Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Wednesday 2 December 2020
Value: £2,100,000
Company size: SME
The Department for Education

Teach in Further Education (FE) - Online Service Alpha and Beta

12 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 3 large

28 Completed applications

22 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Published
Tuesday 11 August 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 18 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 25 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
Development of the ‘Teach in FE’ service is a necessary step to attract more teachers into further education (FE), providing a ‘public face’ to many initiatives - Taking Teaching Further, bursaries and training grant - aimed at supporting the supply and quality of FE teachers.
Latest start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Expected contract length
Maximum of 15 months
Location
North West England
Organisation the work is for
The Department for Education
Budget range
Up to £2.1m (to cover both Alpha and Beta stages) DfE does not commit to any minimum spend at this point. A pricing template will be provided to shortlisted suppliers at the proposal stage.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Further Education (FE) sector is vital to the government’s overall plans for the economy and individual prosperity. It is also the focus of major reforms, such as T levels. For these reforms to succeed, we need to help remedy long-standing issues in supply and quality of FE teachers.

There are significant teacher supply and quality challenges, and we are relying on FE providers to deliver the technical education reforms that are so crucial to individual and national economic prosperity. Colleges have vacancy rates of 1% up to 6% in some subjects, compared to 0.4% up to 1.6% in secondary schools.

‘Teach in FE’ support and advice service is a necessary step in a series of initiatives to attract more teachers into further education (FE). It will provide a ‘public face’ to many initiatives aimed at getting more teachers in FE – Taking Teaching Further, bursaries and training grants – laying the foundations for what must ultimately be a comprehensive programme to support the supply and quality of teachers in FE.

The service will be supported by a national recruitment campaign
Problem to be solved
Research demonstrates that existing arrangements are falling short of attracting prospective teachers into FE:
• Understanding of FE is low – what it is, what it contributes and the opportunities it offers to individuals
• Whilst some groups may be open to/interested in FE teaching, there is not enough factual information
• Prospective teachers lack awareness of careers in FE
• There is a lack of visibility about FE, working in the sector and clarity of roles and entry points
• Prospective teachers often do not know how and where to find any limited information that does exist, how to find out about careers in FE or what qualifications, if any, are needed to teach in FE
• Compared to primary and secondary teaching, the image of FE is largely negative and there are many misconceptions about the sector. Teaching in FE is also seen as less prestigious
• There is a positive story to be told about FE, but it is largely missing at the moment.
• Consideration will also need to be given to the extent to which recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will impact the type of content required to support users of the service going forwards.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users are defined as any individual who could be classified as a prospective FE teacher, and those who are directly involved in the recruitment and retention of FE teachers. This includes, though is not limited to, graduates, teaching graduates, industry experts, current FE teachers, senior leaders in FE and careers advisors. Extensive user research and testing carried out during Discovery and additional external research summarising key user groups and barriers can be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
Early market engagement
N/A
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery phase completed. Utilised depth interviews in person and over the phone, focus groups ‘usability testing’ and literature review. Detailed Discovery findings will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
Existing team
Service Owner and Product Owner already in post from within the organisation. There is currently no incumbent for this programme.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
For the duration of restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, all teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely. The primary location will then be Manchester.
Working arrangements
Travel to the chosen primary location will not attract expenses. Some travel to other DfE sites and to meet users is expected but must be in line with the DfE travel & subsistence policy.
Security clearance
Personnel from the Service provider need to have both BPSS and an enhanced DBS check. Some projects may require higher security clearance checks, this will be detailed in the statement of work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
By issuing this invitation, the Department is not bound in any way and does not have to accept any tender. The Department also reserves the right at its sole discretion to award a contract for the Alpha stage only.

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
  • Within the last two years have successfully delivered end to end development of digital products/services to highly regulated standards.
  • Within the last two years have demonstrable experience in User Centred Design Services (User Research, Content Design and Interaction Design, Business Analysis)
  • Demonstrable experience within the last two years in working complex, multi-stakeholder programmes
  • Evidence within the last two years, of experience in architecture services and ensuring new and updated platforms, products, transactions and system architectures are robust, scalable, open and secure.
  • Experience of successfully using a range of agile and lean practices, tools and techniques, working in multi-team agile programmes
  • Experience of successfully planning and delivering complex outcome-based projects at considerable pace within tight time constraints.
  • Evidence of an ability to absorb large amounts of pre-existing research within a short time period to successfully deliver an effective solution
  • Proven experience of designing and developing engaging content that attracts and retains users and meets their needs.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of policy work and policy development principles.
  • A good understanding of the Further Education (FE) policy landscape.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate technical competence in the identified technologies and agile practices.
  • Demonstrate ability to deliver digital projects/services that meet user needs and deliver successful outcomes.
  • Demonstrate how you will identify and keep the organisation informed of risks, dependencies, issues and other considerations relevant to planning.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of implementing user centred design in a government agile environment.
  • Ability to work within tight frameworks to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Demonstrate how you quickly onboard a new project to maintain continuity between lifecycle phases (e.g. between discovery and alpha).
  • Demonstrate where you have worked collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary team with other service providers and subject matter experts to facilitate decision making and buy in.
  • Describe how you work transparently and collaboratively with all stakeholders and seek actionable feedback to resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Value for money.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Provide evidence of your approach to build capability with an organisation’s permanent team members over the duration of an engagement
  • Innovate – act on initiative, drive improvements, balance risks.
  • Develop a "One Team" approach – collaborate, establish good working relationships, generate team spirit
  • Actively promote diversity and inclusion as per the public sector equality duty
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

