Awarded to Worth Digital

Start date: Monday 15 February 2021
Value: £4,800,000
Company size: SME
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)

UK SBS DDaT20329 UKRI - The Funding Service Beta/Live phase – technical team

8 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 4 large

17 Completed applications

13 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Tuesday 10 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 17 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
We are seeking a development partnership with a highly skilled and proven GDS supplier to provide technical and development expertise to supplement our in-house delivery team in the beta and live phase of building the UKRI Funding Service. The resource should be sufficient to run 2 development teams working concurrently.
Latest start date
Monday 15 February 2021
Expected contract length
2 years with the option to extend for up to 6 months.
South West England
Organisation the work is for
UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)
Budget range
We anticipate a budget cost of £200k per month for 2 agile development teams of technical resources (technical lead, back end developers, front end developers, testers and DevOps) to run concurrently. Budget is therefore £4.8m for the initial 24 months contract term with up to an additional £0.96m should UKRI decide to utilise the up to 20% contingency margin to accommodate any changes to the SOW deliverables during the term of the SOW. However, there is no commitment to spend up to this amount.

The total contract value including any extension shall not exceed £5.76m excluding VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
UKRI is building a digital funding service to simplify and harmonise the funding process for its 9 councils in order to support research and innovation in the UK. The transformation also includes major simplification and standardisation of funding opportunities with flexibility as UKRI grows to support the needs of the UK Government and its stakeholders.

We are now in the Beta phase with the aim to roll out live services during 2021-2023.
Problem to be solved
The existing legacy system is no longer able to meet user needs and many funding schemes are run off system which means collation of data for evaluating impact is challenging. External applicants may have to learn 9 different application processes in order to apply for grant funding.
UKRI recognises the challenges applicants currently face and wants to simplify its policies and processes allowing applicants to spend more time on conducting research and innovation.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an applicant, I need
• to apply for and manage my grant funding
• a single, simplified gateway to all UKRI funding

As a research office user,
• I need to oversee, approve, and manage the grant applications submitted by applicants

As a reviewer,
• I need to review, score, and submit feedback on applications

As an internal user, I need to
• Create and manage an opportunity
• Manage applications, peer review, award offers, project setup
• Pay funding and claims
• Manage project assurance
• Evaluate impact of the funding

As UKRI, I need a future proof, secure, integrated platform that represents good value for money.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery and Alpha phases are complete. Our platform is based on a microservice oriented architecture, cloud hosted using containers (AWS). Technology wise, we use a full TypeScript based stack. The UI is implemented through NextJS (React based framework) and Fastify, both using NodeJS, with a Postgres database backend per service. System components are deployed using a fully automated pipeline managed by our DevOps team, we also have an automated testing suite.
We use cloud services i.e. messaging via AWS SNS/SQS, AWS EC2/Lambda, AWS Cloud Search or Cognito (OpenID) for authentication.
Existing team
The in-house team consists of the following:
• Service Owner
• Senior Delivery Manager
• Scrum Master
• x2 Product Managers
• Lead UI Consultant
• User Researcher
• Lead Developer
• x3 Developers
• x2 Testers
• Lead Solution Architect
• Lead DevOps
• Content Designer
The team will also be working with other internally resourced functions including:
• A separately procured User experience /user research / service design team
• A UKRI Business Change team
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Initially remotely during the impact of COVID-19 then Polaris House, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 1FL. 2 min walk from Swindon train station, as detailed below.
Working arrangements
We want to form a strong partnership with the successful supplier collaborating to achieve successful outcomes as part of a single, multi-supplier team.
We have established agile and remote working practices, currently fully remote. Post COVID we expect team members to be in Swindon 3 full working days per week for co-located working. We make extensive use of video conferencing for regular ceremonies.
Workloads will be overseen by the UKRI Senior Delivery Manager & ScrumMaster, using Confluence and Jira.
Architecture, tooling, coding patterns, testing standards and other technical concerns are coordinated through the UKRI Heads of Architecture and Engineering.
Security clearance
• Onsite attendance at Polaris House requires basic security disclosure.
• Contractors must sign our standard non-disclosure agreement
• All suppliers must provide proof of GDPR compliance.
• All suppliers must adhere to UKRI’s information security and GDPR policies.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
No additional conditions

