Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 29 October 2018
Value: £3,000,000
Company size: SME
Public Health England

Modernising PHE's Population Health Intelligence System

8 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 2 large

20 Completed applications

11 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Wednesday 29 August 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 5 September 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 12 September 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To perform Discovery and potentially other phases in order to explore the needs of users to upgrade and/or replace population health analytics and surveillance systems for a single Population Health Intelligence System including non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors and wider determinants of health.
Latest start date
Monday 29 October 2018
Expected contract length
24 months (Total duration of all phases of project)
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Public Health England
Budget range
£60,000 including VAT for Discovery. Additional phases are TBC dependent on the outcomes of Discovery and subsequent budgetary approvals.

About the work

Why the work is being done
PHE has a complex and fragmented data landscape,and knows that there are efficiencies to be gained in how it gathers, manages and processes data.
PHE calculates over 1000 public health indicators for profiles like the Public Health Outcomes Framework; and 13 of the 20 priorities listed in the 2018-19 remit letter ( are monitored through the Fingertips platform ( using data from over 200 different datasets. However, PHE’s stakeholders continue to require and demand more granular and timely data than it currently provides.
Problem to be solved
• Develop a clear understanding of the main internal users’
needs, the context of their work, what they aim to achieve and
how in the future.

• Document an understanding of PHEs current data and processes.

• Identify any gaps/future workforce needs: PHE may require
additional data skills in order to deliver a new approach to population
health intelligence.

• Market research: To identify if ‘off the shelf solutions’ exist in the
market which meet the needs identified or whether something more
bespoke is required.

• Identify any potential requirements for hosting the new Population
Health Intelligence System (PHIS).
Who the users are and what they need to do
PHE data analysts: Develop public health indicators and reporting mechanisms by accessing and manipulating data sets / surveys.

PHE data scientists and researchers who primarily work in Health Improvement, National Infection Services (NIS) and Field Epidemiology Service (FES) on both primary and secondary data sources.

It will also be necessary to engage with academic colleagues, students and interns who support the work of PHE and staff within the PHE ICT Department.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
PHE have the 'data lake' and an indicator database PHOLIO to manage some of the data, and have developed ways to visualise and present Data. The ‘data lake’ is a combination of different data sources but the assets are not consistently catalogued or labelled making combining data from multiple sources to answer questions difficult.

PHE have been promoting an automation programme with the aim of improving the efficiency of data processing and freeing up analytical time
Existing team
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The work can be performed from any location but is likely to be co-ordinated by staff in PHE’s Offices
Working arrangements
Work may be carried out from multiple locations including the Supplier’s offices. Attendance at PHE Offices in London and in other locations around England will be required for meetings. Supplier staff are expected to be on-site at PHE locations sufficient to manage relationships with senior stakeholders; the exemplar project team and users; and, stakeholders and users in other organisations so that the outcomes of the project may be met
Security clearance
Not required

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
  • E1) Experience of delivering projects that model a proposed high-level system architecture
  • E2) Recent and demonstrable experience of designing systems to manage personally identifying information under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • E3) Recent and demonstrable experience in conducting the discovery phase relating to the use of digital solutions and technology in data analysis / MIS projects.
  • E4) Recent and demonstrable experience of applying the principles of user centred design to the development of digital solutions.
  • E5) Recent and demonstrable experience of digital systems that take input and subject this to both automated and manual validation.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • N1) Recent and demonstrable experience of working with healthcare organisations
  • N2) Experience of working with a range of users and stakeholders including scientific experts, technical and digital development teams
  • N3) Recent and demonstrable experience of working on Data Science / “big data” / machine learning projects.
  • N4) Recent and demonstrable experience of working with interdisciplinary and cross disciplinarily project teams including clinical and research science project members

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • P1) Proposed approach to user research to assess the needs of users including those who come from academic/scientific backgrounds.
  • P2) Proposed approach to Discovery to determine and demonstrate what digital tools and technology can be used to meet the public health outcomes of this project.
  • P3) Proposed approach to balancing user needs with off the shelf solutions particularly in the area of data analytics.
  • P4) Supplier's team structure / experience
Cultural fit criteria
  • The Presentation (to be held in October 2018, date TBC) should summarise the Proposal and also demonstrate the approach that will be used to:
  • C1) Work with the project team’s stakeholders who have varying experience of agile methods.
  • C2) Flexible working arrangements and knowledge sharing;
  • C3) Work within the constraints of existing services, budgets and technologies already used within the programme
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would PHE expect the supplier's BA's and Consultants to have clinical experience and expertise of leveraging analytics within the specific context of the PHE's requirements (Specific industry vertical knowledge). Or are PHE looking for technology specialists in analytics with broad horizontal expertise that can be applied to the specific use case described and in which case, be supported by the PHE's own subject matter experts?
PHE are looking for technology specialists in analytics with broad horizontal expertise that can be applied to the specific use case described and in which case will be supported by the PHE's own subject matter experts.
2. Can the authority provide details of the technology stack behind the "data lake", the PHOLIO database and the automation programme?
SQL Cluster, R and Python -> potentially moving to OpenStack
3. What is the expected duration of the Discovery phase?
6 - 8 Weeks TBC
4. What is the expected ROI for this project and which factors were taken into account?
Until Discovery has been completed and the outcomes assessed this will not be known.
5. What is(are) the uncertain event(s)/value(s)/thing(s) that you want/hope to predict?
This will be determined through Discovery by the successful supplier
6. What decisions and actions will be taken e.g about how to treat people, based on the predictions made by the model(s)?
This is about population health not individual care so more about influencing spend, policy and practice.
7. How confident are we that the data is representative of the target population?
The project team have high confidence with regards to this.
8. What is the forecast horizon? Are the data labelled? E.g Do we know whether someone with specific biomarkers went on to develop a disease.symptoms after say 5 years?
There is a lot of data, some is labelled, some is not, some could be, much is aggregate. We are more interested in population health markers than individual biomarkers.
9. The problem to be solved section describes tasks to be completed during the Discovery phase, however, the skills and experience are more architectural and solution based criteria. Is it expected that the bidders will include a solution design in the Discovery phase?
It is unlikely that any solution design will be undertaken in Discovery. However, this may be dependent on what is established during Discovery by the successful supplier.
10. Is the buyer intending to use a NHS section 251 as a legal basis for aggregating of data with the implication that the data is being used for a purpose different to that that it was original captured for (DPIA)?
We have a range of legal bases under s251 and GDPR
11. Is there an expectation on the bidder during the Discovery phase to identify all potential GDPR and DPA 2018 issues?
Yes - to a degree. This will be confirmed with the successful supplier.