leeds.tech / features

New SME consortium secures place on Crown Commercial Services Framework to enhance NHS digital services

Five tech companies (3 are based in Leeds) have teamed up as a new SME consortium to secure a place on the Crown Commercial Services’ Digital Capability for Health Framework.   This is quite an achievement, because such places would normally go to much larger companies.  However, this move reflects the Government’s ambition to spend £1 in every £3 through SMEs by 2022.

The multi-million pound initiative, which runs over four years, aims to put in place a Collaborative Agreement for use by NHS Digital and other national, regional and local public sector health and social care bodies, for the provision of digital outcomes and supporting services.  The like-minded SMEs who have secured a place on the framework, led by the prime contractor, Hippo Digital, are


  • Hippo Digital – A Leeds-based Digital service design and data management company.

  • Answer Digital – A Leeds-based Digital transformation and engineering company.

  • Apira Ltd – Delivering Digital Journeys across healthcare.

  • Made Tech – Public sector technology delivery.

  • The Data Shed – A Leeds-based Data solutions company.


With the framework covering DevOps Services, Digital Definition Services, Build and Transition Services, End-to-End Development Services and Data Management Services, the consortium’s range of specialist skills will provide the NHS and health and social care organisations with access to digital skills and products that will improve services for both staff and patients.  The group will also provide an avenue to help the Government reach its goal of channelling a third of external spending through small and medium-sized enterprises by 2022, providing the public sector with easy, centralised access to services from five approved SMEs.


Hippo Digital is a full-service digital consultancy, made up of over 150 specialists in design, content, user research, data analysis, project delivery, and software development.  The company designs and builds services. They help clients understand the people they’re trying to reach and combine that understanding with specialist knowledge in data science and engineering to create modern, innovative solutions centred around user needs.

Adam Lewis, Managing Director:

“We are proud to have been accepted onto the framework and having such an accomplished group of SMEs by our side brings added strength and depth to our combined capability. Together with our partners, we blend an exciting mix of specialist skills and healthcare experience to provide maximum value to our clients and their service users.   Our relationship with the healthcare service stretches back to the very beginning of the Hippo Digital story and we are delighted to have the opportunity to build on that partnership in the future.”

Employee-owned Answer Digital are experts in digital transformation, software engineering and end-to-end delivery. Answer Digital has been helping customers to realise their digital ambitions by bringing together a unique understanding of people and tech. Since 1998, we have been strategic technology partners for some of the UKs biggest high street names, multinational banks and healthcare organisations.

Rich Pugmire, Director:

“We’re immensely proud and excited at the opportunity this framework award gives us to strengthen our relationship with NHS Digital. Combining our depth of healthcare experience with the fantastic partner organisations within the consortium, we are looking forward to delivering a range of exciting services and giving the amazing people at Answer a genuine opportunity to make a difference.”

Apira has over 20 years’ experience of helping the NHS adopt technology and to harness the power of information.

Working with national, regional and local health and care organisations across settings, their approach is to use a consistent methodology for all assignments based on Apira Health Informatics Pathway covering strategic justification and specification, through to procurement, deployment, adoption and benefits realisation / exploitation.

Mark Jones, Managing Director:

“We were very pleased to join the Hippo Digital consortium bid for this framework and are delighted to have received confirmation that the consortium has been successful in obtaining a place on the framework. We very much look forward to working with Hippo and consortium partners in supplementing the digital capability of national, regional, and local health and care organisations over the next four years.”

Made Tech are public sector technology delivery experts providing digital, data and technology services across the UK market.  We help public sector leaders to modernise legacy applications and working practices, accelerate digital service delivery, drive smarter decisions with data and enable improved technology skills within teams.  Founded in 2012, the company grew by helping startups to build products fast, using lean and agile principles. Since 2016, they have been helping public sector organisations to adopt these skills, capabilities and ways of working to deliver better outcomes for citizens.

Hazel Jones, Head of Health:

“The UK is home to a broad range of innovative SMEs which provide digital solutions and services that have the potential to revolutionise health and social care. This group brings together five of these organisations united by a shared passion to provide lasting value to the public sector, employees and service users.   Made Tech is excited to be working with such a great set of partners to help the NHS and health and social care bodies thrive, both now and in the future.”

The Data Shed, founded in 2013, is a Leeds based data consultancy empowering organisations of all sizes to overcome their biggest data challenges.  Specialising in data integration and analytical projects for a range of local and international clients, and with a focus on driving value and insight, they create technical solutions which enable their clients to make better informed decisions resulting in instant improvements to their business.

Anna Sutton, CEO:

“Collaboration is in our DNA at The Data Shed and we’re really excited to be working alongside our talented partners in this consortium. We all have specialist skills and strong healthcare experience and together we’ll make a big difference to the quality of care provision within the NHS and other care organisations.  We’ve seen in the last year how we’ve relied on the NHS even more than usual and we’re proud to be playing our part in using digital solutions to transform the future of health and social care.”

Image (‘Medicine’) provided by Stuart Clarke.