Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Tuesday 11 February 2020
Value: £3,585,325
Company size: large
NHS Digital

prj_3151 NHS Digital National Integration Adaptor

8 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 1 large

12 Completed applications

7 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Monday 28 October 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 4 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 11 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A multi-disciplinary development team comprised of software developers, testers and technical authors to deliver a backlog of work packages based in the development of Message, API and Façade Adaptor, Technical Reference Tools and Technical Documentation. Support delivery of outputs with third party commercial suppliers to the NHS.
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 January 2020
Expected contract length
Maximum Call Off Length 2 Years. Initial SOW 7 Months with no commitment of further SOWs
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
NHS Digital
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
This is required to:
- deliver technology changes that support the transformation of Primary Care
- deliver technical and reference tools that enable products and services that meet the Secretary of State’s Technology Strategy to enter the GP IT Market and become new GP IT ‘Foundation’ system supplier to the NHS.
- Facilitate the adoption and implementation of software solutions into the estate of a New GP IT system supplier, such that New system suppliers can overcome current technical barriers to GP IT market entry
Problem to be solved
The Buyer requires a supplier with specialist skills in software development, commercial strategy and technical authoring to develop software solutions with simplified interfaces and standardised/rationalised documentation such that the overall upfront technical, financial/commercial effort associated with GP IT market entry is reduced.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Sample user stories include:

AS a supplier:
- I WANT the interoperability documentation to be enhanced
- I WANT test environments for relevant services to be enhanced
- I WANT worked code examples to be available
- I WANT a connect to pre-assured adaptor components

SO THAT I can quickly integrate with a service

AS a supplier:
- I WANT improved test harnesses in place
- I WANT a comprehensive and live-like test data set pack to be provided

SO THAT I can quickly and efficiently conduct my assurance against test components that are fit for purpose.
Early market engagement
Early market engagement has taken place with New GP IT Foundation System Suppliers around the cost of market entry and the cost of building software solutions equivalent to our requirements independently. These suppliers have expressed that the GP Integration Ecosystem as it stands is currently cost-prohibitive to market aspirants.

Engagement has also taken place with New GP IT System suppliers to understand their appetite for working with the successful supplier delivering our requirements in order to implement software solutions directly into their architecture. Interest from New GP IT system suppliers remain high on this.

No other engagement has been done specific to this procurement.
Any work that’s already been done
The programme is currently developing its first fully functioning and production-ready adaptor with an existing development partner.

Lessons from this ongoing delivery will be available for use/familiarisation to the supplier eligible for this opportunity.
Existing team
There is an interim development team who are working on an enabling adaptor/reference tool – the delivery from this team is currently overseen by a small in-house GP IT Futures team.

The in-house team comprises a Technical Architect, Delivery Manager and Assurance Lead who will mainly act in a facilitating, approving and guiding/goal-setting capacity.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
NHS Digital
8th Floor
Bridgewater Place
Water Lane
LS11 5BZ
Working arrangements
Full team co-located to enable collaboration and discussion.

Team should co-locate from central place daily, unless expressly agreed with the Client.