30%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

60%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you advise whether any suppliers were involved in the Discovery work or whether it was purely resourced from civil servants? If suppliers were involved can you name them?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
2. Please identify the supplier who completed the Discovery phase?
DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
3. Can you let us know who undertook the Discovery and whether they are the incumbent for the Alpha and Beta?
DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. There is no incumbent. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
4. Please can you confirm that an enhanced DBS check is required? Unless the appointed contractor is required to visit FE establishments or has access to student's personal data, we don't quite understand the need for this? Will those be needed for this contract?
Yes, an enhanced DBS check is required for this opportunity. We have decided that a BPSS and an enhanced DBS are the minimum requirement for this opportunity.
5. Could you confirm the 'identified technologies' for this engagement please.
The final tech stack for development will be determined in consultation with the architecture partner during Alpha depending on findings. It is expected this will utilise existing technology available within DfE and mirror similar services already built. Software development will likely be predominantly in Ruby on Rails. All code will be expected to follow government and open standards (GDS Technology Code of Practice). More information is available on DfE’s GitHub repository.
6. Who conducted the Discovery work?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
7. Could you share with us the technology stack that you intend to use (or have in mind) please?
The final tech stack for development will be determined in consultation with the architecture partner during Alpha depending on findings. It is expected this will utilise existing technology available within DfE and mirror similar services already built. Software development will likely be predominantly in Ruby on Rails. All code will be expected to follow government and open standards (GDS Technology Code of Practice). More information is available on DfE’s GitHub repository.
8. Can you advise how you will assess the pricing component of this bid?
For suppliers who progress to stage 2, a pricing submission document will be requested. Price will be scored with the following methodology. Lowest Price/Suppliers offer x weighting (60%) = supplier score
9. Can you please let us who has done the Discovery?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
10. Can you advise who conducted the Discovery Phase please – was this DfE or a 3rd party supplier?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
11. Can you please let us who has done the Discovery?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
12. Can you confirm which organisation completed the Discovery for this please?
For the Discovery phase, DfE recruited two independent contractors to work alongside internal staff to conduct Discovery. Findings from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
13. Is there a current or preferred supplier for this please?
There is no current or preferred supplier for this requirement. The DfE operate fair, open and transparent tender processes, and bids are assessed purely on the information provided within the written proposals and presentations.
14. How agile is the environment you are currently working in?
Knowledge, understanding and practice of agile is varied across the Department. The successful supplier will be expected to work according to the Department and Government's agile principles, and help build capability within the service team where required.
15. Is there a target architecture or tech stack that will be used?
The final tech stack for development will be determined in consultation with the architecture partner during Alpha depending on findings. It is expected this will utilise existing technology available within DfE and mirror similar services already built. Software development will likely be predominantly in Ruby on Rails. All code will be expected to follow government and open standards (GDS Technology Code of Practice). More information is available on DfE’s GitHub repository.
16. is there any requirement for enhancement of the tech stack as part of the remit of this project?
The final tech stack for development will be determined in consultation with the architecture partner during Alpha depending on findings. It is expected this will utilise existing technology available within DfE and mirror similar services already built. Software development will likely be predominantly in Ruby on Rails. All code will be expected to follow government and open standards (GDS Technology Code of Practice). More information is available on DfE’s GitHub repository.
17. Is the new content part of an existing site? or will this form part of a new build for this content?
This project is to build an additional user journey for an existing service.
18. Does this work include working with a marketing team to help raise awareness?
Utilising the findings and content from this project, the Department's communications team will develop a communications strategy to support the launch of the service and to generate awareness
19. Will the research conducted be shared at a future stage?
All findings to date from the Discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers at stage 2.
20. Experience of policy work and policy development principles.- By policy you mean UK public sector policies or DFE /ESFA's policy
Experience of UK public sector policy and the policy development process in general would be helpful for this project. Knowledge of Further Education policy would be beneficial, but is not essential.
21. End to end development of digital products/services to highly regulated standards- by highly regulated standards you mean regulated by government or delivery standards or standards such as GDS, Technology code of practice
The GDS standards and Technology code of practice are both Government delivery standards. In our environment, ‘highly regulated standards’ means highly regulated standards of delivery. The Department for Education adheres to the Government Digital Service (GDS) standards
22. Who's on the panel?
Applications will be scored by a panel of 3 or 4 individuals who work for the Department for Education, with both appropriate technical knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of the requirements.
23. Did the discovery have a service assessment? If so, did it meet all the relevant service standards?
Details of the project's discovery phase will be shared with shortlisted suppliers