DWP to move Universal Credit data-analytics platform to AWS cloud in £2.5m deal

Written by Sam Trendall on 10 May 2021 in News

Department to move system for analysing Universal Credit information to public cloud

Credit: Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

The Department for Work and Pensions has awarded a £2.5m deal to move a major data-analytics platform into an Amazon Web Services public cloud.

The DataWorks platform, a department-wide infrastructure built in 2017 to support analysis of primarily Universal Credit data, is currently run from a Crown Hosting Data Centres environment. Newly published procurement documents reveal that, on 1 April, the DWP began a project to move services and data to AWS. 

Migration work will be supported by digital transformation specialist Credera – recently rebranded from DMW Group – which was awarded a £2.56m one-year contract. Six other firms are listed as subcontractors: Infinity Works Consulting; Setient; SVU Technologies; Cloudifie; Grapes Business Solutions; and Jahgo Cloud Services.

The suppliers’ first task will be “data ingest, egress and storage”, according to the contract. This will involve working to “ensure reliable ingest of data” from the Universal Credit service into DataWorks. This will be done via the Kafka software tool. Also part of the first tranche of work will be ensuring the efficacy of data transfers from DataWorks to other systems and locations – such as the DWP’s data warehouse. 

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The first thing slated to move to AWS is data related to testing processes for data issues and corruption.

Thereafter, the second phase of work – “platform build” – will begin.

This stage will see Crederea and its partners asked to “deliver a platform that meets or exceeds the current Crown-hosted live service platform in terms of its performance, flexibility, functional and non-functional capabilities, and delivery of data to existing SLAs”.

The platform must also be “built to a secure, extensible and loosely coupled architecture that enables components to be added, changed or removed, to keep pace with expected emerging product development, without major rework and to meet DWP-defined scenarios”.

DWP will further require suppliers to implement monitoring, alert, and audit systems, as well as disaster-recovery plans.

Once the platform is up and running, work will then begin on migrating DataWorks reporting and analysis tools into an AWS environment. This will be accompanied and followed by “change management” programmes designed to ensure a “smooth transition of users to the new platform”.

As well as ongoing technical support, suppliers will also be asked to provide “knowledge transfer” services, to allow DWP staff to take over management of services after the conclusion of the contract.

The plan is to wrap up all this work by the end of July, although timelines and objectives will be revisited in fortnightly planning meetings between the department and suppliers.

“This may result in some deliverables above being descoped or others brought into scope,” the contract said. “Given this is an agile delivery, no formal change documentation will be issued.”

The deal also provides for suppliers to support work on potential new features for DataWorks. These will be “based on a backlog of stories defined by DWP”.

The migration contract took effect the day after another £1.18m deal with Credera which ran from 8 December. 

As part of this contract, the tech firm was tasked with supporting the implementation of systems that would manage requests for Universal Credit data, and APIs to provide the data in question to people both within and without the department. The deal also covered the creation of tools to allow for data to be taken in from new sources, as well as work to make UC data “UC data more available, interoperable and stable”.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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