This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 25 November 2020
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM)

Ofgem 2020-152 Rewrite of Existing Non-Domestic Register and CRM

12 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 1 large

22 Completed applications

14 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 11 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 18 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
Ofgem requires a Delivery Partner to support the modernisation of a digital solution, to provide a Register system that supports and facilitates the administration of Ofgem environmental subsidy schemes. The successful delivery partner will be expected to integrate closely in a co-sourcing arrangement with our internal team and other stakeholders.
Latest start date
Friday 18 December 2020
Expected contract length
18-month period until 17th June 2022, plus option to extend to 17th December 2023.
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM)
Budget range
£1-£1.2m

About the work

Why the work is being done
Ofgem E-Serve administers various government renewable electricity, renewable heat, and energy efficiency support schemes, taking responsibility for the receipt, review, accreditation, audit, and compliance of scheme applicants and participants. The current Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Register (the Register) is a system developed in 2010 to support E-Serve in its administration and delivery of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme which is a scheme that lasts for 20 years. In addition, the back-office function is currently supported by a CRM system to enable internal users to accredit applications and amendments, and calculate data to enable payments to be made (a function also completed in the register).

This Register system is now considered a legacy system, with limited support available and outdated security specifications. The complexity and cost of change and ongoing maintenance is high and unsustainable in the long-term.

We wish to work with a delivery partner to deliver a modern digital service that prioritises meeting internal and external users’ needs, and that will enable Ofgem to carry out its ongoing administration of environmental support schemes better.
Problem to be solved
Internal and external users are critical of the current system, with complaints being logged concerning its usability, adaptability, reliability and capability to perform its functions efficiently and effectively.

At a base level, non-domestic users such as biomethane producers, and small and medium businesses submit applications for accreditation under the Non-Domestic RHI scheme. Ofgem reviews the evidence provided, and assesses each application against certain criteria, before deciding on approval (or rejection). Once accredited, the authorised signatory for the business is obligated to provide certain information on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis as required by legislation. For some businesses, this may be meter reading data, and for others (a biomass installation, for example) this may also include sustainability calculations and fuel-measurement data. As part of the ongoing obligations to remain in the 20 years scheme, Ofgem assesses the data provided and subsequently pays against it.

Ofgem has various statutory functions it must discharge relating to the aforementioned schemes, as well as a requirement to undertake additional procedures and tasks, including auditing and compliance functions as well as the production of reports. The project intent is to provide a Register solution to facilitate and/or perform these duties end to end.
Who the users are and what they need to do
• Non-domestic users, such as biomethane producers, and small and medium businesses submit applications for accreditation under the Non-Domestic RHI scheme.
• Internal users, who accredit applications and amendments, and calculate data to enable payments to be made (a function also completed in the register).
• Audit, compliance and counter-fraud teams who monitor fraudulent practices and actions that breach regulatory requirements.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Ofgem administers various government renewable electricity, renewable heat, and energy efficiency support schemes, taking responsibility for the receipt, review, accreditation, audit, and compliance of scheme applicants and participants. The current Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Register (the Register) is a system developed in 2010 to support E-Serve in its administration and delivery of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme which is a scheme that lasts for 20 years. In addition, the back-office function is currently supported by a CRM system to enable internal users to accredit applications and amendments, and calculate data to enable payments to be made.
Existing team
Underpinning all of the above requirement is the ability of the team to work as an integrated team with Ofgem. The successful delivery partner will be expected to integrate closely in a co-sourcing arrangement with our internal team and other stakeholders based either at Ofgem’s London (Canary Wharf) and/or Glasgow offices.
Current phase
Discovery

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The usual place of work is at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London,
E14 4PU, though suppliers can also work from the Glasgow office if preferable. At present the team is working remotely due to Covid-19 and the successful supplier would be expected to do the same until government advice on best practice changes.
Working arrangements
Suppliers will be required to be on site or working remotely 5 days a week Monday-Friday to work with delivery team. They will be required to update various teams and senior managers and run show and tell sessions.
Expenses will be in line with Ofgem expenses policy and security must meet Ofgem's requirements.
Security clearance
All Supplier staff (including sub-contractors) working on Ofgem’s premises will require to be security cleared to BPSS as a minimum at the awarded Supplier’s expense.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Suppliers should note that the contract is to include appropriate break clauses at the end of the Alpha and Beta phases, with the inclusion of an assessment stage, which must be satisfied before continuation of work.

