Department for Education

DfE Digital Transformation Pipeline (Region: North)

Incomplete applications

12
Incomplete applications
10 SME, 2 large

Completed applications

50
Completed applications
35 SME, 15 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 3 April 2020
Deadline for asking questions Friday 10 April 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 17 April 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work DfE are looking for a supplier to work alongside our digital development teams covering key digital service development roles/supplementing our existing capability. Delivering projects from discovery through to live, prototyping and building digital services as part of the department's digital transformation in line with government service standards.
Latest start date Monday 18 May 2020
Expected contract length Up to 2 years
Location North West England
Organisation the work is for Department for Education
Budget range Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance. A pipeline of activity is foreseen over the next 24 months - based on the scope being considered the budget could range up to £5m consisting of multiple SoWs, but that scope could expand or contract. DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.

A pricing template will be requested at the proposal stage to shortlisted suppliers. The template must be flexible enough to enable different rates for different locations. Rate cards will be static for the life of the contract.

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done DfE continues its transformation from a policy to a delivery department. Discoveries undertaken in 2017 identified a potential 250 potential services and 50 service lines. In August 2018 DfE started scaling up its delivery capability to support in developing services to meet the Government Service Standard. A DOS Service Transformation Pipeline Delivery Programme contract was awarded in September 2018 for services to work with digital teams across DfE in delivering projects from 'Discovery' through to 'Live'. Further support has been obtained through four DOS Capability contracts – Software Development, Service Delivery and User Experience & Design.
Digital ways of working continues to expand with an on-going demand for assistance from across DfE. Two new regional Service Transformation Pipeline Delivery Programme contracts (of which this is one) are required and will continue to provide assistance to these teams, along with building capability and knowledge required by the department through this change. Through Statements of Work (SoW) work packages, this contract will allow DfE to engage digital specialists/teams who will work with blended teams made up of civil servants, and when necessary other suppliers who provide additional skills and capabilities, to deliver digital projects, programmes or stand-alone pieces of work.
Problem to be solved DfE are advertising this opportunity in order to engage a delivery partner who can deliver outcomes based on user needs and government service standards. This opportunity is for suppliers who can provide delivery capability to support in-house delivery along with focussing on the end-to-end delivery of digital services. The contract will allow teams from across DfE, through SoW’s, to collaborate with a supplier who is able to provide specialists and teams with core sets of skills to support a range of projects from inception through to live. We would expect the supplier to provide capabilities required for a multi-disciplinary team, with typical roles to include delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer. In order to pass point 3 of the Government Service Standard, assessors must be satisfied the delivery team has the skills to design, build and operate a service. This approach would provide continuity through the lifecycle of projects, ensuring no break in support and that expertise is developed within the team leading to improved opportunities for shadowing and knowledge transfer. We anticipate between 3-7 concurrent projects at differing digital phases to be running at any time.
Who the users are and what they need to do Services to support a number of user groups including:
•Teachers
• Parents
• Students
• Education advisors
• School administrators
• People that deliver children’s services
• DfE staff
• Employers

For example,
• As a school leader I need to know more about funding opportunities so that my school can apply for relevant grants
• As a parent, I need to understand how to apply for financial support for my child
• As a student, I need to know how to apply for financial support for my myself
• As a Social Worker I want to spend more time directly supporting children and families so that I can offer an improved service
• As a Senior Responsible Officer for a project, I need agile capability to provide delivery management, remove blockers to progress and monitor teams
• As a Senior Leader I need agile coaching to establish and embed an agile environment required for optimal delivery
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done Some digital education services are live via the GOV.UK website, for example:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-online
https://www.gov.uk/find-teaching-job
https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/

However there is still a lot of potential to deliver development work and enhancement.

Digital programme discovery is well underway with potential services identified and prioritised.
Work continues on prioritising Services with some service discovery, alpha and private beta activity completed and moving to the next phase.
Existing team The supplier will work with civil servants and DfE stakeholders from a range of disciplines, including architecture, security, policy, finance, commercial and other suppliers. Knowledge transfer back into DfE will be a requirement to enable DfE to improve internal capability to build and support the applications. Where required in the development cycle, collaboration with other suppliers maybe necessary, for example, data extract, transformation, load and migration and in the setting up of dev/test environments. This contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements to support the volume of work.
Current phase Not applicable

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place For the duration of restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, all teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely.

