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The Civil Contingencies Secretariat and Communities and Local Government are developing a National Resilience Extranet.

They have signed a contract with BT to provide the service, which will enable the secure exchange of information in response to civil emergencies such as floods and outbreaks of agricultural diseases.

The service will be available to approved user organisations, expected to number more than 1,000, on a subscription basis. The core collaborative working and information sharing package, branded as Collaborate, will be available at a rate of £85 per user for the first year. The Cabinet Office said charges in following years will be in line with inflation.

The National Resilience Extranet (NRE) will be a browser-based collaborative working tool with optional emergency information management and geographical information systems capabilities. BT said it will be used by government departments and agencies, category one and two responders such as utility companies and emergency services, and other key organisations.

Ultra Electronics Datel, a group of companies in defence, security and aerospace systems, will work with BT to develop the NRE for launch late next year. The two companies will host the service while the CCS will provide the content.

The award of the contract follows a consultation between the Communities and Local Government department and the Cabinet Office, the parent department of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, in the aftermath of incidents including the 2007 floods and the foot and mouth outbreak.

Bruce Mann, head of the CCS, said: "The extranet will help the resilience community to plan for and manage emergencies in a more joined up and consistent way."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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