PSNGB, the trade association set up to represent Public Services Network (PSN) networking and services suppliers, has rebranded as Innopsis as it embarks on a new mission to help public sector bodies transform how they deliver services.
Having successfully overseen the connection of every council in the UK to PSN, Innopsis – which will be led by continuing PSNGB chairman Phil Gibson – believes it can continue to play an important role in the transformation of the public sector, which is set to ramp up imminently.
With the public defying the pollsters to elect the first Conservative Party majority since 1992 at the 2015 general election, prime minister David Cameron’s government now has a clear mandate to look for £12bn worth of further cuts without having to compromise with its former Liberal Democrat coalition partners. This means the public sector will be challenged to work even more efficiently.
Speaking to Computer Weekly, Gibson said Innopsis, which stands for Innovation – Public Sector – Information Sharing, will continue to champion PSN as a common, trusted network that the public sector could use to safely "share and transform".
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At the same time, he said, the association would bring together suppliers and the public sector to help public sector bodies understand how to use commercially available technology, such as the internet, to collaborate with peers and transform the services they deliver.
It also hopes to work closely with the Government Digital Service to create a governance regime to ensure PSN users know how to handle and manage sensitive data safely.
“It supports the evolution of public services by making it easier to safely and effectively access information they need, and collaborate with colleagues across different organisations,” said Gibson.
This will support the wider ambition of the Cabinet Office to embrace the internet as a transit method for data that is, under certain constraints, suitable for government security classification Official.
PSN chief technology officer James Duncan had previously said he was working on an option for connectivity to allow PSN customers to connect, using suitable encryption, over the internet.
“This will broaden the accessible market for suppliers and increase the number of consumers on the network,” he wrote in a policy document earlier in 2015.
At the time it was thought this may put it on course for a clash with home secretary Theresa May, who is currently reviving plans for wider monitoring of electronic communications, which may include a ban on encryption.
Network Services Framework held up
Meanwhile, the Network Services Framework (NSF), the replacement for both the PSN and the Public Sector Telecommunication Services frameworks, failed to go live as anticipated in April 2015, it has emerged.
With government departments now emerging from their enforced pre-election lockdown, it seems the NSF – which had already had its tender deadlines extended earlier in 2015 – was not ready to be unveiled, said Gibson, who did not speculate on why this should be.
However, he added, the delay should not last much longer, and the Crown Commercial Service is expected to make an announcement later in May 2015.
NSF will provide access to PSN-compliant and non-PSN services, replacing the existing and legacy agreements, including PSN connectivity, PSN services and telephony services. It is supposed to offer more flexibility and greater choice of both services and suppliers to the public sector.