Awarded to Profusion Media

Start date: Monday 23 November 2020
Value: £2,000,000
Company size: SME
Department for International Trade

Provision of Resources for developing DIT's Data services, prj_542

12 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 2 large

33 Completed applications

20 SME, 13 large

Important dates

Thursday 2 July 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 9 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 16 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Providing data specialists with experience to deliver and enhance the department's data services, through a range of short and long term projects in accordance with GDS standards.

The requirements are for the provision-of-services, not staff, therefore we have assessed this opportunity to-be-a services contract and outside the scope of IR35.
Latest start date
Tuesday 8 September 2020
Expected contract length
A maximum duration of two-years (with option to extend for additional 6 months or 25%)
Organisation the work is for
Department for International Trade
Budget range
A range of work packages will be available, up to a maximum of £2m, including VAT, over 2 years. This value excludes any extension options.

Pricing submission documents will be issued to suppliers who pass Round 1 and pricing will be evaluated out of 30% (in Round 2). In accordance with the DOS criteria, the lowest-price-attracts-the-highest-score.

Although Capped-Time-&-Materials (T&M) has been selected as the pricing-mechanism for the contract / SOWs, the Buyer reserves-the-right, in the contract to use-alternative-payment-mechanisms such as fixed price or T&M to enable DIT to have flexibility to choose the most appropriate-pricing-model based on each SOW.

About the work

Why the work is being done
"The DIT Data team builds and operates data services to support the department's objective to become a data-driven organisation. The team is constantly developing new services and infrastructure to meet emerging priorities. As our range of products grows, we need to supplement our in-house teams with data specialists, including:
- Data scientists
- Data engineers
- Python developers
- Data and technical architects
- Data analysts
- Other ancillary data-focused roles, including data governance specialists

This will allow us greater flexibility to enhance existing services, while also delivering against urgent priorities as they arise."

The evaluation process will be undertaken over 2 rounds in accordance with the DOS buyers guide in order to seek to identify the most economically advantageous tender. The 3 highest scoring bidders from round 1 will be invited to submit proposals for round 2 and participate in the presentation.

The Call-Off contract terms and conditions cannot be changed.
Problem to be solved
We need to deliver both long- and short-term data projects, to meet emerging priorities for the department. At the same time, we need to ensure our existing services are maintained and enhanced to ensure they remain best-in-class. We have a range of services in discovery, alpha and beta phases of development. The supplier will work on a number of different work packages, including new feature development for our in-house data platform and customer relationship management system, developing an application to manage the UK tariff, data infrastructure development and data science projects.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our services include both staff-facing and public-facing products. Staff-facing services are used by ~4,000 DIT staff and partners around the world to record, view and analyse data, enabling our teams to support UK exporters and overseas investors and to inform UK trade policy. DIT's public-facing digital services are used by those same UK exporters and overseas investors to support them in their international trade journey.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The DIT Data team consists of a range of multi-disciplinary product teams, working within four areas - Data Science, Data Infrastructure, Tariffs and Data Hub (our customer relationship management system). The supplier will deliver work packages either by supplementing existing teams to deliver specific features/enhancements or by delivering new short- and long-term projects in teams together with in-house staff (for example a Product or Delivery Manager overseeing delivery).

There is no incumbent supplier.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0TL
Working arrangements
Mixture of remote and office-based working as required. The service is being delivered against the GDS Service Manual. Statement of Works (SOW) will be issued to define the outcomes of each project phase and typically span circa three months. The suppliers team will be required to work with DIT's staff. All reasonable travel and expenses costs shall be met in accordance with Cabinet Office travel and subsistence policy. All expenses will require prior approval from DIT.
Security clearance
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) as a minimum. Given the level of access to data, it is expected that most roles will require SC clearance.
For further guidance see:

DIT is willing to sponsor the SC clearance process at the supplier's expense.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Liability Insurance: minimum level of cover £5,000,000
Professional Indemnity: minimum level of cover £1,000,000
Suppliers must be able-to-provide resources within a 2-week notice period (not including duration for security-clearance) with the necessary skills to-minimise-impact-on delivery.
The initial SOW will be agreed-with-the-successful-supplier-following award.
DIT reserves the right to treat any bid which is caveated by reference to the UK's relationship with the EU and / or COVID 19 as non-compliant and, as with any procurement exercise, a bidder in submitting its prices for evaluation does so in acceptance of all business risks and circumstances arising from time to time.