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
  • The supplier has previous experience of delivering a Programme of this magnitude in a co-located environment.
  • Work well in an Agile team, adhering to sprint ceremonies, and working collaboratively with teams outside of your immediate remit.
  • The supplier will be well versed in GDS requirements.
  • The supplier works to GDS and National Cyber Security Centre security standards.
  • The supplier has relevant HM Government experience.
  • The supplier should have the necessary expertise to work with Microsoft Azure and Azure’s PAAS technology.
  • The supplier has evidence of delivering at scale.
  • The supplier should use human Centred Design thinking and GDS service design methodology to deliver the right user experience and deliver a digital service.
  • The supplier should help to choose the best technology solution for our requirements for this project, in keeping with our digital strategy and ensuring interoperability with existing strategies.
  • The supplier should work in an agile manner, in small cross-functional teams, using service design, and user research methodology to drive value and the right outcomes.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working with Ofgem on previous scheme launches.
  • A knowledge or understanding of renewable energy support schemes and relevant technologies.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
4
Proposal criteria
  • Propose and approach, methodology and timeline, taking into account user research, service design, system design, testing, and GDS alpha and beta assessment
  • Identify risks, dependencies, and offered approaches to manage them
  • Approach to taking on our existing technical architecture, code base and technical recommendations
  • How the approach or solution will meet user needs
  • Approach to data migration from existing system to new system, and understanding of risks involved
  • Team structure, including roles, resourcing levels, responsibility and availability
  • Skills and experience of the team
  • Approach to knowledge transfer
  • Value for money and commercial risk
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate transparent, collaborative approach to work, sharing this with the project team and seeking actionable feedback.
  • Take responsibility to challenge the status quo.
  • Seek to find improvements in all aspects of your work, including system design and processes.
  • Have a demonstrable and effective approach to diversity and inclusion
  • Have a demonstrable and effective approach to the contract management function
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The applications for this opportunity will be scored by a mix of both technical and commercial colleages, from both an operational and procurement background. Positions held across the panel are Ofgem Manager's across the Corporate and E-serve departments.
2. Who is the incumbent and how long have they been the incumbent?
There is no incumbent as it is a new system being delivered. The existing register is maintained in house.
3. Who's on the panel?
The applications for this opportunity will be scored by a mix of both technical and commercial colleages, from both an operational and procurement background. Positions held across the panel are Ofgem Manager's across the Corporate and E-serve departments.
4. Are the existing technical resources willing to learn new technologies, i.e. based around a PaaS/SaaS solution?
Or are you planning to develop a new bespoke application on Ofgem's preferred tech stack?
We always look to upskill our technical people to the latest technologies and best practices, and this is one of the core deliverables we expect from co-sourcing partners as part of the delivery. The proposed technologies also need to be in-line with our reference architecture.
5. For 'A knowledge or understanding of renewable energy support schemes and relevant technologies', can we respond to this by using multiple examples/projects or does it need to follow the DOS format of single case study with situation, our work and results?
This should follow the DOS format of single case study with situation, work and results. The 'nice to have' skills will not be scored, however will be used to break ties between suppliers scoring similarly.
6. Can a supplier bid as part of a consortium for this opportunity?
DOS suppliers can bid and then work with sub-contractor's which would require the sub-contractor to complete a supplier questionnaire at a later stage if shortlisted, under the main supplier. If a supplier was to bid as part of a consortium, it is Ofgem's understanding that all suppliers party to the consortium would need to be part of the Digital Outcomes and Specialists (DOS) supplier list.
7. Can you please confirm that it is only 4 questions at this initial stage that are required to be answered?
Suppliers should provide a response to the 10 sections based on 'essential skills and experience' which will be scored, and then the 2 sections on 'nice-to-have skills and experience' which will be unscored, however nice-to-have skills will be used to break ties between suppliers scoring similarly.

