Start date: Tuesday 1 December 2020
Value: £1,500,000
Company size: large
Cabinet Office

Government Commercial Function data analytics platform development

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

11 Completed applications

4 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Friday 21 August 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 28 August 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 4 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Development work on the Government Commercial Function's data lake (CaSIE). This will include features to automate connections with source systems, improve data quality and implement additional features. It will also include analytics support including the piloting of machine learning models in the platform.
Latest start date
Monday 5 October 2020
Expected contract length
20 months with an optional extension of 5 months.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Cabinet Office
Budget range
Overall budget of £1.2m for first 20 months with possible additional extension of £300k.
For each piece of work to be undertaken, the ‘project’ shall be scoped and a provisional development time and cost estimate provided by the supplier.

About the work

Why the work is being done
A key commercial system for the Government Commercial Function (GCF), CaSIE was initially developed to bring together two pre-existing sources of information (contracts data and spend data), to perform data-cleansing on this data and to display this in a useful way for commercial colleagues through interactive dashboards. Further information sources have been added in the last year, including future procurement activities, supplier news, financial information and risk ratings for key suppliers. Supplier matching has also been introduced to improve the quality of information. The next stage is to ensure we optimise the use of this information across government and provide useful visual data views of this system focused around different user needs.
Information is sourced via application processing interfaces (API’s) which run daily, from both public sector systems (department systems and Contracts Finder) as well as a number of private sector suppliers who offer additional relevant commercial information.
The system is available for use by commercial colleagues across government and is a key enabler in providing transparency of the commercial information government holds and displaying it in the right format to allow commercial leads greater understanding of the procurement landscape and supplier health informing key commercial decision making.
Problem to be solved
The next stage in CaSIE development is focused on increasing the number of interfaces from departmental systems into CaSIE, improving timeliness, quality (and confidence in quality among stakeholders) and the breadth of the information held. The development of alternative methods of data-set upload such as a user friendly way for departments to submit flatfiles for ingestion is also required. The system will be used to monitor key commercial data quality across a set of key defined metrics with the ability to track improvement in data quality over time. Alongside this is an ongoing aim to optimise re-use of the information held, improving visual displays of the data in line with user needs and ensuring clients can quickly hone in on the key data they require to inform commercial decision making.
Finally, support will be needed for user training and onboarding as well as engagement and change management activity to drive adoption of the platform.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a government Commercial Lead I need to be able to view key commercial information for government on the Contracts and Spend Insight Engine (CaSIE) in an intuitive and insight-driven display to inform my commercial decision making.
As a technical lead I need to ensure that the data I provide from my own internal systems is correct, cleansed and up to date to ensure that CaSIE provides the correct view.
As a Commercial Continuous Improvement team member I need to be able to examine whether the data is to the required standard for key commercial information including data standards and track changes in data quality to show improvements over time.
Early market engagement
Not undertaken.
Any work that’s already been done
CaSIE has been operating (and developing) for a couple of years so this work will build on that already undertaken. The CaSIE system is currently hosted within the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. It uses a number of the reporting resources within this platform. This includes Data Lake storage for the landing of data, DataFactory and DataBricks for ETL activities, Analysis Services and Power BI for modelling and visualizing the data respectively. We are therefore looking for providers with deep technical experience of the Azure stack.
Existing team
CaSIE is a cross-government service which is managed by the Digital Data and Insights part of the Cabinet Office’s Commercial Continuous Improvement Team. The Digital Data and Insights sub-team consists of 6 members currently but will be expanding by a couple more people during the coming year. The team comprises of a mix of data and systems specialists, a reporting lead, a data scientist and a data analyst. The CaSIE work is also supported by the GCF network across government including Commercial Leads and Super Users within each central government department.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote working from supplier home offices is acceptable.
Supplier may be required to attend some scoping meetings and playback sessions in person where virtual meetings are not viable, but daily working in virtual teams is the standard way of working.
‘In person’ meetings will usually occur at 1 Horseguards Road, Westminster, London, SW1A 2HQ.
Working arrangements
Collaborative agile developments will be employed with virtual daily SCRUM sessions and Playback sessions to occur post each sprint. Ongoing communications by email, telephone calls or online instant messaging such as SLACK. Monthly service management meetings to occur (can be virtual).
Security clearance
Any provider will need to agree to apply for SC security clearance for at least 2 FTEs. All FTEs working on the project must be BPSS cleared or working towards this at the point of being on boarded to the project.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
You must sign up to CCS’s eSourcing system in order to be invited and submit proposals at the further evaluation stage.

