Introduction to ACE
The Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) solves rapidly-changing digital challenges facing law enforcement and national security agencies. We bring together expertise from industry and academia to innovate collaboratively and create mission impact at pace – typically weeks and months, rather than the months and years typical of large delivery programmes.
We are a Home Office capability within the Homeland Security Group that was founded in March 2017, with an initial priority of helping solve front line challenges in the areas of communications data (CD) and lawful intercept (LI).
As ACE has grown, it has been able to apply its approach of industry-led innovation and co-creation more widely, addressing public safety and security challenges.
So why was ACE established?
For UK law enforcement to keep one step ahead of criminal activity, it had to be able to develop new innovative capabilities to operational challenge at pace. This was historically a challenge because the UK Government's procurement rules were either too slow or too expensive to access the best and brightest talent required from industry & academia.
How does ACE solve this challenge?
ACE was established as a private sector capability, to deliver an Accelerated Capability Environment on behalf of the UK Home Office and wider law enforcement, that was able to procure services directly from industry, without having to go through Government procurement rules.
This meant ACE was able to spin up rainbow teams of specialists at pace from a pre-established community of experts who have all signed up to commercial terms & a common way of working, utilising agile methodology. It is able to achieve this within a secure accredited collaborative environment to pre-defined 10-step 'commission delivery' process.
The ACE Contract
The contract to deliver ACE was awarded back the Home Office to QinetiQ in 2016 and mobilised in April 2017. It was initially a 5-year contract, which consisted of an initial 3-year term followed by 2 x 1-year terms. Following the successful delivery by QinetiQ within the initial 3-year period the contract was amended to run for a further 24 months without further review until March 2022.
During 2022 there was a public procurement activity led by the Home Office Commercial Team to establish ACE-2.0. QinetiQ bid and was awarded in October 2022 for the continuation of the ACE contract for a further 2 (+1) years. This has been an exciting time and an opportunity to review our ways of working and a refreshed community engagement strategy.
ACE has successfully delivered solutions in the fields of online child sexual abuse and exploitation, counter-terrorism, the insider threat to critical national infrastructure, implementation of the Investigatory Powers Act, desistance and disengagement of extremists, cybercrime, and national policing’s cyber specials & cyber volunteer scheme.
Our Community of Experts
ACE is powered by Vivace, a community of multi-disciplinary organisations and experts drawn from industry and academia who collaborate to deliver highly innovative solutions at pace. The Vivace community now numbers more than 200 members, from individual subject matter experts, through to SMEs and large multi-nationals.
Vivace makes it simpler for small and medium-sized companies to work with government customers. And it makes those customers more responsive by providing access to agile, cutting-edge skills and capabilities that had previously been out of reach.
ACE has created an environment for collaborative innovation, with the ACE Space providing a place for co-location of people and with technology that makes it easy to develop solutions and work with data securely.
In 2019, ACE launched a new service called Collab Lab - a new collaborative environment to enable disparate Customers groups/departments to work together on a common platform and with access to all the latest collaborative tools with a truly dynamic setting.
QinetiQ won the ACE contract in 2017 and setup a team of QinetiQ and industry experts to deliver the ACE Core Team delivery model. This team has shaped over the five year period to truly deliver mission-led innovation to it’s customers.
The ACE, powered by vivace Core Team as purposely firewalled from QinetiQ to deliver a very different service to what UK Home Office departments are used to. Delivering an Agile project management approach, supporting SMEs and other organisations, mixing fast paced traditional means of competition, accelerator days, dragons dens and Impact Lab, amongst a few to mention.
QinetiQ are also a supplier within our community of over 300 members, which bid and are scored as any other member in our community.