Awarded to Marvell Consulting Limited

Start date: Monday 18 May 2020
Value: £3,000,000
Company size: SME
Home Office

C17692 Ongoing digital transformation of Animals in Science Regulation Unit's operations

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

14 Completed applications

13 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 11 February 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 18 February 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 25 February 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The ongoing digital transformation of ASRU’s operations, through the maintenance and improvements to the existing e-Licensing system; and the introduction of new digital services, such as inspection and compliance reports, the collection and reporting of annual statistics, and improved management reporting.
This service is considered to be outside IR35.
Latest start date
Friday 17 April 2020
Expected contract length
2 years
Organisation the work is for
Home Office
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The newly developed licensing management system is in its infancy, with a backlog of features that will stabilise and enhance its offering. ASRU is currently dependent on several legacy systems and processes for certain critical operations. These systems and processes need to be decommissioned, meaning the critical operations they currently support need to be built into the new licensing system. This will provide ASRU and external users with a single, well-designed and secure system for carrying out all functions required for regulating and complying with regulation.
Problem to be solved
ASRU and establishments rely on several sub-optimal processes for carrying out their necessary duties. Among other things, we need to find a way to better support inspection and compliance reporting, better support establishments in going through their necessary ethical review processes, publish non-technical summaries quicker, and reduce the burden put on establishments when submitting their annual returns.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Licence applicants/holders work at universities and bioscience companies across the UK in pharmaceutical development, academic research and safety testing.

Various named officers within establishments have roles in the application and management of licences.

In 2019:

• there are more than 2,500 active project licences,
• there are 17,800 active personal licences
• there are 150 active establishment licences

Home Office staff assess and process applications, inspect establishments and respond to Parliamentary questions and FOIs. Annual returns are processed by a separate stats team within the Home Office.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Over the last two and a half years, a new licence management system has been built that supports the application and assessment of, and the amendment to licences required to carry out regulated scientific procedures on protected animals in Great Britain.

There is an extensive backlog of development in place to improve and optimise this into a mature and stable system, and design and research groundwork has been laid to add further functionality to support licence holders and ASRU staff.
Existing team
The incumbent supplier provides a multidisciplinary team of developers, designers and user researchers. The new team is expected to have a similar make up, with professions as described in the Government’s service design manual.
A team of civil servants will remain on the project, holding key roles such as product manager and service owner.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The Animal Science Regulation Unit is based in London and Croydon. There’s flexibility with location, but close cooperation with ASRU and some co-locating will be necessary – particularly for show and tells.
Contextual research is essential, so travel to the various universities and companies around the UK will be required.
Working arrangements
The team must use agile methodologies, with regular stand ups and show and tells.
Contextual research should be recorded and stored securely so the research assets can be given to the Home Office. User research must be carried out in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct ( ).
Security clearance
All supplier staff working on the project will need to undergo a CTC security check. This will be sponsored by the Home Office.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Travel and accommodation payable outside M25 when pre-approved and in line with HO T&S policy. Subsistence will not be paid.
Exit Activities.
Rate caps - rates over £1000 per day are excluded.
SFIA 7 level resource is excluded. SFIA 6 is excluded for 'hands on' delivery roles.

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
  • Accessibility and assisted digital: Evidence recent (since February 2018) experience building inclusive services that everyone can use.
  • Multidisciplinary team: Evidence recent (since February 2018) experience of providing a multidisciplinary team of developers, designers and user researchers.
  • Prototyping and usability testing: Evidence recent (since February 2018) experience of taking a user-centred approach to iterative design
  • Data—led decisions: Evidence recent (since February 2018) experience of making evidence-based design and build decisions rather than any based on the loudest opinions or hunches
  • Government delivery: experience of (or detailed understanding of) successfully designing, testing and building of digital services for government
  • Government service design: experience of (or detailed understanding of) using the digital service manual and design patterns, following the technology code of practice and style guide
  • Technology stack: experience of building and deploying nodejs services into kubernetes infrastructure
  • Live service support: experience of supporting and maintaining software in a live environment
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Agile phase and service assessments: experience of (or detailed understanding of) taking digital services though beta and live assessments

