Government looks to turn Covid data platform into public ‘multi-threat dashboard’ for future health emergencies

The pandemic ‘demonstrated benefits’ of keeping citizens informed

Credit: Tung Nguyen/Pixabay

The government has begun work to create a permanent “multi-threat dashboard” that could keep the public informed about future health emergencies.

The platform will build on and incorporate components from the Covid-19 dashboard that was first launched in April 2020, during the initial weeks of the coronavirus crisis.

Following the completion of a lessons-learned exercise, the UK Health Security Agency has “identified opportunity to provide this facility in a more strategic mode, with full reuse of components, and for any health threat which might emerge”.

Newly published commercial documents reveal that government’s public-health agency entered into a short-term contract on 10 February for the delivery of the alpha stage of the project – which follows the research-focused discovery phase marks the start of the initial stages of development work. The deal, awarded to Leeds-based transformation consultancy Burendo, is valued at £300,000 and runs until the end of March.

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By that point, UKHSA intends to have completed “alpha stage of development on a multi-threat dashboard, which can not only perform all the [existing] functions, but also take over from the existing Covid-19 dashboard in the future, providing the same functionality at a lower cost”.

The contract-award notice added: “The Covid-19 Dashboard was a critical part of the response to the pandemic, demonstrating benefits of providing a service to the public on an ongoing basis.”

If the project continues beyond the alpha phase, the next stage is beta – during which a full service is built and launched first for private testing, and then publicly.

The Covid dashboard – which is still running on GOV.UK – provides a wide range data sets and interactive maps and charts, including information on cases, hospitalitations, deaths, tests and vaccinations. Data can be broken down by a wide range of metrics, including dates and demographics.

Sam Trendall

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