Awarded to ANDigital

Start date: Monday 6 January 2020
Value: £79,720
Company size: large
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Discovery - identify a more sustainable live service solution used to manage and pay EU grants

16 Incomplete applications

14 SME, 2 large

16 Completed applications

11 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Tuesday 15 October 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 22 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 29 October 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A discovery into possible long-term options for reducing development costs on the platform in the future by exploring solutions such as re-platforming, technical overhaul of the underlying architecture or identifying areas of the system that can be hibernated etc.
Latest start date
Sunday 1 December 2019
Expected contract length
8 weeks
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
Budget range between £55,000 to £75,000 has been agreed for this requirement.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Due to significant technical debt, the support costs for this service are very high in comparison to other similar services. The user experience is also poor and there are several large outstanding pieces of work required to stabilise the platform so it can move into a business as usual state. Additionally, a separate unsupported Microsoft Access system has been built to run reports, which is not sustainable and has created manual double entry for users. This secondary system has not been accredited by the EU, so it would not be possible to use this system and retire the main one. The delivery team requires support in identify best future paths for the service whilst they are engaged in daily efforts to keep it running.
Problem to be solved
Reduce costs of supporting the service. Identify alternatives, which would meet EU accreditation requirements. Identify short- and long-term roadmap for the service based on shifting landscape of EU funding.

This is primarily a technical and business analyst problem.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Mainly MHCLG and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff along with Third parties and grant applicants from local government, social enterprises and other Non Government Organisation's (NGO's).
Early market engagement
No early market engagement has taken place for this requirement
Any work that’s already been done
The service has been live for almost a year and is supported and improved by a small co-located agile team and a Senior Product Manager, all of whom have good knowledge of the existing service. This team are also working with our Web Ops supplier to move the Access database into Amazon Web Services (AWS).

MHCLG was able to hibernate an earlier version of this service after extensive business analysis, which will be available to the successful supplier of this brief.
Existing team
Delivery team: Senior Product Manager, Senior Delivery Manager, Developers, QA, Business Analyst, Architects. SME's from the core MHCLG and DWP business community.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
2 Marsham Street and potentially, other locations within the UK.
Working arrangements
We would like to work collaboratively with the successful supplier. As a result, we would expect the successful supplier to work at an MHCLG office on at least 2 days per week. Ideally this would been in 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF but consideration can be given for this to be in other MHCLG offices.
Security clearance
BPSS required to access 2 Marsham Street. CTC is required for those working on site in 2 Marsham Street although it is possible that this work may be carried out at other MHCLG offices in the UK.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1). All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of MHCLG.

2). GDPR requirements shall be discussed and agreed with the preferred supplier at the appropriate time.

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
  • Demonstrate (with a specific example) your technical expertise, particularly with NoSQL or MarkLogic databases
  • Demonstrate (with a specific example) your experience of challenging or changing regulations
  • Demonstrate (with a specific example) your experience of delivering business analysis on a significant complex piece of technology with a wide range of stakeholders
  • Demonstrate (with a specific example) your experience of successfully closing or hibernating whole or part systems
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Demonstrate (with a specific example) your experience of EU funding and development services

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
  • Development approach
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Ability to manage challenging and diverse stakeholders
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would you consider looking at a replacement solution at this stage as part of the evaluation?
As part of the discovery we will need to evaluate possible alternative options for all or part of the service to ensure

- we are meeting user needs,;
- providing an end-to-end service that users can use first time; and
- ensuring value for money.