Collaboration tools will be agreed and made available where the team has a need to work in a distributed manner, but this will be by exception.
Security clearance
As a minimum, all supplier staff must have completed a Baseline Personal Security Standard (BPSS) check.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
NHS Digital Supplementary 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
  • Must have evidence of working as part of a blended team (customer & multi supplier) in an Agile delivery team and be familiar with the associated ceremonies
  • Must have demonstrable experience of skilfully utilising Docker for containerisation, GitHub/Travis CI/ or equivalent for continuous integration and experience and understanding of public cloud native development in AWS and Azure.
  • Must have demonstrable experience of completing infrastructure automation through Terraform.
  • Must have evidence of working with and managing data in a confidential environment and adhering to government standards.
  • Must have demonstrable experience of rapid and iterative delivery of potentially releasable software and technical documentation.
  • Demonstrable experience of authoring and standardising high-quality technical documentation which aligns with technical authorship best practice.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Familiarity with Kubernetes or equivalent container orchestration products and services
  • Previous experience and understanding of the dependencies between NHS National Services e.g. Spine.
  • Evidence of providing additional and/or value-added activities when acting in the role of prime contractor.
  • Experience of working with Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) or other healthcare standards.
  • Have experience of working with healthcare system suppliers in primary and/or secondary care, i.e. delivering into health settings.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Delivery Approach - Initial SOW and Further SOWs
  • Delivery Approach - Management of Test Partner
  • Technical Capability - Containerisation within Public Cloud
  • Technical Capability – Infrastructure Automation
  • Technical Capability – Technical Authoring
  • Technical Capability - Infrastructure Technical Knowledge and Experience
  • Technical Capability – Handling Data
  • Operating Practices – Delivery in Multi-Party Environments
  • Operating Practices – Iterative Delivery
  • Contribution to Open Source
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials
Cultural fit criteria
  • Openness and Management of Client Feedback
  • Commercial Strategy and Public Good.
  • Fair Sourcing and Supply Chain
  • New ways of working, challenging the status quo
  • Value for Money
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. How can I find out more information about this opportunity?
More information, including an Instructions Document and Draft version of the Initial SOW will be shared via NHSD's procurement portal tomorrow.

Interested suppliers can attend a Webex with the Programme Team at 2pm on Thursday 31st October. Details of this will be shared tomorrow.
2. Where can I find details of the Draft SOW and Webex?
The Draft SOW, Call Off and Instructions to bidders documents can be downloaded from:

the reference is: pre_188 - prj_3151 - GPIT Futures Integration National Adaptor

Here, you can also find details for the Webex on 31st October.
3. Do you have any technical / other internal standards that must be met?
A GPIT system provider looking to enter the GPIT market should demonstrate meeting the Interoperability Standard (replacing GPSoC requirements re integration/interoperability).

This SOW focuses on development/provision of software assets which ease the challenge of integrating with NHS national systems described in the InteroperabilityStandard. Each national integration requirement has an associated standard. Software assets are NHSD-assured reference implementations of clients to these national services.

EG, NHAIS is one national service which a GPIT system provider must integration with. The integration requirements for NHAIS as described in the Interoperability Standard, and therefore a software asset will be delivered which meets this standard.
4. Do you have an architecture/product roadmap? Can you share this?
We will share a view of our roadmap during the Webinar on 31st Oct. If you still require further clarification after this point, please re-raise your questions via Digital Marketplace
5. Does the scope of the work include front end development and UX?
The work includes front-end development and UX, specifically pertaining to the development of the National Integration Portal.

The intent of this deliverable is to create a space where we can centralise all the outputs pertaining to National Integrations for new GP IT system provider, such as:
- Overview of each integration, introduction to documentation, getting started guide, etc
-Overview of the process of national integration including engagement, testing, through to deployment.
- Description of available software assets to accelerate integration including detail description of any "Adaptor" available for the particular integration.
6. Are there SLA’s that must be met – if so what are they?
The software assets which are delivered through this SOW will take the form of reference clients to NHS national interfaces. These clients will be assured during the development process by NHSD digital against functional and non-functional requirements.

GP IT system suppliers who choose to use these assets to accelerate their integration workstream with NHS national services, will deploy these into the context of the solution architecture. Hence these assets will not form new national APIs with associated SLAs.
7. What are the key integration points in the existing estate? We would like to understand how many integrations are involved, with what technology and how old that technology is.
Part 1

The following integration points are involved:
- NHAIS GP Links (batch based messaging using MESH in EDIFACT format)
- Electronic Prescriptions Service (Spine HL7 messaging through an existing Message Handling Service "adaptor", and possibly some work around signing of prescriptions using smartcard)
- SCR ( Spine HL7 Messaging using existing "adaptor", Spine Access Control Service )
- GP2GP (Spine HL7 Messaging using existing Message Handling Service "adaptor")
- SDS (LDAP fascade)
8. What are the key integration points in the existing estate? We would like to understand how many integrations are involved, with what technology and how old that technology is.
Part 2

