‘Seamless journey for customers’ – DWP signs £1.4m deal to progress data-categorisation platform

The Department for Work and Pensions has signed a contract lasting two years and covering the delivery of the beta phase of the Reference Data Service, which helps categorise information

The Department for Work and Pensions has signed a £1m-plus deal to develop a platform to help categorise huge amounts of data and, ultimately, “provide a seamless journey” for users of online services.

The Reference Data Service – the creation of which forms part of a wider upgrade to the department’s data architecture – is a tool used to enable standardised definitions of data by various terms of reference. It supports the likes of drop-down menus for those reporting, sharing or accessing data sets. The service is used to assist with data operations across the department’s operations, including digital services and payments in the work and health areas, as well as supporting policymaking.

Last month, the DWP signed an agreement with IT services firm Cognizant to support the delivery of the beta phase of the Reference Data Service (RDS). According to the text of the contract, the company will provide “guidance and implementation of the deployment of RDS”. This will involve assessing and then developing processes and user journeys, and then helping “users to on-board to RDS, including configuration and quality checks of data sets”.

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The contract will require the supplier to “engage with current users and monitor system usage”, as well delivering the “creation and maintenance of up-to-date documentation and user-training documents”. Cognizant is also contracted to “maintain and refresh [the] product roadmap”, configure and “on-board new data sets in line with [DWP] interest” and with a focus on the department’s wider reference architecture – which has been created to support more reuse and sharing of information and tools.

“RDS… is a component of the application reference architecture (ARA),” the contract says. “The ARA is a collection of reusable ‘micro services; handling citizen information which are connected via events and APIs to provide a seamless journey for DWP’s Customers.”

The deal with Cognizant will be worth £1.1m – plus a potential additional £300,000 if the DWP takes up an optional six-month extension.

Sam Trendall

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