This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 11 June 2020
Department for Education

Data Directorate Engineering capability build

21 Incomplete applications

17 SME, 4 large

28 Completed applications

17 SME, 11 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 28 May 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 4 June 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 11 June 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
We require a development partner to deliver the technical capability to support data transformation work programme for collection of schools data. The transformation programme will cover a mix of continuous improvement to existing services and delivery of new systems.
The supplier will work with both internal development team and Suppliers
Latest start date
Monday 6 July 2020
Expected contract length
2 Years
Location
North East England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
Indicative budget could range up to approx maximum of £4.5m consisting of multiple Sow's, but that scope could expand or contract. DfE does not commit to any minimum spend at this point. A pricing template will be given at the proposal stage to those suppliers we shortlist.
Maximum day rate will apply for the following roles
Software Engineer (Full Stack Developer) £800
Data Engineer £800
Data Modeller £800
Data Analyst £700
Infrastructure Engineer (Azure DevOps) £800
QA Test Engineer (Data and software testing) £750
We would not expect any roles to exceed SFIA level 6

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are looking for a development partner to help to deliver the technical capability to support our data transformation work programme. The transformation programme will cover a mix of continuous improvement to existing services and delivery of new systems.
The supplier will work alongside the in-house development team and other Suppliers
Problem to be solved
The DfE Data Directorate is looking for a supplier to support a range of user led data and digital projects, including both existing and new projects, from inception through to live. The supplier will work with blended teams, using agile to deliver outcomes based on user needs and, where applicable, government service standards.

Each project will require a different mix of Service and Data Delivery capabilities and may not require the full complement of capabilities.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Internal Users
Analysts, Policy team, Operations, Service Delivery team
As a data collector working in Data Engineering and Operations division, I need to setup data collection in line with department policy
Early market engagement
Not applicable
Any work that’s already been done
There are a number of projects and programmes that require data engineering, software engineering, test engineering and Infrastructure resources. These range from the improvement of existing developed systems to transformation leading to new systems. The expectation is that the supplier will be able to provide the capabilities required to support end to end delivery from discovery through to live
Existing team
The existing teams are comprised of multi-disciplinary agile delivery skills. These teams are involved in continual product improvement as well as providing brand new digital services. Typical team size is up to 12 with a skills mix such as
• Product Owner
• Service Manager
• Scrum Master
• Technical Business Analyst
• Solution Architect
• Data Engineer
. Data Modeller
• QA Tester
• Data Analyst
• Infrastructure Engineer
• Security Architect
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primary location will be Bishop gate Office, Darlington. There is the potential for some work in Sanctuary Buildings, London and Sheffield.
Any travel to other sites to be approved and will follow the DfE's Travel and subsistence policy.
The primary base will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW) and expenses will not form part of the cost unless the supplier is asked to work from a secondary location instead during the execution of the work relating to the SoW. e.g. If SoW primary base is Darlington then no expenses will be paid for Darlington
Working arrangements
This will be a 5 day per week (Monday to Friday) commitment and detailed working arrangements, including team location, size and make-up, will be contained within each statement of work. Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques and DevOps methodology. These could be either a Kanban or a scrum approach (depending on the work) but the standard agile ceremonies appropriate to those will be undertaken. These will be monitored by the Delivery Manager and the Product Owner will be responsible for prioritising backlogs in refinement sessions
Security clearance
The successful supplier must be able to demonstrate that all proposed team members have been subject to Baseline Personnel Security Standards checks. However higher levels of Security Clearance maybe required dependant on work agreed

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
  • Proven experience of development and delivery of all aspects of the end to end data development lifecycle working across multi-strand programmes in large organisations using industry standard tools and techniques
  • Proven experience of utilising DevOps ways of working within a cloud environment across software, data and infrastructure developments to deliver results quickly
  • Experience in using agile tools and techniques to develop user-led front-end web applications, data validation and data storage in both rational and non-relational databases
  • Experience of establishing and operating automated and manual testing processes for data and software testing in large, complex, data intensive organisations within central government.
  • Proven resourcing and engagement model to ensure the right quality of the team, ability to rapidly scale up & flex resources at short notice
  • Experience of building in house capability in all aspects of data engineering, software engineering, Test Engineering and Infrastructure engineering techniques in large organisations
  • Experience of working well in large public sector organisations, across organisational boundaries, and with multi-agency departments, ideally in government
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience and understanding of the Education sector
  • Experience and understanding of educational datasets

