East Sussex and Brighton councils start public services move to Link network

David Bicknell Published 29 January 2013

PSN will provide economies of scale to public sector organisations across Sussex

East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council are to be the first local authorities to move their council, library and school services to the LINK Network as part of a twelve-month transition plan to achieve direct savings of more than £2 million.

The Link, a collaborative ICT programme for public sector organisations across Sussex and the surrounding areas, encourages local public sector bodies to pool demand and resources to drive better benefits.

The LINK Network, which recently appointed MDNX as its supplier in a seven-year contract, offers a common public services network (PSN) across the region. The single network platform is expected to be exploited to enable a range of future shared services and collaborative delivery, with a goal of reducing the barriers to joining up services for citizens, and to sharing resources like telephony and data centres to reduce costs.

"This project not only gives us a better and more flexible network platform, it is a major driver to support closer working between partners in healthcare, emergency services, education and local government," said Tony Summers, CIO at East Sussex County Council. "Using an integrator gives us the flexibility to switch to new technology and new carrier services as they become available and as our needs evolve. This approach lets us build a relationship with a supplier partner, without being tied to a fixed solution, which is vital in the dynamic environment we face."

"Through a well-established Link Governance Structure, the spirit of collaboration in Sussex has already been harnessed to deliver concrete benefits," said Paul Colbran, CIO at Brighton & Hove City Council. "The Link provides common standards, simplified management and interoperability. The Link will provide us with a flexible, secure foundation for cross sector ICT collaboration and give us a strong platform for the future."

Although the contract is PSN compliant, it was not awarded within the PSN procurement framework and came out before the PSN framework was released.

"This gives us the ability to not only share with other partners and join up with other PSN implementations, but also start driving down some of those services defined by government, such as G-Cloud," said Colbran. "What we recognise is that we are all similarly dependent on our wide area networks and there is a whole range of PSN networks out there. The point for us is not creating a single PSN network, but creating a capability that we can join up and piggyback on the implementations," said Colbran, whose authority has already used G-Cloud to purchase CRM services.

Wayne Churchill, chief operating officer at MDNX said that network integration enables networks to be designed freely by selecting the optimum infrastructure provider and technology option for each location to achieve the requisite performance, resilience, security and cost requirements within the Public Services Network (PSN) framework.

"This approach opens the door to other public sector partners in Sussex being able to easily join the Link and enjoy the benefits of these shared services," he said.


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