Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Monday 24 February 2020
Value: £239,000
Company size: large
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Consular Directorate)

Support and Development for FCO Consular Hub Systems

13 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 2 large

10 Completed applications

5 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Friday 25 October 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 1 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 8 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To provide 24/7/365 support and development to maintain three FCO systems: The Contact Hub, the Crisis Hub and the Post Hub, and work with Consular to develop enhancements to these systems.
Latest start date
Friday 17 January 2020
Expected contract length
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Consular Directorate)
Budget range
£140,000 - £170,000 fixed price p/a for ongoing support

Estimated £100,000 time and materials p/a for ad-hoc development

All figures excluding VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Consular Hub platform hosts 3 business critical Consular systems: The Contact Hub, the Crisis Hub and the Post Hub. Our current support arrangement is expiring in March 2020 and we therefore need to secure a supplier who can provide 24/7/365 support and help maintain and develop these systems after this point. Suppliers must be able to start the onboarding process by 17th January 2020. The absolute latest start date for service commencement is 27th May 2020.
Problem to be solved
We require a supplier with the technical expertise and experience to support our hub systems. This will involve ensuring system availability, resolving errors or bugs and developing ad-hoc enhancements to these systems as requested by FCO. There is also an established working Backlog for ongoing development which shall need supporting. Two copies of any updated releases will be required for sale opportunities. For example, new releases will need to be produced in a production environment and in a format that is saleable for commercialisation purposes. We may consider re-platforming the hubs in 2020.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Contact Hub: As a contact centre agent I need to access location-specific information from all around the world so that I can provide customers with information when they call our Contact Centres.

Crisis Hub: As a local or central crisis response manager I need to plan for and record details of any crisis that could impact British nationals overseas so that we can effectively support customers during a crisis.

Post Hub: As an FCO employee, I need to find information related to each British Embassy or High Commission (e.g. living conditions, local schools) so that I can decide which role I wish to apply for.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The Hubs are currently live and supported by an existing incumbent supplier to deliver this service. The successful supplier shall be expected to onboard and support knowledge transfer between themselves and the existing supplier in order to facilitate swift service commencement.
Existing team
You will be working with representatives of our Crisis Management Department and Contact Centres to facilitate the onboarding process in January 2020 as well as our current supplier. There may also be necessary collaborative activities between the successful supplier and providers of other Consular services to ensure successful delivery and issue resolution.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Work can be done offsite, but we would expect you to be able to visit the London Office on a regular basis.
Working arrangements
It is expected that the new supplier will work predominantly offsite, with occasional ad-hoc visits to the London Office for meetings and releases.
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. 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
  • experience of providing 24 hour support for IT systems, including providing second and third line support and ensuring that application support is not subject to single points of failure.
  • Have a proven track record of incident management and problem resolution.
  • Have a well-established and engrained culture of service improvement and have experience of implementing client-led changes to IT systems, delivered in alignment ITIL processes.
  • Have evidence of delivering at pace and working to tight timescales.
  • Have the ability to develop technical expertise quickly on unfamiliar systems.
  • Have the ability to explain technical details to users with low technical literacy.
  • Be able to deliver software solutions aligned to industry standards defined by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework.
  • Have a strong track record of service management, service review and monitoring in line with standard ITIL process.
  • Have evidence of performance, availability and capability management.
  • Have experience of management of risks, issues and dependencies with other systems.
  • Have experience of re-platforming services.
  • Be certified to ISO27001.
  • Be able to provide complete support services against the following tech stack: Postgresql, Tomcat (Java 8), RabbitMQ, Apache, HAProxy, CakePHP (PHP 5.6), React JS, Centos 6 (servers), Ansible (configuration management)
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology (including how approach meets our goal)
  • Estimated time frame for work (start and finish)
  • How supplier has identified risk/dependencies and offered approaches to manage
  • Team structure and technological capabilities in-house
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Can work with clients with little technical expertise
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
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. Is the expected length 2 years? And is the budget range detailed to cover the whole period?
The contract length will be 2 years with the option to extend by up to 1 period of 1 year only. The budget ranges detailed are per year.
3. You mention 24/7/365 cover, how critical is this coverage? I.e. do you expect there to be minimum cover at all hours?
Minimum cover will be expected at all hours. This may need to be surged during FCO crisis periods.
4. What timescales are you working to for informing shortlisted suppliers, submission of proposals and scheduling of presentations?
The evaluation of shortlisted suppliers’ proposals will be completed by Friday 13th December 2019. Please note no presentations are required for this procurement.
5. Is hosting to be provided by the supplier or can FCO host in-house?
Hosting is currently provided by UK Cloud and shall continue during the new contract. There may be a re-platform during the new contract term however this will be decided and agreed upon at a later date.
6. Will the fixed price ongoing support be applicable from the start of service transition or is there a separate transition budget/cost expected?
FCO would expect a separate cost for service transition during the on-boarding process.
7. Are all three hubs currently supported and developed by the incumbent?
Yes, all three Hubs systems are support and developed upon by one incumbent supplier.
8. Can you share the number of expected tickets and incidents for L2 support and L3 support?
The same team of engineers support both L2 and L3, so it is difficult to split the numbers that way. In 2018 there were 86 Incidents and 31 Problems logged.
9. You mention a backlog of work. Can you please elaborate a little more information on the type of backlog work? Is this L2 support related or L3 support related?
The backlog of work is low priority tasks that do not affect the live system.
10. What is the volume of user base and the traffic expected through the platform?
There are 12,134 active users registered with the Hubs systems. All three applications share the same user data.
11. Is support for the Consular Hub Systems application and infrastructure support or just application support? If infrastructure support is in scope, what is the infrastructure used for the Consular Hub Systems?
The infrastructure is managed by UK Cloud, who have a contract directly with FCO. The incumbent provides application support. If the triage system suggests that the cause of an issue lies in the infrastructure, the incumbent will pass it onto UK Cloud.
12. Are the 3 Consular Hub Systems hosted on the same infrastructure or have their own distinct architecture?
All 3 Hub systems are hosted on the same infrastructure. The Live system has 3 servers for redundancy, but all 3 applications are installed on each server.
13. CHANGE TO ANSWER: What timescales are you working to for informing shortlisted suppliers, submission of proposals and scheduling of presentations?
AMENDED ANSWER: The evaluation of shortlisted suppliers’ proposals will be completed by Friday 10th January 2020. Please note no presentations are required for this procurement.

Therefore FCO are aiming to commence the new contract by 07th February 2020.