Awarded to KPMG LLP

Start date: Monday 20 July 2020
Value: £275,000
Company size: large
NHS England and NHS Improvement

NHS England and Improvement: Unified Data Access Layer User Focus and Programme Delivery

30 Incomplete applications

21 SME, 9 large

31 Completed applications

21 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Monday 1 June 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 8 June 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 15 June 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
NHS England and Improvement are embarking upon an ambitious programme to create a Unified data Access Layer (UDAL). Support is required to ensure:

 There is a strong user focus to the programme
 The programme is robustly managed
 Appropriate challenge and the avoidance of solution bias
Latest start date
Monday 6 July 2020
Expected contract length
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Budget range
£275k-£295k exc. VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
NHS England and Improvement currently faces a number of challenges in relation to managing and making best use of its data;

• No single version of the truth, with different data platforms, techniques and approaches to data processing
• Duplicated effort and unnecessary cost
• Lost value and insight, with manual analysis undertaken that could be automated
• Inconsistent user experience
• Difficulty responding to the new needs of Integrated Care Systems
• Insufficient exploitation of modern technology including benefits of cloud, increased availability of advanced analytics (ML and AI) and digital solutions delivering cost-effective and high value insights

To address this NHSE&I initiated a programme to create a Unified data Access Layer (UDAL) designed to consolidate people, process and technology around one common platform and process. Whilst significant progress has been made, there is a requirement for additional support to ensure:

 There is a strong user focus to the programme, to ensure technical design and development work puts user needs at the heart of development
 The programme is robustly managed and delivered to agreed timescales
 Appropriate challenge and avoidance of any solution bias to ensure the best solution and processes are adopted for the future
Problem to be solved
1) More focus is needed on customer/user requirements.

There isn’t a sufficiently coordinated programme of work in place to understand end user requirements. There is a risk that this will result in a design that isn’t “user-friendly”.

To address this we require:

User requirements support

 UX support to develop a stronger understanding of national and regional user needs, effectively feeding them into technical design
 Targeted support for user-testing and the management of user feedback as the UDAL solution develops
 Established processes and mechanisms for ongoing user requirements capture to ensure an on-going user focus

2) The pressures of day-to-day business are making it difficult to progress at pace.

Whilst some of the groundwork has been laid there is insufficient capacity and capability to secure key decisions and progress a complex, national transformation at pace.

To address this we require:

Programme delivery assistance

 Practical, hands on assistance to shape, direct and deliver a programme of work from decision-making through to design and implementation
 Joint working with existing resources to manage the people aspects of change as well as delivering a technically suitable and user focused solution
 Support to achieve strong stakeholder engagement and senior buy-in
Who the users are and what they need to do
As the NHSEI data services lead I need a secure and trusted platform to enable my analysts to respond effectively and efficiently to requests for analysis and insights.

 As a regional lead I need to request specific analysis or data and receive a consistently reliable and trust response.
 As a head of analytics I need to access a wide range of datasets to conduct exploratory and advanced analysis to derive novel insights.
 As an external academic/policy advisory supporting the NHS, I need to make specific requests for data and receive a prompt response that is compliant with applicable legislation.
 As an analyst I need the tools and data access that enable me to produce analytics products
 As an analyst I need to extract specific datasets, conduct exploratory analysis, run machine learning labs and visualisations of my analysis and outputs
 As the Head of Performance, our platform must have modern enterprise reporting and publishing capability, enabling sharing of trusted reports across our user base, supporting collaboration and the widest possible dissemination of insights.
 As a data governance lead I assurance that data is handled in accordance with applicable data protection and privacy legislation.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We are currently in Alpha phase of the project. This includes a tactical solution delivered successfully, however now rapidly need to move to implementation of a robust permanent solution.
Existing team
The existing resource is currently from internal NHS England and Improvement plus additional technical expertise support from existing suppliers already in place.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
NHS England and Improvement Offices – London and Leeds and remotely/supplier premises
Working arrangements
We want the supplier to take a flexible approach rather than working for set times in a set office. We will want the team to work on dedicated, pre-planned and pre-approved activities with planned outcomes.

We are open to working with suppliers from any location, though we want to build up a relationship in person where possible.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Ability to mobilise relevant expertise quickly
  • UI/UX design, user research for national data solutions
  • Data Analytics Platforms and Solution design and development (with NHS or relevant experience)
  • Programme management – including supporting large/national data analytics programme to improve processes and efficiency
  • Information Governance experience within an NHS context
  • Understanding of NHS datasets and relevant uses cases or applications of this data
  • Demonstrable experience of working successfully with and alongside NHS (or comparable) data teams
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • NHS Experience including stakeholder management
  • NHS Modelling and advanced analytics cases studies and experience
  • Innovative solution design and development