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 how your team is able to work using agile development processes. Please provide an example how you have ensured successful delivery by using these processes. (4%)
  • Demonstrate, using an example, your team’s understanding of delivering complex GDS compliant services such as applying for, assessing and awarding funding. (5%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to follow the Government’s Technology Code of Practice including working with GDS Development kits/tools, open standards and APIs. Please provide an appropriate example. (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability in developing secure services and how to pragmatically mitigate risks. (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to build scalable services using microservice architectures using containers in cloud. A good understanding of TypeScript using NodeJS based frameworks and relational databases is required. (3%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to use technologies such as messaging via AWS SNS/SQS, Serverless (Lambda), Containers, S3, AWS Cognito, AWS Cloud Search. (2%)
  • Demonstrate your team’s ability to apply their skills and expertise to continuous deployment and integration of the service with other relevant services in the organisation you provide services to. (2%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Using an example, please provide recent and substantial experience of development within multi-strand digital programmes within the public sector. (1%)
  • Please use an example to demonstrate experience of meeting GDS service standards for a complex digital programme across government. (1%)
  • Demonstrate your culture of innovation to drive improvements, share knowledge and balance risks using an example. (1%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to joining the UKRI team mid-Beta and how you can collaborate and help us deliver our services successfully into public Beta Phase. (10%)
  • Explain how you will help get us achieve a successful GDS Beta Assessment. (6%)
  • Describe your suggested size, shape and make-up of proposed team. Including how you will achieve and maintain value for money during the life of the contract. (10%)
  • Demonstrate how you will approach providing services with extensive expertise of user centred design, developing delivery roadmaps, epics/user stories, maintaining the product backlog, providing metric dashboards and prioritization. (6%)
  • Explain how your teams and their expertise will meet the challenge of collaborating with user experience and service design suppliers to enhance the end-to-end delivery workflow. (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how your team will work successfully with UKRI as part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-supplier team working remotely (and when required co-located in Swindon). (4%)
  • Demonstrate how your team will work with us in an open, collaborate and agile way according to the principles outlined in the Government Service Design Manual. (3%)
  • Demonstrate how you will help us deliver whilst meeting the needs of our non-agile business stakeholders. Use an example to show how you met this challenge on other projects. (3%)
  • Explain how you will transfer technical know-how and addressing capability gaps to the UKRI team during the project. (2%)
  • Demonstrate how you will work with the UKRI team to deliver simplicity (e.g. do less but better, explaining complex issues in a clear, simple and prioritised way). (4%)
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success. (4%)
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Procurement timeframe
The anticipated procurement timeframes are as follows:

15th December 2020 – Notification of shortlisting outcome
22nd December 2020 – Written proposal deadline
W/C 4th January 2021 – Presentations
22nd January 2021 – Notification of award outcome
2. Evaluation Methodology
The evaluation methodology for this procurement will be based on the 0-10 methodology as per below:

Suppliers that fail to score 6 and above in any Essential Skills and Expertise criteria will not be considered for the assessment stage .

Score Score Prefix Descriptor
0 The Question is not answered, or the response is completely unacceptable.
2 Very poor response and not wholly acceptable. Requires major revision to the response to make it acceptable. Only partially answers the requirement, with major deficiencies and little relevant detail proposed.
3. Evaluation Methodology (2)
4 Poor response only partially satisfying the question requirements with deficiencies apparent. Some useful information provided but response falls well short of expectations. Low probability of being a capable supplier.
6 Response is acceptable but remains basic and could have been expanded upon. Response is sufficient but does not inspire.
8 Good response which describes their capabilities in detail which provides high levels of assurance consistent with a quality provider. The response includes a full description of techniques and measurements currently employed.
4. Evaluation methodology (3)
10 Response is exceptional and clearly demonstrates they are capable of meeting the requirement. No significant weaknesses noted. The response is compelling in its description of techniques and measurements currently employed, providing full assurance consistent with a quality provider.
5. Proof of GDPR Compliance
The necessary DP accreditation would be required or evidence that you are "working towards" attaining the official accreditation.
6. Could you please confirm if there is an incumbent provider to this service and if so, who?
Yes, there is an incumbent supplier. We do not feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name of the incumbent supplier. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain.
7. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
We do not feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name/s of the incumbent supplier/s. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain.
8. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The panel will consist of the Service Owner, Senior Service Delivery Manager, Head of Engineering and Head of Architecture.
9. Discovery and Alpha phases are noted as complete, can you please advise if third party suppliers were involved and if so who?
Yes, external suppliers were involved. We do not feel that it is appropriate to disclose the name/s of the incumbent supplier/s. This information is not essential or required by bidders in order to submit a response to this tender.
Please note that information about previously awarded contracts is available in the public domain.
10. Would you be open to exploring a partnership with a UK based firm that utilizes a combination of UK based team members working alongside Eastern European for example, offering a hybrid model for success?
It is up to the supplier to propose the team structure that is most suitable in order to successfully develop this project. We have no objections to such hybrid model.
11. Questions received on 11/11/2020 16:30 and 13/11/2020 14:36 relating to previous contract.
The Contracting Authority does not believe in this instance that the question asked under procurement ref no DDaT20329 to be a relevant clarification to this opportunity and will therefore be handling your questions under an FOI request. Therefore, can you please contact with your query so a response can be provided under the aforementioned FOI process?
12. If we haven't done any GDS work would that score negatively against us in the scoring process?
If you can demonstrate that you have experience of working on a service using the GDS service standard, this would be acceptable. The GDS standard is widely used in the industry.
13. This seems to be a like for like replacement of the previous contract, if like for like, can you confirm if TUPE will be applicable?
TUPE does not apply
14. Please can you explain your definition of 'multi-strand' in the first nice-to-have requirement?
By “multi-strand” we mean a service that has multiple user journeys operating concurrently.  So there will be considerable interdependencies across teams.