This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 3 December 2020
Department for Education

Software Development Capability - Service delivery for academies and free schools

10 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 2 large

21 Completed applications

13 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 19 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 26 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 3 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
We are looking for software development capabilities to help build, deliver and improve services for academies and free schools.
We have a range of services at multiple phases, from Discovery to Beta. We work to the GDS Service Standard, delivering agile, iterative and user centered services which are continuously improved.
Latest start date
Monday 11 January 2021
Expected contract length
2 years
Location
Yorkshire and the Humber
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
An indicative budget of £1.1m is available 24mths against the requirements advertised, an anticipated spend of £255,500 up to 31 March 2021.
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance.

Each SoW will outline the work required and the associated budget, suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking. Payments will be linked to milestones and deliverables.

The department reserves the right to use any of the DOS pricing methodologies in any SoW (fixed price, capped T&M, or T&M).
DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.

About the work

Why the work is being done
DfE and ESFA directly manage a growing number of academies and free schools. Our goal is that every child in England has access to a good or outstanding school.
We are transforming administration of the sector by developing a suite of external services for Trusts and Academies and an integrated internal service for the Department to manage them. These services will enable Academies and Trusts to carry out certain administrative tasks effortlessly
The services will bring together disparate information, replacing legacy systems. The aim is to also bring together many business processes for central management, creating a single place to view data
Problem to be solved
We are looking for a strategic partner to provide outcomes through software development capabilities which are able to support, develop and continuously improve our suite of services. We are currently working on a range of 5 interconnected services at multiple delivery phases, with plans to develop further services.

Outcomes include-

Developing user centred services which are efficient and effective
Automate and digitise services where possible
Managing data transition, solving data proliferation and disconnected system problems
Solving technical problems and bugs quickly
Enabling decommissioning of legacy systems

We are currently using .NET Core, Azure Stack, Azure Data Factory and Dynamics 365.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a school planning to open an academy, I need to submit and manage my application securely and, track its progress.
As an academy, I need a service that will allow the transfer to another trust which will assist me to flourish
As a project lead, I need to process applications for specific changes to academies through a service which meets user needs
As a service user, I need an available service so I can complete transactions on my schedule
As a Product Owner, I need my service to be monitored and available with incidents resolved quickly and sustainably
Early market engagement
N/A
Any work that’s already been done
The core d365 platform Trust and Academy Management Service (TRAMS) is an internal system. Our external .net core service Apply to Become an Academy is in public beta and is loosely coupled to TRAMS.
Two other services are in the final stages of Alpha and moving into Beta - Academy Transfers and Concerns Casework, with Significant Change, just starting Alpha.

Fujitsu are currently delivering outcomes against these services. Previous suppliers include Sopra Steria and Deloitte.

We will share plans on further discoveries and the decommissioning of our first legacy services with the successful supplier once the contract has been awarded.
Existing team
Internal DfE staff are from a range of disciplines, including delivery management, security, policy, user research, service design, finance and commercial.

Multidisciplinary teams may also be made up of skills supplied through compliant contractual routes, i.e. DOS & PSR.
The successful supplier will be expected to supply software development capabilities, delivering outcomes and collaborate with other suppliers who are providing capabilities as part of delivery.

As part of the contract mobilisation, collaboration with Fujitsu will be required, with a full handover of ongoing deliverables provided.
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 project teams are based in Sheffield and Manchester and 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 Sheffield then no expenses will be paid for Sheffield.

When appropriate, travel may be required to other DfE offices nationwide.
Working arrangements
A Statement of Work will outline the base location, expected working arrangements and outcomes and deliverables for each service and delivery phase.
To improve DfE internal capability, knowledge transfer will be a requirement for each SoW.

Existing DfE digital teams comprise of lead roles in Delivery managment, Product and User Research, Service Designers, Interaction Designers, Content Designers, Business Analysts, Business Change and Communications staff.
Collaboration with the team to create a strong inter-organisational team is important.

