UKHSA signs £16m deal with IBM for Test and Trace cloud
Vendor will support delivery of new system to house pandemic data as well as other information sources
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The UK Health Security Agency has signed a £16m deal with IBM to support the delivery of an in-house cloud platform in which to store data from the NHS Test and Trace programme.
The Enterprise Data and Analytics Platform (EDAP) will replace the Environment for Data Gathering and Engineering – known as EDGE – which was developed in 2020 by BAE Systems to support the nascent Test and Trace operation. During the early months of the pandemic, the government spent over £5m with the defence outfit on contracts related to the creation, support and upscaling of EDGE. In October, the firm was awarded a further £3.75m one-year contract to enable further expansion and improvement of the platform – as well the migration to EDAP of the data and systems contained within.
In the meantime, IBM will support UKHSA in building and preparing the new system, which is described in newly published commercial documents as a “strategic data platform” for the public health agency.
As well as Test and Trace data sets, the system is also expected to house other information sources, including an adult social care dashboard.
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According to the contract award notice, IBM will serve as the “delivery partner to support [the] UKHSA EDAP programme team to design, develop and build a transformed cloud data platform capability within the UKHSA”.
The contract came into effect on 20 December and runs for a period of four years. About £3.8m is expected to spent via the deal during its first 12 months, with the total value set to reach £16.15m.
Staff provided by the IT vendor will include programme managers, architects, delivery executives, data modellers, and test managers.
A wide range of sensitive data will be processed as part of the engagement and, ultimately, housed in the EDAP system. This includes a comprehensive list of personal details, as well as Covid test results, information on people’s general physical and mental state of health, ethnicity data, and “information relating to the family of the individual and the individual’s lifestyle and social circumstances”.
UKHSA was created last year and has replaced and subsume Public Health England, as well as the Test and Trace scheme and the Joint Biosecurity Centre that was established to provide the government with advice on coronavirus response.
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