Department for International Trade

Data Hub Additional Development Team

14 Incomplete applications

12 SME, 2 large

19 Completed applications

15 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Monday 2 March 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 9 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 16 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
An additional multidisciplinary team, working on a Call-Off Contract basis, is required to supplement existing capacity on the Department for International Trade's "Data Hub" Customer Relationship Management system. Built using Python/Django and React/Node, the system tracks how staff enable billions of pounds of international trade and investment each year.
Latest start date
Monday 11 May 2020
Expected contract length
2 years with an optional 6-month extension
Organisation the work is for
Department for International Trade
Budget range
Up to £2m across two years on a Call-Off Contract basis. There may not be a continuous workflow throughout the lifetime of the contract as Statements of Work (SOWs) will be formed based on business priorities at different times of the year. The contract value is non-committal and work will be let through agreed SOWs that are to be charged against a pre-submitted rate card.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Data Hub is the tool that DIT's staff use to manage their contact with organisations worldwide. Over 200,000 interactions are logged per year and many billions of pounds of investment/export projects are managed through Data Hub. There are currently three in-house multidisciplinary teams working on this project. However, additional capacity is needed on a Call-Off Contract basis to support business initiatives that existing teams are not in a position to validate and build.
Problem to be solved
The supplier will provide an agile development team which will work within the existing codebase alongside three in-house teams. Data Hub is primarily written in Django and React, and runs on GOV.UK PaaS (Cloud Foundry). The supplier will be working on missions from the product roadmap, similar to the other in-house teams. This will include known goals to help give exporting/investment support as well as new strands funded by the business. The supplier will collaborate on user research and shared design, develop new mission ideas, validate business hypotheses, review and create code, and analyse metrics.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users are UK businesses and internal Data Hub teams. The internal users of this software consist of civil servants and contracted organisations. These civil servants will include account managers in DIT HQ looking after DIT's most important companies, sector specialist teams, regional teams, staff in embassies worldwide (who may be using FCO IT), marketing, analysts and statisticians. Non-civil servants across the UK include International Trade Advisers (increasing exports), Investment Services Team and Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Data Hub is a mature product. There is an existing backlog from a prior phase of the Investment project, with some designs. There are hypotheses for future missions, and many stakeholders are full of ideas - some of which the supplier will help to validate. Full details on any pre-existing work cannot be shared at this stage and will be done so once the contract has been awarded. Draft deliverables for the first SOW and any accompanying information will be shared at the shortlisting stage.
Existing team
There are currently 3 multidisciplinary teams working on Data Hub. These teams consist of a product manager, delivery manager, front-end developers (React) and back-end developers (Python/Django). There are performance analysts that will be shared between the teams. Furthermore, the supplier will supplement shared design and user research from their team.
The team will report to the Data Hub Platform Lead and will also work with the internal Data Science and Data Workspace teams.
Nearly all the code is visible on
The initial stakeholders will be from Capital Investment, Foreign Direct Investment, the Analysis community, and Growth Capital.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Windsor House, 50 Victoria St, London, SW1H 0TL
Working arrangements
The supplier will be expected to primarily work in DIT's London offices. Flexible working can be discussed at the commencement of each Statement of Work. The team will consist of Developers, a Delivery Manager, a User Researcher and Interaction Designer. DIT expect to provide Product Management and Technical Leadership, along with a small amount of content design. Interim product support may also be required. The User Researcher and Designer may be part time; if full time they will need to work with other teams.
Security clearance
BPSS Clearance is mandatory, but SC is preferred for all team members. SC is mandatory for all developers or other staff with access to the production database.