- Pathology Messaging (Processing of EDIFACT messages received through MESH)
- Screening Messaging (Processing of EDIFACT messages received through MESH)
- 111 ( Implementation of ITK2.2 web services compliant endpoint to receive 111 post event messages)
- MESH ( reference client for MESH API with message distribution)
- PDS ( Spine HL7 messaging using existing Message Handling Service "adaptor"
- MHS ( Hardening of existing reference implementation of a Message Handling Service, ebXML SOAP messaging, which acts as the transport later for SCR, GP2GP etc)

9. What are the non functional requirements and to what degree are these tested and proven?
The exact non-functional requirements are yet to be defined, although it should be noted that non-functional testing will be required against each adapter, deployed within the test partners representative (of live) environment, and will potentially include: volume and performance, capacity and scalability (against a 12 month predicted volumes agreed with the test partner), resilience and reliability (including soak testing).
10. What regulations/governance does the current platform fall under?
"Adaptors" will be deployed into a GPIT system's own infrastructure. This may be public cloud or private cloud; so no specific deployment platform envisaged.

Assets will be operated by GPIT system supplier under their live service governance procedures. "Adaptors" will expose the telemetry required to enable the supplier to operate effectively - logging, audit logs, etc.

Software assets acts as "reference client implementations" of NHS national systems. These national systems platforms are not in SOW scope but are the integration points which these clients will integrate with. National system platforms therefore, eg PDS, operate under existing NHSD live service governance.
11. Can you please provide any indications of the budget? Are you looking for a fixed price or day rate quotes?
The budget range for this Initial SOW is in the region of £1.5m; not including the Test Partner element.

It is a Fixed Price Outcome statement of work.
12. Is there any flexibility around the Fixed Price approach?
As discussed on the Supplier Webex on 31st October, the Buyer will review the SOW and consider if some elements are more appropriate for a Capped T&M approach. This will be discussed in more detail with suppliers who are Shortlisted for Stage 2.
13. What is your budget, please? Any indications?
Please refer to question 11
14. What’s the motive period for standing up /down teams ?
The Supplier must mobilise a team by 22 Jan 2020.
We require to commence delivery of the Test Partner outcome by 22 January 2020 in order that this milestone can be met on or before 9 March 2020.

Contemporaneously, two development cells should complete the initiation procedure, onboarding and analysis phase before starting development proper.

We have aspirations to deliver all of the outputs named in the SOW by the end of August 2020.
15. What is the expectation of your SoW and how many SoWs are envisaged throughout this engagement?
The intention is to build all the adaptors set by August 2020; however, there is currently no commitment in the SOW beyond Milestone 6. Futher SOWs will be awarded under the Call Off subject to Buyer requirement and budget.

We currently envisage three major delivery/development phases, each of which include a selection of the adaptors named in the SOW.
We reserve the right to determine which adaptors form part of each phase, and the position on this may change throughout Phase 1 delivery.
16. What is the performance of the current service?
NHS national services present interfaces for integration which vary greatly in the transmission standards and message transport formats used. This is because a lot of these systems have evolved over many years - eg, NHAIS is ~ 30 years old.