After stage 1, 4 suppliers will then be shortlisted to provide a more in depth proposal based on the 'Proposal Criteria' and 'Cultural Fit Criteria' at stage 2.
8. The questions asked as part of stage 1 does not seem to be relevant with respect to experience reqd to deliver this kind of work. How will you evaluate suppliers on the basis of these questions?
This has now been rectified with the re-publish of this tender. Please see response to previous question number 7.
9. We have strong experience of rewriting legacy systems, following GDS and NCSC standards and delivering similar work but the questions asked are more generic. How will you shortlist suppliers on the basis of these questions.
This has now been rectified with the re-publish of this tender. Please see response to previous question number 7.
10. Will you evaluate nice to have skills or will it be just used to break ties between suppliers scoring similar scores?
Nice-to-have skills and experience will not be scored/evaluated, but will be used to break ties between suppliers scoring similarly.
11. The notice says that security must meet Ofgem's requirements. Are you able to share these requirements?
All Supplier staff (including sub-contractors) working on Ofgem’s premises will require to be security cleared to BPSS as a minimum at the awarded Supplier’s expense. Proof of clearance will be required before commencement of the contract, to enable passes and IT equipment to be made available.

The link to this assessment will be passed onto shortlisted supplier's.
12. Does Ofgem have a preferred technical platform for this re-write?
Yes, our preferred technical platform will be to develop the system in .NET Core and Microsoft SQL. We also use Docker and Kubertnetes, and our reference architecture is on Microsoft Azure. We will be happy to share details of our reference architecture with the successful bidder on commencement of the contract.
13. Would Ofgem consider a Low-Code platform solution to replace this system?
We would consider a low code platform as part of the proposed solution, where it made sense, and if the low code platform fits within our reference architecture including our security requirements.
14. Does Ofgem have a cloud first preference for this solution?
Yes, our reference architecture includes the use of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
15. Will you prefer microsoft based tech stack for new system as Ofgem's landscape is more focussed towards Microsoft stack?
Yes, this is in line with our reference architecture.
16. Are you open to new technologies like Outsystems (low code platform)?
We would consider a low code platform as part of the proposed solution, where it made sense, and if the low code platform fits within our reference architecture including our security requirements.
17. Can you please provide details on your reference architecture and also advise on whether the solution will need to comply with GDS Service Assessment?
Our preferred technical platform will be to develop the system in .NET Core and Microsoft SQL. We also use Docker and Kubertnetes, and our reference architecture is on Microsoft Azure. We will be happy to share details of our reference architecture with the successful bidder on commencement of the contract. Yes, it will need to comply with GDS service Assessment.
18. What is the current back-office CRM system and is this in scope to be replaced as part of this project?
It is run by a third party and acts as an application and servicing back office system as well as a traditional CRM for enquries. It will be replaced by the overall solution.
19. Is there an intention to implement in this phase a solution to replace the Non-Domestic RHI system but longer term to establish a common platform for the management of other similar schemes, or is the solution in question expected to be stand-alone from any other systems/processes that support similar scheme types across Ofgem?
Yes, it in the non-domestic register rewrite for this project but we are looking to use as many re-useable components from our reference architecture as possible. For example, we would expect a ‘message centre’ to work across all areas regardless of scheme. For launch, however, this would be a standalone system.
20. Are there existing platforms/solutions in Ofgem today supporting other similar scheme types, that are being considered for the Non-Domestic RHI project or does Ofgem expect to procure a platform that will be new to Ofgem as part of this procurement?
Our preferred technical platform will be to develop the system in .NET Core and Microsoft SQL. We also use Docker and Kubertnetes, and our reference architecture is on Microsoft Azure. We will be happy to share details of our reference architecture with the successful bidder on commencement of the contract.
21. We understand the project is currently in the Discovery Phase. What is the scope of the Discovery Phase and is this expected to be completed by 18th December? Also, is this work being conducted by Ofgem staff only or with the assistance of an external supplier? If the latter, please can Ofgem confirm whether this supplier would be able to bid for this procurement?
Discovery phase will end by end of November. It is Ofgem staff only.
