This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 21 October 2020
Department for Education

Technical Architect Capability - South England

17 Incomplete applications

14 SME, 3 large

30 Completed applications

23 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 7 October 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 14 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 21 October 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
DfE Digital are looking for a supplier who can provide Technical Architecture capabilities, supporting the move towards a more delivery focussed and user centred department. Delivering the design and build of digital services that make a genuine difference to people’s lives as part of the DfE’s digital transformation.
Latest start date
Wednesday 16 December 2020
Expected contract length
2 years
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
A pipeline of activity is foreseen over the next 24 months, with an indicative budget against the requirements for this capability being £1.5m, but that scope could expand or contract.
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance.
Each SOW will outline the work required, associated budget and payment approach, CTAM, CTM etc. Suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking.
DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE Digital are looking for a supplier who can provide Technical Architecture capabilities. Working with us to deliver digital outcomes which are part of building and delivering user centred services (in line with the government service standard) which make a genuine difference to people’s lives as part of the department's digital transformation.
Specifically focusing on leading, managing and developing teams, products and communications, suppliers will need to be capable of ensuring a project’s overall technical design meets user needs, standards and acceptance criteria, whilst conforming to time and budget constraints. Using agile methods and working collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams to improve government services, delivering services for:
- Teachers
- Parents
- Students
- Education advisors
- School administrators
- People that deliver children’s services
- DfE staff
Problem to be solved
Supporting a range of user led digital projects in London and the South East, from inception through to live. Digital Directorate are looking for a supplier who will provide the capabilities which will deliver the outcomes required to design technical services and/or plan system integration, challenging entrenched practices and influence decision makers for larger opportunities for digital transformation, selecting necessary platforms and technologies to meet project requirements and user needs, and working with multiple projects or teams on problems that require broad architectural thinking.

Transforming DfE into a more agile organisation by helping to embed modern development practices, design and development of services and products of various sizes, how they interact with their surroundings and how they evolve over time, looking for opportunities to collaborate and reuse components, communicating with both technical and non-technical stakeholders and working with technical teams to deliver user-centred services in an agile environment.

We anticipate a maximum of 5-8 concurrent engagements at any one time.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Teachers
Parents
Students
Education advisors
School administrators
People that deliver children’s services
DfE staff

For example,
As a school leader, I need to know more about funding opportunities so that my school can apply for relevant grants
As a parent, I need to understand how to apply for financial support for my child
As a student, I need to know how to apply for financial support for my myself
As a Social Worker, I want to spend more time directly supporting children and families so that I can offer an improved service
As a Senior Responsible Officer for a project,
I need agile capability to provide delivery management, remove blockers to progress and monitor teams
I need agile coaching to establish and embed an agile environment required for optimal delivery
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Technical Architects have worked across the department and have supported delivery of:
Find is in Public Beta - https://find-postgraduate-teacher-training.education.gov.uk/
Apply is in Beta Build - https://www.apply-for-teacher-training.education.gov.uk/
Teacher Vacancies is in Public Beta - https://teaching-vacancies.service.gov.uk/
Existing team
Internal DfE staff are from a range of disciplines, developers and non-developers including security, policy, user research, service design, finance and commercial. Multidisciplinary teams may also be made up of skills supplied by other suppliers.
The successful supplier will be expected to collaborate with other suppliers who are providing capabilities as part of delivery.
There is currently no incumbent for the Technical Architect capability in DFE.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
For the duration of -COVID-19 restrictions on movement, there is an expectation of remote working, including necessary collaboration.

The primary base will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW) and expenses will not form part of the cost unless the supplier is asked to work from a secondary location during the execution of the SoW.
e.g. If SoW primary base is London then no expenses will be paid for London.
This contract is to cover London and the South East, primary bases for this capability: London, Coventry & Cambridge.

Travel may be required to other DfE offices nationwide.
Working arrangements
A Statement of Work will outline the base location, expected working arrangements and expected outcomes and deliverables for each engagement.

