Government Covid guidance body brings in Accenture for ‘data science support’

Written by Sam Trendall on 5 March 2021 in News
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Consultancy awarded £500,000 deal

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The government’s coronavirus response analysis unit has brought in Accenture on a six-figure short-term contract to provide support with data-science activities.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre, formed by the government last May to inform decision making in the pandemic response, signed a four-month deal with the consultancy firm on 3 December, newly published procurement information reveals.

The deal was worth £550,520 and was due to expire yesterday.

According to the contract, Accenture – and two small data consultancy subsidiaries, Mudano and Altius – will assist JBC with the “design and build of a robust data architecture and analysis platform”. The company will also furnish the coronavirus-analysis unit with “the best data scientists and engineers”, as well as offering “support from embedded teams and individuals”.


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Details of the number of billable days to be provided by Accenture, or a breakdown of costs for various roles, are not provided.

The JBC’s GOV.UK website describes the organisation’s work as “an integral part of the NHS Test and Trace service”.

“The JBC brings together data science, assessment and public health expertise to provide analysis and insight on the status of the Covid-19 epidemic in the UK and the drivers and risk factors of transmission,” it added. “This insight supports decision-makers at a local and national level to take effective action to break the chains of transmission, and in turn, protect the public.”

Accenture has previously worked with the Test and Trace programme supporting work including the development of the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app. A major commercial provider for government, it is one of 38 firms whose relationship is managed on a cross-departmental basis by a named Crown representative.

Test and Trace head Dido Harding recently claimed that, after extensive - and often controversial - use of outsourcers, the programme would now be "scaling down" its use of consultants.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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