Contract and Vendor Management form a key part of governance and suppliers must co-operate in fostering healthy working relationships and quality delivery.
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.
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
  • Experience of providing services for designing and developing digital services using an agile approach
  • Evidence of understanding and awareness of the Government Service Standards and requirements needed to pass GDS Service Assessments
  • Experience of providing services with outputs between each delivery phase to meet user needs and strategic objectives
  • Experience of delivering business systems for internal stakeholders to meet user needs and strategic objectives
  • Experience of providing services to design and build cloud based web solutions and maintaining accessible web-pages based on user needs.
  • Demonstrate experience of knowledge transfer to the buyer’s organisation to build permanent backend capability
  • Demonstrate experience of providing .NET Core, C# and Dynamics 365 capabilities. Experience of providing services with a test driven development, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps approach.
  • Detail recent experience of building using Microsoft Azure and PaaS cloud platforms.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of providing services to lead, coach and upskill in agile methods and techniques in order to build internal capability.
  • Evidence of analysis of existing research, analytics and insight to ensure good understanding of users and their needs
  • Detail recent experience of adhering to government design patterns and standards.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate experience of working with multidisciplinary teams in an agile way, using methodologies to deliver incremental value
  • Provide evidence and recent experience of building using .NET Core using TDD. CI/CD and DevOps practices.
  • Provide evidence of loosely coupled architectures, RESTful API design and development and a cloud first approach to hosting.
  • Evidence recent experience with examples of using the styles, components and patterns in the GOV.UK Design System
  • Demonstrate evidence and experience of configuring Dynamics 365 and integrating custom solutions.
  • Detail recent experience of successfully meeting the GDS Service Standard, across the different agile development phases for a government service.
  • Evidence of ownership of capability outcomes when working collaboratively with other suppliers to achieve delivery
Cultural fit criteria
  • Describe how you can help the DfE build our in-house capability to manage and support services
  • Describe your methodology of transferring knowledge to permanent staff within a client organisation
  • Describe your approach of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to achieve service outcomes
  • Describe your approach to encourage communication across multiple development teams to identify strategic requirements and dependencies
  • Experience of working with multi-vendor teams across multiple projects
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. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Applications will be scored by a diverse team, including the Service Owner, Deputy Service Owner, Programme Delivery Manager, Deputy Director of Digital Delivery, Head of Software
2. Can we ask which suppliers are currently supplying you these services?
Fujitsu are currently delivering outcomes against some of these services.
3. Can you please advise the timelines of this procurement (e.g. shortlisted companies notified, anticipated contract award)?
We plan to notify shortlisted suppliers by 11th December. Anticipated contract award is 6th January 2021 with a proposed start date 11th January 2021
4. Also, can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will be have the opportunity to present?
Shortlisted Suppliers will have an opportunity to present
5. There is a heavy percentage weighting in price, more that what is normally seen on similar tenders through the DOS. Can you help elaborate on the reasoning behind this?
The 30% weighting on price is common on other DFE DOS procurements
6. Which current services are you looking to assign these resources to?
We are transforming administration of the sector by developing a suite of external services for Trusts and Academies and an integrated internal service for the Department to manage
7. Do you have an incumbent supplier, if so who is it?
Fujitsu are currently delivering outcomes against some of these services.
8. Is the budget defined fixed?
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance and is subject to change through the duration of the contract with no guarantee of minimum or maximum spend. Each SoW will outline the work required and the associated budget, suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking. DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point and all future budgets in the current climate are subject to centralised spend reviews.
9. Clause 34.2 states that the indemnity given in respect of a breach of clause 14 (Data-Protection-and-Disclosure) is unlimited. Market trends show that customers are not asking for unlimited liability and CCS have agreed after consultation with suppliers to future cap liability breaches. As a result the next iteration of the DOS Framework which is currently out to market no longer includes unlimited liability. In consideration of the new position being taken by CCS can you please confirm if you are willing to discuss a separate cap for data breach liability with the down selected supplier commensurate with the contract value.
DfE would be happy to consider a discussion with suppliers.
10. In question "Experience of providing services with outputs between each delivery phase to meet user needs and strategic objectives" can you please clarify if by delivery phase you mean alpha, beta, live (as per the government service standard and ways of working) or are you referring to deliverables as part of agile sprints here?
Yes, this refers to discovery, alpha, beta, live
11. What timescales are you working to for: (1) informing down-selected suppliers, (2) submission of proposals and (3) scheduling of presentations?
The DfE reserve the right to change if necessary the current proposed timescale which is as follows. :- shortlisting suppliers 11/11/2020, 2nd phase proposals to be submitted by 17/11/2020 and 2nd phase presentations due 22/12/2020.
12. What levels of co-located and distributed working are you open to once COVID-19 restrictions have eased?
This will depend on DfE's guidelines and the work. It will be detailed in each statement of work. Some office attendance may be required.
13. Is there further information with which incumbent suppliers will be familiar that you will share with the down-selected suppliers, to inform their proposed approach?
We will provide additional information to the suppliers invited to the second phase
14. Within a typical team profile that you envisage, please clarify the specific capability roles to be fulfilled by the successful supplier and roles that will be fulfilled by other suppliers or DfE.
"This will depend on the phase of delivery and the make-up of the team is to be proposed by the supplier. To illustrate, we currently have capabilities in DfE or via other suppliers for: product management; delivery management; business analysis; user research; service design; content design; interaction design.
We expect the successful supplier will provide the following capabilities: data architecture; technical architecture; development in C#; development in Dynamics 365"
15. Will the supplier be responsible for the delivery management of the team and the outcomes required, through their own Delivery Managers?
The supplier will be responsible for delivering their outcomes, but delivery management service will be provided by DfE or another supplier.
16. In question: "Detail recent experience of building using Microsoft Azure and PaaS cloud platforms." are you looking to understand suppliers technical capability with PaaS components or building business services using PaaS platforms?
We are looking to understand both supplier's technical capability with PaaS components and building business services using PaaS platforms.
17. In question "Demonstrate experience of providing.NET Core, C# and Dynamics 365 capabilities. Experience of providing services with a test driven development, continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps approach.", it seems like 2 questions; one regarding development capability and other regarding CI/CD. Have you posted these as single question in error or are you expecting suppliers to provide single case study covering all mentioned skills?
We are expecting these to be dealt with as one question.
18. In question "Demonstrate experience of knowledge transfer to the buyer’s organisation to build permanent backend capability. ", can you please explain what you mean by backend capability here? Are you referring to back-end development skills ?
This refers to capability to develop, maintain and continuously improve the back-end
19. Do you have a time frame by which you expect the transition from incumbent to new vendor to be completed in 2021?
Transition will be completed by 3rd February 2021
20. Are all 5 services in scope planned to be transitioned to new vendor?
We are building one service for users, which currently includes 5 sub-services and all are in scope. These may be subject to change dependent on the service needs.
21. Can you please provide existing team size supporting the 5 services, along with break-up of team size for each service
We will provide relevant information to support the suppliers that reach the second stage