DHSC to spend £5m on new portal to distribute PPE

Contract awarded to Mancunian web developer CTI Digital

Credit: Adobe Stock

The Department of Health and Social Care has awarded a £5m contract for the development and support of a new portal through which NHS bodies and other care providers can order personal protective equipment.

Such a portal was first set up by the DHSC in June 2020. It allows a range of health and care providers to order their free entitlement of PPE items including masks, visors, aprons, gloves, hand sanitiser, and gowns. Once eligible entities have received an email invite, they can then register with the site and begin ordering items for delivery.

Organisations that have been invited to use the portal include GP surgeries, dentists, care homes, special schools, pharmacies, optometrists, drug and alcohol services, and providers of home care.

The department now wishes to create what it dubs “Portal 2.0”, and has picked CTI Digital to support the development and maintenance of the service. The Manchester-based digital marketing and web development firm has been awarded a two-year contract that commenced yesterday and is expected to be worth about £5m.

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The company will be asked to lead the creation of a platform that delivers “increased strategic and operational policy flexibility compared to current systems”. The new portal should also offer “capacity for onboarding multiple sellers/vendors to operate efficiently on the platform”, the contract said.

The document added that government wants to introduce a system that has the “capacity to expand and adapt to further product categories… beyond PPE”.

The portal should ensure the “reliable, accurate and efficient flow of orders data from the platform to the various logistics providers [and] sellers on the platform”. The contract stipulated that the DHSC will need the ability to “access and administrate” the system – as will national NHS bodies and other government departments.

Specified targets that CTI will be expected to deliver including 99.9% uptime during weekdays between 8am and 8pm, and the same proportion of attempted orders successfully completed.

The company can provide its services remotely or onsite at the DHSC’s offices in Elephant and Castle in south London, according to the contract.

The deal was awarded to via the G-Cloud 12 framework.


Sam Trendall

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