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Microsoft to Provide UK ID Infrastructure?

‘World’s First Large-Scale Use of Information Cards in the Public Sector’[1]

Eduserv to Streamline Access and Identity Management

Future Plans to Provide All Councils and Residents with Information Cards

Bath, 17th April 2008 – Eduserv, the not-for-profit IT services group, today announces the launch of a pioneering project to enable ten local authorities[2] to easily and securely access confidential information using Microsoft Windows CardSpace information cards.

Ten local authorities across the UK are part of a pioneering pilot to share confidential information more securely. Instead of discs or login systems, they will be using Microsoft CardSpace online IDs to access sensitive documents. Eduserv (a not-for-profit organisation whose Athens access and identity management system is used by 98% of UK universities to access different online learning resources), will provide the local authorities with online IDs and manage the authentication system.

A few key points:

Recent security breaches in the public sector have highlighted the need to enhance IT security in the public sector: BBC just revealed that 13 local authorities in London alone have lost or misplaced confidential data in the last year
Using online IDs - or information cards - makes it easier for local authorities to share information in a secure manner
The local authorities use their online IDs to share internal documents relating to the Shared Learning Group that collaborates on innovative IT solutions in line with the Transformational Government strategy
There are plans to extend the project, providing all employees, residents and businesses their own online IDs. This will enable people to deal more easily and securely with their local authority, and to use their information cards for other web-services as well, e.g. online banking and shopping.

So Microsoft is securing the UK's ID? 


The rest of the release and of course the connection to Microsoft.

Geoff Connell, CIO, London Borough of Newham and Chairman of the Shared Learning Group, comments: “To our knowledge, this is the world’s first information card implementation in the public sector.  However, recent security breaches have highlighted the need to enhance IT security in governmental organisations. Using information cards makes it easier for the group to share information in a secure manner. In addition to extra security, Eduserv’s technology saves us valuable time and administrative resources.”

Ed Zedlewski, CIO and deputy CEO of Eduserv, says: “Local authorities hold ever increasing volumes of electronic data, which need to be accessed in a timely and secure manner. Eduserv‘s expertise in integrating technologies and in service delivery has demonstrated that combining information cards with OpenAthens can deliver the efficiencies that allow organisations to safely collaborate and share important information. Combining these technologies will provide a convenient way for users to manage their online identity in their own environment, enabling the individual to control where they store and how they release the credentials by which they are recognised.”

Geoff Connell adds: “We decided to work with Eduserv on this pioneering project because of the organisation’s expertise in creating and managing large scale AIM solutions. Over 4 million students and researchers in UK colleges and universities, the NHS and organisations worldwide use Athens and OpenAthens, Eduserv’s AIM systems, to access online information resources. The goal of the Shared Learning Group is to help UK local authorities to improve the efficiency and security of their AIM processes – we’re confident that with Eduserv we’ll achieve this.”

In addition to access and identity management, the Shared Learning Group focuses on employee productivity, flexible and collaborative working, business integration, child protection solutions, performance management, and maximising ICT support for council members.



[1] Geoff Connell, CIO, London Borough of Newham
[2] London Borough of Newham, London Borough of Bromley, Derby City Council, the Isle of Man, Kent County Council, London Borough of Lewisham, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Sunderland City Council, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and Warwick District Council


Notes to Editors
About Eduserv

Eduserv is a not-for-profit, professional IT services group with the mission to realise the benefits of IT for learners, researchers and the institutions that serve them. Eduserv achieves its charitable mission through the provision of sustainable services and funding research and development. Services include:

Secure access to online resources (Athens and OpenAthens)
Licence Negotiation & Management – (Chest)
Managed web hosting
Content management (CMS) and web development.
Trading surpluses are used to support work across the education sector.

For more information about Eduserv please visit or contact:

Katy Askew / Kersti Klami Racepoint Group, formerly Fuse PR
Email: katy.askew [at] / kersti.klami [at]


 Eduserv-Microsoft Deal

Non-profit group gets discount on educational licensing despite Becta's battle with the software giant.

Universities and colleges are set to benefit from cheaper prices on Microsoft products following an agreement with non-profit IT services group Eduserv.

Previously, Microsoft offered price discounts to educational institutions with more than 3,000 staff - so about 20 across the UK. The new three-year agreement means as many as 650 higher and further educations can enrol in the Microsoft Campus pricing scheme.

"This has combined the demand in universities and colleges, the smaller institutions, in such a way that everybody gets the best discount," said Peter Walker, Eduserv's marketing director. "There's no precommitment of spend or other such mechanism."

The Microsoft Campus scheme offers a savings of about seven per cent for Desktop Campus, Office, CoreCAL, EnterpriseCAL and Windows Upgrade licences, according to Eduserv.

The exact savings depend on the reseller and setup the institution chooses, but Eduserv believed the deal could save higher education (HE) schools some £1 million in licensing fees over the three years of the agreement.

Stephen Butcher, chief executive of Eduserv, said: "Aggregating demand for Microsoft products through this agreement will result in a saving of £1m for HE institutions alone."

Ian Cook, operations manager at Manchester Metropolitan University, added: "The new agreement will provide immediate financial benefit for those institutions who have less than 3,000 staff. In the case of my own institution, we'll have considerable savings that can be re-invested elsewhere."

Prices and services offered by the eight resellers will be comparable via the Eduserv website.

As part of the agreement, Microsoft and Eduserv are setting up a portal, to bring together educational customers of the software giant. "Microsoft will get a strong feedback of what they're doing well or not so well," Walker said.

Last month, Becta, the government body for education and IT, referred Microsoft to the Office for Fair Trading (OFT), citing concerns with interoperability and anti-competitiveness with school software licensing.

"Becta's position is a strategic one," said Walker. "As a government department, they are rightfully taking the lead on open standards."

Eduserv must be more pragmatic, he said. "But universities and colleges need to carry on with products they've already got. Ours is a pragmatic approach to help deliver value today."


Very pragmatic indeed. 




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