This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 12 October 2020
Department for Education

Development and Support of Data Directorate’s Digital Services

14 Incomplete applications

10 SME, 4 large

27 Completed applications

17 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 28 September 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 5 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 12 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
We are looking for an agile delivery partner, to help us support and continually improve our digital services in line with user needs; support the DfE team members through coaching and mentoring; build knowledge; and increase capability within the Department
Latest start date
Wednesday 25 November 2020
Expected contract length
Two years (1+1)
Location
North East England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
The budget is capped at £3.7 M plus VAT for an estimated 18 month duration. We will issue statements of work for deliverables and outputs. Skills required and maximum day rates:

• Technical Architect, SIFA 6 - £700
• Lead Business Analysts, SIFA 5 - £600
• Lead Developers (front & backend), SIFA 5 - £660
• User Experience Designer, SIFA 5 - £600
• Lead QA Testers, SIFA 5 - £660
• User Researchers, SIFA 4 - £550
• Content Designer, SIFA 4 - £450
• Scrum Master, SIFA 4 - £550
• Junior Developer, SIFA 3 - £450

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE has a need to develop and maintain digital services which include:

- Analyse school performance (ASP)
- Compare school and college performance (CSCP)
- Get Information about schools (GIAS)
- Schools Checking Replacement Service

These services are key to supporting school accountability, Covid 19 response, funding and wider government initiatives e.g. tax free child care. To do this, we need to provide ongoing operation and development of services, which meet GDS standards, including key data and statistical releases
Problem to be solved
This contract provides technical skills and capabilities to build and maintain Data Directorate's digital services which support the DfE's internal business processes, wider Government services and a range of policy areas.

GIAS is the source of master establishment data for a number of business critical systems. It is the home of the database of school governors, feeds the new Schools Register and wider digital services.

ASP, CSCP and Schools Checking make up the services key to school accountability policy, focused on creating a self-improving school system, engaging parents, school leaders, Ofsted and school governors etc. to help improve education in England
Who the users are and what they need to do
Almost 20 million users have visited the services since 2017:

As either a school, Local Authority, Multi-Academy Trust or Diocese, I need to access:
-ASP for detailed performance data about my establishment to support school improvement.
-Schools Checking to check and amend data before publication.

As a member of the public, GIAS is a key database of educational establishments in England and Wales. As an internal school user, I access GIAS securely to update data about my school.

As a parent/carer, CSCP as a public facing service helps inform my choice of school/college as it provides performance information
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Three of the services are already in public-beta and one in the private beta stage of development.

GIAS and CSCP are publicly available services. Both Schools Checking and ASP are secure services. An informative ASP video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZxymO3Rsj8.

All services will need to undergo live assessment within the next 1-2 years.
Existing team
Suppliers will be part of multi-disciplinary agile teams, including civil servants, with access to broader specialist support across DfE. The database for one service is currently managed by a supplier hence collaborative working will be required. We anticipate the current model to continue which comprises of up to 3 scrum teams plus a single support team across all services.
Current phase
Beta

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The services are currently centered in London, but we are in the process of re-organising which may change this location to one of the other DfE location i.e. Sheffield or Darlington. Travel may be required to other Department for Education offices for co-located workshops (including Coventry, Manchester and Darlington). NB. subject to any government restrictions on travel.
Working arrangements
Typically scrum teams will work in two-week sprint cycles which will be required to co-locate (or via online collaboration due to government restrictions) for key sprint ceremonies (show’n’tells, sprint planning and retrospectives). High-level priorities will be managed month-by-month by the service owner, distilled to the scrum team during fortnightly sprints, guided by the Product Manager, and monitored during daily stand-ups.

Suppliers will be responsible for providing their own suitable work arrangements/locations in order to achieve the required outcomes.

We expect services to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with the necessary support.
Security clearance
DfE requires all supplier staff to have Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance (BPSS) and complete the department information handling data protection training.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in Statement of Work will not attract expenses.

