contract with telecommunications company Cable & Wireless,
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
'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
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
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.