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EURIM Shared Network Services Procurement Subgroup

Back to Public Procurement Page

This subgroup was tasked to assemble material on experience with the procurement of shared network service with a review to reporting in time to aid the review and reform of central procurement processes that was expected to follow the Cabinet Office moratorium. The target audience has changed with the devolution of responsibility for delivery and the need to reconcile the agendas of different parts of government, central and local. The final report will also be part of the inputs to the “More for Less” Policy study.

1 Introduction

1.1 Why are shared network services important ?

The use of shared network services by all parts of the public sector (including both central and local government) and their delivery partners (including the voluntary sector and “big society”), is central to delivering the agendas of the coalition government. It is also the key to enabling “market forces” to embed robust, world-class broadband across the infrastructure of most of the “final third” and thus deliver the Race 2010 Manifesto for a Networked Nation

1.2 What is the problem?

The recent study by the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office into collaborative procurement indicates that significant savings could be made from rationalising the fragmented and duplicated activities of nearly fifty public buying organisations in the UK. OGC has since issued a guide to buying through Framework Agreements but the recent Public Administration Select Committee report on Government IT identified duplicated and confused guidance leading to defensive procurement processes as a major problem.

Intellect has identified over a hundred such agreements relating to ICT products. Almost all were produced since the issue of the OGC guidance on framework agreements.

Most entail overhead charges to the organisers of between .6% and 6.0%, (more if there are chains of subcontracting). Few cover more than three or four suppliers. A handful account for most of the business placed. Even fewer appear to have been used for shared network services where a wide variety of customised contracts, including permutations of the standard clauses in “model” contracts, are used.

1.3 Why is the procurement problem important?

Over 50 network procurements appear active at any given time. These range from national exercises like the PSN, and upgrades/extensions to JANET and the NENs through County and Unitary Authority plans for regional networks to NHS trust procurements and local communities broadband proposals. Despite the moratorium another 80 or so are in the pipeline as well as new and competing funds, frameworks and initiatives e.g. for PSN, Community Broadband and Rural Broadband.

Most procurements and frameworks have been cancelled, but often after those who took them seriously have spent many thousands or millions (in the case of some central government projects) in wasted tendering and bid costs. This overhead is said to be one of the reasons why prices are between 10% and 30% (depending on whose guesstimates are used) higher in the UK than the rest of the EU.

Meanwhile cheap capital is said to be on offer from pension funds for contract-based network investments (with risk akin to a leasing deal) which build on existing infrastructures and share the cost of new build.  Such capital is rarely available for the types of "risk" investment envisaged in most government framework proposals.  These are commonly attractive only to those for whom they provide additional revenue for existing plans.

1.4 How can this subgroup help?

  • By rapidly identifying and publicising those already available frameworks and procurement models which can be used to bring forward investment, which will deliver rapid savings and benefits at the same time as reducing costs.

  • By helping set priorities and objectives for the overall review of public sector procurement processes and the accompanying guidance that are needed.

2 Subgroup Objectives

This subgroup is tasked to identify which existing frameworks and procurement models represent current good practice so that they can be used and replicated, pending the production of new guidance.  It has also been asked to look at why the UK appears to spend more to achieve less than many other parts of the EU.


To bring together leading suppliers and customers to identify the frameworks currently in use, to check them against good practice and to publicise those which can be re-used with confidence that they meet current mandatory requirements (e.g. state aid rules).

Work Programme for 2011

Complete report and make recommendations for follow up.

Target participants 

Those willing not only to share their experience, whether as bidders or buyers, including of what happened afterwards.

Those with “authority” as policy makers, performance auditors and regulators so that they can work together with customers and suppliers to help encourage better practice in future.

Benefits to participants   

To be able to use the material as soon as available to shorten the time for bringing forward new projects which will help meet the cost reduction targets of the current government.

A fair and open, but also rapid and efficient, public sector procurement regime which helps deliver more for less, including more benefit to the citizen and more profit to the shareholder at lower cost to taxpayers.


Forthcoming Meetings

Date Description
To be confirmed  Review of Final Report 


Recent Meetings

Date Description Papers
27 Oct 10 Subgroup Meeting  
07 Sep 10 Review Meeting Summary ReportEURIM Members & Registered Observers Only
PresentationEURIM Members & Registered Observers Only
27 Jul 10 First Subgroup planning meeting Draft Summary ReportEURIM Members & Registered Observers Only
Questions & Answers to addressEURIM Members & Registered Observers Only


Group Outputs

Date Description
Aug 11  The Procurement of Shared Network ServicesEURIM Members & Registered Observers Only 
(Draft for Discussion Only)


Other Relevant Documents and Links

Relevant Reports (including analyses of benefits)
Audit Commission and the National Audit Office Review into collaborative procurement
Regional Broadband Consortia: Bring Value to English Schools
South West Grid for Learning: Bringing Value to Schools in the South West
London Grid for Learning

East of England Broadband Network: Best Value Report

Northern Grid for Learning: Efficiencies, Savings and Value for Money - Annual Report

The National Education Network Flyer
Education Today Press Cutting


Ownership and Business Models
Framework Agreements and Buying Organisations
List of UK Public Sector Framework Agreements in relation to the ICT Sector
Framework Database
JANET Framework Agreement
JANET Telecomms Framework
Adit North Framework Agreement
Adit North Procurement Framework
BT Excess Construction Charges
The Milton Keynes Tariff Brochure
Framework Agreements


Procurement Guidance

Broadband UK Framework (OJEU)

Public Service Network presentation

Public Service Network OJEU notice

PSN Guidance material

Government Procurement Service case studies

EU guidelines on State Aid

EU adjudications as to what is, or is not, permissible

Dutch Guidance for Municipalities, Provinces and Housing Associations

OGC Guide to buying through Framework Agreements
September Guidelines
Manchester Papers


Co-ordinating and Standards Exercises
DTI: Broadband Aggregation Programme
Co-ordinating exercises: INCA (Independent Networks Co-operative Association), JON (Joint Open Network Exchange) and COTS (Common Operational and Technical Standards – for next generation access)

JON Exchange: The changing world of broadband

JON Exchange: Fungible & Liquid

JON Exchange: Perspective on a European wholesale market


Procurement Case Studies

Procurement of the National Roads Telecommunications Service


Network Case Studies
List of Main Networks
PSN Progress Report to Local Government CIOs
Communications Consumer Panel: Local Initiatives on Next Generation Access in the UK: Update October 2009
Dutch Schools Case Study
Connectivity for the masses
Case Study: Pathfinder South

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