Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Live 2nd and 3rd line support for ETD Central Application, ETD Centres and global roll-out

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

4 Completed applications

2 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 29 June 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 6 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 13 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
To provide 24/7/365 2nd and 3rd line support to ETD Centres and the ETD Central Application. To support, maintain and continue development of ETD Central. To enable integration with all other relevant systems. To give technical support to bringing further posts on-board and working with the ETD Centres.
Latest start date
Tuesday 1 September 2020
Expected contract length
18 Months + 6 Months to align with existing services.
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Budget range
£120,000 p/a for support, £100,000 p/a for development, £30,000 for cutover support

To note: Fixed price for support + T&M for development and rollout

About the work

Why the work is being done
A key FCO priority is to support British nationals through modern and efficient consular services. A key service is the provision of Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) to those who don’t have their passports (loss, theft) and need to travel when overseas. ETD Central is a critical system that supports processing of applications at our global ETD Centres, covering many of our consular posts. We require 24/7/365 support to enable maintenance of the ETD Central system with continuous improvement and support for the ETD Centres. Technical support for six months to transition remaining consular posts to the tool is also required.
Problem to be solved
We require high level technical, security and development expertise to provide second and third-line support for ETD Central 24/7/365. We require ongoing support, incident management and maintenance of ETD Central working with existing suppliers of linked systems and FCO live support; integration and small scale development of ETD Central; triaging of enquiries at second line managing alerts, raising defects against systems and interacting with other systems; and on boarding of new consular posts. We also require support to integrate other Government systems, e.g. an API to link to HMPO's new digital database of passport holders, DVA Digital.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an ETD processing officer, I need to retrieve, manage and process ETD applications efficiently and effectively.
As a customer, I need to complete my ETD application completely online uploading supporting documentation.
As a manager, I use this information to manage performance, processes, staffing and resources.
As FCO live support, I need to be able to escalate enquiries, problems and major incidents from the Helpdesk and ensure they are managed and resolved within agreed timescales.
As a rollout team member, I need to ensure that all relevant FCO systems are reconfigured so ETD applications can be processed by ETD Centres.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
ETD Central has been live and used by ETD Centres since December 2018. DVA Digital is not yet live.
Existing team
There is an existing supplier supporting this service, and effective transition shall be required. Within FCO, you will work with a range of policy and digital leads from across the FCO in the UK and overseas, including providing support for frontline Consular staff at our global ETD Centres in Madrid and Singapore. You will also work with existing suppliers of other services to deliver effectively. The team will also need to work with FCO Stakeholders including IT security advisers and First Line Support in line with the Consular IT roadmap and represent the service at quarterly supplier meetings.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London
Working arrangements
Work can be done remotely. In normal circumstances we would expect some regular attendance in London for a face-to-face meetings and service reviews - currently held on MS Teams. The team should be contactable by phone or email and should be able to respond 24/7/365 to major incidents and problems working to resolve them communicating proactively with FCO stakeholders. The resource should: be collaborative, responsive, agile and work effectively with existing suppliers and be comfortable talking to non-technical staff and senior management translating requirements into technical terms
Security clearance
All staff working on the FCO platform must be at least SC Cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. If required, FCO will initiate SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
ISO 9001, ISO 27001 certification must be held by the supplier by the Service Commencement date.

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 supporting solutions run from AWS cloud environments (including management of live and test environments; AWS performance and capacity monitoring; and investigation and resolution of AWS related incidents)
  • Proven track record in delivering to Government Digital Service Manual standards and knowledge of industry-wide standards and guidelines including delivery of services which have passed digital by default assessment
  • Proven record of a culture of continual service improvement & BAU support in line with ITIL-aligned processes (i.e. configuration and change management in alignment with governance, managing & resolving bugs)
  • Strong track record of working and collaborating in a multi-suppliers environment including with developer teams
  • Proven record of agile-development, continual delivery techniques and devops cultures; strong software development & application architecture experience, with knowledge of open source technologies, testing and at least one programming language
  • Understanding and experience of working with the service tech stack– tech stack provided on request
  • Experience of supporting business units with provision of MI and links to service improvement.
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
4
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation’s policy or goal
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they’ve identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence of user centred design and understanding of user research
  • Evidence of excellent oral communication skills and ability to translate technical concepts and communicate technical terms to non-technical staff
  • Evidence of ability to influence at all levels and extensive experience of tailoring messages to audience (including non-technical staff)
  • Strong track record of working in multidisciplinary teams and with multiple suppliers
  • Evidence of questioning and challenging the value being delivered through IT systems and applications and challenging any gaps
  • Proven experience of working at pace, flexibly and responding to changing demands
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

55%

Cultural fit

5%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Note to suppliers:
September 2020 onboarding for a 1 October 2020 service commencement
2. What is your tech stack?
The tech stack will be made available shortly.
3. Who is the incumbent supplier?
Agile Byte Limited currently provide Early Life Support for this following the completion of the initial Programme.
4. Are you running this procurement to replace the existing support provider or is it being done because an existing term of contract has been reached and you are required to re-visit the market?
The incumbent supplier is providing Early Life Support for this following the initial Programme. This will end and this opportunity will put in place BAU support, continuous improvement and further roll-out to individual posts.
5. Can the delivery team be nearshore (for example, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria) with travel to location as and when required, along with key individuals who are located in the UK?
No. Services are only to be delivered by UK-based staff and who are cleared to SC level.
6. Can the delivery team be nearshore (for example, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria) with travel to location as and when required, along with key individuals who are located in the UK?

