Buckinghamshire County Council has signed a four-year deal with Updata for a public services network (PSN) worth up to £100m.
The network is hoped to yield cost savings of up to 30%, according to the council's CIO, Caroline Cooper.
The PSN will see the council share IT services with district councils in Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks, Wycombe and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. The framework is also available to neighbouring authorities, as well as voluntary and community bodies and health partners.
“Having a good-quality, resistant network is fundamental to public services in any location because so many services are delivered over the internet,” said Cooper.
Schools will be the first to benefit from the deal, with the council also looking to cut its property estate by having more interconnected services.
Cooper said the council had a good network, but the deal with Updata would increase speeds in some remote areas.
“We’ve been happy with the incumbent, but that contract and a number of other smaller contracts were coming to the end of their life, so this was the right time as we and our district partners were in a similar situation,” she said.
Information on the wider PSN
She said the PSN was also key to accelerating its move to the cloud, with plans to procure through the G-Cloud.
“We’re very much looking at moving to cloud services to enable us to have flexibility within the business. We are under huge economic pressures, so the strategy is about moving to pay for what we use. That way we can buy services that are instantly supported, and if we stop a service we are not left with a lot of infrastructure no longer being used,” said Cooper.
The council has already bought cloud services for its libraries email, but has not yet procured through G-Cloud. It is also looking into infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but says it will likely sweat its current infrastructure before making the move, she said.
The framework with Updata includes maintaining the current wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN) and associated IT services. It will begin the transition of sites and services as soon as possible.