Welsh Government

Welsh Government SHELL Digitisation - C043/2020/2021

24 Incomplete applications

20 SME, 4 large

1 Completed application

1 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 29 July 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 5 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 12 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
To take an Employability Support Digital Grant Award Service from initial stages to go-live; delivering a digital service that meets the needs of Welsh people, employers, training providers and Welsh Government staff administering the programme.
Latest start date
Friday 30 October 2020
Expected contract length
Complete Alpha and Beta in 6 months.
No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Welsh Government
Budget range
There is approx. £1million for delivery of Alpha and Beta.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Welsh Government will be launching a new employability support programme in 2021. A new digital system is required to support this programme as current systems are largely based on paper processes and will not scale to provide the required functionality or reliability.
The policy objective is to support individuals by providing financial support. The initial target group will include those either recently made redundant or about to be made redundant; those who are unemployed or economically inactive, and vulnerable groups.
Problem to be solved
Deliver an end-to-end digital service that allows:
• users in a defined target group to discover information about grants and apply, prove eligibility and be awarded a grant for training and, where appropriate, for removing other barriers to employment (e.g. childcare, travel, accommodation);
• employers to discover information about grants and to apply, prove eligibility and be awarded a grant to support the employment of individuals in the target group;
• Welsh Government staff to administer the process (handle queries, deliver reports, make approvals, manage payments etc.)
Who the users are and what they need to do
The primary user group consists of individuals living in Wales who are unemployed, or in the target group for assistance, who need to access grant funding to undertake training. Training providers and employers also need to be able to access the service to make claims.
Welsh Government staff will manage the system, and other external providers will help individuals to use the service. Policy officials, statisticians, and funding agencies will require reports and data from the system.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
An internal discovery phase is currently underway. A summary report of the discovery phase will be made available to suppliers selected to progress to the selection stage.
Existing team
We expect the successful bidder to provide all necessary skills and roles for this work, e.g. both for user research/service design and technical elements of service delivery.
The divisional Digital Lead, who has experience of the delivery of digital services across government (e.g. GDS exemplars), will be responsible for oversight of this work. A third-party security consultant will be engaged, and an independent IT Health Check will be undertaken. Handover sessions to an internal team will be required as part of the Beta phase.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The supplier will work for the Welsh Government. We expect the supplier to work remotely, on-shore, in the UK; with the ability to attend regular meetings (e.g. for planning, user research, or demonstrations of work) in Cardiff or Swansea if and when we are able to return to physically meeting in person.
Working arrangements
Based in Welsh Government buildings, Cardiff however remote and leveraged resources can be used for design, development and support. All resources must be on-shored. No Offshore or near shore resources shall be used as part of the development and support. Working hours are standard hours Monday to Friday (excl. bank holidays), 9:00 – 17:00.
Security clearance
All resources who require access to Welsh Government systems in order to work will need to be Security Cleared (SC). All non-technical and supporting roles shall be cleared to Counter Terrorist Check(CTC). All staff will also need to complete Welsh Government security and ID Checks. Supplier must have Cyber Essentials.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Service must comply with GDPR regulations & have successfully passed an independent IT Health Check. All front-end screens must:
• Made available to the user bilingually, in the languages of Welsh and English;
• Compliant to WCAG v2.1 level double-AA standard as a minimum and, where possible, level triple-AAA;
• Fully responsive & follow the GOV.WALES design standards for any externally accessible pages;
• Tested and verified as being fully compatible with the browsers in this list: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/designing-for-different-browsers-and-devices & Assistive Technologies in this list: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/testing-with-assistive-technologies
The Supplier shall be required to sign Welsh Government Security Aspects Letter prior to commencing.

