Surrey County Council will save more than £5 million after agreeing a deal with BT to connect at least 20 public services in the South East.
BT has won the contract to replace up to 40 separate networks in Surrey and Berkshire with just one*.
The public services network, which will be available to all public sector bodies in Surrey and Berkshire, will feature cloud services that link up all the organisations’ computer and communications systems.
The deal represents an annual saving of up to £750,000 on the county council’s previous contract – adding up to £5.25m over the lifespan of the seven-year deal**.
Savings*** of up to 20% on current contracts are expected for other public services set to sign up for the network. These include all Surrey’s boroughs and districts, Berkshire’s councils, fire and health services and a university.
In total, the contract with BT could be worth around £120m if every organisation that has signalled an interest in joining the network does so.
Once established, it is expected the UNICORN**** network will expand to include libraries and schools, with the potential for other organisations, such as more emergency services and voluntary groups, to join.
The project was launched by the county council for the Surrey First initiative***** with other public services joining ahead of negotiations with bidders.
Surrey’s Cabinet Member for Change and Efficiency, Denise Le Gal, said: “Our aim is to provide the highest quality services at the very best value for money and developing a cloud platform as part of a single public services network is the latest example of our willingness to embrace new ideas.
“We firmly believe public services should be seen as a single team co-operating to make taxpayers’ money go further wherever possible and this deal with BT will save the county council alone up to £5.25m.”
Neil Rogers, President, Global Government, BT Global Services, said: “This agreement is a major step forward in the realms of both PSN and public sector networking. It offers a true cloud service across a number of applications enabling the council and its partners to be more agile, collaborative and connected to their citizens and to take advantage of the lower cost of operation.
“We are enthused by the programme itself and congratulate those involved in its inception within the region. BT is committed to making this work for the wider community in Surrey and Berkshire and to be an exemplar of PSN services in the public sector.”
* This includes internet, fixed telephony, wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN) and contact centre service. It also features unified communications, which sees data and voice systems combined. It means for example, that a voicemail message can be accessed through email or a mobile phone.
** With the possibility of an extension of up to five years.
*** From cutting duplication, slashing telephone line and call payments and reducing IT costs.
**** An acronym for unified communities over regional network.
***** A partnership made up of Surrey County Council and the 11 borough and district authorities together with Surrey Police Authority.