Epiq to fulfil two-year engagement
Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images
The government has signed a multimillion-pound contract for secure storage and analytics services for documents related to the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
The inquiry, which was launched in the days following the fire in 2017, is now into its second phase. Evidence will continue to be heard for some time, and final concluding reports are not expected until sometime next year.
Evidential documents provided to or produced by the inquiry will be stored using a software platform provided by legal services firm Epiq, which has been awarded a two-year contract.
Newly published procurement documents reveal that the company entered into the engagement with the Cabinet Office on 11 March. The deal is worth £6.25m.
Services provided by Epiq will include production, hosting, duplication, transfer and destruction of documents, as well as redaction and search services.
The storage environment should allow access to reviewers, who should also be able to perform analytics tasks.
“Advanced analytical options are available which search through data sets and group documents according to concepts based on the full text content,” the contract said. “This provides users with powerful features to assist with grouping documents on cases with very large document volumes. Services include: advanced searching and analysis; email threading; near duplicate analysis; data visualisation; [and] technology assisted review.”
In addition to software platforms, Epiq will also be expected to deliver the “provision of any hardware to support above cloud software services”.
Once the contract has concluded in 2023, the supplier will be expected to ensure the information is deleted, where appropriate, or otherwise transferred to a location where it can be stored by the government in perpetuity.
“All data [will be] extracted from the software and either transferred to… The National Archives, returned to the client or securely deleted, according to the client’s preference,” the contract said. “No additional costs are incurred by the client.”