County council claims project to build network for use across Anglia could be worth up to £75m
Suffolk County Council has launched a project worth up to £75m to build a “public sector cloud” to be used across the East of England.
The council has issued a contract notice looking for a partner to build and maintain the Suffolk Public Sector Cloud. This will involve the construction of a wide-area network designed to “meet the communications requirements of public-sector organisations in Suffolk and adjoining areas”.
In addition to the county council – which will be the network’s “anchor tenant” – other public entities in Suffolk that are already signed up to take part in the programme include West Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich Hospital Trust, and the county’s two clinical commissioning groups. Also involved in the scheme are the seven district and borough councils in the county, as well as the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.
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The network will also be open for use by any local authority – including borough, district, and county councils – based within the East of England region. This includes councils serving Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Luton, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, and Essex.
Fire services, police forces, NHS bodies, and probation services across the region will all be able to take advantage of the Suffolk Public Sector Cloud, as will charity, voluntary, and community bodies that provide services to the public sector. Schools, colleges, and universities throughout the East of England will also be able to buy services through the contract.
The successful bidder is expected to start work on a five-year contract at the beginning of 2019. The authority will have to option to enact up to five further one-year extensions. The council said that it must be given the right to use the physical infrastructure for up to 20 years.
The authority added that, while “it is difficult to predict the exact value” of such a contract, it will be worth at least £5m and possibly as much as £75m. Between three and five companies will be invited to tender, the council said.