Westminster City Council signs £190m framework agreement with Virgin

Westminster City Council has signed a £190m framework agreement with Virgin, following a wide area network (WAN) contract worth £2.5m.

Westminster City Council has signed a £190m framework agreement with Virgin, following a wide area network (WAN) contract worth £2.5m.

The next-generation network framework agreement will act as a "one-stop shop" for procurement to allow public sector organisations across the capital to buy phone, data and video technology, as well as CCTV and Wi-Fi at competitive prices.

The framework grew out of the council's £2.5m WAN contract with Virgin to connect around 60 of its buildings, including its main offices at City Hall and Sure Start Children's Centres and public libraries in the borough.

The WAN contract will enable the council to make savings of around £500,000 over the next five years by reducing the cost of circuits, hardware, support and management, and provide speeds of up to 1Gbps for its 2,500 staff, it said.

Debbie Wisdom, head of information services strategy at the council, says Westminster went through an 18-month competitive dialogue before choosing Virgin as the preferred bidder of choice. Around seven local authorities are looking at the catalogue and are in discussion with Virgin, she says.

"I hope to see more councils putting framework agreements in place as it means councils don't have to go through a lengthy procurement process. I personally think in this age of authority framework agreements should be the first port of call," she said.

Wisdom says setting up the agreement was more complicated than setting up the WAN contract, but councils shouldn't be put off as they are not difficult to do with the right legal advice.

The council says it has more contracts in the pipeline with Virgin.

It is also in the final stages of choosing a preferred bidder for a social care system for another framework agreement and recently issued a notice for a framework agreement for a managed services, HR, property and asset management system, adds Wisdom.

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