Suppliers must provide sufficient guarantees to meet the requirements of GDPR legislation and:
• All development must be completed and remain within the UK.
• May be required to use DfE IT equipment (provided).
• The supplier must adhere to government accessibility and DfE Technology and Security Standards.
• The supplier must attend the presentation on specified date; an alternative date cannot be offered

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 experience in delivery management and project support services such as agile, scrum, working in complex, multi-team, agile programmes
  • Within the last two years, experience in building and supporting document libraries, workflow and case management systems (Microsoft Sharepoint O365, Microsoft Dynamics O365
  • Experience of successfully delivering backend development and Implementing APIs for internal and external use
  • Experience in working with identity and access security in Microsoft Azure PaaS environment
  • Proven experience of successfully supporting customers to build in-house capabilities and ensure effective knowledge management and transfer
  • Within the last two years, experience in successfully building front-end web applications (HTML/CSS/JS)
  • Within the last two years, experience in scalable server-side cloud-based web applications (preferably Microsoft Azure) detailed knowledge of C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC/Razor, REST API, Cosmos DB optimisation programming languages
  • Evidenced experience of expertise developing software using modern engineering practices such as Test-Driven Development and Continuous Integration & Deployment in an Azure DevOps environment
  • Within last two years, experience in architecture services, ensuring new and updated platforms, products, transactions and system architectures are robust, scalable, open and secure, working within established corporate governance framework
  • Understanding of DevOps services including running production applications and optimising existing applications
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of providing insight, structure, guidance and support to digital delivery programmes
  • Experience in building services to meet the UK government Digital Service Standard or appropriate similar standards within complex digital programmes across government
  • Evidence of successfully delivering Minimum Viable Product solutions within compressed timelines
  • Domain knowledge of using Government APIs and Services – such as Gov Notify, Gov Verify Secure Access, GDS Registers and related APIs/services

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
4
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate working experience in delivering digital products/services and understanding the challenges of implementing user centered design in a government agile environment
  • Demonstrate understanding to deliver digital .products/services to Government UK Digital Service Standard or appropriate similar standards within complex digital .programmes across government
  • Experience and methodology in approach to agile project using both Kanban and scrum
  • Demonstrable experience of working alongside clients in co-located, integrated teams
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer
  • Technical competence in a wide range of relevant technologies and agile practices
  • Ability to scale up team and flex team when needed on-site
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • • Innovate – Act on initiative, drive improvements, balance risks
  • • Approach to developing a "One Team" approach, Work as a team – Collabo-rate, establish good working relationships, generate team spirit.
  • • Build capability – Encourage learning, share knowledge, address capability gaps, act on feedback
  • • 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

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can we ask whether there is an incumbent please, or whether the Discovery/Alpha phase work has been done in-house?
The current service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.
The Discovery/Alpha phases of the services have already been completed by multi-disciplinary agile teams comprising of civil servants and contractors.
2. Is the budget fixed for this procurement?
The total budget may be increased by up to 50% - pending further budgetary approvals for any additional system enhancements.
3. Hi Who is the incumbent for this project
The current service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.
4. Would all 4 services need to go to GDS live ?
ASP, CSCP abd GIAS will need to undergo a live assessment within the next 18 months.
5. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Applications will be evaluated by a panel (tbc) who work for the Department for Education, with both appropriate technical knowledge and in-depth knowledge of the requirements.
6. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
The incumbent since 2018 is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.
7. Please could you confirm that "Cosmos DB optimisation" is indeed a skillset you require.
Yes this skillset is required. CosmosDB underpins some of our high demand services so we need Cosmos DB expertise to ensure service continuity.
8. Could you please share who is (are) the current incumbent supplier(s) referred to in the 'existing team' section?
The current incumbent service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.
9. Can you advise if there is a current agile delivery partner, and if so who they are?
The current incumbent service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.
10. "Please could tell us which supplier has been involved in developing each of the service
Analyse school performance (ASP)
• Compare school and college performance (CSCP)
• Get Information about schools (GIAS)
• Schools Checking Replacement Service"
"For ASP, CSCP and the Schools Checking Replacement Service, the service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.

