Start date: Monday 2 September 2019
Value: £2,500,000
Company size: SME
Education and Skills Funding Agency

National Careers Service Digital Personalisation

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

14 Completed applications

13 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 11 July 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 18 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 25 July 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
This is key feature development for the careers digital service.

This has to fit into existing services, managed by mature teams with established ways of working, technology selections and data standards.

These features are parts of (not the whole of) work planned to personalise the digital journey.
Latest start date
Monday 2 September 2019
Expected contract length
2 Years
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Education and Skills Funding Agency
Budget range
Up to £2.5 million

About the work

Why the work is being done
The National Careers Service has a mature digital service which is part of a wider service that includes local careers advisers and central digital assist.

There is also a data sharing service that enables known customers to move across different parts of the service in order to meet their needs.

The digital service is currently a standard service for all customers irrespective of what their needs are. We are looking to enable the digital service to become more personalised to the needs of customers when these are known.

This procurement aims to deliver some key new features to support personalisation.
Problem to be solved
We have two specific challenges to meet:

- how best to meet the needs of customers referred to the digital service by careers advisers for specific career management actions?

- how best to use information we have about skills and careers to enable customers to review their career options?

In line with budget, suppliers submitting day rates over £900 will be excluded (for any roles up to SFIA Grade 6.) Abnormally low prices can lead to exclusion. To ensure acceptable quality in Stage 2 of the evaluation, a minimum score threshold will be applied to quality.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an English citizen (aged 13+) requiring careers advice, I need to:

- Consume accurate and up to date information so that I can make informed career decisions, improving my future economic prospects

- Manage my career effectively, so that I improve my social/economic circumstances

As a careers adviser I need to:

- Have effective careers information/tools so that I can help citizens improve their social and economic circumstances
Early market engagement
Not applicable.

This is a mature service that has been developed by a mix of permanent and managed services staff from multiple suppliers. We are returning to the market in part, because we need to replace services that are expiring and in part because we are looking to introduce some new features to the service.
Any work that’s already been done
There is a digital live team running continuous improvement on a service in public beta while migrating from to and a data live team that is managing dataflow services.

We recently completed a digital product via a supplier that was handed over to the live digital team to go through the public beta phase.

We are also in the private beta stage of a data collection service that will be handed from another supplier to the live data team.

Deliverables from this procurement will be handed to a live team and those teams will undertake some personalisation work.
Existing team
Currently we have:

- a BAU / live digital service team;
- a course directory team in private beta;
- a data sharing team in live service (to become live data team);
- a team preparing for alpha work in future access
- a service design team maintaining the target operating model and experience maps and data standards

These are teams rich in contractors sourced from different service providers, but there is a recruitment process underway to increase permanent staff across the teams.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Cheylesmore House,
Quinton Road
Working arrangements
We want the team to be co-located with other digital teams on-site in Coventry.

There is also data that needs to be shared across different parts of the customer journey.

There is a regular scrum of scrums to coordinate dependencies. Products have to be constructed on the same azure/sitefinity platform as the wider digital service and supported by a common DevOps team.

This work needs to align to live service standards and technologies and be subject to a handover process to a live team, so will require early engagement.
Security clearance
All staff must be vetted to BPSS standard; and proof of this will be required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard DOS framework and call-off terms and conditions.

Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses. No parking is available on site

Suppliers will be expected to comply with the Departments standards on IT equipment for contractor personnel

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
  • Provide a multidisciplinary complete team able to run a digital development through to completion - please give an example of where you have done this from start to completion
  • Able to mobilise a discovery team to work in Coventry within 2 weeks of contract award. Specify whether you can meet this and provide example
  • Full understanding and demonstrable experience in planning a digital development for each phase - please give an example of planning a digital development from the discovery onwards
  • Evidence experience of integrating solutions into a live service. This must include processes followed and patterns adopted
  • Evidence experience of delivering solutions based on the Governments Digital Service technical standards. This must include adherence to each of the Technical Code of Practice criteria
  • Strong understanding of the Government Digital Service's design principles and digital service standard. This must be evidenced by successful assessments against the digital service standards.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Detail your approach to ensuring implementation meets architecture designs. This must include any feedback and review cycles
  • Detail your approach to ensuring the right technology is used for the solution. This must include examples of evaluation and evaluation assurance
  • Evidence experience of developing complex solutions using .NET Core and the business benefits that the solution provided
  • Evidence experience of developing serverless solutions. This must include API standards and scenarios in which serverless computing would be used
  • Detail and evidence processes for delivering quality software. This must include testing cycles and testing assurance
  • Detail and evidence processes for delivering secure software. Considerations must be given to OWASP vulnerabilities.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • What is your approach to delivering digital solutions. This must include evidence of successful agile working and how you ensure that user needs are met.
  • How do you ensure that digital products delivered are handed over to live support teams for sustainable maintenance and improvement? Requires understanding and evidence of challenges in digital product handovers
  • Detail your approach to designing modern cloud-based solutions. This must include architecture standards and artefacts produced at each stage of a project.
  • Evidence experience of developing complex solutions using the Azure platform. This must include considerations for developing cloud-based solutions and how that would differ from on-premise developments.
  • Evidence experience of leveraging data to improve solutions. Must include technical approaches to making data accessible, methods for reporting/gaining insight and feeding insight into solution improvements.
  • Price (will be based on an rates applied to illustrative proposed teams and specified phases of work).
Cultural fit criteria
  • Team participates fully in client change work. Must include evidence of working with client and third party teams (from other suppliers), participating in collaborative agile ceremonies to improve customer journeys.
  • To flex teams to incorporate specified individuals as required by the buyer (permanent staff or from another contractor). Must include commitment and example of where this has been accommodated before.
  • Participation in governance arrangements, including emerging best practice and informing and owning decisions that impact delivery. Must include example of where decisions elsewhere in the service impacts your delivery.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You mention "Price (will be based on an rates applied to illustrative proposed teams and specified phases of work)."
Will you be providing a typical team structure and project duration for us to provide a price against so that you can evaluate the pricing against a baseline requirement?
At the proposal stage a blank rate card will be provided based on typical roles and SFIA grades for you to populate. This will be applied to defined illustrative teams and timescales for the calculation of costs for discovery, alpha and beta projects. The project costs will be combined to calculate a total price for a common baseline of activities. That total price will be used as the basis of evaluating price.
2. Are you looking to select a single supplier for this contract for the entire budget or is this a multi-supplier contract?
We are seeking a single supplier for this service
3. Please could you confirm that this replaces part of the scope of the recently cancelled DOS procurement (National Careers Service Digital Developments – and, if so, explain why the weighting for scoring has changed so significantly.
Dear suppliers,

Please note that following a recent review, the department is striving to achieve value for money by managing costs and work requirements effectively. Therefore, please treat this procurement on its own merits in line with the instructions provided.