The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has pushed back the deadline for bids for a replacement framework for the Public Services Network (PSN) by a week.
Suppliers hoping to gain places on the new ‘Network Services’ agreement will now need to submit tenders by Thursday 11 December instead of Thursday 4 December.
The delay was requested by industry rather than the government, according to supplier association PSNGB.
PSN aims to create a single ICT infrastructure for all UK public sector organisations.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) is in charge of the everyday operation of the scheme, with another Cabinet Office unit, CCS, running procurement.
The government hopes it will help to reduce the £2.5 billion the public sector spends on telecoms every year and enable more efficient, joined-up public services.
‘Network Services’ will be open to the entire public sector and is valued at between £100 million to £2 billion. The agreement is expected to launch in March 2015 and run for up to four years.
The framework will have four lots covering services for data access, local connectivity, traditional telephony, inbound telephony, IP telephony solutions, mobile voice and data, paging, video conferencing, audio conferencing and integrated communications.
PSNGB director Neil Mellor welcomed the extension and said that he hoped it would help to make the PSN marketplace stronger and more competitive. He added CCS had handled a large number of queries from suppliers.
Mellor said PSNGB was “encouraged by the way that the new Network Services framework has been managed to date”.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We have had a very high level of interest in the Network Services OJEU from the market.
“This is an important and complex area and we have extended the deadline to give suppliers sufficient time to respond to ensure that the resulting agreement meets the needs of the public sector while also delivering best value for the taxpayer.”
It is currently unclear if the extension will lead to a delay to plans to launch the framework in March 2015.