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Northern Ireland looks for new round of digital support


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance (DoF) is aiming to provide a fresh boost for the development of digital solutions in the province with the appointment of a new contractor.

It has begun a procurement process for a supplier to support the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and Digital Shared Services in developing new solutions using the Digital Toolkit.

The contract will involve application development, testing, user experience, enterprise solutions, delivery, support and data analytics, based on guidance from the Government Digital Service in areas such as design principles, open standards and APIs.

It will also involve support, maintenance and further development of the toolkit – which comprises a set of core applications managed by the Digital Transformation Service  – over the next three to five years.

A DoF spokesperson described it as “realising an ambition to create a platform for Northern Ireland Government for the same cost as a single line of business application”.

The Digital Toolkit was initially made available to the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 2014 as a solution for dealing with common business problems at minimal cost. Since then it has provided estimated savings of more than £700,000 in development costs and £1.5 million in transactional savings.

There are ambitions for more savings as it is further developed.

Benefits through re-use

“Significantly, as the toolkit continues to deliver new digital services then greater cost benefits are realised through re-use and the platform itself is enhanced with new re-usable components,” the spokesperson said.

The procurement has been valued at between £5.5 and £11 million dependent on take-up by different departments and the volume of work, with the contract due to run for three to five years.

The toolkit has also picked up various awards including the Innovation through Partnership Award from public sector IT association Socitm in 2017.

Image from Department of Finance, public domain

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