Sunderland City Council has hired US firm Palantir to help it build its Intelligence Hub.
On completion, the hub will enable council staff, and potentially healthcare, police and other bodies, to analyse data and to channel resources more effectively into the community.
The Intelligence Hub continues a programme of transformation at the council, which looks to remove silos in decision-making and to implement platforms, such as Palantir’s, to handle structured and unstructured data.
"The Sunderland Intelligence Hub, a city resource that will be owned and managed by the council, will gather, process and share data and information to help us better understand our customers and communities, their needs and patterns of behaviour, and how they go about their business," a tender notice for the contract read.
Sunderland is looking to run the Intelligence Hub itself and is looking to Palantir to pass on its expertise.
Sunderland City Council has not confirmed the value of the Palantir contract, but analyst firm TechMarketView says the deal is believed to be worth between £1.5 million and £5 million. Two other firms unsuccessfully bid for the work.
"Other local authorities might have let the contract to a system integrator, but Sunderland’s chief executive Dave Jones says he has ‘a particular interest in the use of new technologies’," said TechMarketView analyst Michael Larner.
"Palantir is best known for its work on behalf of the US government's 'intelligence community'. However, more recently, its co-founder Joe Lonsdale has sought to apply his experience to other areas of government, including the local government sector.”