Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Monday 6 January 2020
Value: £8,718,000
Company size: large
Companies House

Ongoing Provision of Resource for Product Development and Pipeline Improvement

10 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 2 large

20 Completed applications

13 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Friday 13 September 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 20 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 27 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are looking to engage with a supplier to provide development capacity to both deliver product and improve the pace and quality of our delivery pipeline. These improvements could include, but are not limited to, our development processes, culture, team structures and toolsets.
Latest start date
Friday 1 November 2019
Expected contract length
4 months trial, with a break clause. Full engagement up to 2 years.
Organisation the work is for
Companies House
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
We have a large portfolio of digital work to complete over 3-5 years, including strategic projects and key legislative deliveries:

• ROEBO (Register of Overseas Entities Beneficial Owners) - September 2021
• LP (Limited Partnership) Reform – September 2021
• Register Reform – April 2022

These form part of a wider, organisation transformation programme that will re-imagine our services from legacy platforms, to our new technology stack, in line with our digital strategy, and changing our culture, processes and organisational design.

To achieve our ambitions for change, we need to flex our capacity and increase our speed of delivery.
Problem to be solved
Our existing development capacity and speed of delivery is insufficient to deliver the volume of change required.

We are looking to engage with a supplier to provide development capacity to both deliver product and improve the pace and quality of our delivery pipeline.

The high degree of inter-relationship between our services, our requirement for common component re-use and the need for internal teams to maintain overall ownership of product, predicates a co-operative approach.

During an initial engagement phase, we will assess how the supplier works with our existing teams as well as product delivery and pipeline improvement.
Who the users are and what they need to do
This will be a rolling engagement covering multiple pieces of work, however, in order to assess the efficacy of the approach, we propose a trial phase that will encompass development of an ‘Appeals’ service:

As a user who has received a late filing penalty (LFP) for failing to file my accounts by the due date, I need to be able to appeal against this penalty, supplying Companies House with all relevant, mitigating information, including supporting documentation, in one digital journey, so that they can assess my case.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have completed Discovery and Alpha phases and have approval to proceed to Private Beta development. In addition, we have already developed and released to Private Beta, a similar service that allows customers to ask for an “Extension” to the date by which their accounts are due to be filed, with structured journeys designed to elicit the relevant information and the facility to upload supporting documentation.

It is anticipated that the supplier will be able to re-use components from this service and develop their own components that can then be used in further iterations of the Extensions service.
Existing team
Companies House operates twelve scrum teams: eight in-house, four from an existing partner. Teams work in two-week sprints and consist of:

• Scrum Master
• 2 Developers
• 2 Senior Developers
• Tester
• Senior Tester
• Systems Analyst

The supplier will partner with an in-house team and Companies House will supply user research and activities to support our Product Owner, who will prioritise the work.

The teams may operate a shared backlog, but the supplier will be responsible for agreed, discrete deliveries.

They will be expected to lead and role model improvements to the delivery processes for Companies House.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Crown Way, Cardiff, Wales CF14 3UZ
Working arrangements
Supplier teams are expected to operate on-site at our Cardiff office, in partnership with in-house teams and subject to the same governance, standards and processes. These will evolve as our delivery pipeline improves, with the supplier expected to help drive that improvement.

Development is cloud based (AWS). Companies House will supply client devices and access to relevant cloud services.

The initial trial phase will be with one team, developing the “Appeals” service to a schedule agreed with the Head of Profession for Delivery. Future phases will entail the deployment of multiple teams to deliver similar, discrete chunks of work.
Security clearance
Some of our data is classed as Official Sensitive, accessible only to certain designated bodies or individuals. Whilst the Appeals service, that forms the initial trial phase, does not fall into this category, future developments, that do involve such data, will require individuals cleared to SC (Security Check) level.

