Former head of NHS digital policy Matthew Gould has been appointed to the advisory board of leading UK data technology company Quantexa, one of the remaining bidders for the NHS’ £480m federated data platform.

Gould, former CEO of NHSX, joins Quantexa after serving as the British ambassador to Israel between 2010 and 2015, where he helped to launch the UK-Israel Technologies Hub – an initiative run in Tel Aviv to forge technology partnerships between UK and Israeli companies.

More recently, Gould leveraged his extensive background in healthcare to play a pivotal role in advising the NHS on initiatives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

At NHSX, Gould has been responsible for harnessing the power of data and technology to improve healthcare delivery.

He left the NHS in 2022 to run London Zoo operator, The Zoological Society of London. However in January, he sought advice from the government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) over his planned appointment on a “paid, part-time basis” to the advisory board of Quantexa.

On his move to Quantexa, Gould said: “It’s an exciting time for me to be joining Quantexa’s Advisory Board, at this critical stage of growth for the company.

“Quantexa’s innovative approach to helping customers in the private and public sectors make data their most valuable utility is revolutionising decision making across multiple industries.

“I look forward to working alongside the talented team at Quantexa to connect data and drive better outcomes for organisations.”

Quantexa is one of the remaining bidders, as part of a consortium with IBM, involved in the procurement process for the NHS’s £480m federated data platform. Palantir is understood to be the other remaining competitive bidder.

In an unusual move, the DHSC “preemptively consulted” the UK head of Palantir over the planned appointment. He “raised no objections”, according to the DHSC.

Quantexa also has a contractual relationship with the government through a framework agreement with Crown Commercial Services for “off the shelf” software for big data and analytics.

ACOBA published documents recognising that Gould could “assist Quantexa unfairly” through his “influence and contacts”.

He played a significant part in procuring the NHS data store during the Covid-19 pandemic which was awarded to Palantir, and had involvement in plans to award a further data contract that evolved into the procurement for the federated data platform (FDP).

DHSC advised ACOBA that Gould would not have access to sensitive information as it had been over a year since his involvement in this work and he was bound by an ongoing duty of confidentiality.

ACOBA recommended Gould’s appointment to the advisory board of Quantexa should be subject to certain conditions, including that he should not draw on privileged information from his time at DHSC and that he should not become personally involved in lobbying the government on behalf of Quantexa for two years from his last day of service.