Awarded to Hitachi Solutions

Start date: Monday 14 June 2021
Value: £6,000,000
Company size: large
Environment Agency

EA Reg Services Beta Platform Project Phase

18 Incomplete applications

13 SME, 5 large

11 Completed applications

5 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Published
Tuesday 16 March 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 23 March 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 30 March 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
To operate as core delivery partner with the ability to resource and execute delivery of a scalable and flexible platform for permitting, enabling future development to accommodate regulatory activities. The supplier is expected to be a MS Gold partner with experience of Dynamics, Dataverse, Power Platform, reporting, analytics and automation.
Latest start date
Monday 10 May 2021
Expected contract length
2 years 6 months
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Environment Agency
Budget range
Up to £6M

About the work

Why the work is being done
To enable the Environment Agency’s statutory responsibilities on environmental regulation to continue to be met through the transformation of its Digital and IT estate and regulatory activities. This will improve the way regulated customers interact with Government and deliver stable, flexible and inter-operable systems to store and manage workflow activities.

The Environment Agency is tasked to protect and improve the environment. We help people and wildlife adapt to climate change and reduce its impacts, including flooding, drought, sea level rise and coastal erosion. We improve the quality of our water, land and air by tackling pollution.

Our responsibilities include the regulation of major industry and waste. We have responsibilities for water quality, fisheries and others. Since our inception in 1996 we have employed technology to manage our regulatory services, creating methods for registration and management. However each area of responsibility have developed its own service, employing different technology to achieve its goals.
Problem to be solved
Core regulatory activities include determining and issuing permits, charging customers for the right to operate, tracking performance against the rules of the permission, assessing and reporting on compliance and pursuing enforcement action. The EA relies on traditional costly channels such as (paper, phone etc) and needs to transform how it’s engages with those it regulates. The platform will be overlaid with digital front end channels enabling regulatory customers to interact with us online.

The Regulatory Services Programme seeks to build and deploy a common platform to serve all EA regulatory services. This project will modernise online digital application, registration and compliance processes, by investing in innovative digital technologies. Delivering a common look and feel, supporting accessibility and enabling external users to complete efficient transactions. EA internal users will benefit from improved data and reporting, making their jobs easier and more efficient.

We are seeking a supplier with industry leading expertise in the field of Microsoft cloud business applications, Azure, Azure DevOps, Dynamics 365, Dataverse and Power Platform services, SharePoint Online.

The supplier will be expected to work with our internal team of technical and business experts to build on the existing Alpha phase implementation.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our external regulated customers who have to apply for licenses and permits which are regulated under legislation. These include small organisations to large scale businesses with varying levels of techncal capabilitities. The strategy is to provide a multi channel approach to interacting with the Environment Agency from online forms to business to business interfaces for large scale opertions.

The Environment Agency currently relies on an IT estate that was mostly created ‘pre-internet’ to regulate approximately 14,000 permitted sites across regulated industries (including waste management, food and drink, energy and combustion, refineries, chemicals and intensive farming) and numerous activities (including water discharges, abstractions, flood risk management and fisheries), with more than 100,000 permits and licenses granted every year.

Various internal Environment Agency teams and specialists Nationally and in Area teams manage the activities. This includes determining and issuing permits, charging customers for the right to operate, tracking performance against the rules of the permission, assessing and reporting on compliance, and pursuing enforcement action.

Reporting and analytics of the data is key to enabling the Environment Agency to continually assess the performance of its services and the benefits to the environment.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
We have already started Alpha with a scope to build the core permitting application, determination and permiting processes to allow internal staff to manage the permit lifecycle. The MS Power Apps has been leveraged to deploy various workflows and busness rules to provide our internal teams with a single platform for managing all regulatory permits.
Existing team
There is an existing blended project team of technical developers, testers, user centred design and business SMEs which is part of a wider programme of activity covering regulated industry.
Current phase
Beta

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Bristol and National (remote working is supported).
Working arrangements
For the purpose of the contract Bristol will be considered the base location for work. Full remote working is supported.

Post COVID some travel may be required to other Environment Agency Offices. No additional expenses will be offered for travel or accomodation in agreed base office location.

We expect the successful supplier to provide upskilling to permanent staff to increase internal capability.

The supplier will be expected to adhere to DEFRA policies and procedures with regards to access to systems and environments.
Security clearance
The Supplier must ensure that all staff with access to Authority information, data or systems are vetted to appropriate standards (minimum BPSS or national equivalent with elevated clearance levels for certain administrative role types to be agreed with the Authority).

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
9. Intellectual Property rights
9.8 The Supplier grants the Buyer the exclusive, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free ownership of any Project Specific IPRs created through services delivered in this Call-Off Contract