For any given SoW, the base location is likely to be Manchester, Sheffield and Darlington, any research activity may be required UK wide.

The primary base will be detailed in each SoW, travel may be required to other DfE offices including London, Coventry or Cambridge. Expenses will not form part of the costs unless the supplier is asked to work from a secondary location. e.g. If SoW primary base is in Coventry then no expenses will be paid for Coventry.
Working arrangements The existing DfE digital team comprises lead roles in Delivery and Product Management, User Research and Agile Delivery, as well as stakeholders from Finance, HR and Commercial teams. Output from discoveries will inform the products and services to be explored with our delivery partner. We are looking for a delivery partner to complement our agile development capability in roles including, but not limited to, Product Management, User-Centred Design and Business Analysis. Each Statement of Work will cover a project/phase with associated outcomes and deliverables. We anticipate between 3-7 concurrent projects at differing digital phases to be running at any time.
Security clearance DfE requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS). Some projects may require higher security clearance checks, this will be detailed in the statement of work.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Standard Framework and Call Off Terms and Conditions. Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with CCS Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S 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.

Suppliers must provide sufficient guarantees to meet the requirements of GDPR in line with Procurement Policy Note 03/17 Changes to Data Protection Legislation & General Data Protection Regulation.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Delivering digital services using agile development approaches and continuous delivery techniques
  • Experience in conducting user research, designing and developing working digital services
  • Experience in user journey mapping, delivering evidenced based, prioritised user stories and designing assisted digital support
  • Experience of successful collaborative working, coaching and sharing knowledge with clients, particularly those with limited agile development experience
  • Delivering end-to-end services across a range channels
  • Delivering for complex and evolving operating environment
  • Delivering in complex supply and delivery chains
  • Prioritises understanding needs and behaviour and uses insight to underpin and drive design decisions when designing content, product and services
  • Communicate service concepts and ideas using methods that allow others to see all the different parts of a service
  • Pulling together aspects such as user research, org design, business analysis, data science, policy intent
  • Analysing failure within a service and identifying root causes
  • Designs and develops services through iteration, research and testing
  • Evidence of your ability and approach to deploy multiple resources at customer locations, specifically in the North of England
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working successfully with UK Government and/or Arms Length Bodies
  • Planning and delivering digital services that follow the Government Service Standards
  • Awareness of GDS service assessments
  • Sector knowledge of DfE business requirements and issues

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 7
Proposal criteria
  • Examples of passing the Government’s Service Standards Assessment or equivalent
  • Understanding/ability to deliver digital products/services to governments service standards
  • Working with users to understand their work, their operating context and constraints & identify and implement adaptations/improvements
  • Designing a service that has passed a government accessibility audit and accessibility beyond standard (e.g. design for neurodivergence) or similar
  • Able to communicate effectively across organisational, technical and political boundaries, understanding the context
  • Makes complex and technical information and language simple and accessible for non-technical audiences
  • Ability to make informed decisions based on user needs, available technology and value for money
  • Ability to place digital teams in regional locations, within a short timeframe
Cultural fit criteria
  • Establish a culture of service and continuous improvement in all teams
  • Reinforce a strong Agile based culture
  • Experience of working with an organisation at the beginning of an agile culture change
  • Experience of working with multi-vendor teams across multiple projects
  • Experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to achieve a single objective.
  • Experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation
  • Understands how to be part of a multidisciplinary, agile service team
  • Able to explain technical things to non-technical people, and non-technical things to technical people
  • Overview of your business structure and operating model within client locations
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Hello, do you have a current incumbent/supplier supporting this work? There is currently an incumbent supplier who has been working with digital teams across DfE. The contract with the current supplier is close to the expiry date
2. Could you please clarify the below essential skills and experience?
"Delivering in complex supply and delivery chains"
DfE are looking for a supplier who has experience delivering where the focus is mainly about the external complexity. Less about the digital teams themselves and more about call centres, or social workers, or schools, or publishers etc
3. What are the procurement timelines? The indicative timeline is for shortlisted suppliers to be notified w/c 27/04. With stage 2 evaluation being completed before w/c 18/05

