The PSN aims at reshaping the way the public sector provisions networking services
The Cabinet Office has announced the 12 successful bidders in the Public Sector Network (PSN) framework, the £3 billion scheme with which it is looking to reshape the way public sector bodies provision networking services.
The 12 companies to be included in the scheme include large players such as BT and Fujitsu as well as smaller companies such as Updata, which provides broadband to schools in England and Wales.
The government claims the PSN programme will create a more open and competitive ICT marketplace for the public sector while cutting central government costs to the tune of £130 million per year up to 2014.
The previous Labour government pioneered the PSN as a more efficient replacement for current public sector networks which the government described as fragmented, unreliable and expensive.
It is aimed at organisations including central government departments, NHS bodies, local authorities and charities, and provides services including communications, conferencing, contact centre, mobile voice and data, CCTV and physical monitoring, LAN, gateway and unified services, as well as design, implementation, testing and integration.
Contracts are for an initial term of two years with the option to extend for two more one-year terms.
The full list of selected suppliers includes Virgin Media Business, Logicalis, BT, Cable & Wireless, Global Cross, Capita, Updata, Fujitsu, MDNX Enterprise Services, eircom, KCOM and Thales.
Seventeen suppliers were invited to bid on the framework, of which 16 actually did apply.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said the PSN will introduce more flexibility into the way the government operates, adding that the previous system had placed constraints on innovation.
“The PSN will also change the way public sector organisations work and interact, making it possible for government to operate in a much more flexible way, regardless of workers’ usual department or office,” Maude said. “Work in the 21st century needs to be about what you do, not where you do it and the longer the public sector lags behind, the more this costs the taxpayer and constrains innovation.”
The Cabinet Office said it hopes that 80 percent of the government’s PC-based staff, or four million users, will be on the network.
The PSN is described as a “network of networks” joining up organisations, departments, authorities and agencies to deliver services at local, regional and national levels. Providers are to connect to Direct Network Service Providers (DNSPs) via the Government Conveyance Network (GCN), which will act as a gateway between the service providers’ different networks.
Virgin Media Business said it plans to offer transparent pricing through the PSN.
“Public sector CIOs had to spend more time deciphering some of the pricing that exists around ICT procurement rather than getting on with improving their IT,” said Lee Hull, director, public sector at Virgin Media Business. “We’re treating the public sector as one customer, however large or small each individual organisation is. This means simple, predictable, pricing regardless of whether you’re a local council, a fire service or a central government department.”
A further PSN services framework is to be published in May with a wider range of suppliers.