Department for Education

National Retraining Scheme Delivery of Digital Product Pipeline - Package 1

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications
11 SME, 5 large

Completed applications

Completed applications
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 10 January 2020
Deadline for asking questions Friday 17 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 24 January 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work ‘Get Help to Retrain’ public beta and ‘Find and Apply for a Job’ alpha - public beta. The supplier will deliver these digital products in line with GDS standards, working with us and other suppliers, to contribute more widely to development of the National Retraining Service (NRS) programme.
Latest start date Friday 1 May 2020
Expected contract length 2 years
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department for Education
Budget range A pipeline of activity is anticipated over the next 24 months, with an indicative total budget of £21m. The anticipated budget for this requirement is ~£5m. However, the scope could expand or contract.
Each SoW issued under this Package 1 requirement will outline the work required and suppliers will need to provide a cost for the work to enable effective contract management.
DfE reserves the right to select different payment approaches for future SoW.
DfE does not commit to any minimum spend at this point.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done The National Retraining Scheme (NRS) helps workers retrain as the economy changes. The Scheme needs to respond to structural trends, which will impact the labour market and drive the need for lifelong training e.g. automation, longer working lives and productivity challenges. There will be most disruption for people who are low skilled and typically face barriers to learning such as motivation, cost and time.
Problem to be solved Users struggle to navigate a complex careers advice and training landscape; to identify a better job for them; the actions they need to take to get it; and staying motivated across a long and challenging user journey.
The Package 1 product portfolio will provide an optimised route for users to understand their skills, view relevant job profiles, local market information and vacancies, and access appropriate training and support.
The service must be developed in a way to integrate with other service products and offline support systems, drawing on and integrating with other government services as appropriate
Who the users are and what they need to do As an employee in an occupation vulnerable to significant change, I need to….
…. understand what else I could do, so that I can maintain secure employment.
….understand how to get a better job, with minimal disruption to my life so that I can take the necessary steps.
….understand what training and support is available to me so that I can secure a better job.
….access advice and support flexibly so that I can fit it around my life.

As an employer with a vacancy, I need to find quality candidates so that I can keep my organisation running smoothly.
Early market engagement We held a supplier engagement event on 5th September to gain early feedback on our emerging requirements and our proposed route to market - the development of a new framework under OJEU. Due to changes in the roadmap and delivery timelines we will now utilise the DOS4 framework through the Digital Marketplace.

Relevant outputs from this session are available here :
Any work that’s already been done Get Help to Retrain - private beta phase commenced in June 2019 and is expected to run until Spring 2020.
Find and Apply for a Job - has been through some discovery work, and an alpha is expected to start in summer 2020.
Existing team The Programme operates using mixed supplier/client Delivery Teams and the Department typically provides a Product Owner for each product line.
There will be other Service Delivery Teams, working on associated product lines as part of the wider programme, with whom the successful supplier Teams will need to interface.
There is also a senior Programme level service leadership team, which is a mixture of permanent DfE staff and contractors, experienced in shipping services using agile methodologies.
A briefing pack will be provided to successful suppliers at conclusion of first stage sift.
Current phase Not applicable

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place DfE London and/or Manchester with other locations in England possible over the lifetime of the contract. The Department will require the Service Delivery Teams to be co-located with the appropriate Policy Team working on the product they are delivering, maximising the opportunity for engagement with DfE staff and stakeholders. The primary base will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW).
It will also be necessary to engage and collaborate with colleagues in other DfE locations and it is a requirement for user research and testing to take place in a number of different locations.
Working arrangements We are looking to appoint a single lead supplier to provide all of the required services within scope of Package 1. We welcome collaborative bids.
A Statement of Work will be completed to outline the working arrangements, outcomes and deliverables expected for each engagement.

