Updated 2 April to include details of new working from home task force set up in CCS to support customers and how to get in touch.

A number of customers have contacted us to ask for support with understanding their technology options as they look to increase home working options for their employees in response to COVID-19.

To help with your planning we have pulled together information on a number of our agreements that can enable you to easily and quickly procure the technology products and services you may need to allow employees to work more flexibly at this time.

The below list is not exhaustive. You should check our Purchasing Platform and the Digital Marketplace before awarding any contracts. 

We have grouped the information into the following key areas: 

  • compute
  • security and access
  • network 
  • remote working tools

Please note, if you are accessing free of charge software licences at this time, your IT department will need to approve the products in line with their software asset management and deployment processes.

We’re here to help

We have also set up a working from home task force in CCS to help support customers with their working from home needs related to technology. Please get in touch with your account manager or email WFHProjectTaskForce@crowncommercial.gov.uk with as much detail as possible covering the following:

  • requirement – whether it’s hardware like laptops and tablets, software, internet access, or a combination of requirements, let us know what you need
  • quantity – how many units are required?
  • lead times – when do you need this equipment and/or services?
  • delivery –  what are the deployment locations needed e.g. split locations, personal addresses?

Compute

Stock levels have been heavily impacted over the last week and unfortunately large scale requirements are unlikely to be met in short timescales, particularly for brand new devices. 

You should still be able to access small volumes of new devices, 10’s or possibly even low 100’s however you should contact some resellers first to check on current stock levels as they are changing very quickly.

If you require thousands of devices then suppliers are advising it will involve a wait of 30 to 40 days.

For shorter term requirements you may want to consider refurbished devices and stock is still available.

You can make use of the simplified further competition facility under our Technology Products and Associated Services (TePAS) framework to get quick quotes for stock that is available now. Information on using TePAS and the simplified further competition process can be found in our customer guidance.

As well as off-the-shelf laptops and hardware, our resellers and manufacturers already have a number of bundles available to assist with home working. These range from complete mobility as service options to bundles of screens and peripherals which can be utilised where work desktops are being taken off-site for home working. 

You can also visit the Purchasing Platform to purchase via our online catalogue. 

Please contact us by emailing WFHProjectTaskForce@crowncommercial.gov.uk if you need further assistance.

Security and access

Cisco, who we operate a public sector Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with, are currently offering 90 day free usage of their Umbrella, Duo and AnyConnect applications, these cover secure web use and secure sign in.

For more details, please email ccsuk@external.cisco.com

As well as security products, both NCSC assured and non-assured cyber services can be bought from the Cyber Security Services DPS. You can run a further competition for these by visiting the Supplier Registration System.

Network

Where staff are now accessing networks and applications remotely in far greater numbers, available external network bandwidth to these services needs to be considered. This will be dependent on the organisation, service types, and potential number of staff accessing and it is recommended that you contact your existing network provider to check any potential impact.

Increased remote working, especially if there are any broadband issues, will likely see an increase in use of mobile data, so you need to ensure this is monitored and consider additional data bundles to cater for an increase in demand. In order for this to be effective, it is necessary that staff are able to tether devices so they can access their mobile data via their laptop.

Good working practices, such as switching off video if not necessary, can also significantly reduce the data flow across your network, therefore revised usage policies should also be considered. 

Conferencing services are going to play a pivotal role in maintaining business as usual operations, enabling your staff to continue to communicate effectively. There are a number of hosted services available which can be rolled out quickly and in some cases remotely. More on this can also be found below under remote working tools. 

The above networking services and more are available through Network Services 2. Visit the framework page for customer guidance, order forms and templates. 

The direct award option is available across all lots on Network Services 2, with all currently live offers available via our catalogue on the eMarketplace. If you haven’t used this before, you can find out how to access the eMarketplace.

Please contact us by emailing WFHProjectTaskForce@crowncommercial.gov.uk if you need further assistance.

Remote working tools

Microsoft’s Office 365 E1 package is available for 6 months on an extended trial. Further details can be found on its website but contact your Microsoft reseller for further assistance.

For G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, Google is rolling out free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video conferencing capabilities and will be available at no additional cost to these customers until 1 July 2020. Help and support is available from the Google learning page.

Public sector organisations are also able to access a free 90 day licence for Cisco’s Webex platform for video and audio conferencing.

For more details, please email ccsuk@external.cisco.com.

Telefonica offer the Visionable video & data collaboration platform from O2. Public sector organisations can currently access a free 6 week trial of the platform. More details can be found on the Digital Marketplace

To explore more remote working tools available via our G-Cloud framework, please visit the Digital Marketplace.

Get in touch

If you require further advice or help with any of the above options to enable home working, please contact us by emailing WFHProjectTaskForce@crowncommercial.gov.uk.