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding our challenges
  • Approach to user requirements support
  • Approach to programme delivery support
  • Relevant experience (including two relevant case studies)
  • Project plan / timeframes for work
  • Team structure and team
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Be transparent and collaborative
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Understands NHS Values
  • Innovative
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Case study
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you confirm the expected contract length?
Up until 31st March 2021
2. Is there an incumbent in place, if so how long have they been the incumbent?
There is no incumbent in place
3. Who is on the panel?
Programme Director, Programme Delivery Lead
4. Do you have a planned delivery road map for this project, specifically delivery dates for beta etc?
Yes, however, the supplier will help refine this with us and help us shape the roadmap into achievable delivery.
5. Have you committed to any technical solution ie AWS/Azure etc?
Yes – The solution will be hosted on Microsoft Azure
6. Data Analytics Platforms – Can these be custom build data analytics platforms, or are you specifically looking for experience in existing platforms like PowerBI?
We are not looking for experience in existing platforms but are looking for suppliers with strong domain knowledge in all areas of tech and can support our PMO efforts robustly.
7. Is there a particular tech stack required, i.e..Net Core, C#, Vue JS, Azure cloud hosting?
Yes – however we are looking for a supplier who has varied skills and is able to support us on this programme. The supplier will work with our internal delivery team to make sure the roadmap is delivered. Our solution will be hosted on Microsoft Azure.
8. "Based on the skills and experience listed, can you please confirm whether this procurement is closed off to those who are not existing suppliers to the NHS?
If not, can you please detail how a supplier without NHS experience can gain the maximum scores?"
Where suppliers are unable to demonstrate NHS experience they should provide an example demonstrating experience of delivery relating to a comparable opportunity
9. Are the users for this platform all within NHS England and NHS Improvement?
The user base will be across a broad spectrum which will include other NHS organisations as well as NHS England and Improvement.
10. How does this programme dovetail with equivalent processes at NHS Digital, such as DARS and SUS/HES data?
NHS Digital are part of the overall NHS data ecosystem and their processes are prior to data being ingested into the UDAL platform
11. Please could you share more information on the underpinning logic and technology of the interim solution?
The underlying tech is Microsfot SQL Server and other Azure based services such as WDI etc
12. Is there a security clearance requirement for the team which would work on this contract?
No as the team will not have any access to any patient data.
13. Would you need suppliers to hold ISO/IEC 27001:2013?
14. Would you need suppliers to be certified to standards in data security and protection toolkit?
Although we have not asked for specifics, if an organisation has a valid registration for the data protection toolkit this will evidence the requirement for NHS Data Governance
15. Can you please confirm if the remote working can be from a non-European region?
16. What are the expected timelines for the Alpha?
The Alpha phase will complete mid July 2020
17. Can you share the outputs from Discovery, or any other work already undertaken to support the Alpha?
We are unable to share these outputs at this stage however when the supplier is awarded we will work with the supplier and share this detail.
18. what has been delivered already as part of Alpha phase
We have infrastructure provision in the corporate cloud platform, Azure. This includes a datastore and several virtual desktop machines.
19. is the plan to productionise solution delivered in Alpha or review/replace as appreciate.
Dependent on outcomes we will review and make decsions on the phase accordingly.
20. can you confirm what resources your require from the supplier
Suppliers are invited to put forward the relevant resource they feel would benefit us based on our requirements given.
21. what are the timelines for this work and what are the phases
Work to start as soon after contract award as possible (scheduled for 10th July)
22. what are the deliverables for this work and success factors
Please refer to section on "problem to be solved" at the suppliers opportunities website
23. what resources will be working from NHSEI
They will be a number of resources from NHSEI with a mixed skillset and roles. Some examples are; developers, data analyst, subject matter expert, delivery leads, end users, etc.
24. Please clarify what you mean by "need to move to implementation of a robust permanent solution
A substantial Azure implementation has been carried out which largely sets the blueprint for UDAL. However, the increased pace of development across the architecture has led to delivery of a tactical solution with a substantial amount of technical debt.
25. How have you arrived at the proposed Budget Range? The range of £275-£295k plus VAT implies you have a clear idea of the resource requirements; can you confirm if you have a resource plan in place and if so, how you have arrived at your estimate?
The NHS ran a similar project of this size and scope in another area and the budget was slightly lower than this. Our scope also had an additional element when compared and therefore to account for this, we increased our available budget. This is also based on educated estimates as part of our programme planning phase.
26. Can you confirm if you have established any user groups and /or have access to the target users you are designing your solution and services for? As a corollary to this question, what level of use cases have been developed to date and what UI and UAT environments and processes have been established to date?
We have not yet established any user groups. However, we do have access to the target users that this solution will be designed for. We have engaged with some of these users around uses cases, but these these have not been developed. UI/UAT process not yet established.
27. Do you have a preferred project management methodology?
Suppliers are invited to put forward the best methodoligy they feel would benefit us based on our requirements given.
28. Are you working with another partner for the implementation and delivery of UDAL?
29. Can you provide information on the size of the existing team and their capabilities?
There will be a number of resources from NHSEI with a mixed skillset and roles. Some examples are; developers, data analyst, subject matter expert, delivery leads, end users, etc.
30. Can you please share information about the data sources, data volumes and anticipated use cases for UDAL?
We typically deal with over 1000+ data sources which account to over 3TB of data per month.
31. What is the estimated timeline to respond to the written proposal stage?
We expect to issue the Proposal document to shortlisted suppliers on 19th June, with a response date of 26th June
32. Can you share further details on what work has been completed during the alpha phase of the project (including details of the tactical solution that is currently implemented)?
we are unable to share these outputs at this stage however when the supplier is awarded we will work with the supplier and share this detail.
33. You mention insufficient exploitation of modern technology. Can you share the tools you currently use and what, if any, preferred tools or platforms you have for the delivery of the UDAL project?
The underlying tech is Microsfot SQL Server and other Azure based services such as WDI etc
34. What are the different data platforms and datasets that are in-scope for this project?
We typically deal with over 1000+ data sources which account to over 3TB of data per month.
35. It is understood that the project will need to commence by 6 July 2020. However, can you share the expected timeline or deadline to deliver this project?
The expected deadline to deliver this programme is 31 March 2021