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how you as a supplier have been fully accountable for delivery of a project or outcome and successfully delivered to specification, time and with value for money
  • Delivering business value – making sure business requirements are understood, validated via positive challenge and delivered against while understanding the value being generated (i.e. business intent)
  • Design for minimising build and run costs
  • Supplier teams are expected to use DfE’s collaboration software like Azure DevOps and Microsoft Teams
  • Ability to scale up team and flex resource when needed on-site
Cultural fit criteria
  • The Data Engineering Division within DFE want to grow our in-house skills: How would you support this? What skills, time and expertise would you make available and where?
  • Experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to achieve a single objective
  • Evidence how you would deliver in a multi-supplier environment: Ensuring DfE’s interest is reflected in the approach to work and outputs delivered, demonstrating openness and transparency in engagement
  • Demonstrate how you will ensure inclusivity and collaboration
  • Experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation
  • Able to explain technical things to non-technical people, and non-technical things to technical people
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

15%

Price

25%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. How many new vs. existing applications are in scope? Are the existing applications/services delivered and supported according to an Agile methodology? How old is the oldest existing application/service in scope?
All of the applications in scope are new services. They may have been delivered by providers previously but are being rebuilt inhouse. All are being delivered using Agile methodologies
2. Are there any core data platforms, data lakes or data warehouses in place that will be re-used, replaced or extended? What kinds of technologies are used?
The Enterprise Data Platform has just been stood up. Lots of existing components will be replaced, but will be built internally as previously outsourced to suppliers. Azure Data Factory, Data Bricks and a Informatica IDQ currently on estate, but going through a selection exercise for an MDM tool and ETL tool
3. Will the work require interfacing with or developing for mainframe systems?
No
4. Is there a data classification scheme (i.e. that qualifies digital data types by sensitivity) in place?
No
5. Are there any incumbent suppliers? If so who are they?
Multiple existing contracts are vended by DFE. We are at the start of a major transformation, so we are engaging with a wider pool of venders to provide services
6. What's the procurement timeline?
Action Date
Issue DOS stage 1 - 28th May
DOS Stage 1 return - 11th June
DOS Stage 1 evaluation and shortlisting 12th -16th June
DOS Stage 2 issue 17th June
Stage 2 return 1st July
Supplier presentations 2nd +3rd July (on line)
Stage 2 final scoring 4th July Stage 2 award 5th July
Standstill period 5th July – 16th July
7. How many people do you expect us to supply and their roles, please?
Flexible depending on our needs up to the max value of the contract. The technical roles are covered in the advert
8. Can the delivery team be nearshore (for example, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria) with travel to DfE location as and when required? Along with key individuals who are located in the UK?
No, staff need to be integrated with the onsite teams to build capability
9. How many work packages do you approximately envisage during the lifetime of the contract?
We have several large projects being developed as part of DFE data transformation. The resources will be deployed to them
10. Can we apply the baseline security checks to our non-UK resident nearshore delivery staff?
No, all staff must be UK based as there is access to sensitive data
11. Are you looking for demonstrable experience in Agile development in each of the following areas; front-end web applications; data validation; data storage in relational databases; data storage in non-relational databases?
We are looking for technical teams who understand both Devops ways of working and Agile methodologies across the development lifecycle
12. We believe ‘data development lifecycle’ to be the lifecycle of data from initial capture/creation through to audit and EOL. Is this what you are referring too?
Yes
13. Are the roles outlined in the ‘budget range’ details the only roles you are seeking to recruit? Or are there wider data roles you are seeking?
We have included all anticipated roles, there maybe ad hoc requirments for additional roles, but these will not be numerous.
14. Are there any specific educational datasets that you are looking for experience in? And is it of significance whether this is from an end-user/administrative side or development/central management side?
It needs to be relevant to the roles advertised.
15. What will split between onsite and remote working be?
Difficult to say under the current COVID arrangements. Normal working at least 3 days on site
16. Is there an incumbent supplier? Who is it?
We have several suppliers who we work with across many contracts in DFE
17. For the purpose of providing relevant experience to this question, what do DfE define as educational datasets (Nice-to-have skills and experience – point 2)?
Datasets from an educational institute