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 and excellent technical competence developing Python Django applications, using Postgres databases and developing user-facing forms using Node.js and React (10%)
  • Proven experience delivering new services and components which are integrated into existing digital services, particularly including API integrations (10%)
  • Proven expertise in key data science, analysis and engineering skills, including natural language processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning and data visualisation (10%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience in the planning and delivery of user-centred, agile projects, following the Government Service Standard and Technology Code of Practice (3%)
  • Experience delivering similar projects within the public sector (2%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Explain how for the contract duration you will provide flexible resourcing, including your approach to onboarding and retaining key resources within changing market conditions (5%)
  • Explain how you'll-meet DIT's need-for appropriately-skilled data-specialists - what internal tests/processing will-you-undertake to ensure these specialists meet-our-requirements? How will-you-measure-and-manage the quality and speed of delivery? (5%)
  • Provide three client-focused case studies where your company have provided similar services, please identify any proposed team members that were part of the delivery team (5%)
  • Presentation-question - Delivery approach - Present-an-example delivery plan-for-development and integration of-a-new microservice, which consumes-data-from-multiple-sources and applies data-science-and engineering-techniques to produce new insights (5%) [assessing-cultural-fit-criteria-1]
  • Presentation-question - Explain-how-you-will-ensure DIT staff are ready to take on operational control and support upon completion of work (5%) [assessing-proposal-criteria-1]
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your ability to work with multiple teams on the same platform, sharing components, reviewing each others work and promoting a collaborative working environment (5%)
  • Demonstrate your ability to deliver in an open, collaborative, agile way according to the principles outlined in the Government Service Design Manual (5%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an existing incumbent?
Bidders are referred to the section entitled 'Existing team' which states that "There is no incumbent supplier."
2. Could the Authority provide more details about the tech stack? Microsoft tools, whether AWS or Azure, Oracle and others.
Our data platform is a python django application, using postgres. We are hosted on PaaS, which is AWS stack.
3. What are the Authority's preferred tools in these areas: natural language processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning and data visualisation?
We have a preference for python tooling, using open-source technologies wherever possible
4. Who manages DIT's data platform?
DIT's data platform is self-built and managed by the DIT Data team.
5. Why has DIT decided on developing a self-built data platform? And why isn't the team who developed the data platform continue on and develop the data platform further? If the architecture and blueprint have already decided why doesn't DIT recruit specialists instead?
The DIT Data team will continue to develop and support the platform, this requirement is for additional expertise to support short- and long-term projects, which may or may not be within the data platform codebase.
6. Does DIT have a proposed team structure in mind for the incoming supplier? Including any team members from DIT that would make up the proposed teams?
Where full scrum teams are required for projects, DIT will look to provide a product or delivery manager to lead the supplier team. There may also be requirements for the supplier to provide individuals to supplement existing DIT teams.
7. What system is currently used for CRM?
DIT's CRM is a self-built service called Data Hub. See the Data Hub related repos on our github here:
8. Could you please publish the procurement calendar up to the call-off contract award?
We have an indicative timetable, however this likely to change depending on the number of bid submissions for round 1. For those suppliers shortlisted to round 2 we will publish (with the invitation) the 2nd stage calendar up to contract award.
9. How many team members do you anticipate over the course of 2 years.
Team members are determined on a project basis to meet specific outcomes, the size of the team will flex as requirements determine. In addition, the supplier will work alongside existing civil service teams which may also vary, therefore we are unable to provide resourcing numbers.
10. Is there a preferred data visualisation tool?
A range of tools are in use for data visualisation at present - including AWS Quicksight, Google Data Studio, R and Python-based dashboards. We expect this range of tools to grow and adapt over time, so welcome all expertise in data visualisation.