ensure complete data security and reputation protection when disposing of redundant IT equipment and they needed a complete overhaul of their processes to make this project work.

Many companies can facilitate this project quite simply by taking the laptops back, overwriting and returning the laptops to the clients and charging the client for the work done.

The challenge with this project was to do it free of charge.

The whole project was a success because many departments came together to make this happen.

The goal of MHRA was to help people but first they had to change mindsets, this required a complete buy-in from everyone involved in the project.

The dynamics in the team were clear, MHRA outlined their goals, XMA acted as facilitator’s and Concept processed the material. It was fundamental to the task that the lines of communication were clear and everyone understood the roles.

The impact of this whole process has been a positive one, the goals quite simply were to take end of life IT equipment and put it to good use. Did we do what we set out to do? Yes, this was achieved and was deemed by the whole project team a success. Did we change the world? No, but we helped and will continue to help the Cast and their ability to help others.


Neil Farnworth, CEO at Cast North West said “Any charitable organisation is only as good as it’s donors and supporters. We are lucky that MHRA, XMA and Concept have offered to help. I can’t thank MHRA enough for donating all the computer equipment. It helps us deliver training to both staff and trainees, helps our support staff and allows us to finish off our IT suite, which has been outfitted and designed to help over 55’s to engage in computer activities”

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