Awarded to Talent international UK Limited

Start date: Monday 19 April 2021
Value: £1,500,000
Company size: SME
Education and Skills Funding Agency (DfE)

Testing and Development

31 Incomplete applications

28 SME, 3 large

40 Completed applications

32 SME, 8 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 27 January 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 3 February 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 10 February 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
We require agile digital testing and development services to support the development of GDS compliant services. The outcomes you will deliver will support the continued development and live running of the service.
Latest start date
Thursday 1 April 2021
Expected contract length
18 Months
Location
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Education and Skills Funding Agency (DfE)
Budget range
These services are to be delivered over a contract period of 18 months and with an indicative contract value of approximately £1.5m for the full 18 months service delivery.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Government has committed to increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England. To support the delivery of this ambition we will continue to ensure our services are scalable, cloud-based and meet Government Digital Service standards; so that they meet user needs and ensure a great apprenticeship experience. The Apprenticeship Service is fully operational for the levy paying employers and we are now transitioning non-levy employers onto the service. Our focus for the transition is to ensure we continuously improve the service and uplift our service maturity, reducing technical debt and ensuring the service scales in-line with increased user volumes.
Problem to be solved
The ambition set through the apprenticeship reform is to transform the way in which the English apprenticeship system works - a significant ambition with multiple policy, operational and delivery challenges. Apprenticeships have a high return on investment and through the outcomes you will deliver you will support to raise the quality and quantity of successful apprenticeships, and promote social mobility, thereby adding to the country's economic performance. This will be achieved through high quality development and testing outcomes that will underpin the delivery of high priority projects outlined in the PM speech, SR commitment and programme ambitions. You will ensure the outcomes in this area are timely and efficiently achieved.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our users are both external (employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and apprentices) and government, for example:
• As a student I need to easily access impartial information to understand and access apprenticeships, and to receive timely information on how I progress with my apprenticeship. Currently there are around 700,000 apprentices.
• As a non-levy employer I need to understand the funding for hiring an apprentice, find and recruit the right apprentice. We are planning for around 150,000 employers to use the service.
• As a training provider I need to understand how I receive funding for apprenticeships from government. Around 2000 organisations are approved to deliver apprenticeship training.
• As an end-point assessment organisation I need to understand the registration process for operating in the marketplace. Around 250 organisations can carry out assessments of apprentices.
• As ESFA I need to oversee effective delivery of Apprenticeships, including sharing information with stakeholders, directly managing the issue of certificates..
Early market engagement
N/A
Any work that’s already been done
A minimum viable service was introduced in 2017 and we continue to develop significant capability as we move towards the agreed vision for the service whereby all employers in England take greater control of apprenticeship funding to drive up quality in the marketplace. We currently operate 10 inter-connected services and continue to add new services / capabilities and features as we build out toward a great end-to-end experiences for our users. These capabilities are connected through personalised user-outcome, AI based, real time data modelling. Developers and testers can switch between working on services more easily due to common approaches.
Existing team
We operate agile at scale across all aspects of our award-winning build-test-run model. Our agile teams are multi-disciplinary with the full range of agile delivery skills needed to develop brand new digital services, through the standard GDS phases. Typical skill-mix such as product/service managers, delivery managers, business analysts, user research & design professionals, developers, testers are used in the delivery of services. Teams are based in Coventry and comprise a blend of digital service suppliers and permanent staff.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Primary location will be ESFA Cheylesmore House, Coventry. Very occasionally travel may be required to the DfE/ESFA sites in London or across England where required for user research. We are currently delivering all work remotely in accordance with Government guidelines.
Working arrangements
Detailed working arrangements, including team location, size and make-up, the supplier will be accountable for the delivery of the outcomes contained within each statement of work. Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques.
Security clearance
Enhanced DBS and BPSS checks required

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work location stated in SoW will not attract expenses. No parking is available on site.

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
  • Evidence of experience within the last two years of successful delivery of scalable cloud-based web applications (preferably Microsoft Azure).
  • Proven experience of building successful front-end web applications with programming languages such as C#, Net Core, MVC.Razor, HTML.JazaScript/CSS, demonstrating detailed knowledge of various programming languages.
  • Demonstratable experience within the last two years of successfully developing software using modern engineering practices such as Test Driven Development and Continuous Integration & Deployment in an Azure DevOps environment
  • Proven experience in effectively implementing and maintaining a robust Test Automation solution in .NET (C# programming) platform using open source tools (Selenium)
  • Proven demonstrable experience of API & Database testing and evidence of a good understanding of Non-Functional testing with the ability to analyse & communicate the test outcomes
  • Evidence of designing and executing test strategies, test plans and test scripts along with documenting outputs in test reports and defect logs
  • Proven experience of supporting customers to build in-house analysis capabilities, setting out the strategy for capability development and effective knowledge management and transfer.
  • Evidence of successful digital development within the last two years, demonstrating compliance with GDS Standards, Technology Code of Practice or equivalent, using open distributed version control systems such as GitHub
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Evidence of successfully working within the Agile framework and conveying technical information to non-technical audiences.
  • Experience of proactive contribution to software development communities, demonstrating the delivery of effective guidance and best practice.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
4
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer to enable the transition of service delivery to ESFA
  • Ability to promptly mobilise expertise to scale up team and flex resource when needed and to respond to fluctuating requirements
  • Demonstrate understanding/ability to successfully deliver digital products/services to Government Digital Service standards or equivalent standards
  • Ability to drive innovation to transform services into modern customer centric solutions
  • Ability to translate business problems and user needs into technical designs
  • Evidence of maintaining at pace a detailed understanding of technical and business solutions to allow on-going support and further development
  • Technical competence in the identified technologies and agile practices
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you have successfully integrated into a new organisational environment, highlighting the proactive adoption of a different organisational culture.
  • Evidence how you drive best practice in community of practice and demonstrate knowledge sharing to build capability
  • Approach to developing a "One Team" approach, Work as a team - Collaborate, establish good working relationships, generate team spirit.
  • Evidence how you actively promote diversity and inclusion
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

