This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 17 September 2020
The London Borough of Brent

Development, build and support of new Sitecore Content Management System

7 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 2 large

12 Completed applications

9 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 3 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 10 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 17 September 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
Brent wishes to appoint a supplier to redevelop our external website using the Sitecore Experience Platform.
The work includes:
• Build and implementation of the CMS (detailed spec available at assessment stage)
• Integration with Azure B2C, Microsoft Dynamics, plus other systems
• Staff training
• Post-launch support and development
Latest start date
Monday 2 November 2020
Expected contract length
Initial term no longer than 24 months
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
The London Borough of Brent
Budget range
This phase of work has a budget range of £200,000 to £249,000. However, we expect bidders to submit competitive bids, broken down by resource or skill, duration and day rates applicable to each.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The redevelopment of the website is part of a wider digital transformation programme aimed at modernising Brent’s online services. The current website was last updated more than five years ago on a CMS and it is no longer fit for purpose. As such, it has failed to keep pace with latest developments and is no longer supported. The new CMS should allow our website to integrate seamlessly and securely with the new customer portal to create a platform that can meet the digital requirements of its customers for the foreseeable future and provide a much more personalised and responsive experience.
Problem to be solved
The current website needs to be rebuilt and replaced. Brent council last upgraded the CMS in 2012-13. Umbraco V.7, a .NETbased open-source CMS, is what the existing site has been built on but this is now end of life.
The CMS utilises a number of number of third party modules and out of date of templates, which have prevented its further development. It does not talk to the current portal platform, leading to a disjointed service. The CMS does not lend itself to the rapid development of microsites and the search function currently in use lacks administrative functionality.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As the website manager, I need to establish appropriate workflows for publishing and review and be able to modify components, patterns and templates.
As a content owner, I need to make content updates and small design changes without needing any technical skills and make sure it goes through the necessary horizontal and vertical approvals.
As a visitor to the website, I want quick and easy access to the most relevant information and personalised services so I can engage digitally with the council.
As a council, we want to increase successful online transactions and encourage more user engagement through our website.
Early market engagement
We have spoken to suppliers of a number of content management systems to understand the capabilities of products, which suit the functional, technical and strategic context of the council.
Any work that’s already been done
We have undertaken an options appraisal to inform which system to use for the council CMS based on our requirements. Sitecore has been selected and licences have already been purchased.
The audience discovery and design phase has been undertaken, resulting in outputs which the successful supplier will receive upon appointment.
We have undertaken a content audit to understand the content on the site.
Work is underway to develop a full requirements document in consultation with internal stakeholders from across the organisation. We will work with the successful supplier to scope and agree the requirements.
Existing team
The internal project team would consist of Product Owner, Digital Customer Experience Manager, Website Content designers, Project Manager, Digital Transformation Project Lead, MarComms, Business Support and Service Managers. The successful supplier will be expected to engage with local residents and a broad range of internal stakeholders including Cabinet members, Senior Council Management, Heads of Service, Communications and the Digital Transformation team.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of this work is likely to take place remotely subject to current social restrictions in place for Covid-19.
On site work will be at Brent Civic Centre, Wembley.
Working arrangements
It is expected that the majority of the work will take place remotely, but we would like to establish frequent co-located development meetings with our teams to foster, for example, collaboration. In the current situation, regular project meetings should take place face to face over video conference.
The chosen agency would need fully integrate with our team and other appointed suppliers working within the Digital Programme, sharing their knowledge and insight; working in the open and demonstrating good agile product delivery practice.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
As London Living Wage accredited organisations, the authorities will require a contractual commitment to the payment of this.

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
  • Have recent experience of developing successful information-rich Sitecore implementations from alpha to beta, through to live launch that are fully responsive, including front end (theming) and back end development (coding)
  • Have recent experience of delivering Sitecore websites that integrate with Microsoft Azure B2C and Dynamics as well as other applications and products to deliver customer authentication and personalisation
  • Be an accredited Sitecore partner
  • Have experience of building Sitecore websites that conform to the WCAG 2.1 level AA accessibility standard, and validating that standard
  • Have experience of developing Sitecore forms and integrating the data into Microsoft Dynamics
  • In relation to project management, have experience of developing, and delivering to, a comprehensive project plan and implementation timetable
  • Have experience of conducting user testing at all levels of the design process
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have an understanding of and experience of working within the constraints of public sector organisations including budgets, timescales and change
  • Have experience of delivering websites with varied approaches to hosting solutions (e.g. cloud, on-premise, and integrating to applications in different hosting environments).
  • Have experience of applying the principles of user-centred design to the development of digital solutions
  • Provide customer support service, including service desk, and an account manager function
  • Have demonstrable knowledge of cyber security and evidence of regular PEN testing
  • Have experience of developing long-term (3+ years) relationships with satisfied clients