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
  • Agile delivery capability  - experience of  agile working, prioritising, product backlogs, creating/maintaining sprint plans, leading agile ceremonies, working with owners/stakeholders to incrementally build, test and deliver IT solutions.
  • Deep experience/knowledge of Microsoft products/solutions in particular Azure, Azure DevOps, Dynamics 365, Dataverse and Power Platform services, Sharepoint Online. Gold Microsoft Partner status with competencies in cloud business applications
  • Demonstrable experience implementing and developing MS Dynamics 365 (model driven, canvas app, portal and integration with mapping solutions) / Dataverse solutions in an enterprise environment.
  • Experience gathering requirements through workshops and other methods. Creating user stories and working to defined and agreed acceptance criteria.
  • Establishing an integrated CI/CD pipeline, from code repo through to deploy with automation as a foundation for consistency and speed.
  • Develop against clear coding standards enforced under working practices/automated tooling. Ensure developers are accountable for quality of code/alignment to user needs by employing 'test first' TDD/BDD practices.
  • Establish and implement a clear test strategy, recommendation for automation test framework.
  • Experience of data migration, data cleansing and transformation in complex environments. In particular migration from a variety of legacy database solutions to Azure SQL or SQL Server.
  • Implement advanced analytical/data science techniques. Experience of advanced data science, analytical techniques, to derive insight. Implementation Business Intelligence tools to summarise/present data to enable data driven decisions and PowerBI
  • Data ingestion and integration - experience of working with large datasets and implementation of Change Data Capture mechanisms.
  • The Supplier must demonstrate any security certification (e.g. ISO27001, Cyber Essentials Plus, ITIL) and provide independent certificates for validation that they are operating within these delivery frameworks.
  • The Supplier must provide a security management plan referencing their security policies and procedures which will align to DEFRA Policy stack.
  • Proven experience of delivery of end to end design and architecture that accommodates a multi-channel user experience for regulatory application processing and permitting platform.
  • Experience working with open source interface standards.
  • Proven capability or delivering against the GDS service manual.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence in previous engagements where you have delivered regulatory processes.
  • Demonstrate increased contract growth, i.e.. a customer doing more work with the supplier after the initial award.
  • Evidence of industry and tech vendor awards demonstrating excellence in delivery and innovation.
  • Offers of innovation funding to help demonstrate how to deliver outcomes differently providing a level of added value from the engagement.
  • Experience of proactive contribution to software development communities, demonstrating the delivery of effective guidance and best practice.
  • Demonstrate experience of analysing technical risks, and identifying mitigations to risks when migrating from legacy platforms to new target architectures.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies.
  • Demonstrable evidence of incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience.
  • Examples of delivering services using agile teams, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments.
  • Experience migrating data from legacy databases to Azure SQL or SQL Server.
  • Demonstrate excellent competence with designing PowerBI reports that interface with Azure Sql Databases.
  • Capable and happy to mentor and develop the technical skillset of the internal team and to handover activities as required.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
3
Proposal criteria
  • Overall approach to Agile coaching and project/delivery management
  • Methods for capturing requirements and user feedback
  • How best practices are maintained throughout the SDLC
  • Overall approach to training and documentation
  • Approach for end to end testing and assurance
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Have a culture of sharing and learning
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Be comfortable challenging non-technical and technical decisions where they see value in an alternative approach
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Works as an interdependent team rather than individuals
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

55%

Cultural fit

15%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. who are the incumbent supplier(s) on this opportunity ?
No long term incumbent as this is a new Project but Hitachi are undertaking the short Alpha phase.
2. Is there an external incumbent and, if so, how long they have been the incumbent?
No long term incumbent as this is a new Project but Hitachi are undertaking the short Alpha phase.
3. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Specific members of the Team whom have seniority and specialist knowledge in the Programme will undertake this evaluation they cannot and should not be named as this is confidential during any Procurement Activity
4. Please advise if you would consider a compliant SaaS pre built capability for this requirement that is already used in Government?
It would be considered if applicable to the requirements of the delivery, although it depends on what is meant by pre-built capability and what this will mean for future development. Platform development capability from the Alpha build will also need to be considered.
5. Is there a current incumbent?
No long term incumbent as this is a new Project but Hitachi are undertaking the short Alpha phase.
6. Can you please advise the timelines of this procurement (e.g. shortlisted companies notified, anticipated contract award)? Also, can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
Procurement Activity: Stage 2 Onwards

Stage 2 - Invite Shortlisted Suppliers Proposal
- Fri 09/4/21
Stage 2 Closing date for applications
- Fri 16/4/21 17:00
Approval of Contract Award
- Fri 30/4/21
DOS 5 Call-Off Contract award / draft issued
- Fri 30/4/21
Contract Signatures - Mon 10/5/21
Contract Start Date - Mon 10/5/21
7. Also, can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
This is not planned to happen
8. To assist with providing the most relevant evidence, can we have any examples of the open source interface standards that might be applicable to this work?
There are no specific examples. However the supplier may want to provide evidence relevant to public sector aligned with the Government open standards principles
9. Are there any mandatory security certifications that suppliers are expected to hold i.e. Cyber Essentials Plus is mentioned but would Cyber Essentials be sufficient?
Cyber Essentials is sufficient
10. Please can you please clarify whether Q19 is asking for previous example of innovation funding being provided or offers as part of this engagement if successful?
Previous examples
11. Please can you confirm whether you will accept bids from companies that do not currently hold Gold Microsoft Partner status but are in the process of achieving this certification?
Yes, although all bids will be reviewed in line with the requirements set out
12. Could you please clarify your definition of ‘interface’ in Q.14. Are you referring to this in the context of User Experience or technical integration?
Technical integration
13. All questions relating to DEFRA Policy stack
As we cannot attach files at this stage and the DEFRA Policy Stack documents will not cut & paste easily for clarity regarding this question all suppliers are expected to provide a security management plan referencing their security policies and procedures which will later need to be aligned to the DEFRA Policy stack to be published at stage 2 of this Procurement
14. Can we confirm that potential suppliers are not required to demonstrate previous experience of aligning with the DEFRA Policy Stack in their submissions?
Yes you are NOT required to demonstrate previous experience of aligning with the DEFRA Policy Stack
15. Acknowledging the base location as Bristol in a post-covid working environment, would the EA consider a hybrid model with part of the team being located at nearshore/offshore if both parties agreed to this being a practical delivery option?
We are happy to consider hybrid models. It is more important people with the correct skills are assigned to the project.
16. Does the requirement for security certifications (e.g. ISO27001) need a client example as per the standard guidance for writing evidence or just a list of security certifications held?
We are happy to accept a list of security certifications held. Suppliers may also choose to provide client examples where available.