For GIAS, the service providers are Olive Jar Digital Ltd. and Texuna Technologies Ltd."
11. Please could you confirm that this engagement falls outside the scope of IR35.
The intended contract will be treated as an outcome based service solution and therefore out of scope on an IR35 assessment. Each SOW will be assessed on its own merits to determine the IR35 position and this will be kept under review throughout the contract. "
12. As these are existing websites will development be expected to build on the current sites, or to be built from the beginning?
The successful applicant will build on the current sites.
13. Can we ask how you have benchmarked the maximum day rates that you have requested? Are you currently receiving similar rates from other suppliers?
The rates quoted are in the budget range for the profiled spend. For flexibility, we will accept an additional 10% increase per role
14. Is there any flexibility in the rate cards you have requested? We feel that they are too low to achieve in some instances
The rates quoted are in the budget range for the profiled spend. For flexibility, we will accept an additional 10% increase per role
15. Is there a Delivery Manager and a Product Owner role within the current team?
Delivery Manager and Product Manager roles are currently undertaken by DfE staff.
16. Could you please confirm what Cosmos DB optimisation programming languages the incumbent has implemented and used in the solution(s)?
Within the last two years, experience in scalable server-side cloud-based web applications (preferably Microsoft Azure) detailed knowledge of C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC/Razor, REST API, Cosmos DB optimisation (REST API and Cosmos DB are not programming languages)."
17. We note that clause 34.2 states that the indemnity given in respect of a breach of clause 14 (Data Protection and Disclosure) is unlimited. Market trends however show that customers are not asking for unlimited liability and indeed CCS have agreed after consultation with suppliers to future cap liability breaches. Therefore in consideration of the new position being taken by CCS can you please confirm if you are willing to discuss a separate cap for data breach liability with the down selected supplier.
We will be using the standard DOS 4 call off terms as currently drafted
18. Please could tell us which supplier has been involved in developing each of the service
Analyse school performance (ASP)
Compare school and college performance (CSCP)
Get Information about schools (GIAS)
Schools Checking Replacement Service
For ASP, CSCP and the Schools Checking Replacement Service, the service provider is Olive Jar Digital Ltd.

For GIAS, the service providers are Olive Jar Digital Ltd. and Texuna Technologies Ltd.
19. The opportunity states "Suppliers will be responsible for providing their own suitable work arrangements/locations” but also under “Address where the work will take place” it states "The services are currently centered in London, but we are in the process of re-organising which may change this location to one of the other DfE location i.e. Sheffield or Darlington”.
Please could you confirm your requirement for where the work must take place? If it must take place at one of your sites, please could you confirm which one and how many days-per-week you would expect resources to be present on site?
The successful supplier will be required to co-locate with DfE staff and stakeholders at any DfE site for the duration of the contract. Many of our technical roles are based in the North East; as such Darlington is our preferred location followed by Sheffield.

For other events e.g. non-development activity locations also include Coventry and Manchester as typical locations. It is difficult to be specific at this current time due to Covid19 restrictions but in "normal" circumstances co-location is expected to be in the region of 2 days per week. Locations will be specified in the Statements of Work.
20. Can you please confirm the location of the opportunity and a timescale as to when this may change.
The successful supplier will be required to co-locate with DfE staff and stakeholders at any DfE site for the duration of the contract. Many of our technical roles are based in the North East; as such Darlington is our preferred location followed by Sheffield.

For other events e.g. non-development activity locations also include Coventry and Manchester as typical locations. It is difficult to be specific at this current time due to Covid19 restrictions but in "normal" circumstances co-location is expected to be in the region of 2 days per week. Locations will be specified in the Statements of Work.
21. How often do you anticipate that we will be needed on site and is remote working an option?
Due to Covid19 restrictions, remote working is in place until further notice. In “normal” circumstances co-location is expected to be in the region of 2 days per week. Locations will be specified in the Statements of Work.
22. Can you confirm the procurement timeline? The start date is the 25th Nov can you provide a timeline for the selection process?
Whilst we are working towards having a fixed timeframe in which to complete this procurement, there may be a need to be flexible within these dates. Currently our indicative timeline is:

Shortlist by cop 19th October 2020
Publish ITT requirements on 19th October 2020
Stage 2 application window 20th October 2020 to 2nd November 2020
Supplier presentations: 5th November
Award decision (subject to internal approvals) by 11th November 2020
Contract starts: 25th November 2020
23. What is the expectation around service support – for example, a rota, on-call, first responder?
We currently run a support team with 1 junior developer with access to time with a lead developer and technical architect support. Additional roles required in support of the services work flexibly from the scrum teams involved in the development of the services.

Standard Service support hours are 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

Out of hours support will normally be required when services undergo major releases , which is currently only 5 days per year, where additional hours and monitoring support are required and agreed up front with the supplier.
24. For your requirement for services to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with the necessary support, what type of support arrangements would you expect for cover outside of normal business hours? Would this be on-call support for example, or would you need personnel onsite/online for some levels of support?
We currently run a support team with 1 junior developer with access to time with a lead developer and technical architect support. Additional roles required in support of the services work flexibly from the scrum teams involved in the development of the services.

Standard Service support hours are 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

Out of hours support will normally be required when services undergo major releases , which is currently only 5 days per year, where additional hours and monitoring support are required and agreed up front with the supplier.