Government to investigate how local authorities use PSN

Research will support ongoing efforts to drive migration away from legacy network

Credit: PA

As it continues work to encourage migration away from the Public Services Network, the government is to research how local authorities currently connect to the legacy platform and for how long they are contracted to do so.

Since early 2017, when it declared that “the internet is OK”, the Government Digital Service has been encouraging public-sector organisations to begin migrating away from PSN and start running their digital services on standard commercially-available internet connections.

Last year, GDS kicked off the Future Networks for Government (FN4G) programme, which is dedicated to supporting public bodies in decoupling from PSN and adopting new technologies. The initiative began with a project to identify and set out best-practice guidance for migration projects.

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The FN4G scheme now intends to build on this with a “data-gathering exercise to identify what services, applications and systems UK local authorities and councils use to interoperate over the PSN network”.

GDS is seeking a supplier to lead this three-month research project, which will involve communicating with representatives of all 402 local authorities across the UK. The Cabinet Office agency has already gathered information on named contacts at 270 councils, and will confirm details for the remaining 132 before the research work begins.

“This phase of the (FN4G) programme now needs to find out how all UK local authorities and councils using PSN interoperate with central government or others and what services and systems they use and connect to, and who owns them,” GDS said. “We also need to find out their current end of contract date for their PSN service.”

Bids for the project are open until 27 September, after which up to four suppliers are expected to be evaluated in detail. Work is scheduled to commence on 28 October, and the chosen bidder will operate primarily from their own premises, as well as attending GDS headquarters in east London at least once during each of a series of “two-week sprints”.


Sam Trendall

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