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Approach to working with Brent Council to develop and deliver the solution that meets our specified requirements (23%)
  • Evidenced approach to delivering a solution that successfully integrates Sitecore with Azure B2C and Dynamics. (17%)
  • Approach to managing and governing the project to ensure it is delivered within the timescales set out in the specification (5%)
  • Approach to training, UAT and bug fixing the solution prior to handing it to the council (5%)
  • Approach to the ongoing support of the website including service management and the associated SLA.(5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Co-work with internal staff and external suppliers to ensure collaborative decision making (3%)
  • Work with the council to ensure that the required technical and functional knowledge are transferred. (2%)
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

55%

Cultural fit

5%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can we bid as a consortium for this opportunity?
Applications and any subsequent tenders should be from a single supplier on the framework. Any other organisations would need to be subcontractors. Subcontracting proposals should be made clear at both stages.
2. Can you confirm if you are happy for development to take place off-site, post-covid?
The "Working Arrangements" paragraph of these requirements addresses this question: "It is expected that the majority of the work will take place remotely, but we would like to establish frequent co-located development meetings with our teams to foster, for example, collaboration. In the current situation, regular project meetings should take place face to face over video conference. The chosen agency would need fully integrate with our team and other appointed suppliers working within the Digital Programme, sharing their knowledge and insight; working in the open and demonstrating good agile product delivery practice. "
3. Are you open to working with a software development company based outside of London elsewhere in the UK, but with the possibility of travelling to London for meetings etc?
The "Working Arrangements" paragraph of these requirements addresses this question: "It is expected that the majority of the work will take place remotely, but we would like to establish frequent co-located development meetings with our teams to foster, for example, collaboration. In the current situation, regular project meetings should take place face to face over video conference. The chosen agency would need fully integrate with our team and other appointed suppliers working within the Digital Programme, sharing their knowledge and insight; working in the open and demonstrating good agile product delivery practice. "
4. Did you work with an external partner to carry out the the audience discovery and design phases? And if so, will that partner be bidding for this programme?
Yes, we did. We do not know if that partner will be bidding for this programme.
5. For cost estimates, can these be ball-park costs or do they need to be a fixed figure to work to?
Following this shortlisting stage, suppliers who are invited to tender will be expected to submit a fixed price.
6. What is the process moving forwards, i.e. how many progress past this stage and then onto proposal etc?
The maximum number to be evaluated, ie. invited to tender, is 5, as stated in this opportunity.
7. Is there an opportunity to have a Q&A after this first stage?
Following this shortlisting stage, suppliers who are invited to tender will be informed of the tender clarification process.
8. Regarding the early market engagement you've undertaken, this refers to the "strategic context of the council" – this seems critical; when can we have a chat to understand this strategy?
Following this shortlisting stage, suppliers who are invited to tender will be informed of the tender clarification process, which will give them the opportunity to request any further information that they need.
9. What outputs from the audience discovery and design phase will be shared with the successful supplier?
The user insights gathered during the discovery phase, personas and final recommendations report will be shared with the successful supplier along with the proposed design system.
10. What is the scope of the £200,000 – £249,000 budget, does this figure cover everything from design & build through to hosting and on-going support?
This figure should cover the implementation and deployment of the CMS, including development of the templates, visual design (coding it up), and integration of any third party applications or datasets, based on an agreed set of requirements defined at the beginning of the project, complete with up to 12 months of ongoing support and maintenance post launch. Hosting costs are not included in this figure.
11. Who is building the new customer portal and what platform is it being built on? When is it going live?
The customer portal is being built on Microsoft Dynamics and the development is being undertaken by Infosys. Some early service level portals are already live and available through the existing site. Through this project we would like to move the creation and management of some portal content into the CMS to provide us with more flexible control over updates and changes.
12. What are the microsites built on and how many are there?
There are currently over 50 microsites or applications active across the Brent digital platform. Some are standalone sites that do not integrate with the main site and other provide key transactional components to deliver services. There is no common platform and they range from WordPress, Drupal and Umbraco CMS to proprietary 3rd party software products.
13. Which integrations are needed for Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and which are for the future roadmap?
