Westminster Council establishes pan-London procurement platform


Westminster City Council expects to save millions from a new procurement framework after penning a deal with Virgin Media.

The agreement, announced today, has seen a pan-London procurement platform established, labelled the Next Generation Network (NGN) Framework.

The service will act as a "one stop shop" for procurement, enabling public sector bodies to buy phone, data and video technology, as well as CCTV and Wi-Fi from the same place.

According to the council, the service should save millions as it eradicates the need for public sector bodies to carry out potentially costly and lengthy procurement procedures.

Savings could also be derived from standardising and sharing the technology used by different organisations.

Westminster Council has already invested in a new Wide Area Network (WAN) from the NGN, which it said would save at least 500,000 over the five year contract.

The framework has a potential overall value of 190 million, according to the council.

For the deal to reach that value, the Greater London Authority, as well as London boroughs, health bodies and Westminster schools, will need to get involved, according to Joe Coggins, media and digital officer at the council.

"With the framework open to all 33 local authorities and other public sector bodies, there are significant procurement costs to be saved by organisations not having to go through expensive and lengthy procurements," Coggins told IT Pro.

"The NGN will be used as the infrastructure and platform for shared services which will mean that those authorities wishing to share services will not have to procure, install and manage a separate network to join them together."

The platform could inform Government plans for unified IT across departments too. Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced plans for a more cohesive Government IT framework in March to tackle waste and duplication.

The NGN Framework is fully compliant with the Public Sector Network (PSN), which has been set up to create a "network of networks" Government bodies can share.

"For the public sector to make cost savings, whilst at the same time delivering better, cutting edge services, there has to be a significant change in the way that services are procured and delivered," Mark Heraghty, managing director at Virgin Media Business.

"The launch of the NGN Framework does just that. We're driving forward the development of PSN and are committed to revolutionising the way that the public sector is able to procure innovative services, share technology and benefit from significant savings."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.