Awarded to Create/Change

Start date: Friday 1 November 2019
Value: £37,500
Company size: SME
The National Archives

Gradated Access - Senior Developer (back end)

11 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 0 large

17 Completed applications

16 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 16 September 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 23 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 30 September 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Summary of the work
Prototype and evaluate different technical approaches so that we can understand the feasibility of our requirements.

Demonstrate prototype features to users and stakeholders and refine the approach.

Enable TNA to reach firm decisions about suitable design, technology or frameworks for a future full implementation of the service.
Latest start date
Monday 4 November 2019
Expected contract length
50 working days
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
£750 a day for a maximum of 50 person days.

About the work

Early market engagement
We have completed an in-house explore (discovery) phase to determine the scope, of the proposed service. This work identified user and business needs for access and security and delivered a very small-scale demonstration prototype for two use cases. The exploratory work recommended further investigation of an ABAC model for access control.

A high level summary of this initial investigation is available at
Who the specialist will work with
You will work collaboratively with the project team at The National Archives:
- Product Owner, Technical Architect, Data Analyst, Junior Software Developer, UX researcher.

You will need to demonstrate prototypes to potential users and stakeholders and seek feedback as the work progresses.
What the specialist will work on
A senior developer is required to prototype a new Gradated Access service. This component will provide fine-grained access-control for TNA’s digital records. The service must receive attribute values for a request (e.g. the user, resource, purpose, location and timing of the request) made a decision on whether access can be granted and return an appropriate response.

The developer will undertake rapid investigation, modelling and prototyping of the service to help us establish the feasibility of our requirements and identify suitable technical architectures, approaches and frameworks for future implementation.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The team is based at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU. You will be expected to be on-site regularly, but it would be possible for some of the work to be undertaken remotely.
Working arrangements
Ideally co-located for at least 1 day a week so you can discuss and demonstrate your work and test and refine requirements with the team throughout the project. Normal office hours are 9am to 5pm, some flexibility is available.

We expect to interview on the 9th October. Please keep this date free.
Security clearance
Baseline security clearance will be required.

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
  • Be a Senior or Lead Software Engineer or Developer with an excellent track record of designing, creating and iterating software prototypes.
  • Have strong experience of relevant security models and technical frameworks for access control
  • Have an excellent knowledge of relevant architectural approaches.
  • Be able to work to a fixed timeline and budget.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Have knowledge and experience of digital archives.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Be willing to work regularly at The National Archives.
  • Have excellent problem solving skills and display initiative in proposing and testing different approaches to find a solution.
  • Communicate openly, demonstrate progress and discuss findings regularly.
  • Be able to work and make progress independently to deliver work to a deadline.
Assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Interview
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. From The National Archives: There is a small typographical error in 'What the specialist will work on'
The third sentence in the first paragraph should read:

The service must receive attribute values for a request (e.g. the user, resource, purpose, location and timing of the request), make a decision on whether access can be granted, and return an appropriate response.
2. Hi, is there a current incumbent in this role and will they be applying for the post?
No, there is no incumbent.
3. Can the Authority confirm if they are working with an incumbent supplier?
No, there is no incumbent.
4. Does this role fall inside OR outside of IR35?
We have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and, in our opinion, for the role(s) as advertised the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement. If our opinion had been that these roles lay inside scope for IR35, we would not have published using this Framework.
5. What backend technology is preferred? What programming language?
The requirement is for a prototype of the service. TNA has no pre-existing views on appropriate technical approaches or tools, the specialist is expected to propose and evaluate options. We currently use scala and some java for back end development, on an AWS infrastructure platform.
6. Is there a preference for technology stack (ie. programming language, database, cloud provider) or any constraints on technology that would be appropriate?
The requirement is for a prototype of the service. TNA has no pre-existing views on appropriate technical approaches or tools, the specialist is expected to propose and evaluate options. We currently use scala and some java for back end development, on an AWS infrastructure platform.
7. Can you confirm that the day rate of £750 is excluding VAT?
Yes, excluding VAT.
8. Is there any chance of this contract being extended?
We feel that the time allowed is reasonable, for the amount of work involved and assuming an appropriate level of skill and diligence by the appointed specialist. However an extension may be considered provided that the quality and potential of the work delivered convinces us that funding an extension would be beneficial.
9. Can you say more about the format of the second round interview please? Will there be a coding test for example?
The role as advertised is about finding out how to tackle a particular problem and demonstrating feasibility. We expect to make decisions about technical approaches for our future implementation based on what we learn from this prototyping work, but do not envisage re-using any of the appointed specialist’s code in production.
At the interview, we will want to ask about previous work, and discuss in greater detail some of the answers given at this initial stage of the procurement process.
10. You have said that Baseline security clearance will be required. Can you confirm this is BPSS? Is it OK if our candidate starts this process on award or would you expect us to evidence that earlier e.g. at interview?
The Baseline check we require is BPSS.

We would normally expect staff to obtain this level of security prior to starting work here on site, as prior to this they are not allowed access to any of our IT systems.

The appointed specialist could attend relevant meetings and work here on an escorted basis, provided they use their own IT kit. The individual concerned would need to sign our Information Security Awareness Declaration Form and not take any documentation supplied to them offsite.
11. Is there approximate timelines in place like when will Round 1 evaluation be done, resume sharing, interview, contract award etc.?
The closing date for this opportunity is 30 September, with a 'latest' 4 November start date. Round 1 evaluation should be done by around 10 October, and we would hope to hold interviews week commencing 14 October. Award decision would be week commencing 21 October. Please note these are estimated dates. We do not know what ‘resume sharing’ is, please post an additional question if required.
12. If our candidate works remotely other than 1 day a week would you cover travel / accommodation / subsistence expenses for the other 1 day a week travel to TNA?
No. The maximum day rate quoted must be inclusive of all travel and other expenses.
13. For the essential skill and experience: Have an excellent knowledge of relevant architectural approaches. – can you say more about what you mean by architectural approaches? Are you thinking about how security / access control fits into wider architectural considerations or more about modelling and documenting architecture or general approaches to defining architectures?
It is primarily about the specialist's understanding architectural approaches to designing and implementing security and access control models/mechanisms – to inform a consideration of what approach(es) will be best-fit within the context of our specific business needs. Obviously documenting and modelling comes into play and is important for communicating those approaches, but it is knowledge of security and access control architecture that we are seeking.
14. Do you have a fixed latest finish date for this work?
Latest 31 March 2020.
15. Are you open to supplier suggestions on whether to structure this work as a part-time or full-time role based on our understanding of the problem you have asked us to solve?
Yes, but our (slight) preference is part time, to ensure availability of TNA staff.
16. From The National Archives: clarification of interview date.
We are proposing to hold interviews with shortlisted specialists on 9 October 2019.