Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Thursday 1 October 2020
Value: £3,500,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education - Teacher Services programme

Software Development Capability - Package 2 (Trainee Teacher Recruitment)

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

40 Completed applications

30 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Monday 16 March 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 23 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 30 March 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The Teacher Services Programme, DfE requires Software Development capabilities to deliver various digital services. The programme has several projects in flight at different development phases. Further information on the projects is below:
DFE Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy -
Latest start date
Monday 3 August 2020
Expected contract length
24 months with option for an additional 6 months subject to internal governance and budget approval
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education - Teacher Services programme
Budget range
Up to £3.5million excl. of VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, published in January 2019, sets out the government's priorities for making sure a career in teaching continues to be attractive, sustainable and rewarding. The growing number of pupils of secondary school age means that we need even more teachers in a competitive labour market, particularly in subjects such as maths, science and modern foreign languages. At the same time, we are losing more teachers from the profession than we can afford.

We are introducing new digital systems designed to make the journey to becoming a teacher much easier and more user friendly. For example, the Find Teacher Training Service enables people to search for courses that are right for them. This service was launched in October 2018 and is currently in public beta. The Apply for Teacher Training Service is planned to be launched nationally in October 2021. It is currently being piloted. We are also looking at our data infrastructure across the services following an initial discovery.

Other projects may arise over the next 24 months.
Problem to be solved
Too many potentially great teachers are put off from pursuing a career in teaching before their training begins. In 2017/18, over 150,000 people registered on the Get Into Teaching website, but only 45,000 people applied for mainstream postgraduate teacher training. We know that people find the process of becoming a teacher complicated and burdensome so we are radically simplifying the system for becoming a teacher.

The services are being developed in a way that integrates with other services in the journey to become a teacher, such as the Get into Teaching website.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Each of our services include multiple identified users, each with their own set of journeys. These users include, but are not limited to:

As a potential teacher, I need to be able to showcase my qualifications, skills and experience to training providers so that I can become a teacher.
As an admissions administrator, I need to process applications from candidates to my organisation so that I can make good decisions when making offers or rejecting potential candidates.
As a software vendor to Higher Education Institutions, I need to release a product I have confidence in so that my consumers are able to perform their roles.
Early market engagement
We held a Pre-Market Engagement event on 6th February 2020 to provide all suppliers with background on the requirements and gain early feedback on our proposed route to market.

The information shared during the event and subsequent Questions and Answers are available here:

Pre-Market Engagement -

Questions and Answer -
Any work that’s already been done
Find is in Public Beta -

Apply is in Beta Build -
Existing team
The Teacher Services programme consist of multidisciplinary agile delivery teams, which include contractors and permanent DfE staff. There are other Service Delivery Teams working on associated digital services as part of the wider programme with whom the successful supplier will need to work.

Typical team size (for a product team) is up to 10 with a skill mix such as product managers, delivery managers, business analysts, developers, policy designers, user research and design professionals. Product teams often work alongside each other as part of an overall service team, which would include developers.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The primary location is London, although travel may be required to other DfE UK offices, particularly Manchester.
Working arrangements
We operate a standard agile methodology: daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives, show and tells. The supplier will lead by being a role model in agile working. Exact milestones will be determined post appointment with weekly updates detailing achievements and any issues that may impact timescales or cost.

To improve DfE internal capability, build and support the applications/services, knowledge transfer and coaching will be a requirement for each Statement of Work (SoW).

A SoW will be completed to outline the working arrangements, outcomes and deliverables expected for each engagement.
Security clearance
DfE will require the representatives of the suppliers to have Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS). There may be a requirement for some of the work to have a higher level of security clearance. Where this is needed it will be detailed in the Statement of Work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The standard Framework and Call Off Terms and Conditions.

Variant bids are not permitted.

All expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE standard Travel and Subsistence policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses.

Contract and Vendor Management will form a key part of governance and suppliers will be expected to co-operate in a manner that fosters healthy working relationships and quality delivery.

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
  • Detail recent experience of providing services for designing and developing digital services using an agile approach
  • Detail recent experience of successfully meeting the GDS Service Standard.
  • Detail recent experience of providing services with outputs from Discovery to Alpha, Alpha to Beta Build and Public Beta to Live services to meet user needs and strategic objectives
  • Detail recent experience of adhering to GOV.UK design patterns and standards.
  • Detail recent experience of providing services to design and build cloud based web solutions and maintaining accessible web-pages based on user needs.
  • Detail recent experience of providing Ruby and Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Redis, Elasticsearch, JavaScript and Docker ca[abilities and associated framework
  • Detail recent experience of providing services with a test driven development, continuous integration and delivery approach.
  • Detail recent experience of building using Microsoft Azure and GOV.UK PaaS cloud platforms.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Detail recent experience of building using C#.
  • Detail recent experience of providing services to lead, coach and upskill people in agile methods and techniques in order to build internal capability.
  • Detail recent experience of analysis of existing research, analytics and insight to ensure good understanding of users and their needs

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Detail recent experience of successfully meeting the Digital Service Standard, across the different agile development phases for a government service
  • Demonstrable experience of working in an agile way, including building and working from a backlog and reprioritising work.
  • Provide recent experience and methodology in approach to agile project management using both Kanban and scrumking with stakeholders to deliver incremental value.
  • Provide an overview of your business structure, its operating model and how skilled resources will be provided timely. In addition, describe your ability to flex resources both up and down
  • Provide details of recent experience with examples of using the styles, components and patterns in the GOV.UK design system.
  • Demonstrable experience of working alongside clients in co-located and integrated teams
  • Provide evidence of recent experience of building using Microsoft Azure and GOV.UK PaaS cloud platforms.
  • Provide details of your approach and methodology to develop webpages and applications based on user needs in collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders.
  • Provide details of how you will ensure Teacher Services receives the highest standard of capability services in an efficient manner.
  • Provide details of your on/off - board processes during different phases of a project and how you will quickly understand user needs to maintain continuity.
  • Describe how you will achieve and maintain value for money during the life of the contract. Provide details of value-added services that will be provided during this contract
Cultural fit criteria
  • Describe your approach to working with multidisciplinary, mixed civil servant and managed service teams of specialists working to common service outcomes
  • Describe your approach to working together across government department to help a user to their goal by using common design patterns and where possible shared supporting technologies and operating platforms
  • Describe your approach to providing appropriate skills to meet a project's specific needs
  • Describe your methodology for training, coaching and knowledge transfer throughout the term of the contract.
  • Describe how you can help the DfE build our in-house capability to manage and support cloud services.
  • Describe how you will work transparently and collaboratively with the project teams and seek actionable feedback to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently
  • For information about the Teacher Services Culture, see -
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

2. is there a current incumbent providing these services?
"Please refer to the questions and responses from the Pre-Market Engagement event which can be found within the 'Early market engagement' section.

We operate multi-disciplinary teams across the programme. As a result, we have a range of incumbents providing specific outcome deliverables."
3. A reminder to all suppliers that questions relating to this requirement must be submitted via the marketplace not later than midnight tonight 23 March 2020
A reminder to all suppliers that questions relating to this requirement must be submitted via the marketplace not later than midnight tonight 23 March 2020