Department for Education

DfE Digital Transformation Pipeline (Region: South)

Incomplete applications

29
Incomplete applications
25 SME, 4 large

Completed applications

67
Completed applications
50 SME, 17 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 London
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 London, Coventry or Cambridge, 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 Manchester, Sheffield and Darlington. 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 South East
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
  • 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. Please can you advise what are the end-to-end services required to be delivered? DfE are working on delivering a variety of digital services for teachers and schools. We are looking for a supplier who is able to deliver high quality end-to-end digital service delivery.
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. Can you please advise whether you have a current incumbent/supplier supporting this work and if so who they are? The contract for the current incumbent was awarded to Farsight in 2018. This contract is now close to the expiry date
5. Can you confirm if more than one supplier will be appointed to this contract? We can only contract with one supplier, however, we welcome applications from suppliers who collaborate and have arrangements with other suppliers.
6. There is a very similar opportunity for the North region. Can you confirm if you are looking for different suppliers for each region? DfE are advertising two opportunities for suppliers who are able to support Digital Teams in the South and North of England. All suppliers on the DOS Framework are open to bid for each opportunity and will be assessed against the criteria as set out in the advert. We will award a contract to the supplier who receive the highest scores against this criteria.
7. We've assumed that 'communicating service concepts and ideas using methods that allow others to see all the different parts of a service' refers to clear communications between delivery teams to understand the architecture being built. Is this correct? Yes it’s about the ability to communicate visually the complexity of (a) a user experience; and (b) the service that delivers it.
A whole service may have a single or multiple delivery teams and different parts of the service would include lots of elements - content on a webpage, emails and texts, sometimes a contact centre, support teams, databases, servers.
As this needs to be carefully orchestrated to fit together well (so the user experience stays awesome even if the wiring is complicated), being able to show it visually helps everyone understand that they’re part of a bigger “whole” service.
8. What technologies and methodologies are you using and practicing? DfE deliver in an agile/iterative manner, services use continuous delivery methods and features can be released multiple times a day depending on the service. This varies by area and team.
9. How many multidisciplinary cross functional teams delivering digital products are there currently in house? We have multi-disciplinary teams across many areas in the department and It is difficult to give an exact number of teams currently delivering digital products. As DfE continue to deliver evidence-based, user-centred end-to-end services that deliver policy outcomes and help users achieve their goals, the need for support across digital teams in London, Cambridge & Coventry increases.
10. Are delivery timelines aligned to regulatory dates? This contract is to support digital teams across DfE. Project teams will complete a SoW providing the outcomes required. This will include any regulatory timelines.
11. How frequently do your current teams deploy code to production and release new features or products to customers? DfE deliver in an agile/iterative manner, services use continuous delivery methods and features can be released multiple times a day depending on the service. This varies by area and team.
12. Are you planning to go through G-Cloud or DOS framework? This opportunity has been advertised on the Digital Marketplace through the Digital Outcomes Specialists Framework.
13. Are there any success metrics? This contract is to support digital teams across DfE. Project teams will complete a SoW providing the outcomes required. This will include any success metrics.
14. “Analysing failure within a service and identifying root causes.” Are you referring to analysing failure/identifying root causes for specific digital products, or the overarching service delivery of a wider programme? Is it just analysis or is it rectifying? We are looking for a supplier who is able to support digital teams in delivering against their outcomes. At times, this may require the project team needing to understand the pitfalls of delivering their service. We would look to our supplier to identify, analyse, rectify or provide recommendations for success. As this contract is to support digital teams across DfE, each project is likely to be different. Project teams will work with suppliers to complete a SoW in order to secure the outcomes required.
15. 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.
16. Does "delivering in complex supply and delivery chains" refer to working alongside other suppliers during delivery? 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.
We 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.
17. What outcome are you seeking as a result of your requirement "pulling together aspects such as user research, org design, business analysis, data science, policy intent." This contract is to support digital teams and projects across DfE. As each piece of work may be in different stages of digital delivery, it is likely that the support required will be varied. This criteria gives suppliers an opportunity to demonstrate that they understand the needs of each capability within a team in order to deliver a service.
18. You mention the following roles: delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher and service designer, but also mention delivery, which involves a broad range of other roles (for example: developers/qa/devops). Do you anticipate the supplier for this opportunity to supply any of these (or other) roles? DfE would anticipate the successful supplier to support across all capabilities required to deliver digital projects.
19. 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.
We 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.
20. 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
21. 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/
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. Can you give an idea of the likely split between Coventry/London/Cambridge? We can't provide an exact split of work that will take place through the three sites in the South. Whilst the teams in London and Coventry are larger, there are digital teams based in all locations.
27. 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.
28. A clarification answer for the Northern contract refers to services which are not necessarily digital. "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 whether you also need these types of services, and whether they could be "non-digital". 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.
29. Is the contract deemed to be outside IR35? DfE will be using this contract to work with a supplier who can provide specialists for each SoW. Specialists must be employed or contracted by the supplier - known as working ‘off-payroll’ or ‘outside IR35’.
As with all DOS contract work being supported by this contract will be outside of IR35.
30. How many supplier project teams are you expecting to be working on this project? We're unable to give an exact number of teams that we would expect to be working on projects, but we anticipate between 3-7 concurrent projects at differing digital phases to be running at any time
31. Are you expecting project teams to be made up of supplier resources only or will some be blended? 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.
32. Will there be alignment between the Northern and Southern regional programs of work? It is unlikely that there will be alignment of the projects that will be delivered through the Northern and Southern contracts. As the contracts are being put in place to support digital teams across the DfE, there will of course be the commonality of delivering work in support of DfE's purpose.
33. Will you be providing outcomes based SoW work packages where teams are blended? All SoWs submitted to the supplier will provide the outcomes needed for each project.
34. What are the potentially identified risks for each channel so far and what mitigation plans are in place currently? As this contract is to support digital delivery across DfE, specific project risks and mitigations will be included in each SoW.
35. What user base access do you have currently who can help support us with research? We have a variety of networks which provides access to users along with a contract which enable us to recruit participants for any research needed.
36. "Communicate service concepts and ideas using methods that allow others to see all the different parts of a service" could you please give little more details around expectations on this questions? This is about the ability to communicate visually the complexity of (a) a user experience; and (b) the service that delivers it.
A whole service may have a single delivery team or multiple teams and different parts including lots of different elements - content on a webpage, emails and texts, sometimes a contact centre, support teams, databases, servers.
As this all needs to be carefully orchestrated to fit together well (so the user experience stays awesome even if the wiring is complicated), being able to show it visually helps everyone understand that they’re part of a bigger “whole” service.
37. Provide a details of how much of DfE team will be available to support these activities, and whether they are to be expected from the start of the projects? Each SoW will provide details of the team that will be working with suppliers as part of each project along with their availability.
38. What is the internal team structure and capability currently to support on these activities? The contract will support a number of projects/teams across DfE. Each work package will provide detail on the team and capability required.
39. What is the current level of Agile maturity within the existing DfE team? It varies within the organisation, some areas are mature, some are newer to agile delivery and hence less mature.
40. Do you currently have cross-organisational delivery chains strategy in place? DfE 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.