Decision details

Procurement of Public Sector Network (PSN) connectivity service

Decision Maker: Lead Specialist for ICT

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Procurement of a connectivity service to connect the Council with the Public Sector Network (PSN).

Reasons for the decision:

BT and Surrey County Council (SCC) entered into an agreement in 2012 for the provision of connectivity, telephony, LAN, shared infrastructure and / or integrator services for public sector organisations. This agreement and associated services are commonly known as “UNICORN” (Unified Communities Over Regional Network).

The Council's PSN network connection is currently provided via shared connectivity and infrastructure as part of the BT-provided “UNICORN network”.

This agreement between BT and Surrey County Council is due to expire on 30th August 2024, and SCC has announced the termination of these services as part of this expiry. As the Council's PSN connectivity is part of “UNICORN”, GBC will lose connectivity to the PSN (used to connect with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) systems) unless replacement PSN connectivity arrangements are made.

Alternative options considered:

It had initially been believed that the Council's existing PSN connection would be retained as part of the UNICORN network replacement, but this solution was not chosen on value-for-money grounds. As a result the Council has sought to review PSN connectivity options in a compressed time period.

PSN connectivity is a closed market as only signed-off providers can provide access to the Public Sector Network. Approved PSN services, including access service providers are listed on

The Council choose three providers that were listed as providing PSN connectivity, the incumbent provider (BT), another existing GBC partner, plus a provider (Cloud Gateway) that several Councils in Surrey gave positive feedback on, having chosen them themselves for their PSN connectivity based on price and solution simplicity.

One partner withdrew from the market during the market evaluation. The incumbent (BT) evaluated options for the Council but confirmed prior to final pricing that they could not offer a competitive alternative to a non-line requiring solution (such as that of Cloud Gateway).

The Council therefore choose Cloud Gateway based on value-for-money as well as implementation simplicity.

Source of Authority to take Decision:

Council Constitution dated 13th June 2024, Part 3, Page 3-42, paragraph 2(c):


2. To undertake the day-to-day management and operation of staff reporting to them and of the premises and services for which they are responsible in accordance with the policies and procedures laid down by the Council, including:

(c) entering into contracts (in consultation with the relevant Lead Councillor where the value is above £200,000), memoranda of understanding or other arrangements

Publication date: 02/07/2024

Date of decision: 02/07/2024