Scottish government eyes public-sector wide digital conferencing framework

The Scottish government is poised to begin the procurement process for a public-sector wide digital conferencing services framework that would include audio, web, and video services, as well as webcasting.

In a prior information notice issued this week, the government says it is seeking to establish a “single supplier framework agreement” for the services to meet a predicted increase in demand for digital conferencing. It said video-conferencing services were expected to be internet-protocol based, and usable from a range of devices, rather than a traditional “room-based” service.

The Scottish government said that while “a wide mix” of digital conferencing options was currently in use across the public sector, including Skype for Business, other organisations had invested in IP telephony systems or room-based systems and required collaboration tools that worked with them.

It said: “As organisations look to implement efficient and secure collaboration tools and options across dispersed teams, partner organisations and perhaps even with members of the public it is expected that there will be a demand for more advanced and emerging web and video conferencing and webcasting solutions.”

Services that form part of the framework are envisaged as being open to government departments, agencies, councils, the NHS, fire and rescue services, the Scottish Police Authority, education providers, social landlords, and charities.

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According to supporting documentation for the proposed framework, the aim of the project is to “maximise efficiency and collaboration” enabling Scottish public sector organisations to “work collaboratively and more efficiently with their stakeholders, making full use of the opportunities that technology provides”.  

It adds: “The framework should assist organisations in the achievement of improved user productivity and enhanced business processes. 

“The service will support the development of a collaborative environment of communications, where organisations can take advantage of a range of services from basic audio conferencing calls through to more advanced webcasting.”  

The Scottish Government’s prior information notice was accompanied by a list of service requirements, including the suggestion that some services should be offered on a pay-as-you-go basis. The notice suggested the procurement process would begin in earnest next month.

Jim Dunton

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