Awarded to Caution Your Blast Ltd

Start date: Monday 30 September 2019
Value: £226,200
Company size: SME
Foreign & Commonweath Office

Developing configurable forms for consular services

5 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 2 large

11 Completed applications

10 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 9 July 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 23 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Creating an efficient digital service to enable users to apply for services at British consulates that can be configured with minimal effort to support variations in requirements using Home Office Forms. Enable the upload of documents, reusing existing functionality created by the FCO.
Latest start date
Monday 30 September 2019
Expected contract length
3 months
Organisation the work is for
Foreign & Commonweath Office
Budget range
Approx £200,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Digital Transformation Unit (DTU) conducted a discovery into the notarial work performed at British consulates across the world that is largely manual and paper based. The discovery identified the opportunity to digitise a number of services, including re-using existing open source software to create online forms that are configurable with minimal development effort to digitise the bulk of transactional services performed at consulates. We have conducted an alpha and identified the areas to move to Beta before rolling out the service.
Problem to be solved
There are a number of transactional services performed at Consulates that have slight variation depending on the country in which they're conducted. Currently these are manual and paper based; we require an efficient digital service that can be rolled out and accommodate the variations with minimal development. The types of services are categorised into fees and include getting documents to enable: overseas marriage, a car importation license and official translations of documents. We require the outcome from the service to be a case created automatically in the existing case management system and in some cases a document to be produced.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a British citizen overseas, I need consistent, correct information about the progress of my application, to access services quickly at my convenience and a simple way of contacting the FCO so queries are handled effectively. I also need to understand what service I require and how to apply so I can get married overseas. As a consular officer, I need accurate information provided directly into my case management system so I can perform transaction efficiently. As a consular manager, I need to understand what services are performed at consulates and how long they take, so I can resource effectively.
Early market engagement
The discovery work was completed with Caution Your Blast.
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery and Alpha phases complete. Front-end prototype developed using Home Office Forms. Over 40 hours of user research conducted.We have conducted a discovery and created an alpha, identifying the technology choice we wish to use (Home Office Forms) and analysed data to understand where we would like to launch the initial private beta and roll out.
Existing team
You will be working with the Digital Transformation Unit, comprising a Delivery Manager, and a Product manager. The team would be expected to work closely with colleagues across the office, particularly within the consular directorate, to gain an understanding of the existing services offered and user needs. A project manager is being recruited seperately to run this and one other project.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
London with some travel to Milton Keynes
Working arrangements
The supplier is expected to provide resource that can be on-site in London or Milton Keynes during business hours Monday to Friday. The resource should:
be collaborative and work effectively with existing Product Owner and Senior BA team members
be expert in agile approaches including sprints, daily standups, sprint retrospectives, and working to agreed definitions of done.
be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and translating their requirements into technical terms
be a good listener
where appropriate, be innovative and propose changes to processes
be able, unaccompanied, to meet technical and non-technical staff and represent the Digital Transformation Unit well.
Security clearance
All staff working on FCO premises must be at least SC Cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. SC would be a great help but if required, FCO will initiate SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Give examples of delivering projects using user-centric agile methods
  • Experience of working in line with GDS Service Manual standards and knowledge of wider industry-standards
  • Experience of successfully delivering public beta digital services in a public sector environment
  • Experience of designing user-friendly interfaces in line with GOV.UK style
  • Evidence of using using prototypes, testing, iterating and user research to inform user-friendly digital services
  • Proven successful development and maintenance of back-end technologies, databases, use of APIs, meeting data standards, search functionality, and experience of GitHub
  • Proven successful development and maintenance of open source CMS including build of responsive templates and site publishing tools that meet the needs of content editors and website managers
  • Technical expertise of front-end, UI web development, building engaging templates and responsive web design that work across browsers and devices
  • Experience of using Javascript and React Redux
  • Evidence of a robust security management system which addresses physical, personnel, procedural and technical risks
  • Evidence of handing over software to a different company who will support and operate the system
  • Evidence of handing over to technically competent staff, software that can mostly be configured locally, along with ‘how to’ training and an understanding of when further software engineering is required
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working with Home Office forms
  • Experience of working with Node JS
  • Experience of working with OpenCV

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Flexibility
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Confident in consulting multiple stakeholders, suppliers in the UK and overseas, developing and managing relationships and leading discussions with stakeholders to seek input and feedback (10%)
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams with other suppliers (1%)
  • Working with technical and non-techincal staff to understand requirements (1%)
  • Building good relationships and trust with teams both with and without departmental sponsors (1%)
  • Quickly joining teams and understanding their needs (1%)
  • Experience working in an agile manner (1%)
Payment approach
Fixed price
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Notice to suppliers.
The FCO is now conducting ‘nameblind’ bids to continually improve open and fair competition. To support the FCO in this, suppliers are requested to refrain from referring to their organisation by name or including identifying features within responses as far as possible.
2. Has the work done to date been delivered in-house or by an incumbent supplier?
The discovery was completed by a supplier under a separate DOS procurement
3. We have a form design/build technology widely used in the health industry but all aspects are transferable to other industries. Has the technology to deliver the forms already been selected for the process, or are alternative technologies being considered?
We have chosen the technology and created an alpha and the business case was created on the basis of using this technology. However if another technology meets the criteria easily and doesn’t incur additional costs we are not locked in to our current technology choice.
4. We have a eforms technology platform used widely across health and care, but the platform capabilities are easily transferable across industries and sectors. Has the eforms technology platform already been selected or is there opportunity to put forward our platform as part of a bid?
We have chosen the technology and created an alpha and the business case was created on the basis of using this technology. However if another technology meets the criteria easily and doesn’t incur additional costs we are not locked in to our current technology choice.
5. Looking at the requirement of OpenCV does this mean you are looking for python based solutions?
OpenCV is technology used on the existing emergency travel document service which we expect will be reused. We don’t believe that restricts the entire solution to a particular technology choice.
6. Are hosting arrangements already in place or will this be part of the requirement
We imagine the service will sit on our existing cloud platform, however we are open to suggestions.
7. Is it possible to see the prototype previously developed. this would give a useful indication of the scope of work.
The prototype was for one type of form and is a basic form in styling so we don’t imagine it will give much in the way of indication of the scope of the work. We estimate that the majority of the work will be in creating the configurable element which has not been prototyped.
8. Work is to carried out in London or Milton Keynes. Is that the supplier's choice?
No. The FCO have two UK locations and as the form will cover services in both locations we expect the team will need to travel to both at points. We imagine the majority of the work will take place in London but some travel to Milton Keynes is likely to be required.
9. Regarding Point 7 ('successful development and maintenance of open source CMS...') do you have a specific CMS in mind for this?
We are hoping to reuse a CMS that was developed for another service. Your experience can relate to any CMS that you have developed/maintained.