NHS England has missed a pledge to upload a less redacted version of its federated data platform contract by March 11, legal transparency advocates the Good Law Project said Tuesday. 

As Digital Health News reported in January, more than 70% of the contract with US data analytics giant Palantir to operate the FDP, which was published on the government register in late December, was blacked out.

Parts of the contract that were redacted included a section on the protection of personal data, references to financial reports on the FDP and when they should be provided as well as details about key personnel and their roles and responsibilities.   

Last month, Good Law Project said it was taking legal action against the health service and had issued a pre-action protocol letter to NHSE arguing that “these full-page redactions are unlawful and flout the Government’s transparency guidelines as no reasoning is given behind them – in line with the Freedom of Information Act.” 

A spokesman for the Good Law Project said Tuesday it had given NHSE until Friday 22 March to republish the contract. The spokesman said the firm could proceed with a legal claim next week, if NHSE fails to fulfil the pledge.  

An NHS England spokesperson said: “We have fully complied with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 when finalising the terms of the Federated Data Platform contract.”

The spokesperson also said that FDP contract has now been republished on the government’s contract registry.

On Tuesday, Good Law Project published a story on its website reporting that NHSE had continued to conduct contract negotiations with Palantir after awarding it the FDP contract in November 2023. 

The story cites a letter from NHS lawyers indicating that the heavy redaction of the FDP contract was due to the fact that the sections were still “subject to commercial negotiation”. 

A spokesman for Good Law Project told Digital Health News that the organisation believes such a renegotiation after the awarding of a contract is “unlawful” and added: “We’re pressing NHSE’s lawyers to provide an explanation with a potential view to launching another stream of legal action.“