Management > CIO

Essex County Council awards £81m PSN contract

Charlotte Jee Published 18 December 2012

Deal introduces PSN-compliant services throughout Essex


Essex County Council (ECC) has awarded a 10-year Next Generation Networks (NGN) contract for the management and development of its IT network infrastructure and associated telephony services.

According to the OJEU contract notice, which was originally published in March 2012, the NGN will set up a single network available to local authorities (from parish to borough to county councils), NHS bodies, fire and rescue authorities, police authorities, schools, voluntary sector charities and the Central Buying Consortium (the largest local authority purchasing consortium in the UK).

The contract, which is valued at £81m, was awarded to Daisy Updata Communications Limited (DUCL), a joint venture between unified business communications company Daisy Group and public sector network specialist Updata Infrastructure.

The contract also allows scope for the NGN to encompass other public sector bodies beyond Essex, such as Norfolk County Council.

The services described in the contract "will include provision of communications service, broadband, CCTV and physical monitoring services, conferencing services, conferencing services, managed equipment room services, call/contact centre services, wireless, video, mobile voice and data services, paging services, LAN services, gateway services, unified services, supporting security, information assurance, design, acquisition, consultancy, and other services."

The services, which will be available to around 200,000 users, will be PSN-compliant and will provide connectivity and associated services "to more than 200 ECC corporate sites, including council offices and libraries, and 550 primary, secondary and academy schools."

According to a company statement, "Call costs will be reduced through the introduction of new telephony services including the utilisation of IP Telephony and the introduction of new mobile tariffs. Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) will enable calls to be routed in the most cost efficient way."

David Wilde, CIO at Essex County Council, said, "For Essex and the users of this network, it is about getting more for less; providing a better service at a significantly reduced cost. DUCL have developed a model that will deliver our strategic objectives and support the transformation of the Council's services delivered to our citizens.

"In March 2012, we announced our plans for a new network infrastructure that would achieve savings to of our overall network infrastructure costs whilst also introducing new technologies. As part of its bid process, DUCL proposed a highly innovative and transparent commercial model that ensured best value for the county and helped us achieve cost savings.

"The new infrastructure and commercial model are flexible and will be available for use by the public sector in Essex and the wider region, including local authorities, the NHS, the Fire and Rescue Service and charities. We are absolutely committed to sharing services and collaborating with our partners and neighbours, and clearly the most cost effective way of doing that is across a shared infrastructure."

Matthew Riley, Chief Executive Officer at Daisy Group plc, said, "This is the blueprint for success for other local authorities and we look forward to being able to provide our services through the framework to reduce costs and transform access for public services to ICT."

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