David Bicknell, Government Computing 
Published 09 April 2018

Networking services suppliers group Innopsis to start market engagement sessions from next month

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has taken the first steps towards procuring a new network services framework, dubbed ‘Network Services 2’.

It has issued a pre-tender for the provision of telecommunications services including services over the Public Services Network (PSN) and Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) connectivity, to be utilised by central government departments and other public sector bodies, ahead of a contract notice which it plans to publish in early September.

The pre-tender says public sector bodies have a need for the provision of telecommunications and other services, including PSN and HSCN compliant services to facilitate inter-organisational collaboration through secure communication, interoperability and sharing of information.

The pre-tender adds that it is intended that the commercial agreement will be the recommended vehicle for all telecommunications requirements for UK central government departments.

Innopsis, the industry association for companies supplying network services to the public sector will host a series of market engagement events in May to discuss what is currently available under the current Network Services RM1045 framework and to understand what is working well and what can be improved. The sessions – in London on May 3 and 4; in Leeds on May 10 and 11; and in Norwich on May 14 and 15 – will be open to all telecommunications and network services suppliers.

The first day of the events will cover areas such as Scope; Lot structure; Core Components; Pricing structure; Ordering Process and Call-Off terms. Day 2 will then discuss GDPR, MISO and the tender process. Webinar sessions will be held over May 23 and 24 for those unable to attend the face to face sessions.

Discussing the market engagement, Mike Thomas, managing director of Innopsis, said, “Network Services (RM1045) has been a success and resulted in huge savings for the public sector. However, there are a number of shortfalls which have restricted the marketplace for both customers and suppliers which we hope to address in the course of the supplier engagements.

“We need to make sure we capture the unique benefits of RM1045 in the new replacement framework of Network Services 2 (RM3808), particularly the flexibility it gave customers to place direct awards or run further competitions according to their needs. However, the way in which technology and digital services have evolved over the last three to four years means that some changes will be needed to keep it up to date.

“Before the Prior Information Note was published, Innopsis already fed back information of the core terms being proposed as well as starting to gather feedback from the companies who gained from the structure of RM1045 as well as those who were excluded.

“During the course of the pre-procurement, Innopsis will be seeking to run various activities for members to help them achieve a firm place on the framework.”

He continued, “In the sessions we are running with the CCS in May on Network Services 2, we’d like to understand more about the proposed lot structure, timescales for the procurement and explore how to make use of the simplified terms and conditions that CCS are trialling in other categories. We’re confident that, with close consultation with Industry, we can deliver a new structure that is fit for the next four years.

“Innopsis will endeavour to keep a level playing field for companies of all sizes and specialisation and ensure that the UK Public Sector have a vibrant marketplace with choice and value for money with a low cost of entry and increased simplicity for suppliers.”