Awarded to Zaizi Limited

Start date: Friday 1 May 2020
Value: £1,392,187.50
Company size: SME
Innovate UK – Part of UK Research and Innovation

DDaT20015 - UKRI - Innovate UK – Technical support and development of the Innovation Funding Service

15 Incomplete applications

12 SME, 3 large

15 Completed applications

9 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Monday 17 February 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 24 February 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 2 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are seeking a supplier to provide technical expertise to develop and support delivery of our ‘Business As Usual’ maintenance team to improve our digital GDS compliant Innovation Funding Service (IFS).
Latest start date
Friday 1 May 2020
Expected contract length
18 months (Initial 6 months + option to extend by 6 months + option to extend by a further 6 months)
South West England
Organisation the work is for
Innovate UK – Part of UK Research and Innovation
Budget range
Up to a maximum £1.5 million for all 18 months

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are seeking a supplier to provide the technical expertise for the delivery of and continual improvement to our Innovation Funding Service (IFS), a user-centred accessible digital service.

Following the successful Discovery, Alpha, and Beta phases of the project, working within Government’s Digital Service Standard, we have established a small maintenance team to provide ongoing support for the existing service.

We are looking to supplement the in house team with experienced technical resource to deliver iterative improvements to the service.
Problem to be solved
The Innovation Funding Service is an Innovate UK digital platform, designed to meet government Digital by Default Service Standards. It leverages the benefits of cloud computing and has made operational efficiencies and user improvements by digitalising the funding application process, from competition set up, customer application, assessment processes, through to project set-up.

With the service now in place and delivering significant benefits to customers and internal processing, refinement of the current solution will increase return for all stakeholders.

The service needs technical development to onboard further funding competition types, improve customer journeys, internal processes and systems integrations while remaining secure and performant.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an external applicant, I need an intuitive digital platform, so I can: complete and submit a digital funding application with input from collaborators, providing additional project start up information if I am successful and transfer seamlessly to digital grant award and claims processes.

As an assessor, I need an intuitive digital platform, so I can securely assess and submit feedback on applications.

As an internal user, I need an intuitive digital platform, so I can create and manage competitions, applications, assessments and projects. I need to track applicants progress and liaise with them throughout the full journey.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The Discovery, Alpha and Beta phases of the project have been completed.

This function will continue to operate in the Public Beta phase and improve iteratively, supporting Innovate UK’s end to end grant service in readiness for our live assessment.

Supporting information relevant to this requirement with will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
Existing team
The team is made up of the following internal resources:

- Service Delivery Manager (1 x FTE)
- Business Analyst (1 x FTE)
- UX Designer (1 x FTE)
- QA Engineer (1 x FTE)
- Junior Developers (2 x FTE)
- Performance Analyst (0.4 x FTE)

And complemented with a contracted Product Manager.

The team will also be working with other internally resourced functions including:

- Enterprise & Solutions Architecture
- DevOps
- Content Design
- Business intelligence & data warehousing
- User communities
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Polaris House, North Star Ave, Swindon SN2 1FL
Working arrangements
Integrate supplier resources into the maintenance team for continuous improvement activities defined in the project road map.

Have flexibility to scale up a separate delivery team when major change pieces need onboarding.

Overall team direction is provided by the Service Delivery Manager, working closely with supplier lead.

The team operate using Agile Scrum Methodology.

We expect team members to be onsite a minimum of 3 days a week, with optional remote working for 2 days. Remote working will make use of established collaboration tools used extensively as part of the project to date.
Security clearance
- Onsite attendance at Polaris House requires basic security disclosure.

- Contractors working for Innovate UK must sign our standard Non-Disclosure Agreement.

- All suppliers working with Innovate UK must provide proof of GDPR compliance.

- All suppliers must adhere to Innovate UK’s Information Security and GDPR policies.

Additional information

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.

Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you have designed and delivered services using the GDS Digital by Default Service Standard and open source technologies.
  • Demonstrate how your testers have implemented best practices like test-driven development, behavioural-driven development and test automation.
  • Demonstrate how your teams have adhered to agile methodology and evolved processes over time
  • Demonstrate how you have previously applied your skills and expertise to Non-Functional requirements such as Security, Usability, Performance, Accessibility.
  • Demonstrate how you have used your expertise and skills of working with a Microservices architecture and working closely with DevOps teams.
  • Demonstrate how your developers have implemented architectural structural changes and significant feature implementations.
  • Explain how your multi-disciplinary teams have acted in a solution oriented manner, focused on continuous delivery.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you have used collaboration tools such as Slack, Jira, Confluence and Zoom or equivalent in a past projects successfully.
  • Demonstrate how you have used Service Orchestration tools such as Kubernetes / OpenShift or equivalent in a past projects successfully

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Describe your proposed team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals, and explain why the proposed team structure would be the most appropriate for this project.
  • Explain how your team would provide technical direction, lead the development function and act as architects alongside our DevOps and data warehousing leads.
  • Detail how you would capture, prioritise and groom a technical backlog, mindful of defects and bugs.
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team will proactively and efficiently identify and manage risks and dependencies.
  • Demonstrate how your proposed team will develop and mentor our junior developers.
  • Explain how you would work proactively and reactively with our 1st line support teams, including your approach to incident management.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Outline your approach to the product lifecycle, including how you interact with Product Owners and stakeholders to ensure business requirements are prioritised and delivered accurately.
  • Summarise how you plan to work with us, other suppliers and other projects as part of an integrated, co-located digital delivery team.
  • Detail how you would accommodate the requirement to spin up additional delivery teams when significant, time critical features need to be implemented.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. How will this opportunity will be evaluated
This opportunity will be evaluated in line with the Digital Outcomes and Specialists guidance.
This guidance can be found at the following link:
- How to score Digital Outcomes and Specialists suppliers;
- 5. Weight overall scores for technical competence, cultural fit and availability;
- If you didn’t weight individual criteria.
2. Procurement timeframe
The anticipated procurement timeframes are as follows:
16 Mar 2020 – Notification of shortlisting outcome
23 Mar 2020– Written proposal deadline
25 Mar 2020 – Presentations
08 April 2020 – Notification of award outcome
3. Can you please confirm the technology stack for the Innovation Funding Service (IFS)?
The Innovation Funding Services uses industry standard frameworks/languages and tooling such as Spring, Java, JavaScript, Python, Thymeleaf, HTML/CSS and REST API’s with a SQL Database.
These are delivered in a micro services architecture using Docker containers orchestrated by RedHat’s OpenShift into a AWS Cloud Environment.
4. Is there an incumbent supplier?
5. Is there an incumbent supplier, and will they be bidding?
Yes. We do not know whether the incumbent supplier will be submitting a bid.
6. Can you confirm if the tech stack is the same as listed in UK SBS DDaT19127 please?
No. As per the clarification above, the Innovation Funding Services uses industry standard frameworks/languages and tooling such as Spring, Java, JavaScript, Python, Thymeleaf, HTML/CSS and REST API’s with a SQL Database.
These are delivered in a micro services architecture using Docker containers orchestrated by RedHat’s OpenShift into a AWS Cloud Environment.
7. What is the flexibility around days on site required? Would you be open for the team to work at the supplier site too? And as the project and relationships progress, would you foresee more remote working?
We would expect the majority of the team to be on site in Swindon at least 3 days a week and this is unlikely to change substantially.
8. We note the existing team of 6 FTE +.4FTE and a product manager making 7 FTE can you please confirm these are the resources to be replaced for a budget of £1.5m over 18mths?
Can we assume 220 working days per year or 225?
No, these are not resources we are looking to replace. They will remain in post. We are looking for development / software engineering resource to supplement the aforementioned FTEs. Assume 225 working days per year.
9. Are you able to provide a transition period and what is the length of the transition to any new possible suppliers?
Assuming a prompt start date there could be up to a month handover with the incumbent supplier. Internal resources will provide ongoing knowledge transfer.
10. Can you provide an indication of any backlog that might exist at the point that this service starts? This helps us to understand the likely resource structure that may be required and gives an indication of the way in which handover and initial stage delivery might progress. Thank you.
Yes. The current backlog consists of:

Enhance scalability and cost efficiency of platform
Reduce IFS footprint
Assessor performance improvements
Reverse state of application once submitted
New Format for Sub-contractor costs
Review use of Experian
Provide MO's ability to approve documents
Onboard SBRI and KTP competitions
Random URL generation
Redesign assessor journeys
Push applicants to grants management
Appendix improvements
Organisation name change
Allow organisations to bypass currently mandatory tasks in project setup
Identify new projects for Project Setup