Awarded to Methods Business and Digital Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 14 September 2020
Value: £5,700,000
Company size: SME
ESFA - Manage Your Education and Skills Funding (MYESF) and competitive grant funding service

Agile Service Delivery for Funding Systems

7 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 2 large

27 Completed applications

16 SME, 11 large

Important dates

Wednesday 15 July 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 22 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 29 July 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We’re looking for an experienced partner to deliver our digital service by continuous improvement to existing systems and delivery of new systems through GDS phases.
Latest start date
Monday 14 September 2020
Expected contract length
18 Months
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
ESFA - Manage Your Education and Skills Funding (MYESF) and competitive grant funding service
Budget range
Up to a maximum value of £8.4m

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Funding Directorate within the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is transforming the way it interacts digitally with stakeholders both internally and externally. We are looking for an agile partner to help our Service Delivery team Manage Your Education & Skills Funding (MYESF) complete their digital transformation. MYESF is an external facing digital platform providing transactional capabilities and funding information for organisations delivering public education and training which receive £64bn funding managed by the ESFA.
In addition, we are looking for a digital partner to continue the work to develop a user-centric competitive grant funding service that complies with GDS Service Standards.
Problem to be solved
Both services, MYESF & the user-centric competitive grant funding service need to be enhanced and developed to meet the evolving business and policy needs and interface with other ESFA systems. This may require the spectrum of GDS agile roles. We are looking for a partner to transition knowledge, skills and experience to help build this. Types of roles and skills required are detailed in the GDS Service Manual (
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a school, academy, local authority, college, training organisation or employer provider I need to know what and when I will be paid and carry out any contract related transactions required to receive ESFA funding, so that my organisation receives the correct funding in a timely manner.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Manage Your Education and Skills Funding is a live digital service that has completed and passed alpha, beta and live Government Digital Service assessments. The service enables users to sign funding contracts online, return contract related information and see how much funding they will and have received. It runs a business-as-usual team to iterate, improve and support the live service and a project team to transform legacy applications and processes into new features for the service. The competitive grant funding service is not yet a live service. It is still in the development stage.
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 service/product/delivery managers, business analysts, developers, testing, architecture, user research and design professionals. These teams can have a mix of permanent staff and managed resources. The new supplier will be expected to provide resources across all or any of these roles according to the business need for the initiative.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primary location will be Cheylesmore House, Coventry. Any travel to other sites to be approved and will follow the DfE's travel and subsistence policy.
Working arrangements
This will be a 5 day per week 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. 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.
Security clearance
Personnel from the Service provider need to have both BPSS and an enhanced DBS check.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE 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. No parking is available on site.

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 successful agile product management, using knowledge of user needs and business goals to set priorities for delivery teams
  • • Experience of successful agile development, software patterns, continuous integration and Test Driven Development
  • • Experience of successfully delivering frontend and backend development, and Implementing APIs for internal and external use
  • • Experience in successfully building SaaS and PaaS services in Microsoft Azure
  • • Experience in successfully building scalable server-less cloud-based web applications using Microsoft Azure stack
  • • Detailed knowledge and experience of C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC, REST API, Cosmos DB optimisation
  • • Detailed understanding of front-end web development (HTML/CSS/JS/SignalR)
  • • Provide evidence of building funding and systems and/or services within the last 2 years
  • • Proven experience of successfully supporting customers to build in-house capabilities and ensure effective knowledge management and transfer
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • • Experience in working with identity and access security in Microsoft Azure PaaS environment
  • • Experience in building services to meet the UK government Digital Service Standard
  • • Evidence of successfully delivering Minimum Viable Product solutions within compressed timelines

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical competence in the identified technologies and agile practices
  • Experience and methodology in approach to agile project using both Kanban and scrum
  • Demonstrable experience of successfully working alongside clients in co-located, integrated teams
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to successfully deliver digital products/services to government Digital Service standards
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer to enable the transition of service delivery to the business
  • Ability to promptly mobilise expertise to scale up team and flex resource when needed and to respond to fluctuating requirements
  • Ability to demonstrate good value for money for the UK tax payer
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of agile service delivery in a multi stakeholder environment
  • Demonstrate ability to build effective funding systems and/or services
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team – Collaborate, establish good working relationships, generate team spirit
  • Innovate – Act on initiative, drive improvements, balance risks
  • Build capability – Encourage learning, share knowledge, address capability gaps, act on feedback
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. How do you intend to evaluate a supplier at the initial bid stage (pre-shortlisting) without knowing the price, given price has 60% weighting?
The DOS4 Framework offers the opportunity to assess a range of capable suppliers over a robust 2 stage process. The important first stage allows us to assess and shortlist suppliers based on the essential and "nice to have" criteria, then the second stage allows us to make a value for money assessment factoring in the price of bids with suppliers who pass the first stage.
2. Can you confirm who will sit on the panel scoring applications please?
Applications will be scored by a panel of 3 or 4 individuals who work for the Education & Skills Funding Agency with both appropriate technical knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of their area i.e. National Careers Service, Apprenticeship Service, Data Science etc.
3. Is there an incumbent supplier?
The incumbent supplier for work within scope for this opportunity is  Methods Digital Ltd
4. How long has the incumbent been the incumbent supplier?
Length of current contract for incumbent supplier is not relevant for bidding on this opportunity. DfE will operate a fair, open & transparent tender process against the criteria outlined, with the successful supplier delivering outcome based statements of work
5. Reference the essential skill "Provide evidence of building funding systems and/or services within the last 2 years"
Can the Authority clarify their view of what constitutes a suitable example of a funding system / service?
The calculation and / or distribution and / or publication of funding.
6. Can you confirm if the incumbent supplier has bid or is bidding for this contract?
This opportunity is open to any supplier on the DOS4 Framework to submit a response should they choose. We do not have any information on which suppliers will submit a response, nor would we disclose the identity of any bidder throughout the procurement process. The identity of bidders in a procurement exercise is commercially sensitive information and we would not want to damage the integrity of the process.
7. Can you confirm whether Microsoft Dynamics is in scope for this procurement?
The MYESF system does not use Microsoft Dynamics. The Competitive Grant Funding System, however, does use the Microsoft Dynamics system.
8. With reference to "Provide evidence of building funding and systems and/or services within the last 2 years"

Would it be appropriate for suppliers to use examples of complex calculations experience in other sectors (eg, banking and financial services)?
Examples of experience building services where complex calculations were implemented within sectors like banking or financial services would be appropriate.
9. Given the UK Government's commitment to driving innovation and keeping procurements open, can you please confirm that case studies from governments outside of the UK will be marked the same as case studies from within the UK Government?
We would not seek to discriminate against relevant examples by virtue of them being outside the UK
10. Can you please confirm that requirements should be demonstrated with a single case study, as per Digital Outcomes and Specialists standards
Wherever possible, suppliers should demonstrate their ability to meet the required criteria with a single example, however we accept that for some more complex criteria suppliers may need to use more than one example to ensure they fully meet this.