Awarded to Mahsy Ltd

Start date: Monday 1 June 2020
Value: £14,530
Company size: SME
Durham County Council as part of a National Lottery Heritage Funded project

Durham History Centre - Consultant Systems Architect and Customer Interface Design

8 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 0 large

7 Completed applications

5 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Thursday 12 March 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 19 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 26 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
Technical Architect
Summary of the work
By 2023 County Durham will have a new History Centre showcasing key heritage collections. As part of our National Lottery funded development phase we want to work with a system architect to understand how middleware is used to integrate our collections data to provide an innovative and interactive search environment.
Latest start date
Sunday 31 May 2020
Expected contract length
2 months
North East England
Organisation the work is for
Durham County Council as part of a National Lottery Heritage Funded project
Maximum day rate
Fixed fee (ceiling price) for the work is £15,000, including all expenses.

About the work

Early market engagement
Golant Innovation produced Durham History Centre's digital strategy in October 2019. This identified the range of different systems the collections are using and that a middleware system would be requied to integrate information from multiple databases into one intuitive search platform.
The digital strategy touched on potential middleware systems available together with options to moving our systems across to Open source technologies rather than in-house, however, at that stage they were unable to make an informed judgment on the right approach for Durham History Centre. The full digital strategy will be made available to the successful consultant.
Who the specialist will work with
Core contacts
Sarah Glynn, Durham History Centre Programme Lead
Sabina McGing, Durham History Centre Project Manager
Brian Dougherty, Senior IT Project Manager
Additional contacts
Gill Parkes, Principal Archivist
David Mason, Principal Archaeologist
Anne Davison, Service Manager (DLI and Local Studies)
Anne Robson, Superintendent Registrar
What the specialist will work on
Research knowledge integration systems and ‘middleware’ solutions for heritage collections
Assist with documentation and provide technical guidance to support future soft market testing/ invitation to tender
Review existing Digital Strategy and collection search interfaces
Research comparator collections search interfaces, open source software, user-curated digital content and crowdsourcing
Write a digital implementation plan that draws together all research and delivers a road map allowing:
- integrated collections data that is fully searchable and discoverable
- high quality and fully accessible solutions to showcase the collections
- produce a fully costed action plan including a management and maintenance plan for new assets

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UE, however, the consultant may be required to visit people in different locations across the county from time to time.
Working arrangements
We will require a face to face start up meeting, then the consultant will work remotely.
Weekly catch up will be required and consultants are encouraged to use Microsoft Teams as a communication tool.
The consultant may be required to liaise with other consultants (Design Team) and may be required to attend other meetings during the contract period.
Security clearance
Consultants will conform to our third party access policies to allow access to data/ systems currently held by the Council. If data is required to be consumed in a test system held off-site by the consultant, if should be removed and destroyed within a 30 day period upon contract end.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
We will require evidence of Professional Indemnity insurance cover.

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
  • Have an understanding and experience of different middleware architectures - 6%
  • Provide an agile multi disciplinary team including research, system architecture and product development - 5%
  • Have worked in a project that encountered large scale databases holding large quantities of data that are often duplicated or are difficult to match. - 5%
  • Experience of working with large scale databases where data is difficult to match that resides in both bespoke and bought in solutions. - 5%
  • Understand the importance of high quality structured meta data and how it can be applied to this project. - 5%
  • Have knowledge of the requirements of the customers that may potentially use this service in the future that includes customers with low digital literacy - 4%
  • To recommend a solution that's in line with the Government service standards and technology code of practice - 4%
  • Have the ability to work with internal ICT teams to understand the architecture of our current systems - 4%
  • Evidence of delivering projects on time - 4%
  • Awareness of best practice in the digital environment and of future trends - 4%
  • Previous experience of writing and costing implementation plans for projects of a similar size and nature - 3%
  • Experience working with at least one of the following: archives, museums and historic environment records; the structure of culture/heritage data is unique and its complexity is often underestimated. - 4%
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have worked on a similar projects with other Councils or cultural organisations. - 3%
  • Have experience of creating middleware solutions with museum collections data - 3%
  • Previous experience of working on National Lottery Heritage Fund development phase bids - 2%
  • Have experience of working on agile projects and understand agile project management - 2%
  • Have developed a working solution for people with a low digital literacy - 2%
  • Have experience of working with crowd sourcing solutions - 2%
  • A good working knowledge of government procurement processes ensuring documentation and guidance provided fits seamlessly into next stages of our procurement process regarding soft market testing and ITT - 3%

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a work history.

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with colleagues from across Durham and with existing suppliers - 2%
  • Support the learning and development of the project team and colleagues - 2%
  • An interest in digital collections and technology in this area - 2%
  • Be transparent and collaborative - 1%
  • Be comfortable standing up for their discipline - 1%
  • Work with stakeholders with low technical expertise - 1%
  • Act on feedback - 1%
Additional assessment methods
  • Reference
  • Interview
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there a current incumbent?
There is no incumbent supplier - this is a new role
2. Please clarify how many days of work are you expecting in this budget?
The budget for the project has been identified and we would expect project requirements to be delivered within this budget. The number of days work required by the supplier to deliver the project requirements is up to the supplier to determine.
3. Can you please clarify if you are looking for a specialist or a team of specialists to deliver this piece of work?
The Council would happily work with either a team or an individual to fulfil the requirements identified
4. Without looking at the requirements you are looking to get delivered, difficult to get you a person at fixed cost. Can you share the requirements so that we can look at that before giving you a quote to get this project requirements delivered?
The Council have specified their requirements within the advert and therefore believe there is sufficient information to allow suppliers to quote for the delivery of these requirements. However, if there are specific areas which require further clarification please advise.
5. Could you please provide more background on the project
Further background information on this project can be found by following the 2 links below: