This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 25 November 2020
Secretary of State for Home Department (acting through the Home Office)

Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) Central Software Engineering Partner Service

15 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 4 large

26 Completed applications

12 SME, 14 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
The Home Office is looking for a supplier who can provide the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to help meet demand for Software Engineering Services within the Home Office DDaT directorate, on a range of internal and public facing services from discovery to live.
Latest start date
Monday 22 February 2021
Expected contract length
24 Months
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Secretary of State for Home Department (acting through the Home Office)
Budget range
The Home Office anticipates the total cost for DDaT Software Engineering Service to be in the following range for 12 months £30m - £40m. This is based upon benchmarked costs from existing suppliers providing similar levels of resources.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Home Office DDaT requires Software Engineering services to provide technology delivery and support across all our areas of work (including immigration and passports, borders, policing and counter-terrorism).
Problem to be solved
On a delivery basis these services will build and maintain the software element of our technology products, integrating with other staff and professions in multi-disciplined, multi-organisation and (typically) agile product teams. Due to the variety in these teams across areas and technologies, as well as wide scale range, our engagements typically vary. As such this is a flexible approach to allow engagements to be appropriate for any given team.
This is an element in our long-term change programme, which is leading the transformation DDaT in support of our digital future. This work specifically supports improvements in our resourcing approach and better alignment of engineering work to the DDaT profession and preferred methodologies. These changes are being put in place to provide technology which:

• Is accessible and aligned to user needs
• Can be built and maintained more cost effectively
• Enables a data driven organisation
• Allows more rapid iteration

This work must contribute to the evolution of our delivery against these goals.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Home Office service users (staff and external).
Early market engagement
Home Office intends to hold an Overview and Clarification Session via Skype on 18th November 2020. To attend the Overview and Clarification Session and to receive a copy of the RFP potential providers will need to complete, sign and return a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

For further information on the Overview and Clarification Session and NDA bidders should submit a request to ddatcontracts@homeoffice.gov.uk by 12:00 (noon) 17th November 2020.
Any work that’s already been done
N/A
Existing team
A civil service led mixed team of managed service providers, contractors and civil servants. The successful bidder will be required to engage and collaborate across all groups delivering and maintaining services for the Home Office.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of the services are expected to be based at our London, Croydon, Sheffield or Manchester sites. However, the successful supplier must be capable of providing the service nationwide. Secondary locations may include Glasgow, Liverpool, Southport or Hendon.

The work will be divided into Statements of Work (SOWs) which will clearly identify the relevant base location.
Working arrangements
A flexible approach is required to meet the needs of each individual project and programme. The work will be divided into Statements of Work (SOWs) which will clearly identify the working arrangements.
Security clearance
All staff must have Security Clearance (SC) prior to starting work. Staff not in possession of security clearance must be willing to undergo security clearance. Occasionally, NPPV3 or DV clearance is required. Clearance needs to have been achieved and validated by the Customer prior to commencement.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1.Travel expenses are payable for journeys outside the M25 (Greater London) or journeys greater than 10 miles from other base locations, where approved in advance and in line with HO Travel policy (subsistence not payable).

2. Professions rate caps will be applied to all roles at all SFIA levels. Caps will be provided to shortlisted suppliers at RFP stage.

3. Seasonal furloughs may be required.

4. Maximum sub-contractor margin caps will be applied

5. Potential Providers participate in the RFP stage will need to complete, sign and return a non-disclosure and ethical walls agreement (NDA) prior to receiving the RFP.

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
  • Experience of placing Principal Developer, Lead Engineers, Senior Developer and Developers (SFIA 3to5) into agile delivery teams in government, or Critical National Infrastructure and understanding how those roles work together.
  • Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of leading or supporting software delivery at scale for high integrity systems, and working with mature and controlled software development processes.
  • Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of leading technical delivery and provide evidence of delivering software development capability support to scale and in accordance with need.
  • Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of supporting live services, operating in UK business hours and 24 x 7 out of hours support.
  • Demonstrable and recent experience of working in multidisciplinary/multi-organisation teams using Agile-methodology (in a product-centric manner), operating in sprints, aligning development activities with parallel work-streams across sites, ensuring coding standards aremaintained.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience managing complex portfolios of technical work in a multiple supplier environment.
  • Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of transitioning complex outcomes to another team.
  • Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of recruiting a diverse workforce and promoting a supportive and inclusive culture

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • On-boarding and Transition
  • Work Packages
  • Out of hours approach
  • Organisation and Sub-contractors
  • Proposed Leadership / Management Team
  • Added Value
Cultural fit criteria
  • Community and Culture
  • Social Value
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please can you provide the 'Professions rate caps' to be applied to all roles at all SFIA levels now as we need to determine whether we can comply with these before we respond to this opportunity.
Home Office is unable to share the professions rate caps and SFIA levels at this time.

