School ICT News Bulletin No. 265 - 08/01/2016

Published by ICT Shared Services


New contract for Broadband - Data, Network and Telephony services available for Norfolk Schools

New contract for Broadband - Data, Network and Telephony services available for Norfolk Schools

Background

The current contract with BT for broadband services used by 365 maintained schools and 50 academies ceases at 31st March 2016.

The Council has undertaken a procurement for data, telephony and associated services.

The procurement delivered a framework agreement, which allows schools to purchase from a pre-defined catalogue of services. Each school or cluster of schools will have a call-off contract directly with the new provider. Schools can buy from the arrangement without the need to tender.

Consultation for schools’ requirements has taken place as follows:

  • Via MI sheets, ICT e-bulletins and other media since April 2015.
  • A survey was advertised via the same media for school staff to provide feedback on the services they were interested in.
  • The survey was available from May until November. 59 schools responded.
  • Engagement was with headteacher associations, governors’ conferences, Finance Consultative group, network managers, school workshops, Google groups and visits to schools and Multi Academy Trusts.

Next steps – the new proposition

On 22nd December 2015 the new contract was awarded to Updata. During January Updata will write to schools with details of the broadband proposition for individual schools explaining what this means and the next steps. We are working with Updata to provide clear supporting information so it will be easy to understand the services being offered, how they will be delivered and what they will cost.

Updata pricing is based on Norfolk County Council’s statement of requirements, which was developed on the formula recommended by the DfE and National Education Network.  This means all schools will be offered an increase in the bandwidth (size of pipe) by Updata. This will be at a significantly lower cost than the price of the current charging model for the large majority of schools. There are a small number of sites where the proposed solution for higher bandwidth means higher cost. However, we are looking at alternative solutions with Updata for those sites and will work closely with those schools affected to find an affordable solution.

Contract Clarification – current schools’ contracts with NCC until 31st March 2016 and next steps process

  • Schools’ current contracts with NCC ceases at 31st March 2016.
  • This means schools do not need to give notice to cease this contract. It will NOT automatically roll forward to the new supplier.

In January Updata will contact schools with the proposal for individual schools with optional upgrades. The choices for schools and governing bodies to consider will be:

  • Option 1
    Accept the new offer and any upgrades you choose including improved connectivity. There will be a transition period from 1st April 2016 for the service with NCC/BT until the Updata service is ready to implement the new solution. Schools will continue to pay NCC at the current rate until they are in receipt of the new service. Updata will be able to complete their project plan once they know which schools have signed up. The plan will be optimised to ensure the most effective service transformation. Their aim is to complete the migration of all schools to new circuits by 31st December 2016 and by no later than 31st March 2017.
  • Option 2
    If your school wishes to pursue alternative options, then you will be able to continue with the current arrangement for a fixed period of 4 months (i.e. until 31st July 2016) without penalty whilst you make alternative arrangements.
  • Option 3
    Leave at 31st March 2016. You will have to make alternative arrangements as if you take this option your NCC service will cease on 31st March 2016.

 

Schools, who are not currently on the Norfolk service and who are interested in joining the new arrangement, will be able to seek prices from Updata and enter into new contract with them when their current contract ceases. Please note that a transition period will be required of at least 3 months.

NB To ensure continuity of service for schools and to allow time for schools to make meaningful decisions whilst ensuring that NCC does not incur unnecessary cost, we will be asking schools to tell us which of the above options applies by 12th February 2016. This will allow Updata to complete their project planning and start implementation.

Benefits of the new contract

 

  • Saves time
    The new arrangement has been tendered via the European Union competitive dialogue process - schools can buy from the new NCC framework without obtaining alternative quotes.
  • Peace of mind
    The solution has been fully checked by industry, legal and procurement experts in terms of security, data protection, legalities, terms and conditions and optimal technical design, so you do not have to worry about these areas.
  • Economies of scale in price and investment
    Schools will benefit from the economies of scale of the combined value of the contract for schools, NCC, 4 district councils and a health trust.  This not only means a better price for those participating bodies, but also improves the level of investment in infrastructure across the county. This in turn will futureproof the technological solution for all participants.
  • One size does not fit all – there is a granular approach with a choice of options that enable you to buy the services your school wants. Your new contract will be directly with Updata, so you can control when you want to change or purchase additional services. 
  • Increased choice of services to complement and enhance the ICT experience in schools.
    Complementary services, such as mobile device management and managed wireless, will enable staff (and in some cases learners) to move seamlessly between school sites.

 

MI sheet 216/15 provided the latest information on the procurement information sent to schools and the detailed differences between the old contract and the new approach.

More information and contact details will be published very soon.

 

 

 

 

Author: ICT Shared Services

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