Department of Finance, Digital Transformation Service

AI Strategy and Pilot for NI Government

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
13 SME, 3 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
6 SME, 6 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Monday 18 November 2019
Deadline for asking questions Monday 25 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Monday 2 December 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work "The supplier will work with the Authority and stakeholders fto:-
(a) develop an AI Strategy;
(b) design an Enterprise Architecture for Automation ;
(c) define a prioritised pipeline of AI projects
(d) plan for delivery of 3 high profile projects that clearly establish the benefits of wider AI exploitation. "
Latest start date Monday 9 December 2019
Expected contract length 3 months
Location Northern Ireland
Organisation the work is for Department of Finance, Digital Transformation Service
Budget range £30,000 to £50,000

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done DTS have recently completed some Proof-of-Concepts around the use of RPA and Chat Bot in support of Service Improvements. As an outcome of this work, DTS now require a Strategy for the use of AI in general, across different business areas. We also want to establish a number of Pilots across AI streams, e.g. Robotics, digital Assistants, RPA, with a view to implementing an enterprise architecture, skills and resources to provide a production service for all NI government to use. This work should eb completed by end March 2020
Problem to be solved Produce a AI Strategy and blueprint for production environment
Who the users are and what they need to do As a Government department, we need to establish a generic AI Strategy so that NI Government can assist business areas in their service improvement.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done A Proof-of-Concept for use of Chat Bot technology recently completed. A Proof-of-Value for use of RPA in accounting processes recently completed.
Existing team Digital Shared Services and Pilot business areas from different parts of government
Current phase Discovery

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Goodwood House, May Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT1 4NN
Working arrangements Initially, the team will be permanently based in Goodwood House to conduct interviews across different business areas with a vested interese in AI. It is expected this work will take 2 weeks to complete. After this, the team can work remotely but will routinely be on site to update the project team.
Security clearance Suppliers may be required to complete work on NICS infrastructure, e.g. installing software, creating Bots. Therefore, they should have SC clearance through a List X company.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • have demonstrable experience of delivering Agile projects within the past 3 years
  • have in-depth knowledge and experience of designing and implementing AI solutions to deliver operational efficiencies and service improvement
  • have demonstrable experience in redesigning business processes through use of AI and transformation of back-office operations
  • provide evidence of strong communication and engagement skills
  • provide evidence of strong change management expertise
  • have demonstrable experience of enterprise-level use of cloud-based platforms
  • have a strong, evidenced background in developing and delivering AI strategies for government organisations
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience in skills and knowledge transfer;
  • Clear evidence of being able to work at pace;

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • Deliver an AI Strategy for NI Government 30 pts
  • Design an Enterprise Architecture to support AI 30 pts
  • Approach and methodology for meeting the Requirement 10 pts
  • Skills and experience for undertaking the work 20 pts
  • Ability to mobilise quickly and scale resources when required 10 pts
Cultural fit criteria
  • Will provide strong coaching, upskilling and knowledge transfer to NICS staff
  • Proven approach to enable transition and handover to DTS
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Would you sponsor SC? No
2. You have asked for suppliers to have SC clearance. We anticipate providing a multi-disciplinary team, is it acceptable that individuals who will may be required to complete work on NICS infrastructure, are SC cleared, whilst individuals in the team who are not, such as researchers or those building a change management plan, are not SC cleared? (they will still have BPSS) or does every member of the team need to be SC cleared regardless of their role and whether they will be working on NICS infrastructure? We prefer that all supplier team members are SC cleared but will accept BPSS for any administrative or advisory roles, which will be conducted off the network.
3. Can the customer potentially fund the SC clearance? No.
4. Can we get SC clearance as we are carrying out the project? Due to timescales this would not be practical or achievable
5. Is there an incumbent? No
6. We have fantastic AI consultants but are not SC cleared. For this initial piece of defining the AI strategy, architecture and roadmap, we don't envisage any installing software or creating Bots. Is SC clearance for this phase a must? We prefer that all supplier team members are SC cleared but will accept BPSS for any administrative, expert or advisory roles, which will be conducted off the network.
7. As part of your notice it states; ‘DTS have recently completed some Proof-of-Concepts around the use of RPA and Chat Bot in support of Service Improvements’. Can this please be expanded upon:- what was the specific content of the POC, who was the POC conducted with, will this partner be included in any future work involved within this project. DTS worked with colleagues in the Departmental Finance Division around a daily accounting process. This was the basis of a very brief POV. There is no carry-over of supplier, personnel or technology from the POV to this requirement.
8. We see that the submission date is Dec 2nd, and work is scheduled to begin on Dec 9th. Does this mean that a final decision is being made a result of the form submission, or will there be a fuller proposal and presentation required somewhere within this time? We have included additional assessment methods:-
Case study
Work history

These to be assessed, if required, before 9th December
9. 1. Can DTS describe the POC’s that they have already conducted?
a. Can DTS specify the technology and processes that they automated in more detail for both chatbots and RPA?
b. What is the current status of these PoC’s?
c. Do DTS expect to take these specific POC’s through to production?
(a) Chat Bot is used in support of our Identity Assurance service. This utilises Microsoft Azure product. RPA POV used uiPath to create a Bot for our Daily Draw-down process.
(b) Chat Bot is currently in Public Beta; RPA is finished - no further progress with this one.
(c) Chat Bot yes; RPA delivered as part of this exercise
10. Are the company who help devise the strategy expected to also support design and delivery of the implementation? The supplier will deliver a Strategy and a Design for an enterprise solution. They will work with DTS and our stakeholders in producing these. The supplier will work with this group to identity and prioritise a number of projects to take forward as a pilot.
11. 1. Which functions and process areas will be included in the 2 weeks of interviews?
a. Is this already determined?
b. Can they be shared with bidders?
c. What is the 2 week estimate for interviews based on?
(a) Workshops with stakeholder groups; Determining requirement for AI across these groups; Identifying and agreeing projects to take forward as Pilots;
(b)as above
(c) The 2 week period is based on the number of interviewees, likely number of meetings, etc.
12. Are there any other objectives for this project in addition to operational efficiencies and service improvement? The main objective is to establish a Strategy for AI which will apply across NI government departments, Non Dept bodies and Agencies;

Using Supplier expertise and knowledge, DTS will work with them to design an enterprise architecture for Robotics, automation and service improvement.
13. 1. What is the scope of the project that DTS are proposing for the £30-50,000 budget?
a. Is it to devise a strategy and blueprint for the whole of NI Government or specific departments or functions?
b. Are there any other limitations that bidders should be aware of?
c. Are the “3 high profile projects” that bidders should plan for already determined or will that be part of the discovery process?
(a) The scope is to deliver a Strategy and architecture design for use across all of NI Government, but suppliers will work with a number of business areas across departments;
(b) there are no additional limitations
(c) the projects will be determined as part of the exercise.