18. Will DfE accept multiple examples to cover the three scope areas requested in essential skills and experience point 3 (user-led front-end web applications, data validation and data storage in both rational and non-relational databases), or do you require one example that covers all three areas?
Multiple examples are fine
19. Will scores from the Skills and Experience stage be carried through to the written proposal stage?
We are taking advice from Crown Commercial Services and will clearly set out in Stage 2 if the scores are being carried through and % attributed to stage 1.
20. If you have a preferred technology stack, what are the main technologies?
Azure Dev Ops stack; Informatica, Databricks, Data Factory for ETL dev; Cosmos DB, javascript, C#/.net- for application development
21. Could the DfE accept a consortium of Software providers so to best use capabilities and expertise?
Consotiums are allowed to participate in this procurment.
22. Why impose presence in Darlington, given the experience of the last 3 months
We would expect suppliers to be based on site, if the circumstances allowed. Currently this is not allowed for, however the contract is for two years and we might return to a situation where on site working is permissable.
23. Could something like GraphQL used?
Not currently on our tech radar
24. What technologies are used at Darlington to deal with data besides Excel and SQL?
Azure Dev Ops stack; Informatica, Databricks, Data Factory for ETL dev; Cosmos DB, javascript, C#/.net- for application development
25. ISB was going to replace CBDS as the basis for describing data. Is it still the case?
That is in relation to the census collection, so not relevant specifically to this procurement
26. Will NPD be all in the cloud?
Not part of the scope for this project currently
27. Is it the intention of the Department to replace COLLECT?
We are going through a large data transformation programme and all current services are in scope for review
28. Is there a high-level description of the data transformation program?
The programme covers the DFEs data strategy, specifically for this contract the drive is to build in house capability and reduce reliance on 3rd party suppliers for delivering outsourced technical capability. The drive is to bring in and modernise DFEs data estate both gov.uk applications and dataset creation and to provide these as inhouse deliverables
29. Hello, is there a current incumbent for this service?
Multiple existing contracts are vended by DFE. We are at the start of a major transformation, so we are engaging with a wider pool of venders to provide services
30. Is there an incumbent in place for some of these role types already? I.e. is this supplementary to already existing roles, or an entirely new capability to the team?
Multiple existing contracts are vended by DFE. We are at the start of a major transformation, so we are engaging with a wider pool of venders to provide services
31. Who’s in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
Multiple existing contracts are vended by DFE. We are at the start of a major transformation, so we are engaging with a wider pool of venders to provide services
32. Who is on the Panel?
We will advise panel members at stage 2
33. Can you advise how this is different from the previously cancelled Department for Education Data Engineering Capability opportunity?
We have updated our requirments and roles
34. Demonstrate how you as a supplier have been fully accountable for delivery of a project or outcome and successfully delivered to specification, time and with value for money" As an agile delivery house, we expect to co-deliver projects with out clients on a joint accountability model (typically with the client providing Product Owner and Sponsor roles, which we pair off with delivery management and oversight / governance roles from our side). Is this acceptable?
Yes, that's our expectation for this contract, as we are only requesting technical resource, not the full delivery squad
35. These will be monitored by the Delivery Manager and the Product Owner will be responsible for prioritising backlogs in refinement sessions" Are these roles provided by the supplier or the customer?
The customer provide those roles. This is for the roles listed in the advert only
36. The existing teams are comprised of multi-disciplinary agile delivery skills. These teams are involved in continual product improvement as well as providing brand new digital services. Typical team size is up to 12 with a skills mix such as [...]" We can provide teams that cover all the list skills. Is that what is requested? For the Security Architect role, will the focus be more Application Security or Network / Infrastructure Security?
The resource profile will be dependent on the specific project needs
37. The supplier will work with both internal development team and Suppliers" Will the internal team provide a Product Owner for each new/existing application in scope? How many other Suppliers are potentially involved across the programme? Are other Suppliers responsible for granular system components and parts of the lifecycle of each existing application?
The product owner will be from the internal team. This is a multiply supplier environment, but each project make up will be different.
38. Should the reference to "rational" databases in question 3 read "relational"?
Yes, relational databases
39. Will you accept multiple customer named examples in response to ‘Essential Skills and experience’ questions
Yes
40. Will you accept multiple examples of education sector and datasets in response to the ‘nice to have skills and experience’ questions 8 & 9?
Yes