This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 17 September 2020
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

FCDO Consular Digital Services Partner

9 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 3 large

18 Completed applications

12 SME, 6 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
FCDO consular services is developing new and existing digital services to help British citizens abroad across a variety of channels and tools to ensure a better and more consistent user experience.
Latest start date
Sunday 1 November 2020
Expected contract length
24 months with the option to extend for up to 6 months at the FCDO's sole discretion.
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Budget range
Maximum Budget of £4.5m

About the work

Why the work is being done
FCDO delivers a number of Consular services to support British Citizens travelling or living abroad. Some of these services have been digitally transformed. FCDO has ambition to improve these, and develop new, digital services. At the same time we want to scale our specialist digital service capability to match our ambition. We seek a delivery partner to support the development of services around how our users contact and interact with us across multiple digital channels to meet the Government Service Standard. We aim to start this work from November 2020.
Problem to be solved
FCDO needs a specialist delivery partner that can deliver outcomes based on user needs and government service standards across the product lifecycle. This contract will provide internal teams with core sets of skills capable of supporting a range of projects from inception through to live. Typical roles would include delivery manager, business analyst, user researcher, full stack developers and service designer. This approach would provide continuity through the lifecycle of projects, ensuring no break in support and expertise built up in the team leading to improved opportunities for shadowing and knowledge transfer.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users can be British Citizens (or citizen's relatives) travelling or living abroad, or local partners internationally (police, hospitals, local authorities). They will need to contact us and use the services to reach a variety of outcomes:
As a British citizen who wants to get married in Thailand, I need to swear an oath at the embassy to prove I am eligible.
As the wife of a British citizen who has died in Spain, I need to find a local lawyer so that I can repatriate the body.
As a British citizen who is stuck abroad with no money, I need to apply for a loan so that I can get home.
Early market engagement
None
Any work that’s already been done
We have already developed a series of discovery, alpha and beta phases working with existing suppliers. A number of simple services to allow stranded British citizens to register interest in a flight back to the UK or apply for an emergency loan have already been launched. The roadmap includes various discovery, alpha and beta phases and we will need the relevant outcomes for each phase. There may also be a requirement to support live services.
Existing team
FCDO digital services is a small team, working with internal business owners and subject matter experts. It has product management, delivery management and user centred design expertise and is looking to expand in the near future.
Current phase
Beta

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Currently all of the team are working remotely due to Covid-19. Travel to FCDO sites across the UK will be required in the future.
Working arrangements
Post Covid 19 remote working: onsite at least 3 days a week or 12 days per month.
Security clearance
All staff working on FCDO premises and IT networks must be at least SC cleared or capable of being cleared to SC. Bidders must confirm clearance of nominated resources. If required, FCDO will initiate SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
To promote fair practice we would encourage bidders not to use their organisation's name within their responses.

ISO 9001, ISO 27001 certification must be held by the supplier by the Service Commencement date. Evidence of certification shall be required.

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
  • Demonstrate recent experience of delivering high quality user-centred digital services that are compliant with or in alignment with the Government Service Manual.
  • Detail recent experience of delivering products and services successfully through discovery to public beta agile phases using a range of agile tools, methodology and techniques.
  • Detail ability to provide an extensive range of software development skills and disciplines, including an example of a programming language that could be used for Gov.uk.
  • Detail experience of performing a successful agile, ‘test first’ approach to software testing.
  • Experience in conducting user research, user journey mapping and other user centred design disciplines.
  • Designing and developing working digital services using evidenced user stories.
  • Experience of working with specific Platform-as-a-Service solutions (for example AWS, Azure or similar).
  • Demonstrable ability to scale-up the size of teams quickly and when needed to work on multiple services with multiple teams.
  • Detail recent experience of working with multidisciplinary, mixed (blended) client and supplier teams of specialists working to achieve successful service outcomes.
  • Ability to upskill client staff on core skills such as user centred design, delivery management, software development and testing when required.
  • Detail recent experience of providing Agile coaching services to help build internal service capability.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working successfully with UK Government and/or Arms Length Bodies
  • Sector knowledge of FCDO business requirements and issues
  • Experience of delivering digital services in multi-national / global scenarios
  • Evidence of having taken digital services to a GDS Service Assessment and passed.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • How you would deliver a digital service solution
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to deliver digital products/services to government Digital Service standards and Technology Code of Practice
  • How you plan to transfer knowledge to permanent staff within the client organisation
  • Team scalability, flexibility, deployment, time and pause capability
  • Illustrate core team skills/strengths, including CVs of key personnel including developers
  • How value for money will be achieved for the duration of the contract
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of implementing user centred design in a government agile environment
Cultural fit criteria
  • Ability to work in supplier teams of with blended teams between client staff and possibly in collaboration with other suppliers according to needs at the time.
  • Approach work with a focus on end to end services rather than products.
  • Focus on agile ways of working and user centred design.
  • Thorough understanding of continuous improvement using data and user research.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

