Public Services Network (PSN) DRAFTv2 CoSocius Workshop Briefing for Schools (1) and Q & A






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This document summarises the key topics and questions covered during the PSN Workshop for Schools on 2 April 2014 at Middlewich Community Church together with additional guidance notes. It is intended to provide a useful reference for all Schools and will be updated in May following the completion of three more workshops which have been scheduled as follows: Monday 28 April 10:00-12:30 - Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, Civic Way, CH65 0AZ

Thursday 1 May 10:00-12:30 - Crewe Vagrants Sports Club, Newcastle Road, Willaston, Nantwich, CW5 7EP

Thursday 15 May 10:00-12:30 - Macclesfield High School, Park Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 8JR (If you have not yet registered for the workshop and wish to attend please email our Client Team (

Useful Links

PSN launch Publicity from Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council

Note that CoSocius is the new name for Cheshire Shared Services. The company will manage the PSN contract on behalf of both Councils.

Your Managed Internet Service

The current service provides schools with broadband internet services for curriculum and management purposes. PSN will replace and improve this broadband provision. The range of the service was discussed on several occasions during the workshop. We thought it would be helpful therefore to list the full scope as set out below.

Please note the scale of the products on offer is likely to be substantially wider than that available from other suppliers. If in doubt on any aspect of this service please feel free to contact us through our dedicated PSN email address, see bottom of this document for details. The service includes:

 Connectivity to the Internet  Domain name administration

 Fixed IP addresses for internally hosted systems

 A firewall which screens all inbound and outbound traffic. This protects academies' computers and servers from outside hackers, penetrations, system scans and unauthorised breaches

 Content filtering to prevent the access of inappropriate websites (smoothwall)  Schools can add website to block and unblock for their own school using Swurl  Usage monitoring and reporting through a variety of tools.

 Access to the telephony service featuring free telephone calls to most Council offices and all other Cheshire schools and academies that use the service, delivering real savings through free internal calls and cheaper local calls

 Access to the Councils’ Intranet  Access to Oracle (IBS)

 Access to Remote PC/Server Backup (RBUSS powered by Redstor)

 Access to the Corporate email service making communication easier and quicker  Access to Schools HR Services


 Access to the CoSocius Online Service Desk where you can log calls online 24/7. Q1. How does PSN fit in within the overall technical infrastructure?

PSN will replace and substantially improve the current Broadband infrastructure. It will also improve the overall security of the network, providing a future proof standard for collaboration with other local authorities and public bodies. An example of this would be a common and trusted security platform between Social Care agencies and a school.

Q2. When will the pricing structure for PSN be published?

Cosocius is working through the detail with both Councils to ensure the optimum price model for the benefit of all schools. It is anticipated that the final charging structure will be signed off by the Councils in May. We fully appreciate that this sign off is later than anticipated but please be assured we are very focussed on implementing pricing arrangements that are sustainable for all concerned.

Q3. How will PSN pricing be communicated to schools?

The pricing arrangements will be communicated by your Council through the normal communication channels using the SBSA and ChESS

Q4. If I am not on PSN can we still use secure websites such as S2S (SIMS) and DfE? Not being on PSN does not compromise your ability to connect to other websites. However, the link between each website may not be as secure as PSN. Q5. Will I need a new email addresses?

New email addresses are not required as a consequence of PSN implementation. Q6. Are there any changes to the responsibility for data security as a result of PSN?

Head Teachers will continue to be responsible and accountable as data controllers. Cosocius, as the Data processors will remain responsible for the security, control and compliance of the data. Q7. What is the position with Academies, will they be charged more?

Academies will not be treated differently to any other school.

Q8. What happens with schools that have children’s centres attached to them?

PSN is also being implemented for Children’s centres. There will be different standards applied at a corporate level (within other Council services). However, this will not in any way affect the service to schools.

Q9. How will PSN work where a School acts as a core site for other schools?

The current dependency on a core site will be removed. Each school will have a direct connection to the core network at the exchange level.

Q10. Will PSN replace the Managed Internet Service for schools?

PSN is a key component of the Managed Internet Service (see above) which also includes a range of other products delivered as a service “wrapper”.


All Schools will have the opportunity to purchase additional bandwidth at any time in excess of the standard 10MB (Primary Schools) 20MB (Secondary Schools) delivered through PSN. The additional bandwidth increments are controlled and competitive due to the way CoSocius have constructed the tender and contract for PSN.

Q12. How much notice will there be before work starts?

