Public sector bodies using the Government Secure Intranet Convergence Framework have been told to move quickly to find and procure new services, before the contractual cover for existing services expires.
Time is running out for public sector bodies to choose new services as GCF contracts end – Photo credit: Pixabay
The GSi Convergence Framework (GCF) – which is used to purchase IT services – ended on 16 August 2015, at which point it closed for new business.
The move to unbundle the core services provided through the GCF, carried out by the Crown Commercial Service and the Government Digital Service, aims to cut costs, increase flexibility for customers and provide more choice.
Organisations will now be able to choose individually priced components, but with all existing GCF contracts due to end between December 2016 and March 2017, all organisations using them – which is most of those connected to the Public Services Network – will need to procure new services.
However, those that don’t do this, could miss out on the cost-savings the unbundling offers them, according to Tony Brown, the category lead at the CCS.
“That means you could be locked into a deal that limits your choice and flexibility, and costs you far more than it should,” he wrote.
Brown lists five things organisation should be doing to choose the services they need and the providers of those services, including cancelling any services that aren’t needed by contacting the GCF provider directly.
Organisations will also need to choose an alternative email service, although they can take their existing gsi.gov.uk or gcsx.gov.uk domains with them. Brown also said that, wherever possible, this should be a cloud-based email service.
“If you don’t yet have the desire or capability, you could buy or re-use an existing on-premise email service, and point it to a cloud-based spam and virus filtering service,” he added.
Further to this, organisations need to make sure they have a network connection – they can choose from the Network Services agreement – and prepare for a new Domain Name System, which GDS is working to buy and offer to all PSN-connected organisations for free.
“As soon as we’ve confirmed the details we’ll let you know about the new service, how you can switch over to it and give you guidance on some minor configuration work you’ll need to do to take full advantage of the new service,” Brown said. “In the meantime, there’s no need to run your own procurement for a central PSN DNS service.”
Finally, bodies are urged to tell the CCS and GDS if they use the NHS’s national network N3 or the European Commission network TESTA. GDS is developing plans to ensure that these services continue to work Brown said, adding that details would be made available when they were confirmed.
Brown said that he was expecting the work to ensure that the changes and updates to services would be finished within the next couple of months.