30%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

60%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who are the third-party suppliers supporting the testing and development?
Through the course of the contract there will be a number of third-party suppliers delivering against Testing and Development. Where this is relevant to the delivery of outcomes through this call-off agreement, it will be outlined in the Statement of Work.
2. What are the approximate number of developers and testers that the Authority requires?
This will be an outcomes-based requirement where the successful supplier provides a solution and dictates the make up of teams to deliver services. We are unable to provide an approximate number of developers and testers.
3. Is there a current incumbent
There is no incumbent supplier.
4. Will you consider multiple vendors from leading specialists in either Testing or Development or are you only considering suppliers who provide both services?
This contract will be awarded to a single supplier/consortium. All bids that can demonstrate the capability and capacity for this opportunity are encouraged to apply.
5. Who’s the incumbent?
There is no incumbent supplier.
6. Who’s on the panel?
Applications will be scored by a panel of 3 or 4 individuals who work for the Education & Skills Funding Agency with both appropriate technical knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of their area.
7. Who’s on the panel?
Applications will be scored by a panel of 3 or 4 individuals who work for the Education & Skills Funding Agency with both appropriate technical knowledge and an in-depth knowledge of their area.
8. Who’s in the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent.
There is no incumbent supplier.
9. Can you please confirm if more than one example can be submitted for each or few skills where we may need multiple resources (Developer, Tester)?
More than one example can be used to demonstrate the skills and experience set out in the essential and nice-to-have criteria.
10. When submitting the responses to the skills, do we need to specify the resources / skills or high level experience covering all the resources as required by that skills (in which case more than one example or project will be used)
We would expect to see responses that demonstrate ability and successful delivery against the criteria outlined. How you choose to respond within the allocated word limit is at your discretion.
11. Do you expect to see our resource’s employer/ clients name in the examples or is it ok to mention as “one of the leading retail/ transport client”
We will be evaluating responses based on how the evidence submitted meets the published essential and nice-to-have criteria. It is the decision of the individual bidder to determine whether employer/clients name should be included in submissions.
12. The details read as if there is already a Dev function in place and this new service will support it rather than take on full responsibility for Dev. Is that correct and if so, is there an incumbent Dev team (is it possible to know who) or has Dev been done by Civil Servants ?
The successful supplier will have full responsibility for the outcomes outlined in their individual statement of work. The delivery through this contract will support a range of projects. There is no incumbent dev team. Previous outcomes have been delivered through a mix of civil servants and managed service suppliers.
13. can more than 1 example be provided for each requirement?
Yes, more than one example can be provided to demonstrate the skills and experience set out in the essential and nice-to-have criteria.
14. "Proven experience in effectively implementing and maintaining a robust Test Automation solution in.NET (C# programming) platform using open source tools (Selenium)” Does the buyer want experience of creating test automation frameworks in.Net or our experience of using Selenium with C#?
We would expect to see responses that demonstrate experience in creating and maintaining Test Automation solutions in C# and in the use of Selenium (or other open source automated testing tools)
15. “Proven demonstrable experience of API & Database testing and evidence of a good understanding of Non-Functional testing with the ability to analyse & communicate the test outcomes”- Does the buyer want understanding NFT for API and database testing only or suppliers wider understanding of NFT
We would expect to see responses that demonstrate experience in API and Database testing, in addition to a good understanding of testing against Non-Functional Requirements
16. Do you expect the work to be delivered in situ when restrictions ease, or are you comfortable with work being delivered by a remote team?
We are currently working remotely in accordance with Government guidelines. When these restrictions are lifted we may need work to be conducted in a specific location however this will be set out in each individual statement of work.
17. Please can you advise what is meant by capped time and materials?
Capped time and materials is a payment approach where the supplier and buyer will agree a maximum cost to deliver agreed outcomes, which are captured in a statement of work. If the maximum committed cost has been met before outcomes are fully delivered the supplier will bear any additional costs above the agreed SOW value to deliver the agreed outcomes. If the supplier delivers outcomes before the maximum committed cost is met, the buyer will only be liable for the costs incurred to fully deliver the agreed outcomes and not the total SOW value.
18. As the size and make-up of the team required depends on the outcomes set out in a statement of works, how much time will be available between award and deployment, so that the best team can be prepared?
An appropriate timeframe for the statement of works to be reviewed and teams scaled up will be agreed between the Department and the successful supplier. The indicative start date for this contract is currently 01/04/2021.
19. Do the entire team need to be based at ESFA Cheylesmore House, Coventry or can some of them work remotely? If remote work is acceptable, what % of the team can work remotely?
We are currently working remotely in accordance with Government guidelines. When these restrictions are lifted we may need work to be conducted in a specific location however the details of the working arrangements will be set out in each individual statement of work.
20. ‘Proven experience of supporting customers to build in-house analysis capabilities, setting out the strategy for capability development and effective knowledge management and transfer’
We require responses to demonstrate experience of building in-house capabilities, specifically for Test and Development capabilities and knowledge transfer