Due to internal governance procedures, the latest start date for this requirement is now 01/06/20.
4. Could you clarify this please? "Delivering end-to-end services across a range channels"
How are you defining channels?
Channels would be online, telephone, face to face etc. DfE are looking to work with a supplier who has multi-channel experience. For example designing the screens and call centre scripts, letters to candidates, face-to-face training, TV and radio marketing etc…
5. Can you advise how this relates to other DfE opportunities recently release on DOS, in particular Software Development Capability Package 1-5. There is no connection between this opportunity and the Software Development Capability package 1-5 opportunities recently advertised on the Digital Marketplace. This opportunity is to partner with a supplier who is able to work alongside a variety of digital teams who may be at differing phases of digital delivery. A SoW will be completed giving the outcomes required for each piece or work.
6. Can you advise who the incumbent supplier is? The contract for the current incumbent was awarded to Farsignt in 2018. This contract is now close to the expiry date
7. Do you anticipate requiring specialist support within this project, rather than relying on a sole supplier to provide an end-end solution? The opportunity is to support a variety of digital projects across DfE, with each piece of work documented on a SoW providing clear outcomes. We are looking for a supplier who would be able to support these teams at different phases of delivery
8. Can you clarify what you mean by the following:
Pulling together aspects such as user research, org design, business analysis, data science, policy intent.
We would expect our supplier to identify and fill the capability gaps to deliver in a way which brings together all of the relevant skills needed for a successful digital project.
9. Can you clarify what you mean by the following: Sector knowledge of DfE business requirements and issues A supplier who understands the aims of the department, their reach and the wider impact is one of the 'Nice to have skills & experience' criteria
10. What do you mean by: Delivering for complex and evolving operating environment.
Do you envisage the technology stack to change considerably over the duration of the project?
We don't envisage the Technology stack to change over the period of this contract.
We are looking for a supplier who can demonstrate 'Delivering for a complex and evolving operating environment' meaning changing and evolving based on user research and policy shaping. Agile, incremental and iterative delivery based on tight user feedback cycles, in complex problem spaces
11. Please can you name the incumbent supplier The contract for the current incumbent was awarded to Farsight in 2018. This contract is now close to the expiry date
12. Please can you state who will be reviewing and evaluating the responses. Both the assessment and evaluation will be scored by a panel of DfE staff made up of a Digital Deputy Director, a Head of Profession and a DDaT Business Partner
13. How many supplier team members do you anticipate for each project and what skills mix will be required? We cannot confirm what the exact split of work as this contract will be supporting a range of projects, as such it is likely that the number of specialists and the skills required for each SoW will be different.
14. Would you accept examples from the private sector to answer this question?
"Delivering end-to-end services across a range channels"
We would be happy to accept private sector examples which demonstrate the skills and experience suppliers have
15. Could you be more specific on this point; Sector knowledge of DfE business requirements and issues
Different area's of the DfE have different business requirements. Could you elaborate on the types of issue you are referring to?
A supplier who understands the aims of the department, their reach and the wider impact is one of the 'Nice to have skills & experience' criteria
16. Can you confirm if the word count for suppliers response is absolute? Yes suppliers have 100 words for the initial response. We do not accept any ways to circumvent the word count, e.g. using hyphens between words. Any words over the word count will be deleted and not used in the evaluation.
17. Please can you clarify what you mean for this point: Delivering in complex supply and delivery chains.
Are you looking for supplier who is able to manage the complex needs of the external stakeholders and design a system which caters for all of those stakeholders. I.e. engaging with all of those users and facilitating user led designs?
DfE are looking for a supplier who has experience delivering where the focus is about the external complexity. Less about the digital teams themselves and more about call centres, or social workers, or schools, or publishers etc.
DfE have lots of legacy organisational and technical architecture. We deliver through complex supply chains - setting regulation, frameworks, outcomes etc, but often not delivering directly ourselves for some of it. E.g. Apprenticeships as a service was built where an existing apprenticeships service existed, and woven in piece by piece, swapping bits out and refactoring as they went.
18. Are there in-flight Discovery-Alpha-Beta projects underway to deliver on specific products and services? DfE are delivering a number of projects across the department which are in various digital delivery phases. Each SoW will provide details on the digital delivery phase
19. What technology stack will the department use to delivery these product and services? DfE digital's technology stack and approach consists of the following elements:
Microservices architecture, with internal and public facing HTTP and JSON REST based APIs for business logic and data access.
User facing websites built using Ruby on Rails, and deployed to the DfE Azure platform and GOV.UK PaaS. Code hosted in the DfE Digital Github.
