Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership: partnerships passing in the night

“Working in partnership with Virgin Media Business, we will continue to meet future challenges for improving services, while maximising efficiencies and savings.”

Jane Stedman, Head of Service Management at Hampshire County Council


Operational goals

To upgrade HIOW’s legacy network to one that supports unified and mediarich communications and help HIOW provide the most digitally progressive public services in the UK.

Virgin Media Business Digital Solution

We novated their existing supplier contract to Virgin Media Business and migrated Migrate their infrastructure to a high-speed fibre-optic network using IPVPN technology.


A truly flexible, high-speed network where staff have access to media-rich applications and collaboration tools. Communication between staff is much faster and easier and shared services helped drive down costs across the region.


Digital aims and operational goals

Hampshire and Isle of Wight needed a new network to replace their ageing infrastructure. Turns out it made sense to keep ours on the back burner.

Our role

In 2009, Virgin Media Business won a six-year contract to supply costeffective ICT to Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW). That contract was recently extended to ten years, a testament to how well the partnership has developed.

And to think it all started with someone at Virgin Media Business suggesting ‘rip out the old wires and put in some new ones.’

We now understand what a bad idea this was. It’s just that when we heard that HIOW was shopping around for a new network, we got excited. PSN standards hadn’t even been invented. So we worked closely with the Partnership to try and anticipate exactly what might do the job – immediately and over the long term.

If replacing their existing network with ours wasn’t the immediate answer, it was time to try something different.

Before contracts were signed or any money changed hands, our pre-sales team sat down with key stakeholders and concluded that the best approach would be to novate their existing telecoms contract to us. The migration to our network would come later.

That way, we’d have enough time to understand the complexity of their network and what they wanted to achieve. And only then recommend a strategy that was right for their budget, their staff and their citizens.

So we suggested something new – a dedicated, on-site transition team to ensure that HIOW’s migration to our network could be managed more effectively.

The result was a £90 million project, which represented one of the largest collaborative procurements in the UK at that time. And we like to think it helped shape the way PSN Frameworks have developed since then.

Health trusts wanted improved communications between sites. Schools wanted greater internet bandwidth within a safe environment. Fire and rescue services needed reliability first and foremost. And Hampshire County Council was looking to reduce overall public expenditure.

With that in mind, we proposed a dedicated, regional (and subsequently PSN-compliant) network. This would give HIOW exactly what it needed, and allow each element of its infrastructure to evolve separately and more flexibly.

Jane Stedman, Head of Service Management at Hampshire County Council adds that, “We need to make the best use of technology to reduce costs and sustain quality services. Working in partnership with Virgin Media Business, we will continue to meet future challenges for improving services, while maximising efficiencies and savings.”

With the migration complete, growth and optimisation became the next challenge. So a dedicated services desk and program team was created.


There’s now over 1,200 connected sites across the county – including more than 600 schools, 51 fire stations and 18 partner organisations like health trusts and charities. And Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN2) is still growing.

For schools, children now have easier access to a fully inclusive curriculum delivered over a safe and secure network. For health trusts, we can offer an excellent cost-effective replacement for their N3 services. And for Hampshire Fire and Rescue there is a resilient flexible infrastructure to build new services – including mobile apps – to meet the changing needs of the Service.

The Hampshire Public Services Network has high-speed connections for its communications including WAN, LAN, fixed and mobile telephony, internet services and video conferencing. Best of all, HPSN2 is providing savings of over £1 million a year for the Hampshire County Council alone. Jane Stedman adds, “All that money is being ploughed directly back into front line services for all the residents of the area.”

So what makes for good customer service? Is it just getting what you asked for? Or is getting what you asked for plus something you didn’t know you needed in the first place? Look to Hampshire and Isle of Wight for the answer.

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