The Team must operate using agile methodologies: e.g. daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives, show and tells.
The Team will be required to invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase DfE staff capability and knowledge transfer will be a requirement for each work package.
Security clearance Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance is required for all team members. This will need to be in place before the contract start. The supplier will also need to be compliant with DfE's Departmental Security Standards.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Read about how the terms and conditions work: There will be a requirement for the DOS framework key terms and conditions to flow down the supply chain – details will be included in the draft ITT. Suppliers will be required to enter into a non-disclosure & confidentiality agreement at the award stage. Variant bids are not permitted.
Further information about the NRS Programme can be found here

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
  • Clear evidence of planning and delivering user-centred digital services within high value complex programmes that follow the Government Service Manual, the Technology Code of Practice and pass GDS service assessment.
  • In-depth experience of evolving the most appropriate solution/data/technical architecture, to successfully meet users needs.
  • Experience of successfully delivering multi-channel services to meet user needs, including the integration of online and offline components of a single user journey
  • Experience of recruiting user research participants, including users with accessibility and assisted digital needs, and attracting hard to reach users.
  • Experience of successfully working with in-house teams and other stakeholders with limited agile experience and sharing knowledge, coaching, mentoring and upskilling to develop in-house team and other supplier capability.
  • Ability to demonstrate successful delivery of complex projects to time and budget in complex delivery environments.
  • Significant experience of conducting both user research and usability testing sessions (on a range of devices, face to face and remote) based on robust methodology, especially with assisted digital users.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Evidence of working successfully with users in the skills and employment systems.
  • Ability to present and communicate project update/outcomes to a variety of stakeholders including those with low technical expertise.
  • Experience of designing and developing engaging content that attracts and retains users and meets their needs.

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 5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrable experience of delivering a complex service across multiple phases, including public beta, which will meet user needs and be compliant with the Government Service Standard. (20 points)
  • Evidence of a strong understanding of agile, iterative, user-centred design and delivery and how this will be applied to deliver a service. (10 points)
  • Evidence ability to plan and carry out high quality usability testing to identify and then meet key user needs for a complex set of user segments. (20 points)
  • • Evidence of ability to deliver services to time, quality and cost in complex delivery environments, including strong, collaborative partnership working with clients and other delivery teams. (20 points)
  • Clear experience of organising delivery into effective sprints, developing the service iteratively to demonstrate clear value within given timeframes. (10 points)
  • Clear evidence of an effective approach to identifying and managing risks, issues and dependencies within an agile product team to ensure quality and timely delivery. (10 points)
  • Evidence, drawing on experience, of being able to provide suitably skilled, flexible teams, operating in a mixed supplier/client setting across multiple product lines, with pause capability.(10 points)
  • Evidence of a transparent financial structure and fair pricing for the service, showing how value for money will be achieved for the duration of the contract. (10 points)
  • Set out how you will ensure you, as lead supplier, will be fully accountable for delivery, including where this involves partnership working and subcontracting. (10 points)
  • Evidence of ability to deliver services to time, quality and cost in complex delivery enivironments, including strong, collaborative partnership working with clients and other delivery teams. (20 points)
  • Evidence ability to plan and carry out high quality user research to identify and meet key user needs for a complex set of user segments. (20 points)
  • Further information on evaluation methodology will be provided to stage 2 shortlisted suppliers.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Experience of working with teams dispersed across multiple sites, and adapting agile ways of working to meet the needs of a dispersed team, without reduction in efficiency (5 Points)
  • Evidence of working collaboratively with policy colleagues new to agile ways of working sharing knowledge to cross skill and develop in house capability. (5 Points)
  • Further information on evaluation methodology will be provided to stage 2 shortlisted suppliers.
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Afternoon, so just to clarify this opportunity is the same one (or part it) that you discussed in September, that potentially was going to be released via the Jaggear system? System. If you are referring to the National Retraining Scheme market engagement event held in London on 5th September that is correct.
This advert is for Package No 1, (details contained within the advert)