Databases to be one of the provided managed databases on DfE Azure or GOV.UK PaaS such as Postgres.
DfE Digital Technical Guidance: https://dfe-digital.github.io/technical-guidance/
20. What other suppliers will be involved in this work? This contract will support a range of digital teams across the department and so we are unable to provide a list of the exact suppliers who would be part of multi-vendor teams. DfE use the CCS frameworks, e.g. DOS, G-Cloud & PSR, for specialist skills.
21. Could you further explain the situation/type of example you are looking for in the experience area “Analysing failure within a service and identifying root causes”? We would be looking for a supplier who understands the pitfalls of delivering digital projects, who's able to analyse the wider causes of failure within services and identify those, even when it may be wider than the delivery team
22. This work builds on a previous contract which is close to its expiry date. What have you learnt from the first contract period and how would you like the second period to be different? The current contract has demonstrated the need for further specialist support needed for delivering transformation projects across DfE. We've incorporated the lessons learned and split the new contracts into locations which can fully support the many projects across the department
23. Can you indicate likely policy areas where you already know there are projects which would be part of this delivery? This contract will support a range of digital teams across the department and we are currently unable to provide a list of the policy areas where there will be a need for support from this contract
24. Can you give an idea of the likely split between Manchester/Sheffield/Darlington? We can't provide an exact split of work that will take place through the three sites in the North. Whilst the teams in Manchester are larger, there are digital teams also based in Sheffield and Darlington
25. Where you state 'delivering in complex supply and delivery chains', do you mean that the service has to manage this complexity or that the internal delivery environment is complex due to the way suppliers are engaged etc? DfE are looking for a supplier who has experience delivering where the focus is about the external complexity. Less about the digital teams themselves and more about call centres, or social workers, or schools, or publishers etc.
DfE have lots of legacy organisational and technical architecture. We deliver through complex supply chains - setting regulation, frameworks, outcomes etc, but often not delivering directly ourselves for some of it. E.g. Apprenticeships as a service was built where an existing apprenticeships service existed, and woven in piece by piece, swapping bits out and refactoring as they went.
26. An earlier clarification refers to services which are not necessarily digital. "Channels would be online, telephone, face to face etc. DfE are looking to work with a supplier who has multi-channel experience. For example designing the screens and call centre scripts, letters to candidates, face-to-face training, TV and radio marketing etc…". Can you please confirm that these are required under the contract and the weight that you are applying to them. 'Delivering end-to-end services across a range channels' is one of the essential criteria that we are looking for in a supplier. We would be looking for a supplier who is able to demonstrate their experience in delivering in this way. Suppliers will be expected to provide an example of this in their initial submission. Submissions form part of the technical criteria, in addition to the proposal the technical criteria has a 50% evaluation weighting.
27. With the restrictions on movement and new ways of working required due to COVID-19, would you consider near shoring to collaborate and work remotely? DfE are adhering to the current restrictions on travel due to COVID-19. During this time we would not expect teams to be co-located and have a number of collaborative tools to enable remote working.
28. Please can you share a procurement timeline outlining steps (which would typically include evidence response evaluation, shortlisting of suppliers for next stage, preparation of supplier proposals, evaluation of supplier proposals, announcement of successful supplier, contract completion, contract signatures)? Whilst we are working towards having a fixed timeframe in which to complete this procurement, there may be a need to be flexible within these dates. Currently our indicative timeline is:
Review and shortlist initial submissions by 24 April
Review and evaluates supplier proposals by 7th May
Presentation, interviews and evaluation by 15th May
Contract completion by 1st June
29. The "problem to be solved" section mentions the supplier would be expected to provide a multi-disciplinary team, with typical roles to include delivery manager, business analyst, user research and service designer. Will any other roles be required for this contract, such as software developer and quality assurance engineer? DfE would anticipate the successful supplier to support across all capabilities required to deliver digital projects, however, there are contractual routes that are able to support with these skills if necessary
30. Given your recruitment focus are there particular emphasis in the skill sets you see being required? As DfE builds it's capability with permanent civil servants, there continues to be a need for support from digital specialists. There are no specific skill sets.
31. 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? The way that we intend to compare supplier costs will be set out at the second stage evaluation. Assessment methods will be used to ensure both best price and value for money. Value for money is assessed primarily through the responses to the proposal criteria.