All the systems manage the tasks/processes they are expected to suitably, but the interface that each presents for integration requires significant overhead from GPIT system providers. The overhead created sometimes requires use of regressive technology no longer supported.
17. What are the payment terms for this engagement?
Fixed Price. Payment Terms will be as per the Call Off Contract (available via the Bravo portal)

Payment approach will be discussed in more detail with shortlisted suppliers at Stage 2.
18. Do you consider this engagement to fall within IR35?
Yes, we consider this to be outside of the IR35 regulations on the basis that this is an Outcomes based contract and the Supplier is reponsible for delivery.
In addition, NHS Digital requires that any Supplier Staff performing under the SOW are permanent employees of the Supplier.
19. What is the budget for this piece of work?
Please refer to question 11
20. Will the slides from the Supplier Webex be made available?
Yes, the slides can be downloaded from:

the reference is: pre_188 - prj_3151 - GPIT Futures Integration National Adaptor
21. Please can you share the GitHub information that was referenced at the Supplier Webex?
Please see below:
22. The SoW specifies appointment of a test partner, which the bidder would prime. Where the bidder has the capability, would it be acceptable to provide the required services without recourse to a sub-contractor?
It is a requirement that the Test Partner has a signed GPIT Futures' Catalogue Agreement (see section 3.3.2), and demonstrates active technical investment dedicated to onboarding and standards compliance.

It is not feasible to deliver the SOW without partnering with a GPIT system provider who has met these requirements.

This approach is desired to reduce technical barriers to entry and accelerate market entry, and diverging from this requirement effectively minimises our "barrier-reducing" offers to new GPIT system providers, which is not desired when we know there are so many barriers to entry to compete in the market we operate in.
23. Will it be acceptable to use more than one example in the Stage 1 responses where this will best demonstrate our expertise/familiarity with the tech/skillset listed?
Suppliers can use their own discretion, but is recommended that one example is given per question response (unless the question asks for more).

Examples may be used more than once across different criteria.

Suppliers will not be scored higher for listing lots of examples - we are more interested that the example given is relevant and demonstrates ability to meet the criteria.
24. Could you please clarify exactly what is meant by 'Previous experience and understanding of the dependencies between NHS' – in particular, what does NHS Digital mean by 'dependencies' in this context?
The statement "Previous experience and understanding of the dependencies between NHS National Services e.g. Spine" could be translated to the following:
The supplier has had direct/indirect exposure to NHS National Services in the past and is thus sympathetic to how these Systems/Services intermediate with each other.

For instance, the Summary Care Record is a National System/Service - how does it link up with / intermediate with the Spine?

The same question can thus be posed about PDS and the Spine, PDS and SCR and all other fathomable permutations.
25. Is the selected supplier expected to co-locate with NHS Digital staff and teams in Leeds?
Part 1
A high degree of collaboration is expected between the Buyer, The Supplier and the TestPartner.

The Buyer is in this instance located in Leeds, while some of the GP IT system providers you will want to assess for the TestPartnership are international.

There will initially be a significant degree of reliance on the Buyer's resource and subject matter experts in order to assimilate the requirements, develop the adaptors and troubleshoot/resolve issues as they arise. In addition to creating further value for money, this will minimise the number of factors that might otherwise derail the project.
26. Is the selected supplier expected to co-locate with NHS Digital staff and teams in Leeds?
Part 2
Given the likelihood that the Test Partner is not located in Leeds, it is reasonable to minimise the delivery risk that an over-reliance on a distributed working model might create when present across your whole delivery approach.

If the supplier wishes to propose a distributed working model, they must demonstrate that they have a proven track record of enabling highly collaborative development work to be conducted by a remote team, including the working practices, tools and communication channels they will use to facilitate day-to-day collaboration with GP IT Futures.
27. How many suppliers are on the GPIT Framework?
While the outputs of the Adaptor work may be of interest to all GPIT suppliers, this SOW will focus on three new Foundation system providers only.
28. The procurement timeline and in the SOW are quite aggressive - why?
We are proposing an aggressive timetable in order for the new Foundation system providers to build to their delivery plan and have products available by Q3/Q4 2020
29. Will the adaptors end with FHIR end points around the Spine?
The adaptors will be deployed into the suppliers' own infrastructure and are not new APIs. There will be APIs between the Adaptor layer and application tier; but we have yet to make a design decision on FHIR; it may also differ case by case.