After 13 more London boroughs joined the network, SC3P and Egress decided it was time for the project to go national with a new name: the Trust Network.
“It’s been exciting… now there’s a lot more authorities using it outside London, which means more licensed users on the network,” says Simpson.
According to Egress CEO Tony Pepper, the initiative’s success is largely down to the vision and drive of the Camden team.
“They provided the framework, but now Wales is on board, Scotland is interested, and then immediately outside of London, Surrey’s licensed their entire council of over 8,500 users.
Guildford’s done the same. And it’s all because of the work Camden did leading the broad London network.”
Jackson describes the spread of the Trust Network as being “like the early days of Facebook; when everyone realised it was there and it just… took off”.
The Trust Network’s success contrasts with the rather more sedate progress being made by the government’s Public Services Network (PSN).
“The PSN has nowhere near the take-up,” says Jackson. “I don’t want to ‘diss’ the central government initiative, but in a sense what is happening is we’ve seen a speed [with Switch] of execution and scale.”
“This contrasts with some of the big suppliers in local government, who won’t move without a purchase order or change a line of code without a £25,000 development fee, which is quite typical in some cases for even minor changes,” adds Simpson.
”Working with Egress, which is smaller and agile, [has allowed us] to come up with good ideas for tweaking the product. They’ve just been very responsive. There’s been no mention, at any stage, of money,” she concludes.
Jackson says the project has caused him to see the cloud in a new light.
“I’m slightly cynical about the hype around cloud,” he says. “I always think it’s just another word for outsourcing really, but I think what’s interesting with Egress is it’s delivering what I’d call the true cloud – a capability we can plug into existing infrastructures and make it work correctly.
“Just a drop down bar in our email system, and – bam – it’s gone. So it’s bringing cloud capability in without having to move your entire hosting environment to, say, Capgemini. It really is flexible and does what it says on the tin.”
Over the next 12-18 months, Pepper hopes to see “every single local authority in England, Scotland and Wales using the product to share with third parties”.