Awarded to ANS Group

Start date: Monday 2 May 2022
Value: £499,000
Company size: large
Greater Manchester Combined Authority

A data and analytics partner to enable Greater Manchester (GM) organisations to be more data-driven

11 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 3 large

13 Completed applications

9 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Tuesday 1 February 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 8 February 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 15 February 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
To use a series of agile sprints to lead on the design and build of an Azure based Greater Manchester distributed data mesh and deliver the first use case in conjunction with four Greater Manchester Local Authorities.
Latest start date
Monday 2 May 2022
Expected contract length
6 mths to deliver the initial use case potential extension for further work of upto 18 mths
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Budget range
A budget of £150K has been allocated to deploy the required Azure architecture with the Local Authorities and deliver a number of sprints to deliver the data pipelines for the Supported Families use case and data driven app.
Additional use cases are in our pipeline which the contract could be extended to cover up to a maximum extension value of £345K for additional data pipeline sprints, data driven apps, APIs or cloud architecture, deployment and managed services.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The creation of a cross organisational data and analytics capability (distributed data mesh) to:

• Enable data sharing and governance.
• Provide wider data visibility and understanding for practitioners.
• Identify opportunities for early interventions and measuring their effectiveness.

The supplier will work with GMCA and Local Authorities (LA) to develop the data mesh architecture utilising existing tooling and architecture with complimentary solutions from Microsoft Azure data platform family.

We will work initially with four Greater Manchester LAs to improve the way that they gather data, identify opportunities, plan actions, measure effectiveness and produce statutory reporting, with a focus on Supported Families as the initial use case.
Problem to be solved
There are numerous problems that can be solved with the capability we are building with the distributed data mesh. However, the first problem that needs to be solved is to improve our ability to safely and ethically share data across organisations in order to identify and support families in the Greater Manchester area.

The Supported Families programme utilises data from several sources within each LA and regional data sets from Police, Mental Health and Housing to identify those in need and practitioners involved.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users for this procurement come from 5 organisations: GMCA and four GM local authorities: Bolton, Rochdale, Bury and Trafford. The users from GMCA provide oversight and governance of the platform to ensure good practice for its use. The LA users are business intelligence and service officers responsible for their own LA's Supported Families data. There will also be practitioners in the local authorities and other agencies who will need to be able to utilise the data set via an API or app to identify those in need
Early market engagement
A discovery exercise took place in late 2020 which identified joining up data in near real time within and across organisations in Greater Manchester would provide significant benefits for practitioners involved in the Supported Families programme. It is our intention to build upon this work using the reusable distributed data mesh architecture approach.
Any work that’s already been done
There are parts of the Greater Manchester Digital Platform already in place that will be used for this initiative and we have a conceptual view of how we might enable the distributed data mesh based upon Microsoft Reference architecture information using Azure Synapse, Purview and other Azure components to ingest, process and enrich data.
Existing team
Core team: Programme Manager, Project Manager, Lead Enterprise Architect, Enterprise Architect (external consultant), Data Leader (external consultant), Data Officer. Extended Team: BI Lead and Service Lead from each of the four Local Authorities. Third party suppliers of components within the GM Digital Platform and those Azure cloud MSP already partnering with GMCA
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The official address for GMCA is in Manchester City Centre although onsite work is not expected for the majority of this engagement
Working arrangements
It is likely that the majority of work will be undertaken using remote working tools such as Microsoft Teams although this will be determined by the nature of the work being undertaken.
Any expenses will need to form part of the contract and only agreed with the prior approval by the Buyer.

We are expecting the deployment of new cloud solutions to be delivered through a timed, gated approach initially. The discovery and delivery of data pipelines, visualisations and data driven apps is expected to be delivered using agile principals in a squad based approach.
Security clearance
The supplier should be ISO27001 accredited.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Not applicable

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
  • Evidence of delivering similar data projects, in particular around shared/regional infrastructure/cross-organisation sharing in public sector
  • Experience of agile delivery across multiple organisations including fostering strong, outcome focused work ethics
  • Proven and demonstrable knowledge of IT security standards and associated design considerations
  • Experience of Information Governance related issues within local authority, healthcare and police settings
  • Strong delivery, documentation, coaching and communication skills
  • Proven experience with PII and sensitive data governance standards for example NHS FHIR and SAVVI
  • Adherence to appropriate cyber security standards and hold appropriate security qualification e.g. ISO27001
  • Evidence of relevant certifications for team members, for example Azure Solutions Architect
  • Proven experience of meta data management and data governance solutions for example Apache Atlas or Microsoft PurView
  • Proven experience of deploying recent Microsoft Azure Data Platform service
  • Experience of utilising Azure DevOps along with agile delivery and CI/CD pipelines for deploying infrastructure as code
  • Experience of utilising Master Data Management with data pipelines to improve data quality
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Understanding of architectural approaches such as Service Oriented Architecture and approaches detailed in the Government Digital Service Manual
  • Evidence of delivering projects to Greater Manchester public sector organisations with a particular focus on cross-organisational working in the region
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering integration between systems and ideally within a public sector environment.
  • Ability to provide a managed service for ongoing support of the data mesh nodes, cloud platform and data platform post go live."

