Start date: Monday 4 January 2021
Value: £302,400
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

MHCLG Promotion and Application of Funding - Alpha + optional Beta Phases CPD4121144

9 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 1 large

20 Completed applications

18 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Monday 23 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 30 November 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 7 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
MHCLG manages a significant number of funding and grants programmes. We want to develop a modular set of interoperable tools, which collectively provide consistently high quality funding services. This brief is for the alpha phase of the programme-management module.
Latest start date
Monday 4 January 2021
Expected contract length
Up to 6 months with an initial 12 week Alpha.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
Up to £300,000 excluding VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
MHCLG manages a significant number of funding and grants programmes, including the European Regional Development Fund and, in future, its successor fund the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

As of February 2020 we had 95 funded programmes, 27 of which were competitive funds, worth approximately £45bn. As the department prepares to implement successor grants to EU structural funding, there’s an opportunity to build a modern grant management infrastructure that enables automation of processes and reduces duplication of effort across the department by ensuring a common set of tools and service standards that can be reused across the department.
Problem to be solved
Discovery into service design options for EU Successor Funding identified a common set of user needs, process steps and tooling requirements amongst all funding programmes.

Grant programmes in MHCLG either use; general purpose tools (e.g. spreadsheets/outlook) that are time consuming to set-up, labour intensive to maintain, lacking in functionality, present certain security risks we need to manage and are often not fit to deliver funds at the scale MHCLG operates, or they have bespoke systems built that are expensive to develop, time-consuming to design and are not reusable for other funded programmes.

As a result the department is working to establish a set of reusable modules (micro-services) for delivering funding programmes and a common service standard to align service design of those programmes.

Working alongside the existing team as part of a wider transformation programme this work will focus on helping deliver a specific module picking up where initial discovery ended to start prototyping solutions and depending on the outcome of an initial Alpha phase may proceed to Beta build.
Who the users are and what they need to do
User groups are:

(a) people who work for organisations that receive funding (for example: local authorities, including Mayoral Combined Authorities, local voluntary and community sector organisations, Local Enterprise Partnerships).
- need to be able to keep track of funded projects locally and show the delivery body what they are doing so they can continue their work.

(b) people who work for organisations that manage and deliver funding (MHCLG and third party central and local delivery partners) .
- need to be able to have oversight of several projects to see how money is being spent and whether outcomes are being met.

(c) people who work for MHCLG and central government audit, compliance and assurance functions.
- need to be able to assess the whole program and report centrally to ensure compliance and assurance.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
A discovery phase has been completed in 2020.

- Build on the funding process flows mapped out in the discovery, articulating the interaction experience across touchpoints.
- Build on and articulate the user roles and improve organisation design thinking for team sizes, structures, etc.
- Not build on existing platforms.
- Take a modular approach to developing new funding tools - embark on alphas for the highest value modules and build the service out iteratively.
- Create a digital taxonomy to help understand how the service. components relate to each other to create a joined up user experience.
Existing team
The product manager from discovery will be part of the team with two subject matter experts (SMEs) from funding teams.

Work on other recommendations from the discovery phase will happen concurrently, so there is an expectation that this team will work in partnership with other workstreams delivering modules for the funding service.

Full Alpha team required to deliver alongside the Product Manager. We’d expect this in line with GDS guidelines so a Delivery Manager, one or more user researchers, content designers, a developer and technical lead with access to supporting roles such as performance analysts. However, open to supplier recommendations.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
We expect most of the work to be done remotely, however the successful supplier should be able to work with MHCLG in 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF, including a weekly face to face update meeting in this location, if needed (restrictions permitting).
Working arrangements
As above. Travel expenses to the primary site in 2 Marsham Street will not be reimbursed by MHCLG.
Security clearance
CTC is desirable so that supplier staff do not need escorting if restrictions allow working on site. A minimum of BPSS clearance is required to access MHCLG's IT systems. Please confirm staff proposed have either BPSS or BPSS/CTC/SC clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of MHCLG;

2. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off contract).

3.Continuation into beta will be contingent on alpha findings and subject to a service assessment/spend control including budget approval. 

4.A short break should be allowed for between alpha and beta to allow for a review of the alpha phase, including a service assessment and review of findings to confirm the work should proceed to beta.

