Replacement for PSN and telephony procurement frameworks is due to go live in August
The Crown Commercial Commercial Service (CCS) has confirmed it has the contracts in place for a new Network Services procurement framework to replace a clutch of existing frameworks around the Public Services Network (PSN).
Contrary to some earlier reports, the framework is not yet fully live but will available for customers to use in August, a spokesperson told UKAuthority.
The CCS said Network Services has been designed to a provide a simpler way in to procuring network and telecommunications services, replacing the PSN Services, PSN Connectivity and Telephony Services agreements.
Although full details of the agreement are not yet available, the CCS said its multiple lot and supplier structure will provide public sector customers with more flexibility and choice, with options including direct award through an online catalogue or further competition. It claimed the move can provide savings in excess of £50 million for the public sector.
The 10 lots are for services around data access, local connectivity, traditional telephony, IP telephony, mobile voice and data, paging, video conferencing, audio conferencing and integrated communications.
Inopsis, the association of suppliers to the PSN, said one of the key changes has been to structure the procurement lots into core products, accounting for rthe bulk of the revenue and supplementary products, which would be optional for suppliers. This has been seen as a way of encouraging more small and medisum sized businesses to become involved.
Ian Fishwick, commercial director of Inopsis, said: "Previously, the most common reason for SMEs not bidding was the requirement that they should be able to supply all products needed, no matter how little revenue would be spent on them. The longer the list of products; the more likely that an SME couldn’t supply at least one of them.”
The CCS also emphasised that 31% of the 61 suppliers on the agreement are small or medium sized businesses, with more than 20% believed to be new to government agreements.
Compilation of the framework has been subject to a number of delays over recent months, as the CCS has had to deal with a high number of clarification questions from suppliers: there had been complaints that the questionnaire they were required to answer was over-complicated.
Image: Rozszerzonej Gwiazdy, public domain