Public services across Cheshire and Merseyside are set to benefit from big cost savings following the award of the contract for a new regional communications infrastructure ‘backbone’.
The savings are expected to reach up to £1m each year, split between 13 public service bodies.
In Cheshire, the two Councils have a combined annual spend of around £2m on shared communication networks.
The new Public Services Network for Cheshire and Merseyside involves 13 core partners, including councils, police, health and fire and rescue services, providing a major opportunity for the region to develop innovative new ways of working within and between public service organisations.
It will also allow much greater collaborative working, service transformation and shared use of buildings. The new network will provide a welcome financial boost for Council Tax payers, which will ensure more resources are available to invest in frontline services.
The new network will be the catalyst for greater collaboration and reduced wasteful duplication of resources. By pooling information and communications infrastructure –– significant savings will be made, while ensuring appropriate levels of security, resilience and flexibility are maintained.
Following a comprehensive procurement process, Updata Infrastructure UK has been chosen to provide the necessary ‘root and branch’ network deployment, which will include high-speed fibre-optic broadband and link hundreds of public sector buildings across the region.
Speaking on behalf of Cheshire and Merseyside Public Services Network project partners, Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “The award of the contract for our regional public services network marks a significant step towards the continued transformation of public services in Cheshire and Merseyside.
“This will enable us all to reduce costs and wasteful duplication while, at the same time, open up new ways of working more efficiently and collaboratively.”
Councillor Mike Jones, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said “CWaC sees PSN as a key building block in the next phase of public sector transformation and the closer working ties between the Council and its partners.”
Vic Baldorino, co-founder and sales director of Updata, said of the contract award: “The project partners placed a significant value on collaboration and innovation during the process, values which we share, and which are reflected in the solution. We look forward to working with them to realise their ambitions for the network and wider Council initiatives throughout the coming years.”
Sarah Hurrell, PSN senior responsible officer at the Cabinet Office, said: “The PSN frameworks are delivering on their promise to drive savings and efficiencies. For CMPSN and its partners this is about getting more for less: providing better services at a significantly reduced cost and we look forward to supporting them as they transition to PSN.”
Other public sector, voluntary and social housing providers will also have the opportunity to make use of the network and share the benefits once operational by April, 2015.