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United Kingdom-London: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
Prior information notice
This notice is for prior information only
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
Pre-market Engagement — Agile Data Retention and Disclosure Services (ARDS)
ARDS vision is to create Agile Data Retention and Disclosure Services which allow Telecom Operators (TOs) to be on-boarded and off-boarded rapidly. These services shall be vendor agnostic and drive more collaborative ways of working between the Authority, User Communities, TOs and Suppliers whilst delivering the operational capability that represents best value for money within a rapidly evolving communications market.
HO is evaluating whether there is benefit in procuring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that could help develop and deliver this vison on its behalf. Further, the MSP will manage not only the cloud provider(s), as required, but also suppliers to drive innovation, agility and breadth of capability.
The planned initial duration of the ARDS MSP agreement, subject to market engagement and feedback, is 3 years, with the authority retaining the option to extend for 2 further 1-year periods, giving a potential 5 year maximum ARDS MSP agreement duration.
The ARDS project sits within the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) whose objectives (without limitation) are to:
— develop, coordinate and assess delivery of the Government’s counter-terrorism and serious and organised crime strategies,
— deliver elements of those strategies that fall to OSCT,
— enable oversight by the Home Secretary of the Security Service and police CT,
— coordinate domestic CT crisis management,
— maintain capabilities to collect, access and exploit Communications Data (CD) and content (the objective that the delivery of ARDS sits under), and
— support our security industry, notably in promoting security related exports.
Within OSCT, the National Communications Data Service (NCDS) is accountable for delivering and maintaining communications data services that enable security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain CD within the appropriate legal framework. These requesting authorities must have the ability to identify and locate subjects of interest and determine what, how and when they are communicating through the acquisition and exploitation of CD and intercepted data. This work is required to keep up with changing technology and to maintain capabilities that are vital to the work these agencies do to protect the public.
CD has been shown to be a particularly rich and reliable source of data that can be used by investigators to develop actionable intelligence or build a compelling evidential case to bring offenders to justice. CD has played a role in every major security service counter-terrorism operation over the past decade. It has also been used as evidence in 95 % of all serious organised crime investigations handled by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Internet communications are constantly and rapidly changing and it is frequently the case that essential data is only either partially available, or fragmented, across service providers in the UK and overseas. NCDS must monitor and anticipate changes in the communications market and deliver and be ready to deliver timely, affordable capabilities and services. The growth in CD variety, volume and complexity means that NCDS wishes to deliver improved arrangements for providing CD to requesting authorities.
Within this context, there is also an operational requirement from Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and the United Kingdom Intelligence Community (UKIC) to improve the coverage of smaller TOs. This fundamental change in approach and underlying assumptions for management of Telecommunications Operators (TO) and CD is at the core of the ARDS concept.
NCDS are also considering whether they need to procure a service to provide a collaborative, innovative and responsive environment in which ideas, solutions and services can be developed to the benefit of NCDS, TOs and its customers in the LEA community. NCDS need new thinking, new approaches and new attitudes to create this environment and if the authority decides to procure it will encourage potential bidders to approach ARDS with fresh ideas, creativity and openness. In creating ARDS, the MSP should enable TOs to be on-boarded and off-boarded rapidly.
NCDS may also decide that what may be required is an organisation with an innovative approach, a highly proactive mind set and the desire to constantly seek better ways of delivering success. Clearly, solid knowledge of the technological landscape in which NCDS operates is important, but previous experience in the specific sector and indeed in working with the public sector may be less important.
The ARDS project has obligations under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the Communications Data Code of Practice whilst the TOs have obligations that are mandated via the data retention notice, ‘Investigatory Powers Act’ and the ‘IPA Code of Practice’.
Suppliers should note that the specified total contract values (TCV) are the authority’s best estimates. ARDS has an estimated initial TCV of 2 000 000 GBP over the proposed contract term of 3 + 1 + 1 years, however, subject to the potential future success of the ARDS target operating model, the estimated TCV of the contract term may be up to 30 000 000 GBP, although this TCV is not guaranteed by the authority.
Section IV: Procedure
Section VI: Complementary information
Please note, the ARDS Authority (the Home Office) plans to host supplier engagement events and market sounding meetings to further develop its understanding of the potential market for ARDS and enable it to evaluate whether a procurement for the ARDS MSP should be undertaken. This PIN does not formally signify the beginning of any procurement exercise by the authority, nor does it constitute a commitment by the authority to undertake a procurement. However, in the event that the authority decides to formally commence a procurement pursuant to this PIN, a separate contract notice will be published. If a separate contract notice is published the authority will rely on the publication of this notice to utilise the minimum time-frames permissible for the receipt of tenders and stages of a procurement.