Warwickshire County Council signs Google to pilot G-Cloud e-mail service

Warwickshire County Council is piloting a G-Cloud e-mail service with Google, in a scheme expected to save £250,000.

Warwickshire County Council is piloting a G-Cloud e-mail service with Google, in a scheme expected to save £250,000.

The council is working with the Cabinet Office to pilot the project, which is expected to be rolled out across public sector organisations.

Warwickshire CC hopes to save around £250,000 per year under the programme due to greater flexibility of working and reduced costs of licences for e-mail. Savings will increase long-term as the current e-mail solution is phased out and the e-mail infrastructure operates entirely from the cloud, said the council.

Under the system, staff will be able to access services through mobile phones and tablets. They will also be able to use instant messaging and chat, desktop videoconferencing, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings.

The council also hopes it will reduce the potential for information leaks as sensitive information will no longer need to be carried around on memory sticks, or stored in the hard drive of laptops.

Chris Chant, programme director for government cloud, said: "This pilot is an important step forward in revolutionising the provision of IT services in government. By exploiting innovations in this manner, government will transform public sector IT estate into one that is agile, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable."

In an interview with Computer Weekly earlier this year, Chant said that some departments were paying £20-£30 per person, per month, for e-mail services. "But we know we can get impact level 3 secure e-mail services [using the cloud] for less than £3 per person, per month," he said.

The pilot is set to begin with 100 volunteer staff. By mid-October the project will have been designed and will then be tested from the end of the month through to the end of the year. It comes as the government is expected to publish its new G-Cloud strategy next month.

Tonino Ciuffini, head of information assets at Warwickshire County Council said:  “By joining the G-cloud and adopting Google apps, the council will be at the forefront of smarter working among ourselves, our partners and our residents. This programme can be implemented rapidly so we will be improving how we work and making savings quickly.  It is an exciting venture with great benefits for staff.  We look forward to seeing how it works in practice and how it improves our ways of working.”

Read more on Operating systems software