Awarded to PFI Knowledge Solutions trading as Placecube

Start date: Wednesday 1 March 2017
Value: £440,000
Company size: SME
Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council:Housing Efficiency and Improved Tenant Experience

0 Incomplete applications

9 Completed applications

7 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Wednesday 30 November 2016
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 7 December 2016 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Replacing the housing system means we must re-integrate with tenant account and repairs digital services.

We want to improve existing, and create new, services for tenants.

Indicate how much of our backlog your proposal/resources will achieve. Expect us to periodically reprioritise and substitute items in backlog.

Supporting documents here:
Latest start date
Target date: 16/01/2017
Expected contract length
4.5 months (complete by 31/05/17)
South West England
Organisation the work is for
Bristol City Council
Budget range
The agreed project budget for extra developer, test analyst roles (and any other roles that you recommend) is within the range: £480,000 - £720,000

Alongside this extra delivery capacity, BCC plans to use the in house delivery team described above and will provide QA function for code review. Code review includes : Quality of code delivered, meeting non-functional requirements of performance, reliability, security and accessibility.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Our goal is to make ‘digital services so good that people prefer to use them’. We want to do this in a time bound, cost efficient and commercial way.

Housing services vision (extract): Within 3 years
i) 90% of existing tenants and 100% of new tenants will use digital services for their housing related needs.
ii) The council rarely sends letters about housing, predominantly using the digital tenant account and emails to communicate with tenants.

Because we are changing our housing system, the work to integrate to the new system and improve digital services must complete by 31.05.17
Problem to be solved
We are replacing BCC housing system, switching from legacy system (OHMS) to Civica CX by May 2017. This means we must re-integrate with our tenant rent account and repairs digital services for tenants.

We want to improve existing, and create new, services for tenants continuing to focus on user centred design to achieve the future vision for housing digital services.

We have limited in-house capacity and we need to augment our team with the help of a supplier. We want to deliver as much of the backlog as possible whilst maintaining quality and optimal velocity as we scale up capacity.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As the service director for housing services, I need online tenant accounts and the repairs digital service to be integrated with Civica CX so that the service is continued beyond May 2017.

As a tenant, I need improved digital services, so that I can use them for the majority of my needs and when I want to use them.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Completed discovery phase with the housing management team to produce a prioritized & 'T-Shirt sized' estimated backlog to complement our existing base of user research. See supporting documents here:

Our internal development team has begun exploration of the Civica CX test system to better understand the technical integration.

Relevant to this project, and based on our digital design standards, patterns and platform, we have two related digital products in live (tenant account, report a repair service). See details here:

The website content in tenants section of has been improved to accommodate a wider and better digital offering.
Existing team
We need delivery capability to work with us to optimises team velocity and maintain quality of outcome.

The in-house digital delivery team comprises:

Product Owner (x2)
Delivery Manager (x1)
Web Editor/UX designer (x2)
Content Editor (x1)
Software Development Engineers (x4)
Test Analyst (x2)

Additionally there are in-house integration specialists, and systems administrators to support the project.

Products/ components include:
CivicaCX, Liferay, Orbeon, Forgerock, AWS cloud hosting, Capita Pay 360, Salesforce, GIS postcode lookup, Click, Alfresco, Tibco ESB.

Third party suppliers include:
Civica, Intragen (Forgerock support), Arcus (Saleforce support and development), Eduserv (AWS infrastructure support) and PFIKS (Application support)
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
City Hall,
College Green
Bristol BS1 5TR

100 Temple Street
Bristol BS1 6AG
Working arrangements
Our preference is for developers to work on site at least 2-3 days per week (in tune with Agile meeting schedule) and to utilise collaboration tools as necessary (slack, hangouts etc).

Expenses should not exceed 5% of budget.

We will require performance / management reviews of work in progress, quality standards and budget/backlog burn down.

Coding standards and NFRs can be seen here:
Security clearance
Supplier personnel working on the project will need to complete a basic disclosure via our HR team re any unspent criminal convictions.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
We are open to negotiation on Intellectual Property rights should this affect your proposal.

Current situation on IP: Digital development in partnership with existing and past partners is wholly owned by BCC with partners licensed to use it.

In the future BCC wants to retain a zero cost license to use IP generated by this project.

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 designing and developing services that meet identifed user needs
  • Experience of prototyping, testing and iterating with users
  • Technical expertise of front-end, UI web development and responsive web design (HTML5/CSS/JS)
  • Detailed understanding of government digital standards, including GDS service design manual and wider industry-standards
  • Expertise in delivering services that meet Level AA of the W3C WCAG2.0 accessibility standards
  • Proven successful development of Java back-end technologies on Liferay, databases, developing APIs, meeting data standards, and experience of Git
  • Technical ability to manage a secure hosting environment for
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering agile projects in sometimes non-agile environments
  • Proven experience of form building tools
  • Proven ability to develop in a test driven environment (with test automation)
  • Experience of automating tests for non functional requirements eg security, performance
  • Experience of using Jira, Confluence and Bit Bucket (Stash)
  • Must follow BCC development standards (copy in supporting documents)
  • Experience of integration via Web Services, SQL databases
  • Proven ability to develop against NFRs relating to performance, security, accessibily and reliability (copy NFRs in supporting documents)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of Orbeon form building tool
  • Experience of integrations with Salesforce
  • Experience of integrations with ForgeRock
  • Experience of integration with a Housing management system (eg Civica CX)
  • Experience of developing content strategies and information architectures for new websites and services
  • Integrations with MSSQLServer

