This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 4 March 2021
Department for Education

Explore Education Statistics public beta

17 Incomplete applications

16 SME, 1 large

13 Completed applications

10 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Thursday 18 February 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 25 February 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 4 March 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The Explore Education Statistics platform - aimed at making education statistics easier to find, access, navigate and understand - was launched in March 2020. We are now extending our public beta phase and need a team to enhance the service in line with user feedback and maintain the new service.
Latest start date
Thursday 1 April 2021
Expected contract length
24 months (2 years) with an option to extend for a further 6 months.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
An indicative budget of up to £1.5m inc VAT is available for use across the 24 month contract term (expected split £800K/£700K per contract year). Should DfE decide to exercise the option to extend, additional budget may be made available.
Budget approval is subject to internal spending controls.

Payments will be linked to delivery against agreed SoW throughout the contract lifecycle.

There will be a maximum day rate of £650 excluding VAT across all roles

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Department for Education publishes over 60 national statistics publications every year, with data being used by the general public, schools and local authorities, the media and central government amongst others.

Our goal was ‘to provide a new service that allows better access to and consumption of statistics, meeting the many varying user needs identified during discovery with due regard to accessibility.’

After completing a discovery, alpha and private beta the ‘Explore Education Statistics’ service has been running as a public beta since March 2020, with statistics production teams onboarding their statistics releases in line with the Department’s usual release calendar since the launch.

As more users interact with EES and we start to understand the potential of the system it has become apparent that a longer public beta period is required to cover all of the enhancement work that we would like to do – to deliver improvements identified through user feedback and our own assessments.
Problem to be solved
Having now developed a minimum viable service which we believe better meets user’s needs, we are looking to maintain, optimise and improve this through public beta.

The service includes two applications, the public website and an admin website.

The contract will include:

• Post-MVP development:
Design and development of enhancements to the service inline with user feedback. These developments will be identified during user testing and then prioritised and aligned into distinct sub-projects as appropriate.

• Maintenance:
Maintenance of the service throughout the duration of the contract whilst enhancement work is taking place. We expect this to include monitoring and optimisation of the service as well as well as bug fixing.

• GDS live assessment:
Preparation for and attendance at a GDS live assessment, allowing the service to move into it’s live phase before maintenance is moved in-house.

• In-housing:
Working with internal DfE teams to prepare them for the service moving in-house by April 2023. We expect this to be the focus of the second half of the contract but we will review this periodically and move forward at the earliest point (at the discretion of the SRO).

Solutions need to be GDS compliant and conform to WCAG 2.1.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The data and statistics published on EES are used by the general public, schools and local authorities, the media and central government amongst others. They are used to improve the transparency of the education system and shine a light on education policy and delivery.

User personas and associated user needs have been developed and maintained throughout earlier project phases. Our user personas can be broadly grouped into the following categories - expert internal; non-expert internal; expert external; non-expert external.

A subset of the global needs (for all users) are as follows:

- I need DfE data to be easy to navigate so I can find the statistics I’m looking for
- I need DfE data to be simple to use so I can analyse and customise without extensive knowledge or training
- I need data to be accessible so I can use the data with a disability
- I want to customise the data according to my requirements so that I can answer my questions by myself
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery report is available at

The public beta service is available at -

To see existing code, our GitHub repository is available at

The main technologies used are
- C# and .NET Core 3 including EF Core, Identity, and Azure SDKs
- IdentityServer and Azure AD integration
- React and Typescript
- Next.js
- Azure services including Azure Web App, Azure Storage, Azure SQL Database, Data Factory and DevOps
- Robot Framework, Locust and Postman
Existing team
The supplier will be working with the DfE Statistics Development team.

In addition to the existing DfE filled roles within the team (Product Owner, and Subject Matter Experts), our work to date has indicated the team we need should include (at varying levels):
• Developer
• Quality Assurance
• User Researcher
• Designer
• Delivery Manager

Due to the nature of the identified work, we may require access to people with different skill sets at different times throughout the project. As such, we require any supplier to be able to scale and flex quickly to ensure the work maintains momentum.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote working during Covid-19 pandemic.

The DfE team are usually based in Sheffield & Darlington. Travel to those offices and various locations throughout the UK is likely to be required.
Working arrangements
Detailed working arrangements will be contained within each statement of work.

Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques, with appropriate ceremonies to be undertaken.

Scope and prioritisation of work is decided by the product owner with input from the SRO and wider DfE governance.

SOW may include services that fall inside and outside of IR35 - with an expectation that a high proportion will be inside of IR35. We will be looking for a provider that has the capacity to meet both of these scenarios.
Security clearance
BPSS clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Travel and expenses to be paid in line with standard DfE policy. The supplier will be expected to cover their own costs for travel to the main DfE team’s office (Sheffield or Darlington).

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
  • Demonstrable experience of architecting high quality, large-scale software systems that meet users needs and which are robust, scalable, open and secure.
  • Experience with Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Function as a Service (FaaS) infrastructure and Azure DevOps build pipelines.
  • Knowledge of a number of programming languages including React.js and experience with C# and .Net (API development), Azure SDKs and Entity Framework as a ORM.
  • (QA) Experience creating Automated UI tests and API tests, preferably with Robot framework and Postman.
  • Evidence of successfully meeting the GDS Service Standard, delivering user research, user experience, and service design capability and activities for a digital service during an agile iterative development.
  • Evidence of ability to translate business problems and user needs into technical designs.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of delivering services similar to our existing architecture (set out in work already done)
  • Experience in the dissemination of data on a large scale.
  • An awareness of statistics in Government.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate how your approach will meet our requirements as stated in the ‘problem to be solved’ section
  • Describe your recommended size, shape and make-up of the proposed team.
  • Describe your technical competence in the identified technologies and practices (as listed in the essential skills and experience)
  • Explain how you will achieve and maintain value for money during the life of the contract.
  • Ability to promptly mobilise expertise to scale up team and flex resource when needed and to respond to fluctuating requirements
  • Describe how your approach to knowledge and skills transfer will enable a successful transition of service maintenance to in-house DfE teams
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work well in a collaborative team and be confident at communicating and demonstrating developments and ideas
  • Share knowledge and experience; as well as delivering training in order to upskill client resource
  • Social Value (equal opportunity and wellbeing) - Provide evidence of your company's approach to diversity and inclusion and your ability to manage the wellbeing of your team
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who is the incumbent supplier?
The incumbent supplier is Hive IT Limited.
2. Please can you clarify if there is an incumbent?
See answer to Q 1
3. Is there an incumbent supplier?
See answer to Q 2
4. Who is the incumbent supplier supporting this work?
See answer to Q 3
5. Is DFE open to an out of the box solution that could be white labelled and integrated with existing project infrastructure?
We will assess all responses based on our needs and the ability to meet the requirements. The proposed approach or solution should not place IPR or licenses restrictions on the DfE that would tie the DfE into a locked in solution with a single provider.
6. Can you please let us know who will be on the panel from DfE?
Applications will be scored by a panel of 3 or 4 individuals who work for the DfE with both appropriate technical knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of their area.
7. Can you please let us who was awarded the opportunity published on 19th August for BaU and public beta enhancements?
See answer to Q 4