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SURREY SIGNS£13M CONTRACT IN MODERNISATION DRIVE

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Surrey CC has signed a£13m ...
Surrey CC has signed a£13m

contract with telecommunications company Cable & Wireless,

using technology from the equipment supplier, Cisco Systems.

The project, known as SWAN (Surrey Wide Area

Network), will involve the replacement of ageing computer and

telephone networks across county council sites (excluding schools)

over the next 18 months as part of a major modernisation programme.

The technology will allow greater efficiency and

support the council's e-service strategy of providing public access

to all its services by phone, the internet and digital tv by 2004.

The council's executive member for resources, Peter Langham, said:

'This is an exciting development that will provide an important boost

to the capacity and reliability of our telephone and computer

systems, as well as making it cheaper to operate. Efficiency savings

can then be re-directed to front-line services such as schools and

social care.

'The contract will play a crucial role in helping us achieve our

ambitious target of being able to provide all our services

electronically one year in advance of the government's target.'

David Hopkins, business development manager local government, Cable &

Wireless, said: 'We are delighted to have been chosen by Surrey

CC to lead the implementation of this state-of-the-art

communications network. It is networks such as these that will form

the basis of a common e-government infrastructure that will change

the way in which citizens interact with government, and make it

easier for public sector organisations to interact with each other.'

Key benefits of SWAN include upgrading a number of ageing phone and

computer networks in council sites across Surrey and bringing them

together on the same network. This will effectively make all calls

between departments internal, thus saving on the cost of external

calls.

Cutting edge technology will also enable more flexible working

arrangements, allowing staff to work more effectively and be easier

to contact in different locations through the use of 'roaming

profiles' for computers and 'virtual' telephone numbers.

For the past four years selected council staff have been

experimenting with flexible working, such as 'hotdesking' - where

colleagues share office workstations instead of each having an

individual desk and computer.

SWAN will install the infrastructure to enable a massive expansion of

the council's flexible working programme to help the authority meet

its goal of making better use of staff time, office space and

technology.

Research suggests about 70% of Surrey people now have access to the

internet, either at home or work, and an increasing number of people

expect to be able to do business with the council online.

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