The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is looking for a new centralised database to hold the increasing number of electronic horse records in the UK.
The ‘Central Equine Database’ will replace the existing system, the National Equine Database (NED), the contract for which runs out in September this year. Currently, NED is 7.1GB in size and holds records of 1.5 million animals, as well as 140,000 death records.
The database draws together information from the 75 passport-issuing organisations (PIOs) in the UK, which work with horse owners to provide their animals with required documentation. Information on the horses includes sex, location, owner details and microchip details – required in every foal born since July 2009. Defra noted the range of IT capabilities of the PIOs, and made clear that the winning bidder would have to cover the needs of all organisations while keeping costs to a minimum.
The existing NED database is based on Microsoft SQL server, and the new system will need to be compatible enough with the technology to ensure that existing data is transferred without loss, Defra said.
The database grew by 61,558 horses in 2011, and Defra expects the new provider to deal with roughly 6,000 new animal records per month. The new system is expected to cost up to £300,000.
The winning contractor will also be required to contribute to a project called EuroHub – a system that will allow horse data to be shared across Europe. The contractor will have to attend biannual meetings in Europe on the project and report back to Defra.