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
  • Experience of successfully delivering Cloud solutions
  • Experience of working with current Microsoft stack, including but not limited to Developing in Azure, Power BI, Dynamics.
  • Experience of developing, and documenting APIs that meet current UK Government guidance on documenting API: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-document-apis
  • Experience of architecting and delivering microservices based architectures
  • Experience of integrating with other services (e.g. GOV.UK Notify, SAP)
  • Experience of setting up and delivering using a Continuous Integration (CI) pipeline
  • Experience of developing a suite of automated tests using a Test Driven Development (TDD)/ Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) approach to delivery
  • Experience of delivering fully responsive front-end solutions that meet all current government requirements
  • Proven track record of adhering to security standards e.g. ISO27001 or equivalent.
  • Experience of undertaking iterative user research into user behaviour on planned new digital services
  • Proven track record of successful knowledge transfer to ensure systems are reliably handed over to other team(s) to manage live running/BaU
  • Experience of delivering using the GDS service standard and Design Principles
  • Experience of delivering Alpha and Beta phases of the GDS service lifecycle
  • A proven track record of using an agile approach to service delivery, both in development and team management
  • Proven ability in delivering automated reporting/MI solutions
  • Experience in undertaking detailed analysis into service design ahead of creating a digital service in a policy area for the first time
  • What is your earliest start date
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of delivering payment processing services, e.g. grants.
  • Experience of working in a government/public sector context
  • Experience of working with multilingual approaches to digital service delivery
  • Experience of working with case work systems / internal management of workflow

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical approach and methodology (e.g. how will architecture and technical choices be determined? how will data be handled? Cloud first/API/micro-services/integrations); (7 points)
  • How will development be undertaken (e.g. how do deployments take place?, CI pipeline) (5 points)
  • How will research be carried out to ensure that the service meets user needs? (5 points)
  • How will delivery be managed and priorities determined (e.g. iterative approach, MVP)? (5 points)
  • How will user interfaces be built (e.g. accessibility, standards etc.)? (5 points)
  • How will Alpha/Beta phases be run (e.g. prototype, test etc.)? (3 points)
  • How will quality be assured (e.g. testing, TDD/ BDD etc.)? (5 points)
  • How will be team be made up (e.g. what roles? Is there user research, front-end, back-end, architecture?)? (7 points)
  • How will security be built into the solution (e.g. ISO 27001, threat vectors etc.) (5 points)?
  • How will approach to reporting data from the service be managed? (3 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Undertaking iterative user research as part of digital service design; (4 points)
  • Work in an agile/iterative approach aligned to Government service standard; (e.g. prototype options, test hypotheses, develop an MVP, deliver iteratively rather than in single big releases); (4 points)
  • Working in the open, securely open sourcing code, sharing findings openly and transparently with stakeholders; (3 points)
  • Working within a Welsh context, and of designing and developing bilingual services for users; (2 points)
  • Managing the transitions through the service lifecycle from discovery to alpha to beta to live; (2 points)
  • Documenting and/or training staff so that they can easily take over BaU ownership of developed systems; (2 points)
  • Working collaboratively with the client, taking a proactive approach to issues, risks & a no blame approach at all times; Proactively identifying issues, challenges & resolving these; (1 points)
  • Managing a remote team, and ensuring effective communication and timely delivery. (2 points)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who's in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
This is a new digital service to support a new policy, so there is no existing incumbent supplier. Existing programmes operating in the same policy space are currently managed either by offline/non-digital approaches or by the Welsh Government’s technical team.
2. Who's on the panel?
The evaluation panel will comprise of Welsh Government officials.
3. Is 'payments processing' inbound or outbound or both? Do we need experience building a payments engine or will working with systems like GOV.UK PAY be sufficient?
Payments will be outgoing, made to individuals, employers and training providers. We are not aware of any instances in which there is a need to handle inbound payments. This means that GOV.UK PAY, which only handles inbound payments, won’t be an option for this piece of work.