22. The Q&A states 'The proposed technologies also need to be in-line with our reference architecture'. Please can you provide more details of your reference architecture?
Our preferred technical platform will be to develop the system in .NET Core and Microsoft SQL. We also use Docker and Kubertnetes, and our reference architecture is on Microsoft Azure. We will be happy to share details of our reference architecture with the successful bidder on commencement of the contract.
23. Would you consider a proposal based on the supplier's personnel working remotely post-Covid or will you only consider teams which can work on-site in London or Glasgow?
We would consider them working remotely but would expect them to be available for collaboration work and meetings in either office as we require.
24. Please could you clarify whether your intention is that Ofgem's staff would be directly involved in the coding of the new solution and, if so, please could you explain the reporting line?
Yes, this is true co-sourcing. The Head of Operational delivery will oversee the project and would have an Ofgem senior delivery manager who would report to them. I would expect the successful bidder to have a line into the Head of OD as well.
25. Please could you provide details of your reference architecture?
Please see answers to question 17 & 22.
26. Please could you outline your reference architecture and technology stack?
Please see answers to question 17 & 22.
27. You have changed the requirements and now specify Azure and Azure's PaaS technologies. Please confirm that this means you are ruling out Salesforce as a possible platform technology (as it would appear).
We are not ruling out any CRM as part of the overall solution at this stage.
28. The notice states: The supplier should have the necessary expertise to work with Microsoft Azure and Azure’s PAAS technology. Would Ofgem also consider compatible SaaS offerings to meet the requirement?
Yes, as part of the of the overall proposed solution, as long as it is inline with our reference architecture.
29. Does Ofgem have a preferred CRM platform in mind for this delivery or do you want the supplier to aid selection or include in the proposal? In addition, can you confirm that the value of the proposed work excludes license costs?
At this point, we do not have a preferred CRM platform. The budget/value is for the build of the new solution, and ongoing maintenance costs are separate.
30. Does the specified budget include the licensing costs if a PaaS/SaaS solution is recommended?
The budget/value is for the build of the new solution, and ongoing maintenance costs are separate.
31. For this question 'A knowledge or understanding of renewable energy support schemes and relevant technologies', can we use case studies of our work from other countries?
Yes, this is acceptable.
32. Can you briefly describe you 'reference architecture' referred to in a response to a previous question?
Please see answer to questions 17 & 22.
33. Are you willing to accept and evaluate a response from a software vendor describing the associated services to implement the required software including the required knowledge transfer?
Yes, we would expect the successful bidder to provide extensive ongoing knowledge transfer as part of this engagement.
34. When you refer to "Approach to taking on our existing technical architecture, code base and technical recommendations" is there an expectation that the incoming supplier will support the existing solution prior to migration to the new platform?
No, we have an existing team that support the existing legacy product.
35. In the essential skills and experience you describe "The supplier should have the necessary expertise to work with Microsoft Azure and Azure's PAAS technology" does this refer to your chosen technology stack for the solution?
Yes, please see below similar answers to similar question.
36. Please can you provide an outline of your digital strategy and details of the existing strategies with which interoperability is expected?
Please see answer below to similar questions regarding reference architecture. Ofgem will be happy to share exisiting strategies with the successful bidder.
37. Your request of a potential supplier is that they should help to choose the best technology solution in keeping with your digital strategy, ensuring interoperability with existing strategies. Please could you share any documentation that pertains to these?
Please see below answer on similar questions regarding reference architecture. We will be able to share our reference architecture/exisiting strategies with the successful bidder on commencement of the contract.
38. The notice states "currently supported by a CRM system to enable internal users to accredit applications and amendments, and calculate data to enable payments to be made (a function also completed in the register)".
Therefore is there a payment/accounting element to the required solution?
Yes there is. We pay participants quarterly and assuming they meet their ongoing obligations they will be paid for the 20 years of the Scheme.
39. In one of your previous answers, you mention Ofgems reference architecture. Where can this be found ?
Please see below answer to similar questions on reference architecture.
40. Have you done any prior research into external or internal user needs?
