Awarded to Helastel

Start date: Monday 18 January 2021
Value: £108,662.50
Company size: SME
Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Southampton HQ

Online Examination/ Assessment System

8 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 2 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Thursday 26 November 2020
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 3 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 10 December 2020 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Using recommendations identified during a successful Discovery, a multi-disciplinary outcomes specialist team is required to develop an early phase alpha system, with the possibility of extension through to beta phase, that enables technical examinations to be taken online including robust candidate ID verification and invigilation.
Latest start date
Monday 11 January 2021
Expected contract length
3 months to complete Alpha with the possibility of extension to complete Beta.
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Southampton HQ
Budget range
We are using a zero budget basis for scoping this work. Bidders must use their knowledge and experience of similar projects to calculate the estimated costs for their offer. Preferred bidders will be invited to present their offer. Bids must be based on a series of outcomes being met not day rates.

Whilst the initial scope of work is for developing an Alpha phase system, for which firm pricing is required. Indicative costs for developing a beta phase system is required.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The MCA is looking to utilise online digital technology to streamline the technical assessment process of candidates applying for a Certificate of Competency (similar to a driving licence), including robust candidate ID verification. The current single face-to-face oral exam will be split into; Part A – online technical assessment (multiple choice) and Part B – a shorter, face-to-face examination.

The work for an Alpha phase product needs to be complete by the end of March 2021. If successful there is a possibility of extending the contract to move forward into Beta Phase in the new FY.
Problem to be solved
MCA examiners conduct an oral examination to assess a candidate's competency to hold the licence being applied for. An oral exam takes up to 75 minutes with a current pass rate of around 50%. With around 50% of candidates failing, this represents a significant amount of wasted time for both the MCA and the candidate, not to mention the travel cost to attend the exam (this is particularly prevalent for candidates based overseas).

An online system that carries out robust candidate ID verification prior to the Part A assessment to improve efficiency and pass rates for those attending Part B.
Who the users are and what they need to do
* As a Seafarer Service team member that assesses a candidate's eligibility to sit Part B, I need to know if they have passed their Part A.
* As an MCA Examiner I need to be assured that the person sitting Part B is the same person that has passed their Part A before Part B examination takes place.
* As an customer, I need to be able log in and sit my Part A online technical assessment so that I can move onto Part B.
* As an MCA superuser, I need to be able access Management Information from the system
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
A Discovery Phase has been completed where user research was gathered from key stakeholders. A number of recommendations were put to the MCA in the Discovery Report. This will be made available to bidding suppliers on request.
Existing team
The team will be working with several members of the MCA's UK Seafarer Services Team. The MCA will provide governance and assurance for the technical architecture and project oversight from a delivery manager and service designer.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
MCA Southampton SO15 1EG. For the duration of restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, all teams are expected to work and collaborate remotely.
Working arrangements
Team will report to the Business Change Manager and/or Change Director. Travel is unlikely due to the pandemic, however, if required it must be in line with MCA T&E Policy and included in the contract sum as there is no separate budget. Operate using an agile methodology including daily stand ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives and show and tells.
Security clearance
BPSS (Baseline Security Level)

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The supplier will be expected to:
• Adhere to GDS tech code of practice & digital service standards
• Organise, prepare for and pass GDS service assessments & spend assurance
• Adhere to the DfT architectural principles & have design documents approved by the DfT Digital Design authority.
•Required experience: passed Alpha & Beta GDS service assessments.

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
  • Specialist Capability and experience implementing online assessments or similar, including robust online ID verification and invigilation.
  • Must have experience in successfully completing Alpha and Beta systems
  • Proven service design and end to end development / technical expertise in delivering a digital service in the public sector.
  • Supplier must have recent experience within the last 2 years delivering digital projects in line with the GDS Service Design Manual and Service Standards for a Government department.
  • Have experience designing services for users who access the site using multiple devices (laptop, mobile, tablet).
  • Evidence of proficiency of UX, UI and interaction design techniques particularly using the GOV.UK prototyping kit to test with users.
  • Evidence of proficiency in creating prototypes to support user research, stakeholders and design team decision making.
  • Experience of planning, documenting and communicating the design process and concepts in a clear concise manner.
  • Experience working in Agile environments using SCRUM or other Agile frameworks. User centred design services (user research, interaction design, content design)
  • Experience of Agile practices, tools, techniques - working within a multi-team Agile programmes.
  • Delivering outcomes at pace within tight timescales.
  • Experience of integrating other services e.g. Notify.
  • Proven track record of successful knowledge transfer to ensure system is reliably handed over to other teams to manage live running.
  • Demonstrable experience of Identity and Authentication Technologies.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Security standards adherence e.g. ISO 27001 or equivalent.
  • An understanding of MCA Business and/or UK certification/ examination processes.
  • Experience working in a regulatory environment.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstration of a technical solution for online examination including reporting mechanisms
  • Demonstration of a robust candidate ID verification solution
  • Demonstrate value for money
  • How you have identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Identify the approach and methodology to the project planning and delivery, identifying the main stages and activities proposed at each stage.
  • Estimated timeframes for the work to be completed and how they will meet project milestones.
  • Describe your team experiences, capabilities plus set up (including roles and CV’s) and how you would adapt the team to changing priorities during the project phases.
  • Detailed resource plan – demonstrating resources will be used and at what stage.
  • How the approach or solution meets business/user needs: detail how you will ensure these are understood and met in the development
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the service standard and working towards it.
  • Detail how your Delivery Manager will run sprint planning, sprint development and run the daily sprints.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you worked collaboratively in a dispersed multi-disciplined team, with stakeholders and subject matter experts to seek actionable feedback to resolve queries quickly and effectively.
  • Experience of transparent and collaborative decision making
  • Experience of taking responsibility for their work and resolving problems effectively
  • Experience of sharing approach, knowledge and skills with other team members
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. A supplier has asked a question about ‘Online Examination/ Assessment System’.
They asked:

Hi, we would like to request a copy of the Discovery Report.
Kindly let us know how can we request for same.
Thank you for your query, to receive a copy of the Discovery report, please email titled "Discovery Report Request"

A copy of the report will sent to you in pdf format.
2. Please see updated response on the following question:

Hi, we would like to request a copy of the Discovery Report. Kindly let us know how can we request for same.
Apologies for any confusion - The discovery report will be provided to suppliers that are successfully shortlisted prior to the request for full tender submission.
3. A supplier has asked a question about ‘Online Examination/ Assessment System’.
They asked:

Can you advise who carried out the discovery activity?
With respect provision of information on the identity of the supplier that carried out the Discovery work is not relevant at this stage.

If you are successful at stage one a copy of the report will be made available to you.
4. A supplier has asked a question about ‘Online Examination/ Assessment System’.
They asked:

Is there a rational, particular requirement or project history that has lead you to look for the development of a bespoke/custom platform rather then looking at commercial off the shelf e-assessment platforms (that could be configured further for your needs)?
No. We would prefer an off the shelf system with a modular design to its architecture allowing MCA to add and remove parts to the system in the future if needed. The system needs to also meet the specifications as described in the advertisement; it needs to be tailored to MCA/ GDS requirements and meet Government data security requirements.