Oldham Council deploy Open Source software to deliver low cost services to schools

The Unity Partnership ICT department, working on behalf of Oldham Council has migrated infrastructure delivering Internet connectivity to all schools in the borough to Open Source software to lower costs and improve operational performance.

Sirius Corporation, the European Open Source services group, has been selected by Agilisys, Unity Partnership’s ICT Service Provider, to assist in the development of a high speed web delivery and filtering solution for Oldham's schools. The new system will filter Internet content delivered to Oldham's 112 primary and secondary schools through a 56Mbs connection.

Sirius was selected by Unity Partnership because it has a successful track record working on similar projects for Carmarthenshire County Council and the Yorkshire & Humberside Grid for Learning.

Unity Partnership became interested in Open Source software when investigation proved that it could be combined with existing branded software to deliver a faster, cheaper and more scalable solution to their client.

In this case, the Open Source web proxy Squid, MySQL and Linux have been used in combination with Websense, a market-leading web filtering technology, to protect Oldham's school children from accessing inappropriate content on the Internet.

David Honeywell, Programme Manager, Unity Partnership said: “We like MySQL because it's free and simple to use if you have a background in Microsoft databases. Squid is also the basis of large web-filtering solutions deployed to schools elsewhere in the UK.

“Sirius has the experience to advise us on how to deliver better services to our clients using Open Source software and we believe that the combined efforts of our organisations have generated an innovative, robust and cost effective solution for schools in the Borough.”

Mark Taylor, CEO, Sirius Corporation said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Unity Partnership. They are one of a growing number of ICT service providers who are working with Open Source software to deliver better value in ICT procurement.

“Despite the lack of political will within central government, more and more local councils are using Open Source software because it costs less and reduces the risks associated with technology lock-in.”

About Oldham Council

Oldham Borough Metropolitan Council is a modernising and forward-thinking local authority located seven miles north-east of Manchester. The Council provides a wide range of services to the borough’s 219,000 residents including education, social services care, highways and transportation management and arts and culture provision. For additional information about Oldham Council, visit www.oldham.gov.uk or call +44 161 770 3514.

About Unity Partnership

Unity Partnership is an innovative new joint venture partnership between Oldham Council and Mouchel, with ICT services provided by subcontractor Agilisys. The company has a 12-year contract to deliver Customer and Exchequer, ICT, Highways and Engineering and Property services to the Council. Unity Partnership shares and supports the council’s Community Strategy and is committed to helping to make Oldham a place where everyone is proud to belong. For more information visit www.unitypartnership.com.

About Sirius Corporation

Sirius Corporation plc is a leading European IT services group specialising in enterprise-ready Open Source software including databases, email systems, file & print, directory services, and cross-platform authentication. Clients include start-ups, blue-chip multi-nationals and public sector organisations.