Awarded to Thoughtworks Limited

Start date: Wednesday 4 November 2020
Value: £150,000
Company size: large
Home Office

C19393 Eliciting and Developing Software Engineering Guidance and Standards

11 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 3 large

14 Completed applications

9 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Tuesday 18 August 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 25 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 1 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Eliciting and Developing best practices as guidance and standards for Software Engineering.
Latest start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Expected contract length
Organisation the work is for
Home Office
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
A key part of our DDaT CTO Office Engineering role of “Advise and Assure” is to provide Software and DevOps Engineers with clear guidance and standards for developing modern digital services. We want to elicit current best practices from DDaT Software Engineers, Portfolios and Projects, develop and publish them as generally applicable guidance and standards that the Software Engineering community has reviewed, can place in context, and own as a shared resource.
Problem to be solved
We want to find and build clear shared ideas of what Good Software Engineering is for the Home Office by eliciting and developing generally applicable standards and current best practices from our SE communities, Portfolios and central Government (for example The GDS Way and Digital Service Standard). We then want to make them available as a SE community resource, where the community owns standards and guidance and are part of the process of development, review and update. We want our Software Engineers to be able to use this guidance and standards with confidence, have a sense of ownership of them, understand their context, and challenge them as circumstances change.
Who the users are and what they need to do
• As a Home Office Software Engineer, I need to be able to find applicable, useful, relevant and up-to-date standards and guidance that I trust for the digital services I’m developing and my behaviours as a software engineer.
• As a senior engineer, thought leader or interested software engineer, I need to have the opportunity to provide input on guidance and standards development as a prime contributor or as a reviewer.
• As the Head of Software Engineering, I need to ensure that high-quality guidance and standards are available and readily located to the community to provide advice and assurance to Software Engineers.
• As the Head of Software Engineering, I need guidance and standards development to be owned and sustainably managed by the community going forward.
Early market engagement
Not applicable.
Any work that’s already been done
Initial discovery work performed. We’ve completed a survey of current guidance and standards. A set of topic areas have been identified and prioritised. Initial community engagement has been performed.
Existing team
You’ll be working with the CTO Software Engineering Team – and closely with the Lead Engineers that run Guidance, Standards and Software Engineering Engagement.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
During Covid – all work is remote. Post-Covid there may be occasional meetings in Home Office Croydon offices.
Working arrangements
Weekly status and coordination meetings online.
Security clearance

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
  • Evidence demonstrable experience contributing to the development of technical standards
  • Evidence demonstrable experience facilitating groups of specialists to build and document outcomes
  • Evidence demonstrable experience with content design and content development for engineering audiences
  • Evidence demonstrable experience with modern software engineering approaches (e.g. User-centred, Test-driven, Open-source, Agile, CI/CD)
  • Evidence demonstrable Experience engaging with Software Engineers and Engineering leaders to produce shared technical standards
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience developing technical guidance and standards from internal and external sources
  • Experience evaluating technical standards and guidance
  • Experience building sustainable processes for guidance and standards development
  • Experience with technology selection and technology roadmaps

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Overall approach and methodology
  • How proposed process and plan meets goals and timeframe
  • How well assumptions, risks and dependencies are developed
  • Supplier team - assessed for relevant experience and technical knowledge
  • Understanding of the development of engineering guidance and standards
  • Added Value
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with us and other suppliers
  • Sensitive to nuanced technical decision-making
  • Transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Transparently reports progress and blockers
  • Takes responsibility for their work
  • Appreciates working to relevant government and Home Office standards (e.g. Accessibility, Ethics, Service Standard)
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Hello, is there a current incumbent providing this service currently?
2. You've not specified a project duration. Do you have an idea of the minimum and maximum amount of time you'd like to contract for?
This is a fixed price piece of work and we expect shortlisted suppliers to propose a timeline for delivery. This is for a maximum 6 months.
3. Will you sponsor SC clearance for team members from the winning supplier or does the team have to have SC clearance already?
Due to the tight timelines, our strong preference is for a pre-cleared team. However, if the successful bidder’s team doesn’t hold clearance, we will sponsor clearance and the project plan will include a pause after contract award to accommodate clearance activities.
4. a. What's the length of the contract?
b. Can you confirm the budget for the contract?
c. Is there an incumbent in place?
d. Who's on the panel?
a. See the answer to Q 2 above.
b. This is a fixed price piece of work and we expect shortlisted suppliers to propose the cost for delivery. We expect this to be below £150,000.
c. No
d. Head of Software Engineering, SAS Business Management Lead and the Lead Engineer
5. To enable us to determine the resource mix and duration for this work. Can you provide some information regarding the scope in terms of the technical environment to be covered?
This will be provided to shortlisted suppliers at proposal stage.
6. Are the discovery outputs available? And can you share timescales and expected budget for this work?
Selected discovery outputs will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
For the budget - see Q4.
For the timescales -see Q2.
7. Could you give some sizing information, e.g. expected contract duration, budget, team size?
For contract duration see Q2.
For budget see Q4.
For team size we expect shortlisted suppliers to propose the team structure and size they require to deliver the outcomes.
8. What is the envisaged team size for this requirement and what are the expected levels of seniority within the team? In addition what is the duration of the engagement?
Please see the answers to Q7 and Q2 above.
9. To enable us to determine the resource mix and duration for this work. Can you provide some information regarding the scope in terms of the technical environment to be covered?
Further information on scope will be shared with shortlisted bidders at proposal stage.
10. Would you prefer multiple examples of experience showing breadth, or single examples with more detail?
Single examples with more detail would be preferable.
11. What does Question 2 mean? (in terms of what is required from the supplier)?
"Evidence demonstrable experience facilitating groups of specialists to build and document outcomes".
Provide evidence of where you have facilitated a group of people to achieve a shared agreement or product or shared result.