DHSC taps data firm to monitor threats to vaccine supply chain

Written by Sam Trendall on 27 January 2022 in News
News

Subsidiary of media heavyweight Thomson Reuters awarded £400k deal

Credit: Torsten Simon/Pixabay

The Department of Health and Social Care has signed a £400,000 deal for the provision of software and services intended to help government track potential threats to the supply chain of coronavirus vaccines.

The deal with TRSS International – part of media conglomerate Thomson Reuters – came into effect on Monday. 

Recently released commercial documents are short on detail, but the contract indicates that the DHSC was seeking a commercial partner to “assist with the understanding and monitoring of threats to the supply chain of Covid-19 vaccines in the UK”. 

The company’s service listing on the government’s Digital Marketplace catalogue states that – for £5,000 per licence, per year – TRSSI delivers a “media monitoring analytics platform… to detect emerging risk, trends, and threats”.

The tool aims to provide customers with insights gained from analysis of more than “12,000 global news sources” and also offers access to “global sanctions lists”, according to the listing. The technology uses “AI and machine-learning models” including “natural language processing [that] identifies and contextualises entities, relationships, and events”.


Related content


Users can customise the algorithms and searches that underpin the service with their own “taxonomy [that is] specific to each mission” and, once a match to any of the specified terms is detected, an alert will be issued.

“[The service] processes millions of documents to draw insight from our vast volumes of content, making analysis faster, more accurate, and efficient,” the listing added.

In response to a request form PublicTechnology for comment and information, the DHSC indicated that it works with a “range of partners in healthcare and law enforcement to identify and mitigate security and resilience risks” faced by the vaccination programme. 

TRSSI will “provide software support to assist with the understanding and monitoring of threats”, it added.

The DHSC has previously taken steps to protect the supply chain for coronavirus vaccines and mitigate against some of the major potential risks faced.

In January 2021, a few weeks into the rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme, the department identified “2,000 people working in roles crucial to the continuity of the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain” who were prioritised to receive their jabs as soon as possible. Those eligible for the early-vaccination programme included scientists from manufacturers Pfizer and AstraZeneca, as well as workers at manufacturing and processing plants.

In July 2020 – months before any vaccine was approved for use – TRSSI a report examining the risks posed by the pandemic to the pharmaceutical supply chain in the US.

“The Covid-19 crisis underscores the importance of resiliency and diversity in global supply networks,” the report said. “The scope and scale of challenges for supplies of both active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage means disruptive influences [are] likely to affect the pharmaceutical industry through at least 2021, with 95% of companies experiencing or preparing for disruptions due to Covid-19.”

The firm’s deal with the DHSC runs for an initial term of 12 months, plus an optional extension of a further year.

The £390,000 annual cost of the contract equates to 78 licences of the TRSSI software.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Home Office and BEIS first departments under the microscope in pilots of new independent cyber audits
16 January 2023

External supplier brought in to run the rule over government systems as rollout begins of ‘GovAssure’ programme

EXCL: HMRC reviews contact-centre resilience after ‘multiple service incidents’
13 January 2023

Assessment was commenced shortly after five days of outages – but identified ‘no immediate concern’, according to supplier

Home Office signs £40m deal to support data and analytics
9 January 2023

Department looks to enhance use of data products

Government plans to expand departments’ powers to share personal data to support One Login
5 January 2023

Proposals will allow for more information – potentially including highly sensitive special-category data – to be processed in identity-verification