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 delivering alphas in line with the Government Service Manual.
  • Evidence of delivering an alpha based on a discovery conducted by another supplier (or a beta based on an alpha by a previous supplier).
  • Experience of recruiting users for research, including people working for highly regulated organisations (not members of the public).
  • Experience of exploring, testing and recommending solutions including where there is the option to buy vs build a solution.
  • Experience of exploring solutions for data management including practical strategies and standards and APIs.
  • Evidence of meeting skill requirements based on the anticipated composition of the team.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of working on grant management services.
  • Experience of working on grant management services.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Approach and methodology
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
  • Timescales to deliver the project
  • Technical solution
  • Flexible approach from supplier
  • NOTE: Standard price calculation for evaluation purposes assuming a 60 day assignment for 7 roles.
  • EXAMPLE-Role 1:£600p.d x 60 = £36k: Role 2:£600p.d x60 = £36k:Role3:£600p.d x 60 = £36k:Role 4:£600p.d x60 = £36k; Role 5:£600p.d x60=£36k;Role 6:£600p.d x60=£36k;Role 7:£900p.dx60=£54k- total price to evaluate £270k.
  • If shortlisted, suppliers should provide the following:-
  • Written proposal to include work history and CVs
  • Proposed team including day rates and duration for each candidate
  • Presentation (estimated date 17/18 December 2020)
  • Scoring Criteria for the Written proposal -Technical Competence and Cultural Fit will be scored individually using the following Criteria:
  • Score 0 = Failed to provide confidence that the proposal will meet the requirements. An unacceptable response with serious reservations.
  • Score 25 = A Poor response with reservations. The response lacks convincing detail with risk that the proposal will not be successful in meeting all the requirements.
  • Score 50 = Meets the requirements – the response generally meets the requirements, but lacks sufficient detail to warrant a higher mark.
  • Score 75= A Good response that meets the requirements with good supporting evidence. Demonstrates good understanding.
  • Score 100=An Excellent comprehensive response that meets the requirements. Indicates an excellent response with detailed supporting evidence and no weaknesses resulting in a high level of confidence
  • In the event of a tie the highest score in the Technical Competence section will be used to award
Cultural fit criteria
  • Provide details (with specific examples) of where you have:
  • - worked with highly regulated organisations - managed internal and external stakeholders including difficult stakeholders
  • - taken responsibility for delivering to clients' requirements
  • - been transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • - challenged the status quo
  • - put user needs first
  • - shared knowledge and experience with other teams and organisations
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Q1 - Summary wording clarified.
A1 - "Summary of the Work" should say - brief is for the alpha phase of the Promotion and Application modules, and not Programme Management.
2. Q2 - "Additional Assessment Methods" incomplete.
A2 - This should state Work History and Presentation as fully detailed in the Proposal Criteria section of the publication.
3. Q3. Would MHCLG consider an off the shelf GDS & NCSC aligned Grants Management SaaS capability as opposed to deploying a team of developers to bespoke to MHCLG's requirements?
A3. No. We want to prototype and test solutions as per GDS standards. This may end up with adoption of off the shelf and bespoke software but we’d not want to decide which without testing.
4. Q4. Would it be possible to obtain a copy of the Discovery phase output for this opportunity.
A4. Please use this link to access a summary of our discovery findings produced for this procurement.
5. Q5. Is it possible for bidders to review the Discovery report and recommendations at this stage?
A5. Please use this link to access a summary of our discovery findings produced for this procurement.
6. Q6. You have mentioned that there are consultants in place, is there an incumbant who has already done discovery work?
A6.Current team are FTE Civil Servants. Consultants who helped on discovery have now left.
7. Q7. Please clarify how much of the total 300k budget quoted in the DOS notice is available for the fixed-price Alpha phase?
A7. The total £300k would be available for the Alpha work.
8. Q8. Could you please share the Discovery report?
A8. Please use this link to access a summary of our discovery findings produced for this procurement.
9. Q9. The nice to have question is mentioned twice. How would you like us to answer it – Provide a 200 word answer split across the 2 questions or put in the same 100 word answer to both questions?
A9. Apologies this was a duplication. Please put the same 100 word answer in both.