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Newcastle City Council has set up a service organisation to run the provision of IT for some of its schools.

It has signed a contract with Dell to support the delivery of an IT managed service for the Building Schools for the Future programme.

A spokesperson for the company told Government Computing News that the council would place the management of the service in the hands of the new organisations, Newcastle City Service, rather than keeping it inhouse.

"It's a big deal in that it is one of the first councils to go through with it," the spokesperson said. ""It's unique in that it has set up an independent company to run the programme. It will work aligned with Dell."

The Building Schools for the Future programme to improve school buildings and provide IT facilities. Newcastle's programme currently covers 16 schools in the city.

Newcastle City Service is aiming to complete detailed planning and preparation by November 2006 and establish the managed service by March 2007. Implementation of the new IT infrastructure will begin in January 2007 with a target completion of March 2009.

As the strategic partner, Dell will help to design the IT infrastructure and provide support, with Newcastle City Council providing the overall managed service. The deal will provide one PC to every three pupils, interactive whiteboards in each teaching area, and a notebook for every teacher, plus a storage area network and a wide area network.

Lorraine Dixon, Newcastle's client services manager ICT, said the deal would improve overall accessibility to IT in the schools, and support increases in productivity.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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