Payments are currently made through the Welsh Government’s SAP instance and, whilst we’re open to discussion about other options, we would anticipate that interfacing with SAP would be the default approach for the new system.
4. Could you please confirm if this Project is a Responsibility based delivery or a resource augmentation?
This is stand-alone work to create a new service. There will be no additional Welsh government resource to assist the work. The successful bidder will be responsible for the delivery of the service.
5. What end user training is required to be delivered by the Project for the new digital service?
As part of the Beta phase, we would require some introductory sessions on the new service e.g. for back office or for technical staff. We do not expect the successful bidder to provide training for end users, who should be able to use the new digital service without prior training
6. Can you please provide details of grant calculation methods and including an indication of the level of complexity expected for each?
The final details of the policy are still being approved, and we are not able to share this detail at the moment.
7. Are there any data migration requirements for the Project to deliver?
This is a new service to deliver a new policy initiative, so there are no mandatory data migration requirements from existing services. The Alpha stage will need to consider the best way of validating data entered by users and third parties, which could involve integrations with other services/data sources.
8. In order to better understand GDPR requirements can you please provide further information on any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that is required to be captured and processed in the application and do you envisage the selected Supplier needing to act in a Data Processing role?
We anticipate that the applications will include some Personally Identifiable Information, and we would not expect the supplier to act as a data processor.
9. Does the solution need to integrate with the existing Welsh Government document/records management system?
No direct integration with the Welsh Government’s document management system is currently envisaged. Depending on the solutions built for reporting and back-office management of the service, it may be necessary for Welsh Government staff to save data from the service into the Welsh Government’s document management system at some point.
10. Do applicants need to provide/upload any information e.g. scanned documents to prove eligibility?
How external applicants prove eligibility for the service will be part of the service design work undertaken as part of the Alpha phase.
11. Is any specific online security/authentication mechanism mandated for applicants (both individuals and organisations) or Welsh Government staff?
How external applicants prove eligibility for the service will be part of the service design work undertaken as part of the Alpha phase. Welsh Government staff will need to be able to access the administration parts of the service from their Welsh Government machines: how best to achieve this will again be part of the design work undertaken in Alpha.
12. Please provide indicative volumetrics for the numbers of applications per annum, the number of users (public, organisational and Welsh Government) and the number of payments to be made per annum.
We cannot provide detailed volumetric for the numbers of applications per annum but we will reiterate that this system is being developed to provide financial support for those in Wales either recently made redundant or about to be made redundant, those who are unemployed or economically inactive and vulnerable groups looking for sustainable employment.
13. The listing details a proposal and additional presentation – could we please ask for a timeline of when shortlisted supplier will be informed, the proposal submission deadline and the presentations dates. In addition, what will the presentation entail.
We intend to notify suppliers of the sift stage outcome on the week commencing the 24 August 2020.

Suppliers who have progressed to the selection stage will have 21 days to submit their proposal.

Presentations have been scheduled for the week commencing the 23 September 2020.

Presentations will consist of a 45 minute presentation on the proposed solution and 15 minutes for questions."
14. Have you already made the decision to develop this service using the current Microsoft stack?
Would you be open to considering an alternative technology choices through the alpha phase?
This service will be hosted in the current Welsh Government Azure infrastructure. For developing in Azure, our default is to use the current Microsoft stack. As part of the design and architecture work in the Alpha phase, we are open to considering an alternative technology choices where their use shows a benefit to the Welsh Government. This reflects the strategic direction of Welsh Government, as set out in the Welsh Government’s IT Strategy: https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-05/ATISN%2013124doc4_0.pdf (see section 4.7 in particular).
15. Are you looking for a fixed price for the project, or will a time and materials approach be suitable?
Please be advised the project will be delivered on a capped time and materials basis.
16. The opportunity states work can be done remotely, is all work remote or is some on site?
The Welsh Government expect the majority of work to be undertaken remotely. When Welsh Government staff return to working in the office the expectation is the supplier will attend meetings in Cardiff or Swansea.
17. The opportunity states experience in Microsoft stack is preferable, is there an opportunity to use other development tools?
This service will be hosted in the current Welsh Government Azure infrastructure. For developing in Azure, our default is to use the current Microsoft stack. As part of the design and architecture work in the Alpha phase, we are open to considering an alternative technology choices where their use shows a benefit to the Welsh Government. This reflects the strategic direction of Welsh Government, as set out in the Welsh Government’s IT Strategy: https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-05/ATISN%2013124doc4_0.pdf (see section 4.7 in particular).
18. Do you expect dev work to take place on Welsh Government infrastructure?
The preference is for development to be undertaken in the Welsh Government Azure instance. We are evaluating how remote access to the Welsh Government infrastructure can be provided in the current COVID-19 remote working scenario.
19. The opportunity mentions a variety of MI report, Welsh Government use or external users as well?
Data will be required by internal users for several different purposes, including compiling externally published statistics. We’re not currently aware of any requirements for reports to be made directly available to external users.
20. If a supplier proposed an alternative which integrates with Microsoft stack would Welsh Government consider this?
The Welsh Government wouldn’t rule out alternatives. However, we would need to understand the benefits of alternatives, particularly when compared to the benefit of Welsh Government being able to easily maintain the service in future.
21. How will the tender be commercially evaluated?
Suppliers will be required to provide pricing against a structured rate card confirming number of days against each stage.
22. Is there a need to align to established grant application processes?
The policy is currently being developed. Information regarding policy will be shared ahead of work starting; we’re unable to confirm details relating to policy at this stage.
The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Wednesday 5 August 2020.