55%

Cultural fit

15%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who are the suppliers that have done the discovery work so far?
Digital services have been developed and delivered by a number of suppliers within the FCDO's Consular Department. Mostly recently; Kainos, Agile Byte and Caution Your Blast have delivered services at Discovery through to Live.
2. Is/Are there any incumbent supplier/suppliers providing digital services?
Digital services have been developed and delivered by a number of suppliers within the FCDO's Consular Department. Mostly recently; Kainos, Agile Byte and Caution Your Blast have delivered services at Discovery through to Live.
3. Would you accept examples from the private sector as long as they are relevant to the question?
Yes examples from the private sector will be accepted.
4. Good Morning, is there an incumbent supplier for any of the work in scope?
Digital services have been developed and delivered by a number of suppliers within the FCDO's Consular Department. Mostly recently; Kainos, Agile Byte and Caution Your Blast have delivered services at Discovery through to Live.
5. What was the name of the existing suppliers who developed a series of discovery, alpha and beta phases?
Digital services have been developed and delivered by a number of suppliers within the FCDO's Consular Department. Mostly recently; Kainos, Agile Byte and Caution Your Blast have delivered services at Discovery through to Live.
6. Please can you provide details of what the next steps are following this initial application i.e. deadlines for the written proposal/if there will be a presentation and when?
Deadlines for the written proposal and presentation dates will be provided to shortlisted suppliers.
7. Will you be running a Q&A teleconference session for this procurement?
No, all questions should be asked through the DOS portal.
8. Is ISO 9001, ISO 27001 certification essential or would you take IASME as a very close equivalent?
The FCDO would accept IASME Gold (Audited) in substitution for ISO 27001. Evidence of certification shall be required. Self-Certified IASME will not be acceptable.

However, the FCDO would strongly encourage an IASME certified supplier to achieve the ISO 27001 International Standard during the first year of the contract, if successful.

ISO 9001 certification will still be required by service commencement.
9. In "Additional terms and conditions", it states that ISO 9001 certification is required. Our company holds ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 certifications which we are specific to the delivery of ITIL-based IT Managed Services, rather than ISO 9001 which is a generic quality standard for the management of quality in business processes. Can you confirm that ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 certification are acceptable to meet this requirement?
Both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 must be held by the service commencement date. ISO 20000 is welcomed but is not required by the service commencement date and therefore will not act as a pre-requisite to contract signature.
10. Is it mandatory for suppliers to hold an ISO 9001 certificate that covers their whole company, or is it just sufficient that they hold a certificate?
It is mandatory for suppliers to hold an ISO 9001 certificate for the whole company. Where the supplier is part of a Group, certification shall be required for the contracted organisation and those providing services.
11. Regarding "How you plan to transfer knowledge to permanent staff within the client organisation".

Does this mean sharing insights/findings with non digital teams or up-skilling Civil Servant digital teams?
This could potentially mean both. Where necessary throughout the contract, the Supplier will be required to transfer knowledge to non-technical staff and up-skill existing FCDO digital teams.
12. In regards to your 3rd Nice-to-Have, would you consider the Document Legislation Service to be a typical example of this?
It is not appropriate for the FCDO to provide guidance on suppliers' examples for criteria responses. The criteria mentioned is clear and specific and the response should align accordingly.
13. Does “software testing” in requirement #8 refer to usability testing of designs/prototypes or a TDD approach to programming?
For clarity “Software Testing” is only referenced in Criteria 4 and 10 of Essential Skills and Experience. We are looking for a “test-first” approach (which could mean test drive development) but we would also expect usability testing.
14. Are you looking at (or will consider) a single API integration platform to provide single access to all citizen services?
We run several services and are not currently looking at one single API integration platform.
15. Is it permissible to provide more than one example where required to fully address the question? For example, it may be difficult to demonstrate "an extensive range of software development skills" with only one example.
Yes providing more than one example is permissible when answering questions.
16. Which roles will be represented on the evaluation panel?
It is not appropriate for the FCDO to provide this information during the procurement process.
17. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed 'exceeding' and score 3 marks?
It is not appropriate for the FCDO to provide guidance on suppliers' criteria responses.
18. Will you be able to organise access to users and other stakeholders throughout the project?
Yes throughout the project the successful supplier will be introduced and given access to the relevant stakeholders. User researcher campaigns will be organised where needed for services.
19. Will your Product Owner be allocated full time to this project?
There will be multiple items for delivery under this contract spanning portfolios. Product Owners will be allocated to all outcomes.
20. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they only be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers?
The scores for both Essential Skills and Experience and Nice-to-have Skills will be used for the final evaluation. The scores for these will not be re-scored at the final evaluation stage – the scores agreed by the evaluation panel at shortlisting stage will be used.
21. At the proposal stage, in order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated: will you be evaluating by the total price, rate card or both? How do you ensure that you are completing a genuine value for money comparison rather than just a rate card comparison?
The pricing schedule is yet to be confirmed however SFIA Rate Cards will not be compared. It is likely that a fictional scenario will be used (featuring specific grades and roles) for price evaluation purposes.
22. Can you please provide clarity/context for the question:

"Detail ability to provide an extensive range of software development skills and disciplines, including an example of a programming language that could be used for Gov. uk."