Details of the Professions rate caps will be provided to shortlisted suppliers at RFP stage and suppliers who attend the Overview and Clarification Session on 18th November 2020.
2. Who’s in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
There is no incumbent supplier for this service. There are more than 15 suppliers providing similar services to individual projects and programmes, but no central DDaT partner.
3. Who's on the panel?
This information will not be shared with bidders. At this stage all questions in relation to this requirement should be submitted via the Digital Marketplace web portal. No Home Office representative should be approached by a Bidder in connection with this requirement. Failure to comply with this policy will result in disqualification.
4. Regarding "Clearance needs to have been achieved and validated by the Customer prior to commencement," will the authority sponsor any required clearance over and above BPSS?
Yes.
5. You state that "Maximum sub-contractor margin caps will be applied", what level of cap do you expect to impose?
Maximum sub-contractor margin caps will not apply to this requirement. Home Office was considering the use of Maximum sub-contractor margin caps, however it was not deemed appropriate for this service. However, to ensure that appropriate sub-contractor margins are applied the winning bidder will be required to use an open book management approach.
6. Are you able to work with a nearshore delivery model. 20% onsite/ onshore 80% In the same timezone and within the EU?
Home Office would welcome bids from suppliers who are able to offer a nearshore delivery approach, however we are not able to agree to pre-set percentages for a particular delivery approach. The successful Bidders’ team will be required to be located as defined and agreed in individual work packages (SoWs). The Primary office locations for the delivery of this service will be London, Manchester and Sheffield, however suppliers may be required to work at other locations within the UK if required. Alignment to the Home Office community and profession structures will be required regardless of delivery location
7. As the Authority have informed that there are 15 existing suppliers. Is the intention of this contract to award the entire scope of service to single supplier or is there a possibility of selecting multiple suppliers to deliver the services.
The DDaT Central Software Engineering Partner Service contract will be the default contractual arrangement for Software Engineering Services, however, it is not an exclusive arrangement. Intention is to award one contract to a sole supplier, however we appreciate a teaming approach may be required to most effectively meet the requirement. Please note that we anticipate a mix between work with and without an incumbent supplier.
8. To assist our conversations on potential partnering arrangements please can you publish the list of the c15 organisations that you currently have delivering Software Engineering Services.
Incumbent supplier information is confidential and will not be shared with bidders.
9. We are interested in exploring partnering arrangements at this stage and during the procurement process for the appointment of your Central Partner, are there any planned mechanisms for facilitating the creation of partnering arrangements during this procurement process?
Home Office does not have any current plans to host a formal partnering session. If any bidders are interested in exploring partnering opportunities the Home Office is willing to collate and share supplier contact details. Contact information should be sent to ddatcontracts@homeoffice.gov.uk.
10. In relation to the second "nice to have" criteria, does this refer to transitioning outcomes to another supplier/the client upon exit, or is this about transitioning outcomes between teams (either internal, another supplier or the client) during delivery of the service?
The focus of this questions is around exit, however all transition types may be in scope for the services.
11. Should the answer for the below ‘skills and experience’ question be grounded in a client project example or can we use a statement that describes SUPPLIER NAME internal experience of recruiting a diverse workforce and promoting a supportive and inclusive culture? Skills and Experience: “Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of recruiting a diverse workforce and promoting a supportive and inclusive culture.”
Any experience that can be used in the delivery of the services is relevant, so if you have a proven “internal” approach to recruitment and D&I that you can draw on then this is relevant. However, scenarios where this has previously been delivered externally under similar arrangements are also relevant.
12. What is the broad mapping to SFIA levels (can you give rough percentages for SFIA 3,4,5)? What SFIA levels will be most in demand?
SFIA 3,4 & 5 mapping is correct, we aren’t able to provide a detailed breakdown but our overall expectation would be that it will be relatively even across these levels.
13. Is the work outside of IR35? Will SOWs be outcomes-based rather than staff augmentation?
Statements of Work (SoWs) will be supplier lead and outcome-based. The DOS guidance states "You can only use the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework for workers who meet the rules for working off-payroll (known as ‘outside IR35’). " This requirement is therefore outside IR35.
14. Are roles limited to engineering? Will suppliers fill related roles like BA, QA, DevOps? How will Architecture roles be filled?
Roles are limited to engineering. Other, similar, arrangements in other disciplines will be published separately.
15. What are the responsibilities of a Principal Developer?
Principal Developer responsibilities are in line with SFIA 5 level software development activities. More information will be provided in the RFP to follow.
16. Please give more detail on your Open Book Costing expectations?
Successful supplier will be required to show cost transparent throughout the supply chain. This will include, but not limited to day rates, sub-contractor mark-up and base salary.
17. Please give more detail on your Supply Chain compliance requirements? Is there a need to advertise all sub-contracts under this contract? Does this apply to sub-contractors filling individual roles?
As part of the government efficiency, transparency and accountability agenda new measures have been introduced to increase the visibility of subcontracting opportunities in Government supply chains and to provide greater visibility of supply chain spend. The policy requires all procurements with a value over £5m pa to; 1, Advertise on Contracts Finder, subcontract opportunities arising from that contract above a minimum subcontract threshold of £25,000; and 2. Report on how much they spend on subcontracting with SMEs.. Full policy details can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0118-supply-chain-visibility.
18. If we partner with a third party to respond to this opportunity, do we need to advertise this to be compliant with your Supply Chain requirements.
No, rules on Supply Chain transparency apply following contract award. Supplier and sub-contract information will be captured as part the RFP process.
19. "Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of leading or supporting software delivery at scale for high integrity systems, and working with mature and controlled software development processes."
Can you please give some examples of areas that you would want the supplier to focus on with regards to ‘high integrity systems’
We will not provide a specific focus here to avoid unduly restricting responses, we are not implying the need for examples to any particular assurance standard, performance specification or target architecture. Please make it clear how you believe any examples are relevant to “HO like” systems, to cover this.
20. "Demonstrable and recent (within the last 2 years) experience of transitioning complex outcomes to another team.". Can you please let us know if you are referring to transition to another team for Live Support purpose, or are you referring to transition to another team for on-going development (before going live)?
The focus of this questions is around exit, however all transition types may be in scope for the services.