Each School will receive a call from the supplier who will provide at least one weeks’ notice. Q13. When are schools likely to receive phone calls?

The roll out programme begins in July with the full implementation due to finish March 2015. Q14. Is PSN just an internet connection?

PSN is effectively a “network of networks” which offers greater security and provides further opportunities for collaboration for all Public Sector organisations within the network.

Q15. Will Click into Cheshire still work if you are not on PSN?

Click into Cheshire will still work to allow you to access other services but may not appear as seamless to the end user as that offered through PSN.

Q16. Is Social Care part of the PSN upgrade? Yes, all Council services are being upgraded to PSN. Q17. Can upload speed be guaranteed?

Yes it is, as opposed to an “up to” service. So, for example, 10MB means 10MB, all the time. Q18. Is it contended? (I.E. do other users have access to the School line?)

There are a small number of Schools within Cheshire West & Chester that will have a contended connection. However, to put this into context the contention rate is 4:1 whereas a typical business service is, at best, 10:1 and a standard internet connection around 50:1. All other schools will have a dedicated line for their own use as opposed to the contended service provided at the moment. Q19 Is PSN just delivered through fibre broadband?

No, PSN is available through both copper and fibre. Note however that the Government initiative for superfast broadband (through fibre), managed through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), may offer further opportunities for service improvements and price efficiencies in the future.

Q20. What will happen to the Smoothwall filtering, will the change result in a bottle neck? Smoothwall will continue to exist without any deterioration in service

Q21. What does the Data Traffic Management software do?

This software, which is built into the new routers that will be installed at each site, will automatically prioritise certain categories of data e.g. voice and video to ensure appropriate quality of service is provided. There are six levels of configuration available. Voice and video are two of these levels, but there also four application levels.


There is a configuration for each business need. The data management becomes effective when the network is busy and provides optimum use of important applications.

Q22. Do we have to upgrade to PSN?

PSN is a UK Government initiative. Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester Councils, in association with ten other regional public sector organisations, have invested in this initiative to deliver significant benefits to all stakeholders.

Schools are not required to upgrade to PSN but if they choose to consider other suppliers instead it is highly recommended that they talk to CoSocius first (contact list at the bottom of this

document) to ensure they are able to make an informed decision before purchase (see also Q28) Q23. What is the contract term?

The initial PSN contract is for twelve months. Further work will be undertaken during 2014 to examine the options to offer extended contract lengths, including the use of discounts for longer term contracts.

Q24. What happens if fewer schools upgrade to PSN, now or in the future, will prices go up? The intention will always be to ensure the PSN price remains as competitive as possible compared to alternative suppliers. Further information will be made available when the pricing structure is finalised.

Q25. In terms of the upgrade are the engineers aware of school holidays?

The suppliers, Updata, are very familiar with the school holiday arrangements and will plan accordingly.

Q26. If we have to communicate securely does this mean we can’t ring the Firestation? PSN does not affect the ability to communicate with the emergency services.

Q27. Is it a single link or will there be a backup link into school?

PSN comprises a single link with an extremely high degree of resilience. A backup link can be installed if there is a need but this would need to be funded by the school.

Q28. Why is PSN going to be better than say, BT?

We believe CoSocius delivers an unrivalled offering, particularly on the range of products available through our Managed Internet Service (see page 1 for a summary). PSN will be the next step change in service delivery with, for example, uncontended service for the vast majority of schools (see Q18).

If Schools decide to look at other suppliers it is highly recommended that they ensure they compare services on a like for like basis to allow them to make an informed decision. More information can be provided by CoSocius using the contact details below.

Q29. Will data still be secure if not on PSN?

Secure internet sites e.g. Government agencies will still be secure. However, it is not possible to comment on the level of broadband security offered by other suppliers.


The PSN infrastructure offers scalable bandwidth up to 100MB for each School. Further bandwidth increments will be available for purchase from 100MB to 1000MB.

Q31. Do we get to look at the Data Traffic Management system?

We will look to deliver further workshops to support Schools in the ongoing use of the enhanced services delivered through PSN, including the DTM system.

Q32. Can we manage our own switches?

From a schools perspective the Local Area Network (LAN) can be managed by the school if this is done already or they choose to do so. However, the router on the school site (which connects the school to the Wide Area Network (WAN)) can only be managed by the supplier of the service.

PSN Contacts Anthony Penwright 01244 972761 PSN Project Lead Mike Lally 01244


Interim Business Relationship

Manager for Schools Alternatively email PSN enquiries -



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