Stage 1 of the competition will be via the Digital Marketplace. Stage 2 documents are currently being developed to provide suppliers with clear instructions in reference to the departments e-sourcing tendering portal and will be issued to the shortlisted suppliers for each opportunity.
2. I assume the last Cultural Fit question "Further information on evaluation methodology will be provided to stage 2 shortlisted suppliers." is an error and can be disregarded? The line “Further information on evaluation methodology will be provided to stage 2 shortlisted suppliers” provides suppliers with additional information and is not a question to be answered
3. Can you please confirm if there are incumbent suppliers and if so, which suppliers they are? The Get Help to Retrain private beta supplier is Engine Transformation. There is no incumbent supplier for the Find and Apply for a Job product.
4. Will the contract be awarded to a sole supplier or multiple suppliers? If multiple, how many? We will appoint 1 single lead supplier. We welcome bids as consortia arrangements. All suppliers must be registered on the DOS 4 framework. We welcome sub-contractor arrangements within the provisions of the DOS 4 Framework to ensure that the organisation bidding has the right skills/capabilities and expertise for delivering all key elements of this requirement.
5. Is there an incumbent supplier(s) delivering this service, if so whom? The supplier for Get Help to Retrain private beta phase is Engine Transformation. There is no incumbent supplier for Find and Apply for a Job
6. Are there incumbent suppliers for ‘Get Help to Retrain’ and ‘Find and Apply for a Job’ for whom this is an option to extend? If so, who? The supplier for Get Help to Retrain private beta (Ghtr)) is Engine Transformation. There is no incumbent supplier for Find and Apply for a Job. This is a new opportunity to find a Lead supplier to deliver the Ghtr public beta and Find and Apply for a Job alpha – public beta phases.
7. We appreciate the need to collocate at DfE’s office. Are you open to this presence being 3 days per week, to increase the talent pool available to you through travelling personnel? We expect the appointed supplier to be co-located with the team at DfE locations. We are open to a discussion with the appointed supplier regarding ways of working to be agreed with the Product Owners. It will be incumbent on the supplier to demonstrate how they will deliver key ways of working if staff are going to be absent from the office.
8. Do you have a preferred technology stack and hosting platform for the service? We prefer open source stacks with an active developer community within DfE. As such our preference typically for web services are Ruby on Rails, Posgresql and Redis hosted either on DfE’s Cloud Infrastructure Platform (on MS Azure) or PaaS.
9. Is the budget exclusive or inclusive of VAT? The budget is inclusive of VAT.
10. Will DfE provide access to users for research, or will the supplier need to identify relevant sample users? We can support with the user research strategy, but we would expect suppliers to identify and cost routes to sampling users for testing.
11. What timescales are you working to for (1) informing shortlisted suppliers, (2) submission of proposals and (3) scheduling of presentations? Evaluation and shortlisting of stage 1 applications is expected to take place w/c 27 January 2020
Successful shortlisted supplier will be notified by 5th February 2020
Submission of proposals will be required by 20 February 2020
Stage 2 shortlisted supplier interview and presentations will take place w/c 24th February 2020. This timetable is indicative and Dfe reserves the right to amend.
12. Package 1 is the delivery of the ‘Find and Apply for a Job’ Alpha, can you explain the extent or understanding of the work that would be done on the ‘Get Help to Retrain’ product? We aim to take Get help to retrain into a public beta before the summer. The supplier would be responsible for the continued development of get help to retrain and for taking it to scale across England. This would involve continued improvement to content and user journey, as well as improving the administration system which would help us to on-board more areas and training providers.
13. Except for the 100 words evidence for the essentials and nice to have requirements, can we submit also additional support documentation? i.e. images, word,.ppt, external links etc No attachments or links are permitted for Stage 1. Stage 2 guidance will be provided to shortlisted suppliers.
14. Can you clarify the budget for this specific procurement? Whether it is 21m or 5m with further procurement in future. If so, what is the timeline for these further procurement? As indicated in the advert the budget for this opportunity is ~£5m. Please refer to the roadmap included in the advert that includes an indicative timeline and is subject to change if required. Further Opportunities are currently under development and we are unable to share the timelines for these at this stage.
15. In the supplier briefing presentations there was a very strong emphasis on partnering and the inclusion of SMEs in supply chains. Will this be considered in any way as part of the evaluation of the opportunities? Is this something you that you want vendors to do? We will appoint 1 single lead supplier which could be either a large or SME supplier. We welcome bids as consortia arrangements. Suppliers must be registered on the DOS 4 framework. We welcome sub-contractor arrangements within the provisions of the DOS 4 Framework to ensure that the organisation bidding has the skills/capabilities and expertise to deliver this requirement. The evaluation criteria is as advertised in the opportunity, where there is a supply chain arrangement only the Lead supplier submission will be evaluated.
The provisions within the framework terms and conditions will apply, clause 9.18.1 and 9.18.2 and 9.18.3
16. How many suppliers will you shortlist for the next stage ? As stated in the advert we will shortlist 5 suppliers to stage 2 provided they meet the minimum requirements.
The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Friday 17 January 2020.