Start date: Monday 2 August 2021
Value: £331,000
Company size: SME
Wilton Park Executive Agency

Network and dialogue management system replacement

9 Incomplete applications

8 SME, 1 large

22 Completed applications

21 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Friday 5 March 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 12 March 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 19 March 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Wilton Park requires a development team to deliver a system that will support pipeline, resource and financial management and our new Friends of Wilton Park network.

The successful development partner will be expected to deliver a hybrid solution comprising off the shelf products and bespoke development for high value features.
Latest start date
Wednesday 30 June 2021
Expected contract length
6 months with scope for longer term support
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Wilton Park Executive Agency
Budget range
£300k to £400k

About the work

Why the work is being done
Our existing system reaches end of life this year and we need to replace it with a new system that better suits our ambition; which is to accelerate our digital coverage, support on demand services to our customers and expand the use of technology and automation to support operational delivery, develop greater diversity within our funding base and manage our network. This is a multi-phase build with the full system being in place by the end of 2021. The first phase is critical as we need to replace our end of life system by the autumn.
Problem to be solved
We have many manual operational processes that need to be digitalised and/or automated so that we can expand our network and relationship building capabilities and deliver greater impact. Our customers’ needs are constantly evolving so we need technology to enable us to be more agile and flex with our environment. We need more advanced and sophisticated access to our data and the ability to flex the things we need to report on. We need to join up existing systems to support more sophisticated budget management.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As an internal user I need a system that helps me deliver our dialogues, keep track of budgets and costs, and feed into strategic decision making supported by fast and easy access to event and participant network data. I need to flex what we deliver to our customers and how we deliver it in order to meet continually evolving demand. I also need to interrogate our participant data, to help develop our network.

As a participant I need a quick and easy way to register for an event and manage my participation which may involve flights and overnight accommodation. I also need to find event information easily when it suits my schedule, and explore the profiles of other people I will be in dialogue with.

As a partner I need to see that latest on the event I am supporting so I know the state of play and can feed into the process. I’d like an easy way to supply Wilton Park with the details of people I’d like to be included in the dialogue too and find out the status of my suggested invitees.
Early market engagement
Engagement has taken place to establish interest to support a competitive tender process and our findings suggest that there is sufficient interest to ensure the process is competitive.
Any work that’s already been done
An initial discovery phase has been completed to produce high level MoSCoW prioritised requirements. The requirements are available on request via The appointed team will be expected to evolve our requirements throughout the life of the project.
Existing team
You will be working with Wilton Park's Digital Services Team and their internal stakeholders. Our people comprise of subject matter experts, project managers, an internal service designer and digital projects leader.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Our physical location is in Steyning, West Sussex but we expect the work to take place remotely.
Working arrangements
Remote working via virtual calls for face to face conversations.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Our business is evolving at a heightened pace; the successful supplier will be asked to help us evolve our requirements as part of the project delivery. It will be important that the supplier can demonstrate emerging features through mock ups, prototypes and early access to test environments.

We will require the successful supplier to use open standards, using open code to ensure the system can be supported and adapted by new partners. Intellectual property ownership will be an important contractual provision enabling us to move elsewhere.

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
  • demonstrate expertise in successful agile delivery
  • Service Design
  • Product Owner
  • System Design
  • Testing
  • Data cleaning (SQL) and Data migration
  • Demonstrate experience with hybrid development projects
  • Demonstrate expertise in selecting suitable off the shelf products
Nice-to-have skills and experience
- Demonstrate experience with advising on the business impact in using OTS products