The full list of integrations required for the MVP will be discussed and agreed as part of the initial requirements exercise. More details will be provided to the shortlisted suppliers.
14. Post launch support: This is listed as included, are there any historical resource usage indications on this and does it include day-to-day end user support?
It is not meaningful to compare the current support resource levels to what we may need in the first year of the new site going live. We expect to discuss and agree a reasonable support package to include snagging, bug fixing, maintenance and future development with the successful supplier based on the nature of the new site.
15. Training: Is the training expected to be ongoing, or a 'train the trainer' approach and are there any Council staff development resources that are included in this training?
We would expect the successful supplier to provide adequate training to the core web team (Admins) and selected super users and provide them with suitable reference resources that they can use, adapt and share. These staff will then onward train content owners across the council. There may also be a need for the supplier to provide some technical training to our internal support and applications team so that they are in a position to take on more day-to-day technical support and development tasks longer term.
16. Hosting: Will the council be managing production hosting or is hosting to be part of the delivery / budget? (Any preferences such as Azure required)
Hosting arrangements are still in discussion but it should be assumed that the production (live) site will be hosted by Brent Council's Shared IT service.
17. Integration: Other systems are listed as requiring integration, would that be in a different phase or in scope for the initial phase?
We would expect some third party applications to be integrated based on the current site as a minimum. The final list of integrations will be discussed with the selected supplier in collaboration with our internal teams.
18. Quote from tender request: “As a content owner, I need to make content updates and small design changes without needing any technical skills and make sure it goes through the necessary horizontal and vertical approvals.” What is meant by “small design changes” – is it just changing presentation\look and feel of the website by changing some settings in CMS, e.g. set background image, set button colour etc.?
We would expect content owners to be able to make changes based on what is possible within a pre-defined set of templates. So they may be able to select a background colour from a set of available colours that have been agreed for use within a component or template. They shouldn't be able to change a component's colour to anything they want.
19. Quote from tender request: “As a council, we want to increase successful online transactions and encourage more user engagement through our website.” – Could you please specify main online transactions expected as part of website’s functionality?
"The main transations that take place on our site are predominantly:
Apply
Book
Report
Notify
Contact
Pay
Such transactions typically occur through the use of an online form."
20. What type of Sitecore license has been purchased: on-prem, managed cloud?
Sitecore XP licences have been purchased. Hosting arrangements are still in discussion but it should be assumed that the production (live) site will be hosted by Brent Council's Shared IT service.
21. What are the expectations regarding owner of infrastructure for QA\STAGE\UAT environments?
It is expected that the supplier will provide these environments at present.
22. What are the next steps and timings for selecting a partner following the submission of our responses to the essential and nice-to-have experience questions?
The tender panel will evaluate the applications and decide upon the shortlist. Shortlisted suppliers will be invited to tender. The timetable is anticipated to be approximately: Invite tenders 25/9, tender submission 9/10, supplier presentation and clarification meetings during the following 2 weeks. Award 23/10. A refined timetable will be issued with the ITT.
23. The contract term is stated as no longer than 24 months. Is the aspiration for the Council to fully self manage the new Sitecore platform in-house beyond this period?
Not necessarily however at the end of the 24-month period we will review our support arrangements and if we require the service of a third party to provide continued support we will procure a new contract at that point based on our needs at the time.
24. Is the supplier who undertook the phase 1 Discovery and Design activity taking part in this procurement process?
We do not know if that partner will be bidding for this programme.
25. What are the outputs of the Design phase and will they be shared at RFP stage? Has all design been produced or has it been a component-based approach?
A component based design approach has been developed for the site and the final outputs will be provided to the successful supplier.
26. When do you anticipate to have a full list of requirements to help define the scope of the project?
A draft list of the requirements will be made available to the shortlisted suppliers. This will give an indication of the feedback we have received from both internal and external stakeholders so far but should not be considered to be the definitive list. The final requirements list will be discussed, prioritised and signed off with the successful supplier ahead of build.
27. Has the Council created a digital roadmap for this programme that can be shared with us?
The website redevleopment forms part of the Councils Digital Strategy, which can be found on our website: http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=455&MId=5358&Ver=4
28. How many microsites are in your digital estate, and typically how often do the Council need to develop these?
