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When it comes to Government IT, there are too many reports of taxpayers' money funding projects that have ended, inevitably, in failure. The truth of the matter however is very different; although there are undoubtedly project failures, many are successful and have a direct correlation with quality of services delivered to civil servants and citizens alike.

The UK's Public Services Network (PSN) is an example of what can be done when parties come together. Spanning central government, local government, agencies and the third sector, the PSN will provide a single voice and data platform to simplify network management and deliver a modern system where scalability of users and services is paramount.

The potential savings from this rationalisation are highly significant. Leeds City Council's CIO Dylan Roberts has said he sees the PSN and the G-Cloud initiative as one of the government's biggest sources of possible ICT savings. By replacing today's collection of 2,000-plus networks that link the Public Sector's six million workers, the PSN is on target to claw back £500k of the £2m currently spent on telecommunications by UK taxpayers.

The PSN will also act as an important platform for collaborative working within the public sector allowing ubiquitous access. For example, policing specialists can work with healthcare or education experts rather than confining themselves to a silo of activity.

So how does the PSN work? Think of it as a secure, but highly available, internet for government. All PSN service providers and PSN consumers will be directly, or indirectly, connected to the underpinning Government Conveyance Network (GCN) allowing ‘any-to-any' connectivity. This will act as the cornerstone to support further PSN-certified applications providing the initial cloud-based services.

Where are we now? Standards have been published this year, a security model instituted, a services directory will be created and some users will be migrated. By 2014 it is anticipated that five million users, that's 80 per cent of the public sector, will be connected to the PSN.

PSN is a force for transformation in service delivery, creating a framework for suppliers' service management functions to provide assurance that the service works with accountability and incident resolution baked into multi-supplier governance. For years, people have called for joined-up government - here is a case in point.

There is no reason why the UK should tolerate poor services or bungled ICT projects. There is no reason why we can't lead the way and ‘do more for less' in exactly the same way that businesses are asking their CIOs to automate processes. By taking an inclusive, open approach that creates a level playing field for suppliers, the government will be able to take advantage of economies of scale to deliver better value and a higher standard of services to both its staff and taxpayers.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Jeff Parris

Quelle/Source: Computing, 24.06.2011

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