Are you looking for experience of working on Gov.uk?
We are looking for high level examples of the technical skills, disciplines and roles that you would be able to apply when working with services run via Gov.uk. We do not require specific experience of working on Gov.uk.
23. Are you able to give an indication of the expected team sizes?
It is not appropriate for the FCDO to provide this information during the shortlisting stage. This information may be provided to shortlisted suppliers.
24. Can you please clarify if there is a prerequisite of previous FCDO experience ? Does the following question exclude potential suppliers who have not worked with FDCO before?

"Sector knowledge of FCDO business requirements and issues"
There is no pre-requisite for previous FCDO experience. Sector knowledge in this context refers to public sector knowledge. As this is a Nice-to-have criteria, suppliers will not be excluded on the basis of not holding public sector experience or knowledge.
25. Has the work been fully defined, bounded and prioritised?
The first stages of the work have been defined and prioritised, but we are regularly re-prioritising and re-working our roadmap for future stages of work. Details will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
26. Has the first SoW been defined for the successful bidder and are you able to describe this?
The first Statement of Work has been defined. Details will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
27. Is this procurement to add additional support to the work currently being undertaken by other suppliers or will it replace some/all of the current contracts?
This procurement is to replace the majority of the small Consular digital services delivery contracts FCDO have had historically. Most of these have already ended and as such this will provide new provision.
28. For the second nice-to-have skill ‘Sector knowledge of FCDO business requirements and issues’, are you expecting the bidding organisation to have previous experience of working with FCDO (FCO or DFID) or could we meet the criteria by demonstrating our sector knowledge?
There is no pre-requisite for previous FCDO experience. Sector knowledge in this context refers to public sector knowledge. As this is a Nice-to-have criteria, suppliers will not be excluded on the basis of not holding public sector experience or knowledge.
29. For the third nice to have skill ‘Experience of delivering digital services in multi-national / global scenarios’, would you assign higher value to experience of delivering a broad variety of services to a variety of countries or experience of delivering one service/set of services to a wide range of countries?
It is not appropriate for the FCDO to provide guidance on suppliers' examples for criteria responses. The criteria mentioned is clear and specific and the response should align accordingly.
30. With incumbent suppliers already working on these services and well-placed for this procurement, is there any information FCDO can provide on how a level-playing field will be achieved in order to attract new suppliers?
All the suppliers listed in this response have either already exited the FCDO for these services or the relevant items they deliver ending at the completion of latest Statements of work. As the opportunity states, the FCDO is encouraging suppliers to refrain from using names in their responses to add to the fairness of the process and the FCDO reaffirms its commitment to widening its supply chain both for reasons of competition and operational improvement through resilience and new ideas.
31. With Price making up 30% of the evaluation criteria, are FCDO able to detail how you expect to evaluate Price and will Value for Money make up part of this assessment?
The pricing schedule is yet to be confirmed however SFIA Rate Cards will not be compared. It is likely that a fictional scenario will be used (featuring specific grades and roles) for price evaluation purposes.

Value for Money is based on the shortlisted supplier’s written proposals and their commentary on delivery and value add activities.
32. You mention experience delivering products and services successfully through Discovery to public beta. Do you also mean helping departments pass the service assessment required for each phase?
The focus of the delivery partner will be adding additional expertise and multidisciplinary delivery teams across each of the delivery phases. We would expect the supplier to support and input into service assessments, led by an FCDO product manager. The supplier should provide team members representing various disciplines required for the assessment where relevant.
33. You mention ‘Demonstrable ability to scale-up the size of teams quickly and when needed to work on multiple services with multiple teams’. Are you able to provide detail of the ‘size of teams’ you refer to and also what ‘quickly’ is expected to be?
We expect the supplier to be able to provide full multidisciplinary teams for projects lead by product managers within FCDO. At some stages there may be three or more projects on the go concurrently and at some stages there could be none. There may also be points where projects are paused or restarted with little notice so will need flexibility to scale up and down very quickly.
34. Will the successful supplier be accountable for and manage the delivery of outcomes? Or will they be providing extra capacity into existing teams managed by FCDO?
The successful supplier will be accountable for the delivery of outcomes and their management, with FCDO involvement and support. The supplier will also have to provide extra capacity into existing teams managed by FCDO however this will not be as frequent and only where necessary.