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Describe your approach and methodology to meeting the requirements including architecture and agile delivery (40%).
  • Provide evidence of skills/experience/accreditations of the team who'll be undertaking the work and how individuals will work together (20%).
  • Ability to mobilise the team quickly, scale up and down resources and approach to service continuity (20%).
  • Provide two referenceable client-focused case studies where your company has provided similar services (10%).
  • Identification of the risks and dependencies associated with this requirement and potential mitigation (10%).
Cultural fit criteria
  • Proven experience in the last 3-years of an open/collaborative working relationship across all levels with excellent communication and co-ordination skills when conducting daily stand-ups, team meetings, presentation and demonstrations.
  • Forward looking organisation with focus on continual professional development to keep up with the changing technology landscape.
  • Has a no-blame culture and encourages people to learn from their mistakes, working as "one team".
  • An ability and willingness to work collaboratively within a multi-vendor delivery environment across Greater Manchester.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with users, technical architects and solve issues amongst complex integrations.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the Public Sector landscape in Greater Manchester and contribute towards its Social Values.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Question and answer session details
There will be a presentation session on our programme with opportunity for Questions and Answers for suppliers on Thursday 3rd February 14:00 - 15:30, please register using the following link: -,nKosGUTVjU2uGo_Wt8QnBg,gkPqKVw4TESiLPuLMuAg2Q,p-T-CSFvoUK3cJDTCSkhkQ,4TWTXVo5sU6oIC8zEi-2iw,U6gk3Td6jUS4gkF7e-o6aA?mode=read&tenantId=e8d8036a-b5f9-4f3f-9d36-d7cd740299bb
2. Is there an incumbent supplier who has worked on the Alpha that you would be looking for bidders to work with?
There is no need for the successful supplier to work with the Alpha incumbent or the supplier who delivered the discovery for Supported Families work. However the successful supplier will be expected to work with our and Local Authority existing partner ecosystem in a collaborative way. The GM Digital Platform has a large collaborative partner ecosystem supporting and developing the platform with the GM Public Sector organisations. We are using Microsoft blueprint architectures as the basis for our data platform approach extending these where required to create a GM blueprint for data platform nodes within the GM Data Mesh architecture.
3. A copy of the recording of the Question & Answer Session which took place on 3rd February 2022
This now available via YouTube:-
4. In respect of accreditation ISO27001, Would an equivalent level (eg Cyber Security Essentials) be adequate?
We would consider an equivalent to ISO27001 however we do not consider Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus as an equivalent they are more complimentary certifications, the requirement for ISO27001 is focused on protection against information which is very important for this programme due to the sensitive nature of the data, whereas Cyber Essentials is more focused on IT Infrastructure of an organisation, both important and therefore complimentary
5. How do you define ‘Service Oriented Architecture’ (as listed in the first nice-to-have)?
Our definition of "Service Oriented Architecture" matches Wikipedia entry "A service is a discrete unit of functionality that can be accessed remotely and acted upon and updated independently"
6. In respect of ISO27001 and Cyber Security Essentials being complimentary, but not equivalent.

Would an acceptable ISO27001 equivalent be the “IASME Governance standard certificate?
We would recognise IASME Governance certification as a alternative to ISO27001 however it would need to be audited not the self assessment.
7. Would you fairly consider a supplier whose proposal included licensing a pre-developed Azure-hosted, Data-as-a-Service platform already in use with other councils rather than building a solution for you from scratch?
We would consider a pre-developed platform if it met our requirements and enabled future plans for data pipelines, whilst delivering savings equivalent to any outlay for the licensing and ongoing maintenance.
8. I understood from the digital market place portal that we have to submit the responses by typing in the responses. I wanted to know if we also have to attach our proposal along with the type-in response? Or is there any document that we have to prepare and attach?
Responses will need to be submitted in accordance with Digital Marketplace requirements. Including 'type-in responses' which observe any word limits. If there is no facility to upload brochures, you will need to ensure that, if there is information contained in the brochure, which is part of your response, this will need to be typed into the relevant 'type in response box(es).