Government analyses social ‘narratives and influencers’ to support Covid response

Contract worth £1.4m signed at the start of the year
Image: Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

By Sam Trendall

30 Jul 2021

The government has brought in a specialist data science tech firm to support its Covid response work by analysing trends on social networks.

Newly published procurement documents reveal that Bristol-based firm Unai – which describes itself as a “bespoke software consultancy focused on taking complex problems involving enormous data sets” – was awarded a one-year contract that commenced on 1 January. 

The £1.4m deal provides government with a subscription to Unai’s DeepSeer services; this includes the delivery of seven reports each month, containing insights on online trends. The information gained via these reports is intended to “inform international response to Covid-19”, according to the Crown Commercial Service, which signed the deal on behalf of the government.

“Insight reports [will be] focused on social data analysis, covering narratives, content, influencers, trends and recommendations related to client-specified themes or topics of interest,” the contract added.

“These themes or topics may comprise standard, initiative, geography-focused or other reports as identified and agreed by the parties based off the buyer’s priorities.”

The document added that, while the government will receive only reports and will not have direct access to any of Unai’s platforms, Unai may at some point offer access to a web portal, through which the reports can be viewed.

The deal provides for a possible three-month extension, once it concludes on 1 January 2022.

Sam Trendall is editor of CSW's sister title PublicTechnology, where this story first appeared.

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