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Value for money (we will evaluate how much of the backlog can be achieved in the time scale and for the budget)
  • Approach and methodology (we will evaluate how you will deliver our requirements for quality of outcome and knowledge transfer)
  • Team structure (We will evaluate how well your proposal will compliment and align to our existing team)
  • Risks and dependencies (We will evaluate your assessment and recommendations to ensure efficient progress through the backlog)
  • Supplier capacity (We will assess your ability to scale to meet our needs and flexibility within the project)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Experience of successful collaborative working as part of a multi supplier delivery team sharing knowledge within the team
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Reinforce agile mindset and principles into a developing organisation
  • Can work in partnership with stakeholders with low technical expertise to understand the 'business needs'
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. To what extent is there a need or desire to review processes in a way that will make the current backlog (or some of it) obsolete?
We are doing lots of process redesign work, so quite a lot done already, however as you build front and back end together may be some need to think differently. There may be a need for some redesign but we don’t want to compromise the implementation of the new Housing Management System. A number of back-end process reviews have taken place, and others including rents and repairs are to be completed, to align ourselves with the Civica CX system. We have a wealth of digital patterns to enhance processes if needed.
2. Have we selected a housing management system? Are there defined personas for roles?
Yes and on verge of implementing it. Civica CX is housing management system selected - it's configurable out of box, there's a clear specification of what we are requiring from it.

For Civica CX there are roles for housing staff, it is role based and security is based around those roles.
3. How important is it for a supplier to have Liferay skills and previous experience with housing management systems.
It is essential because we are already using Liferay as our application server. We have a number of digital services (portlets) running under Liferay. We intend to continue to use this technology. We have existing skills and experience of using Liferay at BCC - both in our development team and web content editing team. We have developed patterns and common components which fit with Liferay.

Per the requirements, housing management system integration experience is desirable. Housing terminology and processes are quite common, it's useful to have understanding of standard terminology and ways of working.
4. We don’t have specific Liferay skills, but many years working on java platforms - would that rule us out as an essential skill?
There's a distinction between using Liferay and having in-house Liferay skills. Coldly I would say yes it would rule you out. However if you can demonstrate you have worked in a Liferay environment and/or you have Liferay skills in house at point of hypothetical contract award that would be allowed.
5. Is the in-house team at full complement? [Chair clarification during webinar Q&A]
We currently do not have 4 developers, we have 2 in place and 2 vacancies should that affect how you construct your proposal.
6. Is this project under the governance of GDS/cabinet office or are you adopting their guidelines only?
We have utilised GDS design standards to inform our approach to digital services and we have adopted and refined them to fit Bristol's particular needs.

For procurement, we follow standard central government framework guidelines and legislation.
7. To what extent do you expect team to be co-located?
Per the requirements, preference is for developers to work onsite 2-3 days per week to attend particular team meetings and physically present collaboration. We equally expect the use of on-line collaboration tools like hangouts, scrum boards (JIRA et al) per the requirements.
8. Can you talk about the backlog a little more? [Chair clarification from webinar Q&A]
The backlog, as published, represents list of things the housing management team would like delivered. These have been sized relatively, approximately, and consistently (S/M/L/XL) by the internal delivery team and examples of stories & code are provided.

We expect to re-prioritise and substitute alternate tasks. For example, we expect to be able to substitute a medium for two smalls for same time and cost. We have marked where we can see dependencies on other stories.

We want to know how far and for what cost can you deliver down this backlog without skipping anything as listed.
9. What is the process after shortlisting & selection should I be awarded?
[Chair prompted clarification on contracts]
We will notify you when moving to shortlisting. 'Pro-contract' is our e-tendering tool, if you go through to shortlist you will be asked to register your company onto that tool and assessment will be via that tool. If there is any other guidance you think would be useful please let us know as soon as possible and we will publish.
10. Could you clarify your notes in the section titled 'additional terms and conditions'? [Chair clarification during webinar Q&A]
We are open to suggestions around IP of the work produced, if there's anything you think useful for us to consider please ask soon so that we can consider those aspects before we finalise assessment documents. Contact me directly -

Please list your assumptions clearly when making your offer.
11. We are not on the current CCS Digital Outcomes Framework. We are applying for the latest round of this, DOS2, which comes into effect in January. Can we apply?
You must be on a framework that is in effect at the point of award. Ideally, you would be on the (current) DOS framework for us to effect a fair and transparent shortlisting process.
12. The answer you gave in the webinar [regarding GDS] implied to me that you do not feel bound by the GDS.

So, can I submit an application?
During the webinar we were referring to the GDS design standards stating that we adopt them and have refined them to suit our purpose. Above, we have further clarified that we follow central government procurement legislation.
13. How do I access this opportunity? Which procurement portal will Bristol City Council be using?
We recommend you register on the ProContract portal here
to view this opportunity, submit your written response (by midnight 14th December 2016) and all other information you wish to be taken into consideration. Summary details as follows:

Project reference: DN229986
Title: Integrated Tenant Experience Development Services
Description: Bristol City Council is currently implementing a new housing management solution. We require development services to integrate our in-house tenant account and repairs digital services with the new housing management solution.