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
  • Demonstrable experience of rapid delivery of high quality, secure and accessible web services, meeting or exceeding Government Digital Service Standards
  • Demonstrable experience of collaborative working with ‘in-house’ teams including coaching and mentoring, knowledge sharing, joint development and exchange of re-useable common components
  • Demonstrable experience of improving the productivity of ‘in-house’ teams and the overall pace and quality of pipeline delivery
  • Demonstrable experience in rapid scaling of teams to meet changing capacity requirements
  • Demonstrable experience providing highly skilled development teams covering a variety of technologies eg: Java; NodeJS; GoLang; AWS PaaS and SaaS services; DevOps automation technologies; Mesos Marathon; Kafka; Elastic Stack; MongoDB
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience of providing specific technical consultancy, coaching or training on any of the listed technologies or similar
  • Demonstrable experience of providing consultancy, coaching or training on process improvement eg Agile, DevOps etc.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to engagement including initial trial phase, ongoing agreement of work packages and overall relationship management
  • Proposed resources in terms of skill set / level and day rates and the value for money they represent
  • Evidence of successful operation of similar collaborative delivery models, preferably in the public sector
  • Evidence of ability to improve speed and quality of delivery pipeline
  • Details of resource capacity and how this is scaled in response to client demand
  • Ability to provide technical and process consultancy
Cultural fit criteria
  • “Working as one” – collaborating and partnering with in-house teams and other suppliers to ‘create and operate trusted services, at the the speed of our users need’
  • “Every achievement counts” – highlighting and celebrating success to promote a high-achieving culture
  • "Excellent standards and behaviours” – role model professional, inclusive and positive behaviours, calling people out when they fall short
  • Be Adaptable, Bold & Curious – challenging what we do, why and how we do it, fostering an innovative culture that continually drives improvement
  • Be transparent – building trust with all stakeholders
  • Take responsibility for delivery of your work
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will your existing partner be bidding for this work?
We will not know until the submissions are received. Anyone who believes they can fulfil the brief is welcome to apply.
2. Is the intention that the successful bidder will work alongside your existing partner?
The intention is to partner supplier teams with in-house development teams, however, the inter-related nature and shared architecture of Companies House services and our desire for a high degree of component re-use means you should be prepared to work with any of the teams.
3. Please can you specify if you have had an incumbent supplier assisting you with the discovery and alpha phases, if so, who was it ?
Discovery and Alpha phases for the Appeals service, that has been identified for the trial phase, was conducted purely by in-house resource.
4. What is the budget for this piece of work?
We are not disclosing the budget at this point in time.
5. Could the Authority please confirm if as part of this contract, the current teams will continue to deliver, augmented by teams provided by the new supplier or will the existing teams be completely replaced by the new suppliers’ teams ?
The new supplier teams will be used to augment our existing capacity.
6. Please confirm how many scrum teams are expected in addition of the current scrum team?
We currently operate 8 in-house scrum teams and have 4 additional teams supplied by an existing partner. For the initial trial of this engagement, we are looking for one additional team. If the trial proves successful, then we anticipate scaling up to 4 teams from this new engagement – potentially taking us to 8 in-house teams, 4 teams from our existing partner and 4 teams from this new engagement.
7. Who is incumbent supplier and for how long has the incumbent been there ?
There is no incumbent as this is a new requirement. The supplier will be expected to work alongside our in-house teams and any 3rd party teams we have working with us. The 3rd party supplier arrangement is not relevant to this engagement.
8. Will you sponsor SC clearance or accept it as pending?
Should any future pieces of work, as part of this engagement, require security clearance, then we will agree the arrangements with the supplier as part of the agreement of that piece of work.
9. Would Companies house be happy to sponsor SC clearance?
Should any future pieces of work, as part of this engagement, require security clearance, then we will agree the arrangements with the supplier as part of the agreement of that piece of work.
10. Can Companies House act as a sponsor for SC clearance?
To clarify previous answers in relation to SC clearance, yes, Companies House will act as sponsor for SC Clearance, including transfer of any existing clearance. Whether we would accept ‘pending clearance’ would depend on the exact nature of the work in question but our default starting position is ‘no’. It should be noted however that the majority of work will not require clearance.
11. Could you share the Critical Success Factors / KPIs for 4 months’ trial period ?
The specific deliverables of the trial, in terms of actual stories to be delivered within what capped time and materials parameters, will be agreed at the start of the trial. Success will be determined by delivery of the agreed service within the agreed timeframe.

Other factors will include how the supplier team works with our in-house team(s) including knowledge sharing, component reuse / reusability and suggestions for pipeline improvement.

It is a chance to test the relationship and the way of working to ensure both Companies House and the supplier are happy with the approach.
12. Could you please share last 3 months’ performance metrics ?
We use Jira to monitor: points committed and delivered; average velocity; median cycle time; achievement of sprint goal; and a burn-up to show overall progress and likely delivery date.  Performance metrics vary between teams and some (eg velocity) are relative within that team and limited in value outside of that. As an indicator, median cycle times for teams for the last three months vary from 2 days 2 hours to 5 days 19 hours. Over a similar period (last 7 sprints) points delivered / committed ranges from 70% to 104% (average across the teams is 88%).
13. How the suppliers will be measured?
Proposals will be assessed against the criteria and weightings listed. The success of the trial will be assessed based on the suppliers ability to deliver the Appeals service to the agreed, capped time and materials cost, along with other success factors, such as how well they work with our existing teams, including knowledge sharing, component re-use / reusability, suggestions for pipeline improvement and the likely (or realised) benefits therefrom. The ongoing engagement will consist of new work packages for delivery, each with agreed, capped time and material costs against which success can be measured.
14. We appreciate the need to be on-site at your Cardiff office. Are you open to this presence being 3-4 days per week complemented by distributed working, to increase the talent pool available to you through travelling personnel?
Yes, whilst we would expect supplier teams to operate mainly on-site, there will be opportunities for flexible working, as there are with our own staff. In terms of the suggested ‘3-4 days’ however,  we would not be comfortable with just 3 days on site, certainly not early in the engagement.
15. Is there further information about the Appeals service that you will share with the down-selected suppliers to inform how to approach delivery?
Yes, we have further information ready for a more detailed briefing for short-listed suppliers.
16. What timescales are you working to for informing shortlisted suppliers, submission of proposals and scheduling of any presentations?
We aim to notify suppliers of the short list by 11th October 2019. We will supply a more detailed request for information at that point which short-listed suppliers will have 2 weeks to respond to and we will look to award by 1st November 2019. We will not be seeking a presentation.