“Let the competition commence” was the challenge in 2012 we had all been eagerly anticipating…
(December 24, 2012)
The public service has many different communications networks with little commonality is terms of technical design, service or commercial models. Inter-operation is only possible via multiple interconnects and gateways. This arrangement does not provide the responsiveness to change, agility, collaboration and cost reduction now demanded.
In July 2007, government and industry agreed to work together under the Strategic Supply Board on the solution to this challenge. The resulting vision was of creating ‘the effect of a single network across government’ – the Public Service Network (PSN) –delivered through multiple competing service providers to ensure ongoing value and innovation. That vision is now being made real through agreed specifications and codes that define PSN and the operation of the PSN marketplace.
PSN will eventually replace the many different networks across the UK public service with a common ‘network of networks’, in effect an internet for the public service, but with the security and resilience that government needs. The PSN represents a competitive marketplace for interoperable services, not a single big procurement.
Led by the Cabinet Office, PSN sets the standards and codes that both suppliers and users need to comply with. Users can then choose between services from competing suppliers in the knowledge that they will interconnect, creating the effect of a single network between public bodies.
PSN will result in significant cost savings for government; reducing network costs by up to £500m pa, and provides the platform for greater savings in IT consolidation and improved working efficiency.
From a supplier perspective, although PSN accelerates the commoditisation of the public service network services marketplace, reducing prices, it also means that customer needs can be met with standard portfolio services, not bespoke offerings. This cuts costs, simplifies delivery and enables the replicability and re-use of solutions.
PSN is therefore a win-win for both customers and suppliers.