Infrastructure > PSN

Surrey and BT extend Unicorn PSN agreement

David Bicknell Published 28 November 2016

Original seven year contract signed in 2012 will now run to 2021; extension follows council expectation of achieving £3.5m savings


Surrey County Council and BT have agreed to extend their seven year public services network (PSN) contract until 2021.

The UNICORN (Unified Communities over Regional Networks), managed voice and data network run by BT for the council and its partners recently connected its 500th site after including more than 40 libraries in Surrey.

Surrey says the deal is on track to achieve projected savings of £3.5m over its seven years, prompting the two parties to extend the deal. The seven-year Surrey-BT contract was originally signed in 2012.

Denise Le Gal, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for business services, said: “With rising demand for services like adult social care meaning money’s really tight, we need to do everything we can to make taxpayers’ money go further - and this deal is on track to save £3.5m over its seven years. That is why we have extended the contract by two years."

Colm O’Neill, BT’s managing director for major and public sector, said: “It’s great not only to hit the 500 site mark, but also to have extended the contract for another two years in what can be seen as a vote of confidence for the service provided by BT. “What we are seeing with UNICORN makes a strong case for a collaborative approach to procurement and lays the foundation for much closer public service integration that will help public sector budgets go further.”

UNICORN has more than 25 partners, including Surrey County Council, 11 districts and boroughs within Surrey, as well as Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue services, Bracknell Forest Council, Central Surrey Health and Surrey schools.

The UNICORN partnership was created to enable public sector organisations to join together in delivering better public services. The partnership is also designed to meet key challenges which face public sector bodies.  These include budget and resourcing pressures, risk management, challenging timescales and rising demand for services like adult social care.

BT provides support to UNICORN partners by assessing technology solutions and recommending those which offer the partners the best value. The catalogue includes PSN connectivity, managed local area networks and wide area networks, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, mobility services from EE, managed Wi-Fi and contact centre services. Among the latest developments, the UNICORN partnership has just launched a new Wi-Fi cloud-based service, which enables members of staff to work from any of the partners’ sites, accessing the relevant systems and applications they need.

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