Nine companies have landed contracts under a new £240 million UK government procurement framework that aims to help the entire public sector with document digitalisation and data cleaning.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) described the framework to The Stack as "designed to support customers across all sectors of government through their short, medium and long term digital strategies."
It comes as corners of the public sector still rely -- for all the perennial "digital transformation" hype -- on Ye Olde Fashioned paperwork; stymying hopes of drawing insight from pan-governmental data.
The contract award notice comes amid concerted government efforts to mine more government data and generally improve data quality: something central (per the graphic above) to the government's nascent National Data Strategy.
ONS in December 2020 published the Government Data Quality Framework, which aims to help the public sector take a more structured approach to improving the quality of its data and urges data quality action plans across the public sector.
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The document digitalisation framework spans four lots across "records information management, digital solutions and associated services."
The CCS expects it to be tapped by "by Central Government Departments and all other UK Public Sector Bodies, including Local Authorities, Health, Police, Fire and Rescue, Education and Devolved Administrations." (In short, everyone across the public sector).
The nine companies will be expected to support the public sector with extensive work scanning, digitalising, and data preparation services, as well as archiving and storage, the contract reveals.
Compass Minerals Storage & Archives Limited, trading as ‘DeepStore’; Crown Records Management Limited; Offsite Archive Storage & Integrated Services (UK) Ltd; Restore Plc; Cleardata UK Ltd; Communisis UK; Insight Direct (UK) Ltd; Iron Mountain UK plc; and Xerox UK LTD have all successfully won contracts, filings reveal.
The government’s response to the consultation on its National Data Strategy was published in May 2021. It emphasises that HMG will "continue to take forward... actions to improve data quality, access and availability across government, prioritising the use of Digital Economy Act (2017) powers and work to overcome real and perceived barriers to data sharing, including the work of the Data Standards Authority on standards to support data access, and on a future cross-government Integrated Data Programme for data sharing and joined up analysis, led by ONS as lead delivery partner."
A new Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO), has already begun work on many of the areas identified as priorities by respondents to the National Data Strategy, the May 2021 response notes, such as the publication of metadata standards in August 2020, as well as working in partnership with ONS on guidance for publishing reference data.