25 November 2014
The Public Services Network is transforming the way public sector organisations use their IT services with the aim of helping to reduce public spend.
The UK government spends a vast amount of money on information technology. According to the Institute for Government, an independent charity with cross-party and Whitehall governance, the annual spend is around £16 billion pounds.
It is not surprising then, that the government is keen to develop IT systems that are more efficient, flexible and cost effective. That is the premise behind the Public Services Network, a major IT initiative that is transforming the way many public bodies operate, with the aim of saving them time, money and effort. The Public Services Network is described as a ‘network of networks’ and is designed to replace the hundreds of disparate and disconnected networks formerly used by many public sector organisations, with a single, standardised, secure IT infrastructure which can carry voice, data and video traffic.
Users of the Public Services Network include government departments, local authorities, non-departmental public bodies, emergency services and third sector organisations. Private sector organisations that act as agents for a public sector organisation are also eligible to join the network.
The Public Services Network offers many benefits, not least significant cost savings. In fact, central government expects to save around £130 million a year through more efficient procurement processes, eliminating duplication and standardisation.
According to the government, the Public Services Network can save organisations money in various ways. For example, savings of up to 20-30% can be made by organisations removing duplicated circuits or surplus bandwidth. The government predict that the new IT strategy will make savings of £460m in-year in 2014/15.
There are many real-world examples of how the Public Services Network is enabling organisations to make significant cost savings. Fife Council, expects to save £2.4 million over four years by moving onto it. Lincolnshire County Council says it will save £2.5 million a year in network costs by joining.
Cost reduction is not the only benefit offered by the Public Services Network. The ability to share resources and services for example, can bring greater efficiencies Standardised security protocols help to make data transfer even more secure. Furthermore, your IT staff are able to focus their time on delivering more strategic projects, rather than simply managing the day-to-day running of IT infrastructure.
There are now almost 600 organisations that have already made the move to the Public Services Network or are in the process of transitioning to it. If your organisation is in the public sector then joining the Public Services Network, either as a customer or a service provider, needs to be seriously considered.
25 November 2014 | Cem Ahmet
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.