Existing DfE digital teams comprise of lead roles in Product and User Research, as well as other digital capabilities, along with stakeholders from our finance, HR and legal teams.
Contract and Vendor Management form a key part of governance and suppliers must co-operate in fostering healthy working relationships and quality delivery.
To improve DfE internal capability to build/support the applications/services, knowledge transfer will be a requirement for each SoW.

We anticipate a maximum of 5-8 concurrent engagements at any time.
Security clearance
DfE requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS).
There may be a requirement for some of the work to gain higher security clearance checks and / or enhanced DBS checks. Where this is needed it will be detailed in the Statement of Work.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DFE Travel and Subsistence Policy.
Primary work location stated in SoW won’t attract expenses.
For each SoW issued under this contract, the supplier is obligated to undertake the relevant security and criminal checks as determined by DfE. The Buyer has sole discretion over the acceptance of Supplier Staff who will be performing the activities in the SoW.
Suppliers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018; the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, the Law Enforcement Directive and any subsequent amendments/changes to date.

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 of understanding and awareness of the Government Service Standards and requirements needed to pass GDS Service Assessments
  • Experience of designing technical services and planning system integration, selecting necessary platforms and technologies to meet project requirements and user needs
  • Evidence of building and maintaining technical roadmaps, looking ahead for future opportunities or blockers, and ensuring decisions by development teams align with policy and strategy
  • Experience working with cloud infrastructure & container environments and introducing modern practices such as TDD, continuous integration and continuous delivery
  • Evidence of technical leadership and mentorship to both internal and external development teams, ensuring infrastructure and technical components are fit for purpose
  • Demonstrable evidence of practical working knowledge of modern cloud-first architectures, and how to build applications to take advantage of the opportunities they offer.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of providing insight, structure, guidance and support to digital delivery programmes.
  • Evidence of advocating for the importance of agile, iterative and user-focused delivery, as set out in the Government Service Manual.
  • Experience of cloud technologies, enterprise integration tools and extract, transformation, and load (ETL) tools.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Experience, knowledge and understanding of agile environments, continuous delivery techniques and DevOps culture.
  • Demonstrate build of user-centred, open source, RESTful web systems to serve a variety of citizen needs
  • Implementation of automated testing techniques, continuous integration, automated deployment pipelines and associated infrastructure
  • Ability to communicate effectively across organisational, technical and political boundaries, in a fast, customer centric, environment
  • Demonstrate understanding and awareness of delivering digital products and services to the Government Service Standard
  • Working with teams to understand their work, their operating context and constraints, and identify and implement adaptations/improvements
  • Strong software development, application and integration architecture experience, with good knowledge of open source technologies, testing and programming languages
  • Illustrate the core skills/strengths required to deliver Technical Architecture capabilities
Cultural fit criteria
  • Share knowledge of tools and techniques with the wider team, community and architecture profession, both developers and non-developers
  • Encourage communication across multiple development teams to identify strategic requirements and dependencies
  • Experience of working with multi-vendor teams across multiple projects
  • Experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to achieve a single objective
  • Experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation
  • Evidence of working with multidisciplinary, agile service teams
  • Able to explain technical things to non-technical people, and non-technical things to technical people
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent in place and if so, who?
There is no incumbent for this capability.
2. Cloud is mentioned as a target state infrastructure – is the choice of Cloud provider decided or open? If decided, which Cloud provider has been decided on? If open, which ones are being considered?
The department’s strategic cloud platform is Microsoft Azure. There is also growing adoption of GOV.UK PaaS for digital services.
3. For the Essential Skills and Experience requirement: Experience of designing technical services and planning system integration, selecting necessary platforms and technologies to meet project requirements and user needs – could you please elaborate on "platform" definition? E.g. SaaS products such as Dynamics or is this in relation to Data Warehousing Platform in Azure as an example.
We primarily mean cloud platforms and the managed resources offered by them, some of which may be PaaS or SaaS. Specifically we mean Azure or GOV.UK PaaS for hosting. For technologies we refer to programming languages and frameworks.
4. Do you have a preferred Cloud provider in mind for this project?
This contract is to support delivery of projects across the department. The department’s strategic cloud platform is Microsoft Azure. There is also growing adoption of GOV.UK PaaS for digital services.