UK.gov finds billions in cash for big data contracts
Project two years in the making aims to improve public services... or what's left of them
It's pork barrel time again. The UK government has named a slew of tech organizations that made it onto a £2 billion framework agreement that allows them to compete for big data and analytics public sector contracts.
The Cabinet Office-run Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which sets up procurement on behalf of government ministries and other public sector organizations, ran the process and awarded contracts to many of the usual suspects and some lesser known entities (see box).
According to the contract award notice, the government sees big data and analytics as an emerging and evolving capability, "with its prominence heightened by COVID."
It claims the technology is "fast becoming recognised as business critical and a core business function, with many government departments now including chief data officers."
The notice says the procurement is required in part to support the National Data Strategy, a set of proposals for post-Brexit legislation which include changes to the remit of the Information Commissioners Office, the data privacy watchdog.
The procurement notice said the contracted suppliers, which are set to vie for business on framework, could help with the implementation of the government's "missions to reinforce the requirement to access and interrogate Government data more effectively to improve public services."
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The government has taken more than a year to select the winning suppliers. It first announced plans to create the framework deal — a means of offering suppliers an indicative spending figure in exchange for structured pricing and preparedness for the work — in September last year, with a contract notice launching the competition following in November.
The framework is divided into two lots. The first looks for suppliers to design, build, and run professional services; the second is for commercial off-the-shelf software.
Launched in December 2020 by minister Oliver Dowden, the National Data Strategy talks of a "pro-growth and trusted data regime" that can transform the government's use of data and drive efficiency and so on.
"Data is a non-depletable resource in theory, but its use is limited by barriers to its access – such as when data is hoarded, when access rights are unclear or when organisations do not make good use of the data they already have. These barriers undermine the performance of public services and our economy, risking poorer outcomes for citizens. We will ensure that data can be leveraged to deliver new and innovative services, promote stronger competition, and better prices and choice for consumers and small businesses," promised Dowden at the launch of the consultation. ®
Lot 1: Accenture, Agilisys, Aker Systems, Amey Owr, Atkins, Atos IT Services, BAE Systems, Bramble Hub, CACI, Capgemini, Civica, Equal Experts, Faculty Science, Fujitsu Services, GGMR, IBM, Informed Solutions, Kainos, Leidos Innovations, Made Tech, Mastek, Methods Business and Digital Technology, NTT Data, PwC, Squarcle, Thoughtworks, Version 1
Lot 2: Accenture, Agile Solutions, Aiimi, Atos IT Services, Basis Technology, Bulien, CACI, CDW, Civica, Cloudera, Dataiku, Excession, Faculty Science, Google Cloud, Hitachi Solutions, Kin and Carta, Lifebit, Methods Business and Digital Technology, Metricell, Microlink, Palantir, Quantexa, Softcat, Specialist Computer Centres