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Westminster City Council and Virgin Media Business launch £190 million framework to shake up the delivery of IT for the public sector

A new £190[i] million pan-London IT framework which could generate significant savings for the public sector by reducing expensive procurement costs has been launched by Westminster Council and Virgin Media Business. 

The Next Generation Network (NGN) resource will act as a “one stop shop” for procurement to allow public sector organisations across the capital to buy phone, data and video technology, as well as CCTV and Wi-Fi at competitive prices.[ii]

Public sector organisations can all sign up to the NGN Framework which in time should generate millions of pounds worth of savings. Under the scheme, organisations will be able to purchase technology services directly from Virgin Media Business and will not have to conduct their own procurement exercises each time they look to update or buy these services. Significant savings will also be generated by standardising and sharing the technology used by different organisations.

Westminster Council has already invested in a new wide area network (WAN) that will connect around 60 of its buildings including its main offices at City Hall in Victoria to Sure Start Children’s Centres and public libraries across the borough. With speeds of up to 1 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps), with the potential to increase even faster, 2,500 staff will benefit from super-fast access to information and applications as well as shared services across London. It will enable the council to make savings of at least £500,000 over the next five years by reducing the costs of circuits, hardware, support and management.

Councillor Melvyn Caplan, Westminster Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer Services said: “Identifying opportunities to share resources is increasingly important if the public sector is to make the financial savings it needs to, while still maintaining excellent front line services for people. Public sector organisations often use very similar infrastructure so it makes absolute sense to share them where we can if it will save money and make us more efficient.”

The NGN Framework is fully Public Services Network (PSN) compliant and has its own governance board to ensure that it delivers the best in technology services to the public sector in London. Public sector organisations who procure through the framework enter into an agreement directly with Virgin Media Business.

Mark Heraghty, Managing Director at Virgin Media Business, said: “For the public sector to make cost savings whilst at the same time delivering better, cutting edge services, there has to be a significant change in the way that services are procured and delivered. The launch of the NGN Framework does just that. We’re driving forward the development of PSN and are committed to revolutionising the way that the public sector is able to procure innovative services, share technology and benefit from significant savings. We’re extremely proud to be involved in making that happen.”

[i] £190 million represents the potential contract value should all eligible organisations procure through the NGN Framework

[ii] See notes to editors section for further information on services

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Services available under the NGN include: Cloud services, Data, Telephony, Unified Communications, CCTV and Wi-Fi, the NGN framework is primed to deliver ‘more for less’ in support of the Government’s ‘shared services’ initiative.

In March 2011, Virgin Media Business was awarded the UK’s first interim Public Services Network (PSN) security accreditation. The accreditation means that Virgin Media Business is the first organisation to be allowed to operate as a Direct Network Service Provider (DNSP) and a Government Conveyance Network Service Provider (GCNSP), enabling it to deliver PSN services to the country. It also works with 28 of the 33 London Boroughs and delivers PSN services with London Grid for Learning across the capital and in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on the HSPN2 framework.

About Virgin Media Business

Virgin Media Business has the UK’s only nationwide fibre optic network, carrying 35 per cent of all business broadband traffic. Already able to reach 85 per cent of businesses in the UK, Virgin Media Business has the ability to connect to all organisations. The largest business-to-business brand in the Virgin group, it prides itself on delivering innovative, high quality solutions that breakdown the barriers facing UK businesses today.

Staff are located at 40 offices across the country, meaning that Virgin Media Business really is closer to its customers. Organisations working with Virgin Media Business include London City Airport, Nottingham Building Society, Arqiva, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership and South West Water.

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