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 experience collaborating with other development teams inside the same codebase on a complex product.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work with stakeholders to refine and validate their feature ideas.
  • Demonstrate the ability to achieve efficiencies and improve ways of working during a past project.
  • Demonstrate experience in linking multiple loosely coupled systems, with different data models and data quality, as part of a production service.
  • Demonstrate experience developing user centred Django/React applications in a Continuous Integration (CI) environment releasing multiple times each day.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of developing digital services or staff-facing digital tools to support international trade.
  • Demonstrate experience delivering services to the Government Digital Service Standard.
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully deliver projects in a mission-led environment, using Objectives and Key Results to guide your work towards a business outcome or Key Performance Indicator improvements.
  • Demonstrate experience of engaging with internal users to increase awareness of product improvements.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Detail how your team will successfully work on a shared codebase with other scrum teams.
  • Detail how your team will work with stakeholders to validate the value and strategic intent behind their ideas and make appropriate prioritisation calls.
  • Detail how you will balance user insight, business needs, and technical complexity.
  • Detail how you will use different types of design and research to validate tactical ideas the team are working on and strategic ideas that may affect the wider product.
  • Detail your plan for onboarding to the project and how the team will manage their work.
  • Detail how you will staff the team flexibly based upon each mission, including onboarding new team members or dealing with problems.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how your approach to code development will minimise unnecessary conflict in a large team.
  • Demonstrate how you will undertake evidence-led and risk-based decision making around feature ideas and prioritisation.
  • Demonstrate how you will undertake a hypothesis-led approach to product development.
  • Demonstrate how you will ensure open and transparent working.
  • Demonstrate how your collaborative design and planning approach will minimise duplication.
  • Demonstrate what your approach to co-located teams and any remote working will be to ensure high team performance.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent?
There is no incumbent.
2. Will the department be willing to sponsor SC clearance?
3. Is there an incumbent supplier working on the Data Hub, and is this bid to supplement their existing team or will they be bidding for this work?
There is no incumbent supplier for this requirement.
4. Please can you detail the underlying technology behind the data hub – e.g. Database layer?
Data Hub, our internal CRM system, is powered by a PostgreSQL database with some synced indices at ElasticSearch to optimise search response times across our large data set. Access to this database layer is through the Django ORM and all queries / results are served up through an API using Django Rest Framework. The front-end which consumes this is a NodeJS Express-served app with a rich React layer.
5. Apart from the civil servants, could the Authority share the contracted organisations names?
DIT does not deem it appropriate or necessary at this stage to share the list of organisations that use Data Hub. There is currently no incumbent supplier for this requirement; any contracted organisations using Data Hub would be using it for a small portion of an outcome they are delivering for DIT, separate from this requirement.
6. Can you tell us a little more about how your current agile scrum teams operate and collaborate? Specifically:
-The length of development sprints
-Are the usual scrum ceremonies observed – stand-ups, retrospectives, show and tells etc?
-Are there over-arching agile governance arrangements e.g. scrum of scrums?
-Are any collaboration tools used, e.g. slack?
-Are any requirement/issue management tools used e.g. Jira?
Our development teams work in quarterly missions – where they aim to solve a problem (or two) within a three-month period. All our missions are defined by objectives and key results. Most teams work to fortnightly sprints and adopt a mixture of agile approaches including scrum and kanban. Typical ceremonies include stand ups, retrospectives, planning, show and tells. We have a project level wall walk and huddles across the teams as larger scale agile ceremonies. Tools we use include Slack, Teams and Trello.
7. Can we jointly make a bid with our partners who are not on DOS framework?
Suppliers may use Subcontracting under framework agreement Clause 9.18 to work with others that are not on the DOS framework to provide the required services.
8. You've asked, "Detail how your team will work with stakeholders to validate the value and strategic intent behind their ideas and make appropriate prioritisation calls." Given that you'll provide the product manager for the team, what responsibility would you expect the team members to take in this?
The team will be involved in understanding the value of the work they deliver. This could be from a technical perspective, measuring the impact/performance of the work, understanding the needs of users through research and testing or considering how the design supports the delivery of strategic aims for the business. The team will play a part in delivering iterative slices of value to ensure progress towards the business strategy. They will also need to consider how their work fits in with other internal development teams’ priorities, aims and approaches. These can be technical, design, performance or research based.