Challenge

In 2009, the Staffordshire region (which has a population of over 800,000) wanted to transform its public services provisions by sharing a core network and communications infrastructure. At a time where Staffordshire County Council needed to make significant cost savings (and was keen to lead in supporting other public sector organisations to do the same), a shared Public Services Network was considered to be the best way to deliver cost efficiencies, reduce overheads, improve availability of service and support the integration of Social Care and Health.

Public services in the region were also going through a period of property rationalisation; a move to Staffordshire County Council’s new headquarters at Staffordshire Place led to the consolidation of 20 existing properties. The new building required a network and telephony system that supporting flexible working. 

Staffordshire needed to rationalise the number of fixed and mobile telephony connections which stood at a total of over 11,000 extensions across the region

Solution

The Staffordshire PSN solution is based on traditional network design and uses existing telephone exchanges (more than 28 exchanges in total) to create the network across the region, thus removing any reliance on public sector buildings to house equipment. The solution has been built using world class manufacturers’ technologies and a range of carrier services brought together with KCOM’s expertise to provide a bespoke architecture and managed service. Our solution consists of: 

  • A Wide Area Network serving over 680 sites including 400 schools
  • Local Area Network (LAN) services to establish a new super-fast 10Gbps network in the new council HQ and to provide high availability application services from its two Data Centres
  • Fixed line telephony - a new Cisco IP Telephony system has been installed in a high availability configuration in the Council’s data centres. The new telephony system is capable of supporting over 10,000 users and included 5,000 physical handsets
  • Mobile telephony - the Council’s estate of in excess of 4,500 mobile handsets and over 800 smart phones which are now provided with a high quality mobile voice and data service
  • Contact centre - an enterprise class contact centre infrastructure (Cisco UCCE) platform, sized initially for the 100 Council agents, providing call recording and full CRM integration as part of its feature set
  • Access to other services such as telephony least cost routing, internet access, video conferencing and hosting.
  • The infrastructure is designed to a security level of IL2 and can be upgraded on specific sites to IL3 or IL4, and allows PSN compliant services to be provided.

Results

Today, Staffordshire enjoys the benefits of on-going cost savings - as additional organisations join the PSN they can further contribute to the core costs of delivering the PSN, which in turn means that the overall shared costs are reduced, benefiting all parties involved. 

By Staffordshire replacing the separate networks with one core infrastructure and through the sharing of overheads, the public sector will save in the region of £1m per year.

The Staffordshire PSN has been built to be compliant with Cabinet Office standards for Public Services Networks. These include security which means the removal of the barriers to shared working and collaboration as well as improved mobility and the sharing of premises. This gives public sector staff greater flexibility in the buildings they occupy thus facilitating estate reduction and giving them the opportunity to work more closely with their customers. The Staffordshire PSN is part of the national PSN – the network of networks that forms an ‘internet’ for UK public sector opening access to a wealth of applications and services also connected to the national PSN.