We received a notification regarding a question we posed being answered but cannot see this on the opportunity notice. Can you confirm if anything has been posted? Many thanks.
All the answers we have posted are visible from our side and as we are unable to see the names of suppliers who ask each question we cannot confirm if there is something missing. If you wish to resubmit their question you may do so.
7. We received a notification regarding a question we posed being answered but cannot see this on the opportunity notice. Can you confirm if anything has been posted? Many thanks.
All the answers we have posted are visible from our side and as we are unable to see the names of suppliers who ask each question we cannot confirm if there is something missing. If you wish to resubmit their question you may do so.
8. Are you open to having a separate supplier for the support part of the project?
We will consider each solution on its own merits should the supplier be shortlisted to provide a proposal. No preference is expressed at this stage.
9. Who is the incumbent and are they able to apply?
The incumbent is listed at Question 3 and they are eligible to apply for this opportunity.
10. Note to suppliers: Tech Stack
1) AWS Hosting

2) Wildfly

3) Postgres (including SSH)

4) t3.nano Amazon Linux 2

5) AWS Route53

6) Amazon S3

7) Cognito

8) Amazon EC2

9) Amazon SES

10) Java EE

11) AWS SDK, Jackson and Thymeleaf
11. Due to word restrictions these questions will be split: Part 1

1. Can incident metrics for the past 12 months (including severity: P1/P2/P3/Change Request) be shared with the down-selected suppliers?

2. Are any staff or 3rd party supplier staff in scope of TUPE?
Due to word restrictions these answers will be split: Part 1

1) Yes, details shall be shared as part of a shortlisted supplier pack.

2) No staff or 3rd party staff are in scope of TUPE.
12. Due to word restrictions these questions will be split: Part 2

3. Please clarify the scope/purpose of the £30,000 for "cutover support".
Due to word restrictions these answers will be split: Part 2

3) £30,000 is to provide a resource to offer technical BA support to enable us to bring new countries on board to work with the ETD Centres. This requires reconfiguration and testing on various systems, including Gov.UK/Pay, ETD Online (the application system on Gov.UK), the Consular Appointments Booking System (complex because of the need to link calendars across time zones). Reconfiguration is also required to integrate with DHL systems where eligible. Some liaison with the business is also needed during the reconfiguration process to field questions and resolve issues.
13. Due to word restrictions these questions will be split: Part 3

4. Is the budget exclusive or inclusive of VAT

5. What timescales are you working to for: (1) informing down-selected suppliers, (2) submission of proposals and (3) scheduling of presentations?
Due to word restrictions these answers will be split: Part 3

4) Budget is exclusive of VAT

5) Inform shortlisted suppliers of their success or lack thereof WC 20th July.

We would expect to receive proposals WC 3rd August.

If presentations are held, they are currently expected to be WC 10th August.
14. Regarding: “Proven track record in delivering to Government Digital Service Manual standards and knowledge of industry-wide standards and guidelines including delivery of services which have passed digital by default assessment”. Can you please confirm whether suppliers who have passed a digital by default assessment will be marked more favourably than suppliers who have not? If not, can you please detail how a supplier who has not passed a digital by default assessment can score maximum marks.
All responses shall be scored based on the DOS 0-3 scoring matrix and the quality of the response to each criteria. The FCO cannot at this stage confirm how evaluators will score each response, but a moderation exercise shall be held to validate each score.

The FCO does not advise bidders on how to achieve maximum scores. However, a digital by default assessment demonstrates ability in this area and thus would be sensible to include such content where applicable.
15. Can you confirm what environment the application sits on currently?
As included in the Tech Stack response, the application sits on an AWS environment.
16. What is your preferred commercial model for the support element? For example, fixed-price, fixed-resource, with ticket prioritisation agreed with the supplier on a weekly basis?
Our current planning assumption is a fixed price BAU support service. However, we are willing to consider alternative arrangements if suppliers can suggest better value.

We are also considering whether an optional pricing model review could take place during the lifetime of the contract where services may be requiring significantly less effort than assumed for at the outset of the service. This request would be at the Authority’s discretion.
The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Monday 6 July 2020.