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Essential Skills and Experience (stage 1) (4%)
  • Approach and methodology (25%)
  • Case Study (10%)
  • Capability – organisation and team (16%)
  • Added value (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work openly together, honestly track progress, share problems; and open to learning from the mistakes made along the way (4%)
  • Open-minded, collaborative approach to problem solving, showing recognition in the value of everyone’s contribution and a willingness to challenge the status quo (3%)
  • Demonstrable evidence-based approach to decision making; using analytics data or insight from user testing to influence designs, rather than it being used to validate assumptions (3%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please advise the criteria that deems this work outside of IR35.
Please clarify the question - what do you mean by criteria? The HMRC employment status tool has been used to confirm that the work is outside of IR35.
2. Please advise why this procurement is required. Your brief states that "The incumbent supplier provides a multidisciplinary team of developers, designers and user researchers. "
Secondly, is the incumbent supplier included in the procurement and if so, what are you reasons for searching for a new supplier ?`
The procurement is required as the current contract expires in May 2020 and was awarded for the development of the service. Now in Public Beta we are moving to the next stage of development, not covered by the current contract. The incumbent supplier may choose to apply.
3. Please can you confirm is there is an incumbent supplier for the licensing system and if they will be eligible to bid for this phase.
Yes, there is an incumbent and yes they are elgible to tender for this requirement. Sufficient time has been built into the procurement process for any necessary transition and handover to a new supplier.
4. Hello, Please can you elaborate on the tech stack used for building the licence management system. Also the spec says there is scope for development, so do you expect to continue using the same tech stack? How is it performing ? Are you open to suggestions
The service is made up of:
* A React UI with a Node/express webserver
* A number of data API services, written in Node/express
* RDS Postgres for data storage
* Redis for session management
* SQS/S3 for some inter-service communication layers
* Keycloak for authentication
* This is deployed into the Home Office’s own kubernetes based cloud hosting platform
5. Question 4 continued
response to Q4 continued:
The technology stack is working very well for us, the IP is entirely owned by the Home Office, it follows the government's Technology code of practice, and has been assessed and accredited at various milestones throughout the build. As such, there is no appetite for it to be changed, and a timely and costly refactor is undesirable.
6. Can you please confirm what technology (or technologies) the 'New Licensing System' has been built in and to what extent it has relied on a bespoke build designed by the incumbent service provider?
Please see response to Q4.
7. Please advise the tech stack and specifically the newly developed licence management system.
Please see response to Q4.
8. Can you disclose the budget for this opportunity?
The current budget is £1m but we expect that more budget may be available during the term of the contract so the contract will be capped at £3m.
9. No budget is stated for this opportunity. Please can you confirm the expected budget range?
See Q8.
10. Re: "Live service support". What level of SLAs do you expect? do you require 24/7 support? 16/5 support?
Support is required Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 9am to 5 pm.
Priority Response time Resolution
Critical 30 minutes Same day
Major Same day 3 days
11. What roles are you expecting suppliers to provide? In addition, are you expecting all roles to have the ability to be full time?
We are expecting the supplier to provide the flexible resources they require to deliver the service. It will be up to the supplier to propose the resource effort required for delivery but the expectation is that the following roles will be required to deliver initially (numbers are expected to reduce over the contract duration):
Technical lead SFIA 5 x 1FTE
Developer SFIA 5 x 1.5 FTE
Researcher SFIA 5 x 0.6 FTE
Designer SFIA 4 x 0.6 FTE
Content designer SFIA 4 x 0.3. FTE
Support roles SFIA 4 x 0.3 FTE
12. Please can you confirm the current team profile/breakdown for delivering the service, complete with number of team members and SFIA grades?
Please note that this procurement is for a different set of requirements to that delivered by the incumbent and the team profile has been extremely flexible to meet the maturing requirement.
13. In order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated: will you be evaluating by the total price, rate card or both? How do you ensure that you are completing a genuine value for money comparison rather than just a rate card comparison?
Further detail will be provided to the shortlisted suppliers.
14. Will your Product Manager and Service Owner be allocated full time to this project?
The Product Manager and Service Owner are currently allocated full time to the project but this may be subject to change and should not impact the delivery.
15. Are you able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research?
16. Is your Product Backlog fully defined, bounded and prioritised?
17. Will you be able to organise access to stakeholders throughout the engagement?
18. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
A demonstration by the Supplier of exceeding the skills and experience required.
19. Please can you share a procurement timeline outlining steps (which would typically include evidence response evaluation starting on 25th February, shortlisting of suppliers for next stage, preparation of supplier proposals, evaluation of supplier proposals, announcement of successful supplier, contract completion, contract signatures, commence work on 17th April)?
The indicative timetable below may be subject to change:
shortlisting of suppliers - 26th to 28th February
Request for Proposal issue: 3rd March
Proposal response deadline: 17th March
Presentations: 20th March
Result announced by: 27th March
Contract finalisation and signatures by 9th April.
20. Is the scope of work purely focused on continuous improvement, or is there also a requirement to within the scope of this procurement provide (for example) service management, application support or management of the infrastructure environments?
The scope is mostly focused on continuous improvement. The examples referenced in the question are delivered by the ACP service refered to in Question 21 below.
21. Who will be responsible for service management, application support and management of the infrastructure environments? (E.g. Home Office internally managed, another supplier. And how will the interface between the two functions be managed?
The service sits on the Home Office Application Container Platform (ACP). This is managed for the Home Office by a supplier and further information about this service and service provider can be found here . The interaction between the two service providers will be defined for the proposal stage of this procurement but we expect both parties to work in a collaborative manner.
22. Are you able to share an indication of budget?
See Q8.