Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Wednesday 7 April 2021
Value: £792,000
Company size: SME
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

MHCLG Support and development for 2 social-housing data-collection services (CORE/NICORE) CPD4121005

12 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 1 large

9 Completed applications

7 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Thursday 28 January 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 4 February 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 11 February 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Support and improve two live MHCLG digital services, which allow the collection of social housing sales and lettings data provided by English and Northern Ireland organisations. Improvements should be delivered in an agile way and based on changing business and user needs.

Tech stack:MarkLogic NOSQL, Orbeon forms, Java, XQuery, XPath.
Latest start date
Monday 8 March 2021
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
Budget range
For support, a budget range up to £240,000 has been allocated for this requirement to cover the lifecycle of the contract.

For future development, budget has yet to be signed off, but is estimated to be £600,000 to cover the lifecycle of the contract.

This split does not need to be adhered to rigidly. We want to work in a collaborative and agile way in change management and improvements. We welcome hearing your views on how this could work. Suppliers must provide a monthly service cost.

About the work

Why the work is being done
CORE (Continuous Recording) supports the collection of social housing sales and lettings data provided by English local authorities. The service currently has approximately 11,500 users including representatives from local authorities and housing associations.

NICORE (Northern Ireland Continuous Recording) supports the collection of social-economic data about Housing Association (HA) new tenants in Northern Ireland. It is administered for housing associations by NIFHA (Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations). The service currently has approximately 300 users.

These services exist to allow MHCLG and NIFHA to collect data about social housing, so that it can be analysed by statisticians. Findings from this analysis then inform policy decisions.
Problem to be solved
CORE - statistical data allows MHCLG to make better policy decisions.

NICORE – statistical data allows NIFHA to share data with government bodies and organisations to inform social housing funding, regulatory and housing policy decisions.

The problem this outcome seeks to resolve is that support is needed for these live services, and we wish to be able to continually improve them as a result of changing business and user need.

Suppliers should note that MHCLG is aiming to retire these services within the life of the contract, although specific timelines are unknown.
Who the users are and what they need to do
CORE service:

As someone who collects statistical data in a Housing Association, I want to provide this information to MHCLG quickly and easily, so that I can help MCHLG make good policy decisions.

As a statistician within MHCLG, I want to be able to easily download the data submitted, so that I can analyse the data to help policy makers.

NI CORE service:

As someone who collects statistical data in a Housing Association, I want to provide this information to NIFHA quickly and easily, so that I can help local government bodies and organisations make good policy decisions.

As a research officer within NIFHA, I want to be able to easily download the data submitted, so that I can analyse the data to help our local policy makers.

MHCLG wants to manage these data collection services.
Early market engagement
MHCLG currently hold a contract with an incumbent supplier, Softwire Technology Limited.
Any work that’s already been done
Both services have been Live for more than 2 years.

Tech stack: MarkLogic NOSQL, Orbeon forms, Java, XQuery, XPath
Existing team
Current incumbent is Softwire. It's expected the successful supplier shall work with them to transition the services.

CORE/NICORE are part of an application platform suite of connected services, delivered by other suppliers.The successful supplier will be expected to communicate regularly with all suppliers to ensure appropriate consistency and that all services continue to work together.

The successful supplier will also need to work with the MHCLG cloud platform hosting partner and helpdesk.

MHCLG provides a Product Owner plus part-time support from a digital Product Manager.The current supplier provides a project manager and 2-3 developers(for these services)all of whom are part-time.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Assuming we return to the office within the contract period, the supplier may need to travel to some meetings in MHCLG offices in 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

However, our expectation is that almost all work can be delivered from the successful suppliers’ premises.
Working arrangements
As these are live services, both will need standard support such as upgrades of databases.

We also want to continue to improve them as a result of changing business and user needs. We'd want to work with you in an agile way to consider and develop these changes as we discover the need for them. We're interested in a flexible contract model where we can commit to a certain level of regular funding and then flex up to encompass additional work.

MHCLG also expects monthly production of appropriate metrics, which quantitatively define the service provided by the supplier.
Security clearance
System Administrators are expected to hold a minimum full SC clearance for this requirement. Other roles can be BPSS cleared. Supplier to state clearance level for each team member in their proposal.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) terms and conditions are required for this contract.

Any appointed supplier is expected to use Departmental tools where required (such as Jira).

Suppliers will be required to work to reasonable SLAs for 3rd-line level incidents e.g. P1 resolution 4 working hours, P2 in Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, etc. Out of hours may be required for releases. (To be agreed between MHCLG and supplier at contract stage).

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
  • Have knowledge of NOSQL databases and Java
  • Have ability to develop in an agile way
  • Have experience of developing secure services and proactively mitigating risks
  • Have experience of support live digital services and responding to second- and third-line support calls
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate knowledge of MarkLogic databases and Orbeon formbuilder
  • Experience of transitioning live digital services
  • Experience of working on government services which meet the Government Digital Service standard

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Written proposal, maximum 5 pages (excl CVs)
  • State security clearance level for each team member
  • Technical solution
  • Team structure including roles, daily rates, and CVs
  • Approach and methodology
  • Value for money
  • How you would support live digital services
  • Proposed costs and plan to transition from one supplier to another
  • Provide a monthly cost for the service (estimated average 10days pm plus additional dev work)
  • 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
  • Presentation (estimated to take place late February 2021) using Microsoft Teams
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team (both internal and external)
  • Be transparent and collaborative
  • Take responsibility for their work
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members
  • Challenge the status quo
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
We do not provide this information. However we can confirm it will be undertaken by permanent civil servants with relevant knowledge of the requirement plus commercial expertise to oversee the process.
2. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
As mentioned in the advert the incumbent is Softwire Technology Ltd and they have been the incumbent for 2 years.
3. 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?
As stated in the advert we will aim to meet these dates, “Presentation (estimated to take place late February 2021)” and “Latest start date Monday 8 March 2021”. The exact dates will not be firm until the number of responses is known.
4. Please confirm start date.
It is likely that due to availability of evaluators the presentations will now take place in early March 2021 and therefore the start date is expected to be 15 March 2021.