McIlveen announces £8.7million contract for new state of the art traceability system

Date published: 14 July 2016

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced the award of an £8.7million contract for the delivery of a new state of the art food, animal health and traceability system for Northern Ireland.

NIFAIS (the Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System) will be an improved replacement for the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has been in operation since November 1998.

The £8.7million contract has been awarded to AMT-SYBEX for an initial nine year period. AMT-SYBEX is a software and services company based in Belfast and part of Capita PLC.

Welcoming the award of the contract to AMT-SYBEX, Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “The award of the NIFAIS contract represents a significant investment in the infrastructure of the local agri-food industry. The commitment of £8.7 million of capital and resources, over an initial nine year period, reflects the Department’s commitment to build on the success of APHIS as a world-class traceability system.

“NIFAIS will improve on this support, contributing to the competitiveness of our livestock industry, which is one of the key elements of the draft Programme for Government.  The animal data that NIFAIS will process is an essential under-pinning of our animal disease control programmes, and an important enabler for improvements in our animal health, welfare and genetic potential into the future. 

“NIFAIS traceability is also fundamental to the delivery of our Going for Growth strategy, assuring consumer confidence in local markets, and assisting with access into demanding export markets for our animals and produce well into the future.”

Brian Mitchell, Head of Technical Delivery at AMT-SYBEX, commented: “We’re delighted to have been selected to deliver NIFAIS in partnership with DAERA, and look forward to providing a functionally rich and highly configurable system which will support DAERA’s business through the next 15 years and beyond.

“NIFAIS will provide all the functions and business support of the existing APHIS system, on an updated technological platform, and is expected to come into service on a staged basis from the Autumn of 2017 through to the Summer of 2019. The new system will then be able to support whatever new and further business needs may arise thereafter, over its anticipated nine to fifteen year life-span.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption - Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced that AMT-SYBEX has been awarded an £8.7million contract for a new state of the art food and traceability system. The Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS) will replace the current APHIS system. Minister McIlveen and James Bunch; AMT-SYBEX solution architect; are pictured viewing a process map of the new NIFAIS system. AMT-SYBEX are a software and services company based in Belfast and part of Capita PLC.
  2. The NIFAIS contract is for an initial nine-year period, extendable by agreement for up to two further three year periods.  The value of the contract is £8.7million over the nine year period. The NIFAIS procurement, which has been the subject of a competitive procurement exercise involving a number of companies, was first advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union in July 2014.
  3. AMT-SYBEX, part of Capita PLC, provides innovative software and services to large organisations. Based in offices in Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Hertfordshire, AMT-SYBEX has been delivering Information Technology solutions in the animal health arena since the early 1990.
  4. The company developed the current APHIS system for Northern Ireland which has been in place since November 1998, providing the facilities to trace animals from birth to slaughter, control animal disease, and assure the quality of locally produced food to the consumer at home and abroad.  
  5. In 2014, DEFRA selected AMT-SYBEX, in partnership with South Western Business Process Services, to deliver a new sheep, goat and deer recording and movement system for England.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
  7. Please follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.

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