Yes we’ve completed a full discovery on both and have a user researcher and service designer supporting.
41. Do you have any quantitative or qualitative data on where the problem parts of the existing service(s) are?
It’s basically a legacy system where the journey is very manual and repetitive with questions. It’s prone to human error with manual input from the external users, and needs to support complex regulation.
42. In "Work well in an Agile team, adhering to sprint ceremonies, and working collaboratively with teams outside of your immediate remit." you mention teams outside our immediate remit – can you advise what teams at Ofgem (or elsewhere) we would be working with?
All internal users which span enquiries, operations, audit, compliance and assurance.
43. In "Work well in an Agile team, adhering to sprint ceremonies, and working collaboratively with teams outside of your immediate remit." – can you say more about what you mean by 'working well in an agile team'? Do you have particular success measures, metrics or other thoughts about how this would be measured?
Yes we would expect to follow normal daily stand ups, sprint planning, retros and have true collaboration across the teams. We are developing KPIS to measure success of the project overall as required by GDS.
44. In "Work well in an Agile team, adhering to sprint ceremonies, and working collaboratively with teams outside of your immediate remit." – you talk about 'sprint ceremonies' – are you expecting the winning supplier to use Scrum and evidence their experience of using Scrum in their bid?
Yes it would be helpful to see experience.
45. You mention a requirement for suppliers to be able to demonstrate experience of delivery 'at scale'. What defines 'at scale' according to this opportunity? How many personnel do you expect will need to be deployed by the successful bidder at the peak of this project?
Here we are referring to both a scaling solution and scaling teams essentially. We want an MVP but will need to scale up to deliver more in the timeframe and would want the successful bidder to be able to scale team size as needed for the deliverables.
46. Are you open to the idea of not using a CRM as part of the modernized solution? Has any research been done to see whether the CRM aspect of the current solution is causing any of the problems experienced by users?
We are not ruling out any CRM as part of the overall solution at this stage. CRM could potentially be a part of the overall solution, but it should not form the only or main part of the solution.
47. Can you please advise whether Azure is the chosen platform for this service or other low code no code services will be considered?
Yes, our reference architecture includes the use of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. We would consider a low code platform as part of the proposed solution, where it made sense, and if the low code platform fits within our reference architecture including our security requirements.
48. In the question 'The supplier has evidence of delivering at scale', how should suppliers evidence the scale of delivery i.e. with budget or team size or solution complexity?
Please see answer to question number 45.
49. In the question 'The supplier has evidence of delivering at scale.', are you referring to scaling solution or scaling teams?
Please see answer to question number 45.
50. In the question ' The supplier should help to choose the best technology solution for our requirements for this project, in keeping with our digital strategy and ensuring interoperability with existing strategies', what technology solutions are you referring to i.e. cloud hosting options or development options (COTs, low-code etc)?
Please see submitted answers to similar questions asked. Ofgem will be happy to share exisiting strategies with the successful bidder.
51. "The supplier has evidence of delivering at scale." Are you referring to the ability to scale delivery by adding more capability when required or delivering solutions which are used / implemented at scale?
The answer to this is essentially both.

We want an MVP but will need to scale up to deliver more in the timeframe and would want the successful bidder to be able to scale team size as needed for the deliverables.
52. Is data migration (from the legacy system) within the scope of this proposal? If yes, what is the estimated scale of data migration required from the legacy system?
Yes 20000 + participants with quarterly periodic data.
53. Is integration to the payments system within the scope of this project?
Yes, that is correct.
54. Is the legacy CRM a bespoke application or a COTS product?
A bespoke application.
55. Please provide some examples to help us understand the context of 'relevant technologies' as per your second 'nice-to-have' skill / experience.
The relevant technologies are the existing technologies that are supported by the NDRHI scheme.

Biomass; heat pumps; biogas and biomethane – full details of the technologies supported are available on the Ofgem website under environmental programmes – NDRHI.
56. MESSAGE BOARD CLOSED
A polite reminder that the messge board is now closed, and that this tender will close on Wednesday 25th November at 11:59pm. All supplier messages have now been responded to.