Councils eager to check out software licence deal

Public sector IT specialists are eager to see how they could benefit from the Government's new software deals with Microsoft,...

Public sector IT specialists are eager to see how they could benefit from the Government's new software deals with Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and IBM/ Lotus.

The landmark deal, which the Treasury hopes will save £100m, is the first struck by the Office of Government Commerce to cover most of the public sector with one licence framework.

Officials at Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, which uses products from both Microsoft and Sun have expressed an interest in finding out more about the deal.

Joe Daniels, Knowsley's community information manager, said, "We would be interested in having a look at this. If the deal in total is good then we could be interested in taking this up."

Councillor Margaret Oldham, e-envoy at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, which is widely regarded as an e-government trailblazer, welcomed the deal.

"We welcome anything which reduces costs to local government as this will mean we can invest more in front-line services for local people," she said.

The deal could also go a significant way towards allaying the public sector's concerns at Microsoft's controversial software licensing changes, announced last year. The software giant's new agreement with the Government, which there is no compulsion for organisations to use, will extend to all areas of the public sector except regulated industries and utilities, the BBC and the Post Office/Consignia.

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