Leeds moves towards Shared City Platform

Deal with ANS for hybrid cloud solution marks step towards shared infrastructure for council and local NHS organisations

The City Shared team for Leeds has taken a major step towards the creation of its Shared City Platform with the award of a contract for its design to Manchester based company ANS Group.

They have agreed on a contract worth £141,900 with the option for the council to buy more goods and services at an agreed schedule of rates.

Leeds Town HallIt provides the foundations of a shared server and storage infrastructure to support the joint working of the city’s public services, and provides scope for third sector organisations to take advantage of the platform.

The City Shared team, which is hosted by Leeds City Council but also works for the local clinical commissioning groups, hospital trusts and mental health trust, has signed ANS to provide the new capability.

It will take the form of a cloud/on-premise hybrid and is being designed to match the requirements of the council and local NHS organisations. A complete cloud solution is not feasible as some NHS data has to be kept on-premise.

Late spring date

The platform is scheduled to become operational in the late spring when the first organisations begin to use it. Others will join as their existing contracts expire.

The council outlined its aim last year, pointing to the need for an infrastructure built on common components and standards to replace its existing core infrastructure, which is approaching the end of its lifecycle.

It will include hardware, software and associated business services that all the relevant organisations could tap into, with the city council taking responsibility for its management.

Dylan Roberts, chief digital and information officer for the council, told UKAuthority the move comes as one of a number of major investments and work programmes required especially for the health and care sectors in the city.

“This work helps to further enhance the capabilities of health and care staff across Leeds to securely collaborate and work in a more effective way around the needs of people, and is alongside other joint programmes of work such as the Leeds Care Record, Person Held Record and combined Office of Data Analytics for Health and Care,” he said.

Microsoft upgrades

It includes an upgrade of the entire estate to Windows 10, the roll out of Microsoft Skype for collaboration and telephony, and the replacement of hundreds of old PCs and laptops. There will also be investments in cyber security.

“The intention is that this work will be done based on the collective requirements of the NHS, third sector and the local authority,” Roberts said.

He added that once the platform is in place it is possible that ANS could run elements of it, but this is yet to be determined.

The move reflects the position of Leeds City Council and the local NHS as leaders in promoting the joint working of different parts of the public sector. There has been a strong focus on the integration of health and social care, with the creation of the Leeds Care Record in 2018 and the Person Held Record for self-support last year.

Image: Leeds Town Hall by Andrew Roberts, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0