The contract will also be open to partners in East Anglia. This new service will help local government work better together through shared services and technology, which will result in better services for residents.
Leader of Essex County Council, Councillor Peter Martin, said: “We are taking the initiative to upgrade our network in order to be able to work more flexibly and more closely with partners. The call has gone out to organisations that may be able to provide the service that we require and a decision will be made later in the year.
This new network will provide us with better information technology to improve efficiency, saving Essex County Council £1.2m a year which is a big benefit to us and our residents.”
The benefits of the next generation network across the county and the region include:
- The corporate network and the schools network will now come under one contract, which will result in cost savings for both areas and better contract management
- The introduction of IP Telephony (telephone services via the computer data network) across the council will reduce expenditure on landline and mobile phones and support flexible working.
- A Public Sector Network (PSN) infrastructure will allow seamless and secure connectivity to other public sector organisations within Essex and the wider public sector.
The project has already attracted a high level of interest from companies, with many taking part in a Bidders Day Conference held in February.
The tender process began on 14 March 2012 with the details being published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The procurement exercise will progress over the coming months leading to contract award around October.