There are currently over 50 microsites or applications active across the Brent digital platform. Some are standalone sites that do not integrate with the main site and other provide key transactional components to deliver services. There is no common platform and they range from WordPress, Drupal and Umbraco CMS to proprietary 3rd party software products. Their lifecycle will vary depending on the purpose, supplier and service need.
29. Please can you provide some example transactions that users need to be able to complete on the new site?
"Examples of transactions could include:
- Pay their council tax
- View rental statements
- Apply for parking permits
- Book a pest control visit
- Change their licencing conditions
- Register a birth
- Comment on a planning application
- Notify the council of a change in circumstance
- Report anti-social behaviour
- Find out the opening hours of the local library
- Find their local school and apply
- Report a missed bin on their street"
30. How do you want residents to improve engagement with the Council online?
By completing more transactions online, rather than calling us or doing them face-to-face. Transactions undertaken online will result in improved accuracy, efficiencies, and cost savings which mean we can better serve our citizens.
31. What were the findings of the content audit, and can they be shared with suppliers at this stage? If not, will they be shared at RFP stage?
Further information will be shared at ITT stage.
32. What was the reasoning behind selecting Sitecore as the CMS for this project?
"We conducted an assessment to identify the most suitable technology product upon which to build the new website. Sitecore was selected as the CMS platform for the new website. The benefits of this approach where identified as:
Providing a good functional fit. Its compatibility with the Microsoft suite, particularly Azure B2C and Dynamics, being used by Lewisham who are part of Brent's ICT Shared Service, having many out-of-the-box components and its scope for future use."
33. What Sitecore product licence has the Council purchased for this project?
Sitecore Experience Platform (xP)
34. When will the full requirements document for the new Sitecore platform be complete? Naturally this will influence the investment required for this project, so it's important to know this can be delivered within the declared budget.
This will be form the specification that is issued as part of the ITT.
35. Please can you provide us with a high level list of features and key integrations required for the new website?
This information will be provided to the shortlisted supplier at the next stage.
36. What frequency of meetings is expected given the current situation with COVID-19? At the moment, we continue to service all our clients remotely.
The "Working Arrangements" paragraph of these requirements addresses this question. We expect to work remotely with the supplier but a regular series of meetings should be expected to ensure the successful delivery of this project. As the situation is constantly evolving we expect to monitor and review the situation regularly and adapt the arrangements as necessary.
37. How many other suppliers are the Council currently working that would be involved in this project, and what services are they providing?
This information will be provided to the shortlisted supplier at the next stage.
38. The brief states the successful supplier will be expected to engage with local residents and a broad range of internal stakeholders, which feels more applicable to the Discovery and Strategy phases of the project as opposed to Development. What is the expectation from the Council in facilitating this engagement?
We would expect to regularly test and iterate the development of the site with residents and other key users to ensure the final implementation meets the needs of our visitors. The council will facilitate any engagement through existing panels and channels.
39. Of the internal project team set out in the brief, how many of them will require CMS training?
We would expect the successful suppiler to provide adequate training to the core web team (Admins) and selected super users and provide them with suitable reference resources that they can use, adapt and share. They will then onward train content owners across the council. There may also be a need to provide some technical training to our internal support and applications team so they are in a position to take on more day-to-day technical support and development tasks longer term. Final numbers are not known at this point but we would expect between 15 and 20.
40. Do you have an internal development team that will be involved in this project?
Not directly although the successful supplier would be expected to work with the third party development team that is leading our Dynamics CRM implementation, our ICT shared service who would be responsible for the hosting of the live site, and our Applications and Support Team who will provide some future support for the site once live.
41. Are the co-located development meetings you're looking to establish to be with your internal development team, or with the wider project, and how often are you looking to have these?
Over the course of the project we would expect a range of meetings to take place with different stakeholders as we move through different phases. This is something that can be discussed and agreed with the chosen supplier.
42. Would the Council be open to suppliers proposing a short 'onboarding phase' at the beginning of this project to ensure that we have a complete handover from the Discovery & Design phase and that we are fully integrated as a project team? This will ensure the project is setup correctly from the outset.
Suppliers who are invited to tender will have the opportunity to explain their preferred approach as part of their tender response.
43. Typo in answer 34.
Answer should read:

This will form the specification that is issued as part of the ITT.