The Cambridgeshire County Council’s adoption of Public Services Network or PSN – a government programme to unify the provision of network infrastructure across the country’s public sector in order to increase efficiency and reduce public expenditure – is delivering significant financial benefits, according to IT head Noelle Godfrey.
Cambridgeshire signed its £30m PSN deal with Virgin Media Business in June 2011 and has resulted in savings of 50% for the county council, more than £1 million a year, based on what it would have otherwise spent on networking costs. According to Godfrey, the savings have been generated by collective buying power which has a “very positive effect” on pricing.
Savings is arguably the current biggest issue for UK councils, faced with the government’s austerity programme and rising demand for services but through PSN, Cambridgeshire “has made some significant savings, through a combination of a different way of looking at delivering services, but also by getting economies of scale through aggregation, organisations working together,” said Godfrey.
Along with the county council, current partners in the arrangement are East Cambridgeshire, Fenland, Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire district councils, as well as the fire services for Bedfordshire & Luton and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, and the Cambridge and District citizens’ advice bureau.
Cambridgeshire has plans to expand the number of organisations using the PSN as well as the services delivered through the PSN, including Cambridgeshire’s current 50 access points, which are an important part of the council’s digital inclusion programme.
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