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Defra announces £10m pre-tender for livestock tracking system

Neil Merrett Published 05 January 2017

Common off-the-shelf technology being considered as part of potential procurement of new system to track livestock movement digitally in time for new legislation


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued a £10m pre-tender seeking a common off-the-shelf (COTS) IT system capable of recording livestock movements across England.

Suppliers are being asked to express interest in a potential contract that would provide tracking technology to meet requirements that are expected to be better defined during a briefing event held in either February or March.

“Capital investment is available to fund a system procurement and configuration over the next two years and run the resulting service in subsequent years,” noted Defra in the pre-tender announcement.

The department has is it would have interest in solutions that may be in use by other government or private sector operators to monitor livestock and that can be supported by digital interfaces allowing for the improved submission of relevant data.

Along with having to interface with systems being used by devolved authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and complying with Government Digital Service (GDS) guidance, the chosen solution is also required to be flexible enough to accommodate incoming legislation.

This will include legislative changes requiring electronic identification of cattle by 2019/20.  A contract notice for the opportunity is expected to be published on February 24.

According to the department, the new system for monitoring timely information on livestock is seen as being a vital part of efforts to protect against disease and food chain contamination to ensure consumer confidence in meat products both nationally and in foreign markets.

“Defra currently operates a number of different IT solutions used to collect that information from livestock keepers, markets, abattoirs and meat processing facilities. There are separate systems used for each type of livestock species that information is needed for, primarily cattle, pigs, equines, poultry, sheep & goats,” said the notice.

“The data collected is then used to trace the location and movement of livestock. This in turn, provides Defra with the data it needs to quickly control and prevent the spread of a disease in the event of an outbreak, such as Foot & Mouth or Mad Cow's Disease.”

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