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
  • We require applicants to be a Microsoft Gold partner in Data analytics, Cloud platform, and Data platform.
  • Have experience of successfully applying and utilising Agile delivery skills in the course of delivering a Digital Service.
  • Have experience of successfully working with Microsoft Azure cloud platform services.
  • Evidence of developing DataFactory and DataBricks for ETL activities, Analysis Services and Power BI for modelling and visualizing data. Must cover evidence of working with multiple, desperate sources of data.
  • Have Managed service expertise for Azure analytics and reporting solutions at an Enterprise scale (over at least 1,000 users).
  • Have experience of implementing effective master data management solutions and establishing data governance structures in large organisations.
  • Have experience in successfully performing UI/UX design.
  • Have experience of performing Testing & Quality Assurance in delivering or developing a Digital Service.
  • Have experience of business change including end-user training, maturity assessments, and workshopping using Business Event Analysis and Modelling or similar agile frameworks.
  • Have experience of effective documentation and transition of products into a live services team, including resolving defects after launch.
  • Have expertise at development and implementation of data science projects, including machine learning models
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience of successfully applying the skills and principles outlined in the Government Digital Service Standards.
  • Have experience of working in and navigating a highly regulated environment.
  • Have experience of working in environments with rapidly changing requirements and priorities.
  • Have a good knowledge of NCSC guidelines and principles including the 14 cloud security principles.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how you would use your expertise with Azure to process data at large scale across a large number of complex and disparate data sets.
  • Demonstrate how you would document your work to ensure effective hand over to the business.
  • Demonstrate how you would assist the business through service management support to react quickly to issues and pro-actively spot problems in data through automated monitoring.
  • Demonstrate to us how you would successfully lead on embedding internal business change to support wider uptake of the platform and hand over approach at the end of engagement.
  • Detail how you could help set up robust processes and structures with the function to support successful data governance and master data management.
  • Demonstrate your approach to identifying areas where advance analytics/machine learning could add value, how you would measure this value add to determine success and how you implement such technologies.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Please detail and demonstrate how your approach will ensure successful engagement and communication with all Stakeholders, including project scoping sessions, standups, and sprint sessions.
  • Please detail how you will identify opportunities to continuously improve the product/service through on-going changes or innovative approaches.
  • Please detail your approach to service management, including monitoring progress, issue resolution and adherence to service level agreements.
  • Please demonstrate approach to collaborative working including working with a diverse set of stakeholders and upskilling clients.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent provider for this opportunity?
Yes there is an incumbent supplier.
2. Will any suppliers without all three stated Microsoft Gold Partnerships be disqualified? Or is a minimum of one the requirement? This would appear to be restrictive to SMEs who can fulfil all the other essential criteria (eg. Cloud Platform Gold partnership requires selling a certain amount of Microsoft licenses).
We require all three Gold Partnerships.
3. We are Microsoft Gold Partners in two areas (Data Analytics & Cloud Platform) and Silver Partner in the 3rd (Data Platform). Will this make us ineligible for this bid?
All 3 areas are key for this project and all need to be Gold for a bid to be eligible.
4. Can the work be undertaken by a blended UK/offshore team?
5. Could you please confirm the suppliers who are currently supporting the Authority?
Adatis Consulting Limited is currently supporting the Authority.
6. Can you please share who the incumbent supplier is and how long they have worked on this initiative?
The current supplier is Adatis Consulting Limited, who have been assisting us with this work since 2017.
7. We require applicants to be a Microsoft Gold partner in Data analytics, Cloud platform, and Data platform." Should this be answered by a "Yes/No" response rather than the usual 100 word example of our experience?