However, as this is an established service, impact to current and existing users will take priority in considerations.
2. Aside from Microsoft Access what other technology is involved in the stack?
UI is built on Orbeon Forms,
Data storage is in Marklogic (NoSQL DB) and the two are held together with Java. Reporting is currently through Jaspersoft reports.
3. What is the general overview of the current system?
ECLAIMS is a grant management system designed to deliver the 2014-20 round of European Regional Development and European Social Funds funding. ECLAIMS is an end-to-end system handling applications, award, contract management, calculating/making payments, reporting and providing a clear audit trail for internal auditing bodies and the European Commission.
4. Please provide details of current number of users for the EClaims system?
Set up originally to accommodate some 4000 Users. However, estimated number of users currently is 1500 users in MHCLG and same number of users estimated currently in DWP, although this is expected to increase over the coming year.
5. Where are you currently in the lifecycle of EU projects?
7 year lifecycle of usage over lifecycle of EU projects. Currently expiring in 2023. However, access to the data held within the system may be required long after for auditing purposes.
6. Will EU Exit have any impact on this Discovery?
Various EU Exit scenarios will have different impacts on the various use cases for the platform. Part of the discovery will be to help roadmap based on the different scenarios – i.e. identifying some parts of the system that could be hibernated early.
7. What are main issues with existing system.
ECLAIMS has poor user-satisfaction from within and outside government. It is subject to a high level of support calls, outages are not uncommon and shifting requirements (often led from audit outcomes) have created complexity in the underlying code. Additionally the costs for hosting and supporting the platform are relatively high.
8. Enhancements to make which you are considering – what are these?
Some of our response to Question 6 is the answer to this question, in that we are using this to help create a roadmap based on different scenarios and findings from the Discovery.
9. Around Java frontend, do you also use Java script?
10. Is Mungo DB or Marklogic used as part of the technology stack?
Please refer to our response to Question 2. We do currently use MarkLogic in our existing tech stack.
11. Could you provide a ballpark figure of the current costs associated with running the current EClaims system?
A ballpark figure between the range of £600,000 to £1,000,000 is an annual estimate of the current cost associated with operating the current system.
12. What would your definition of success be with this discovery?
Leaving the discovery with a long term timeline for the life-cycle of the system along with a clear set of options to proceed. These should help the team form a roadmap for the system moving forward. Options should meet the objectives to reduce costs, but also to meet more user needs. Examples of options may be proposed options for Alpha testing of future solutions or technical solutions that can be drawn up in to user stories.
13. Any documentation you would be able to share around current operating system?
Documentation is currently being collated and reviewed, This will be uploaded into a central repositary by Friday 25 October. Apologies for the delay with submitting this information.
14. Explain the Long list to short list process
Two stage process involved in using Digital Outcomes framework. After long listing, suppliers shall provide presentations to our cultural fit questions. This shall also cover off make-up of team and previous experience.
15. Will Discovery cover options to close or hibernate system?
There is a long term need to hibernate the system which should be represented in the long-term lifecycle with options. Additionally we would be open to solutions that allow hibernating current parts of system no longer required.
16. I have an offsite team of business analysts and developers who work from my Delhi office. I am technical solutions architect and would be available for any business liaison activities. Would this setup be acceptable for this assignment? If yes, would there be any specific requirements such as security clearance etc for my offsite team?
No, as this solution does not meet our ways of agile working.
17. Also, is EU funding experience mandatory for this role?
EU funding experience is not mandatory but would be very beneficial for anyone undertaking this work.
18. The new Digital Outcomes and Specialists Framework contract (DOS4) removed the liability cap for Data Protection legislation breaches and as part of clarification, it was stated that it was a decision for buyers at the call-off stage as to whether to include a cap. This is potentially a major issue for a lot of suppliers. Will there be any access to personal data as part of this contract and if so, would you be open to agreeing to a reasonable cap on liability at the contract negotiation stage?
At present, we do not know whether any personal data shall be accessed as part of this contract. Also, we agree the appropriate wording with the successful supplier. So, at present, we are not in a position to agree a reasonable cap on liability at this stage of the procurement.
19. Can you please provide a recording to the suppliers meeting that was held on Friday 18 October?
No. Really sorry but this meeting was not recorded.
20. Can you please post all answers from the Q&A session on Friday 18th of October.
Our responses cover Questions 3 to 17 have now been uploaded as requested.
21. In relation to Question 13, could you provide us with any relevant documentation for this requirement ?
Having reconsidered Question 13, we have decided that there is not much documentation we can share at the present time, which we think will be of use just for the proposal stage. We are not asking for suppliers to provide answers up front necessarily. The fact they know the tech-stack, the challenges and our preferred way of working should be enough for interested suppliers to put together a proposal to outline their approach and provide us with the confidence that they have the relevant technical knowledge.