The government has announced a framework agreement worth up to £2bn for its public services network.
The public services network (PSN) is intended to create a network of networks, enabling the delivery of public services from any place by any provider. The government hopes it will generate significant savings by removing duplicate network connections; simplify procurement processes; increase the uptake of mobile working; and lead to greater use of shared services.
The framework will cover central government departments, non-departmental public bodies, the NHS, local authorities and voluntary sector charities. It will last for two years, with the possibility of a further two-year extension.
Under the agreement these bodies will be provided with communications service, CCTV and physical monitoring, conferencing, a managed equipment room, a call/contact centre, mobile voice and data, paging, LAN, gateway services, unified services, supporting security, information assurance, design and consultancy.
But Buying Solutions, the government's contracting authority, was keen to point out that no weight will be attached to whether or not potential providers are SMEs.
The full PSN framework contracts for connectivity services will be awarded early in 2012.
It is expected that public sector organisations will move to PSN as their existing contractual agreements with service providers expire, or at set change points in existing long-term contracts.
The announcement follows a government framework procurement of a managed telecommunications convergence framework to provide continuity for the managed telecommunications service before switching across to PSN.
Other recent framework agreements relating to PSN-transitions include a GSi Convergence Framework to provide continuity for the transition of the Government Secure Intranet (GSi) and the PSN Connectivity Framework for the provision of PSN connectivity services.