If you could provide a short text answer to confirm this it would be appreciated. This is more efficient than withdrawing and republishing the opportunity as suppliers are already preparing responses.
8. Please could you clarify what you mean by "highly regulated" in the question "Have experience of working in and navigating a highly regulated environment." – Do you mean an environment/organisation where there is an official external regulator/regulatory framework, or do you mean an environment which has its own strong internal governance and compliance procedures?
This could relate to both external regulation and/or internal compliance.
9. Can you expand on what you mean by "Have experience of working in and navigating a highly regulated environment"?
This could relate to an organisation which is subject to external regulation and/or an organisation which has significant internal compliance, governance and policies and procedures which need to be adhered to.
10. Could you please provide further information on the current or anticipated technologies for user access/user interface – PowerBI is mentioned but might other tools and/or custom interfaces such as web applications be utilised?
Outside of the tools mentioned in the advert, there will be a need to bring data into the platform from external sources. These will be a mix of different applications but will include Salesforce, Jaggaer One and the ability to upload information securely via flat files.
11. Can we understand what elements of Microsoft Gold certification for each of the three categories are considered essential for this work?
We do not break this down to the sub elements. The requirement is for a provider to be acknowledged by Microsoft as having a gold competency in all three of these areas.
12. What category and number of external systems are currently interfaced with CASIE and how many do you expect to be added as part of this project?
We currently have system interfaces to 5-6 systems via a number of different interface types, from APIs to flat file transfer of data.
Going forwards, we would want to extend this. There is a project underway to interface with approximately 6 Government departmental systems. Additionally we wish to build a system to allow end users a way of adding data to the platform via flat files.
13. Are you able to provide any details on the objectives for Machine Learning pilot entailed in this project?
We would like to use machine learning to correct and derive additional information from our data sources - for example we wish to use natural language processing to classify whether an item in our contracts database relates to a framework agreement or a contract.
14. Are you able to provide a high level overview of the current structure of the data in the data lake and its format?
Data is landed in Azure datalake Gen2, Databricks and Datafactory are then used to process data through the lake and into Azure Data Warehouse. This is then passed to a modeled analytics layer using Azure Analysis Services. Data cleansing is supported via Master Data Services.
15. Are you able to provide data volumes of the current and expected datasets?
Current data volumes are relatively small. No tables across current datasets exceed 1m rows. It is not expected that the volume of data will grow significantly from this.
16. How sensitive is the data and what are the expectations in terms of security protocols ? (e.g. Hashing, Encryption, Azure Sentinel & Security center)
The data held is up to Official. We would want to implement best practice standards for handling of information to this level.
17. Will reports and data be accessed solely via the UK if not please identify the various regions?
We offer the service to government colleagues, so the vast majority of use will be UK-based.
18. Are there currently any Data Quality checks in place if so please can you share the details?
Data quality checks are performed post each update, checking that the data was ingested successfully and that there was not a large variance in the amount of data ingested (for example no more than 10% variance). Supplier and Government organisational quality (and grouping) is maintained via the Master Data Services. Going forwards we wish to track data quality against a set of data standards that have been developed for the function.
19. What documentation is expected as part of the project?
Sprint reports covering progress and drill down, ongoing (usually monthly) reports on overall project time and spend. Regular budget tracking. Regular 360 feedback. Outside of project management, user guides and technical documentation will need to be maintained to a high standard.
20. How many different environments are there on the project?
We have separate environments for development, testing and live.
21. Are there pre created and available CI/CD Scripts that can be used for each resource?
The full set of development scripts will be available to the successful supplier.