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Expanding the Scottish public sector's Internet access

02 August 2019

The best innovations can often be considered as simple because the delivery is so well thought through and scalable, that people often question why it hasn’t been done before! In the case of SWAN Roam, utilising Jisc’s Govroam technology, SWAN (The Scottish Wide Area Network) is helping prove that solutions for Higher Education work just as well in the public sector and even better when sectors work together!

Andy Watson, Capita’s Product Manager for SWAN, expands on how the co-operative nature of SWAN, partnering with the proven expertise from Jisc, has helped create one of the fastest growing collaborative Internet access services in Scotland.

Ever since the award of the SWAN contract and the launch of services in 2015, Capita has sought to deliver high quality and cost-effective services to Scotland’s public sector, in collaboration with the SWAN Authority and the SWAN membership. By 2017 this was recognised by the Scottish Government as having delivered £30 million of direct savings on network connectivity alone. Additionally, in 2018 it was independently benchmarked and confirmed as continuing to offer ‘good value’.


However, to its’ members SWAN is much more than that; under the stewardship of the SWAN Authority (NHS National Services Scotland), Capita and the SWAN members, the programme has defined and delivered new enhanced services that can benefit everyone.


A prime example of this is SWAN Roam. A major objective of SWAN was to ensure co-operation and efficiencies between participating organisations, for the benefit of the wider Scottish public sector. After evaluation of several options it was agreed that the best approach for shared Internet connectivity would be to base SWAN Roam on the Jisc Govroam service. Jisc’s proven pedigree of delivering eduroam for the Higher Education sector and its policy of supporting not-for-profit and public bodies made it the ideal choice for the network.


It also means that the overall solution is not limited to public sector sites in Scotland but is available at all participating Govroam sites across the UK.


Simplicity of use is the service’s greatest strength; once on-boarded to the SWAN Roam service, users will have reliable Internet access using their normal Windows AD (Active Directory) credentials without needing to request ‘guest Internet access’. That means there is no need for public sector employees to use mobile data on smartphones, dongles for laptops or to travel distances to an office from their homes to pass on key data. In the 12 months since implementation over 150 sites and campuses across Scotland are offering SWAN Roam access to their users, truly a case of public sector Scotland sharing capabilities across the community to help best support Scottish citizens.


For UK-wide availability, Jisc provide a Govroam availability map here.


As SWAN members, organisations can gain secure federated access to Govroam at a fraction of the direct costs, making the return on investment extremely compelling. The SWAN Roam service is easy to subscribe to; a copy of our SWAN Roam Prerequisites document can be requested at swan@capita.co.uk. The document details how the service works and Capita’s central role as a Regional Federation Operator for the Jisc Govroam platform.


If you are a Scottish public sector organisation but not yet a member of SWAN, you can contact Capita swan@capita.co.uk to discuss the options available to you.

 

** First published in Public Sector Focus Issue 22 May/June 2019

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