In February 2010 the McClelland Review found that the Scottish public sector was lagging behind in its use of ICT and recommended an overarching national ICT strategy. In response, the Scottish Government published 'Scotland's Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services' in 2012 – with SWAN being one of the first major initiatives to be launched by Scottish Ministers in support of this new national digital public services strategy.
In 2014, Capita – together with Updata, part of Capita – was awarded the contract to build and run SWAN.
In the first 12 months after the contract was signed, over 2,800 sites were connected and a core network and operations centre constructed. Now, in 2017, Capita is currently working to reach 7,500 sites – delivering connections across the mainland and islands to some of the most geographically challenging areas in Scotland.
The resulting network offers better connectivity, better performance and faster speeds as well as delivering value for money for the Scottish taxpayer, as detailed in the £30m savings stated in the Scottish Government’s recently refreshed digital strategy. The outcomes for Scotland mean public bodies are more easily able to communicate with each other, share services and better serve Scottish citizens.
Key clients of SWAN include central Government departments, including the Scottish Government, Scottish Qualification Agency, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, all 22 boards across NHS Scotland as well as 50 per cent of local authorities.
SWAN allows all its customers to benefit from economies of scale as well as increasing productivity and collaboration, acting as the gateway for N3, the Internet and Janet networks. With local authorities now realising significant benefits from utilisation of the SWAN Public Services Network (PSN) gateway, the focus is now on trialling the secure email service and helping innovative members to make best use of the shared areas of SWAN to collaborate and drive interagency working.
SWAN offers a wide range of connectivity options and a portfolio of shared and Value Added Services (VAS). Recent developments in the VAS area include:
- The Managed LAN service portfolio including LAN, WIFI, security and cabling
- Hosted Voice
- SIP Trunk services (a version of VOIP, specifically designed to make and deliver phone calls)
- Small site WIFI
- A range of delivery services
- Different performance characteristics and technology-based SLA.
SWAN is also helping to unify network assurance – by applying a common standard of data assurance, it simplifies public sector interaction and ensures greater security for data transmitted internally and externally.