Home Office to seek £250m data and analytics partner

Department’s data unit has various major deals in place, which it plans to replace with a single engagement with a ‘prime contractor’ that can provide a pipeline to specialist SMEs

The Home Office is planning to create a £250m contract for a supplier to serve as its core partner for data and analytics services in the coming years, including offering access to wider supply chain of specialised SMEs.

The department’s Data Services and Analytics (DSA) team “currently has several major contracts” in place with commercial providers. But, according to a freshly published early-engagement notice, the unit plans to replace these with a broad agreement with a “single prime delivery partner and supporting supply chain – that will include SMEs”.

Services offered via the new overarching engagement will include the provision of additional staff to the Home Office “on a resource-augmentation basis”. The deal is also intended to cover the delivery of “outcome-based pieces of work” over a contract that is expected to come into effect in April 2025 for an initial term of four years – plus a potential 12-month extension.

“Whilst the majority of roles… will be data and analytics related, in order to deliver outcomes, there will be provision for non-data roles [such as] delivery, architecture, [and] user-centred design,” the engagement notice says. “In addition, to provide data-related professionals, DSA are looking to the new contract to optimise the end-to-end data pipeline: acquiring data sources, loading them, mapping – generally to person, object, location, event [POLE] model – matching [and] enriching… The [supplier] will take accountability for end-to-end delivery but it is planned that specialist suppliers and SMEs will take responsibility for pipeline components, and deliver in alignment with the Home Office DDaT (digital, data and technology) strategy.”

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The DSA unit also intends that the new supplier engagement will help “to improve performance, metrics and transparency, improve pipeline quality, ensure consistent availability of appropriately skilled professionals, and gain access to specialist SME capability”.

Moreover, the data team hopes that the engagement will support plans to “to increase leverage of native cloud services and enterprise capabilities to expedite delivery, making use of recent developments in analytical techniques [such as] machine learning and AI to automate manual data pipeline processes and build trusted, secure data services”.

The Home Office will seek input from potential suppliers over the next few months, including at a dedicated engagement event hosted with techUK on 8 July. The department expects to launch a formal procurement exercise in September.

In the meantime, DSA will likely take up contract extension options with its existing suppliers, in order “to allow a gradual transition during 2025” as services are migrated from incumbent deals to the new prime contractor agreement.

Sam Trendall

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