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution including system architecture and where OTS products sit
  • Approach and methodology
  • Estimated timeframe for work and each phase
  • How the project can be broken down into phases and minimise impact to the business
  • How they visualise the system for the end user
  • How the solution meets our objectives
  • How risks and dependencies are identified and managed
  • How system and data security will be delivered
Cultural fit criteria
  • be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • take responsibility for their work
  • challenge the status quo
  • can work with clients with low technical expertise
  • work as a team with our organisation
  • Seek to find improvements in all aspects of work including system and service design
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What technical constraints are there for the solution. For example, do you already have a chosen cloud provider or favoured technical stack for the wider organisation?
We prefer our solutions to be hosted in an Azure environment provided via the successful supplier.
2. Is the quoted budget inclusive or exclusive of VAT?
The budget is inclusive of VAT.
3. We understand that production selection is part of the proposal but can you clarify the driver behind the use of OTS products as part of the solution and whether you have preferred products already in mind?
We would like to avoid (where feasible) developing solutions where they already exist in the marketplace. This is the main driver for use of off the shelf products.
4. Can you please share your definition or product owner, or is it interchangeable with product manager? We realise some people use the terms interchangeably;
We used the term Product Owner as we are looking for an Agile working organisation and would expect to be working with a Product Owner or equivalent to take us through the product lifecycle.
5. Can you please expand on what you mean by System Design?
We see system design as the ability to pull together the component pieces (off the shelf and developed) to create a wider system, while demonstrating the data flow, the logic and where the user will interact with it.
6. Can you please tell us more about the existing system? Is it off the shelf? Full custom developed or a hybrid?
Will the provider of the existing system be putting forward an alternative in this process and if so what will it be?
Apart from coming to end of life, what else about the existing system would you want to see improved?
The end of life of our existing system is a driver for the timeline of this project. We are seeking a solution to support our current business needs and ambitions; proposals should focus on this rather than what is currently in place.
7. The budget range is £300-£400k. Is that inclusive or exclusive of VAT? Is this just for system implementation and development, or does it include possible licence fees? Does it cover just year one or a greater timespan?
The budget will cover build/development and implementation, but we would appreciate an indication of ongoing licensing and support costs within the proposal.
8. In Why the work is being done to say you wish to “accelerate our digital coverage”. Can you please elaborate?
In Why the work is being done to say you wish to “support on demand services”. Can you elaborate on what this means? Video and sound recordings hosted by Wilton Park, or use of services such as You Tube? What might be the storage volume required at initial go-live date and what will the annual rate of growth be?
Do you need the technical capability to deliver “virtual” or remote events? If so. Is that part of this requirement?
We are looking to help our customers interact with us by providing improved digital services around their dialogue attendance, such as being able to alter their attendance information online rather than having to email or call us. Many of our partners would like to obtain an update on the development of a dialogue they are funding – improvements to our digital services will enable partners to obtain an update on demand at a time that suits them.

We do not have any requirements that specifically relate to the technical delivery of our virtual events.
9. In Why the work is being done you say the project will have a multi-phase build. Can you please elaborate on what those phases are; how long you see each phase; key deliverables of each phase; and any major dependencies on the critical path?
Are there any security considerations related to this project or the personnel that work on it?
The first phase of the build to be delivered by late summer in order to migrate our network data off of a soon to be end of life system. We expect other phases delivering remaining elements of the system to manage our pipeline development. We are looking to a supplier to propose how this could be approached and how many phases will be involved.

Currently no specific security considerations other than those detailed in the requirements document, although these may evolve as the solution evolves and other security needs are identified. We haven't stipulated any specific security considerations for personnel.
10. In Problem to be Solved you say that you have “many manual processes”. Can you please state what the major ones are and how you see these being digitised?
In Problem to be Solved, what does “expand our network and relationship building capabilities” mean in terms of your vision for the new system?
In Problem to be Solved you state that “our customers’ needs are constantly evolving”. Typically what are these needs and what is the trend for evolution of these needs? Where is the future demand?
Major manual tasks include data entry for all people registering to join a dialogue and manually chasing up responses or reminding attendees to supply certain information. Also manual cross-referencing and checking to identify missing information.

By using technology to make us more efficient we can focus more or developing our network.

Our customers are requiring dialogues that are tailored to their specific needs and we expect this to be an ongoing trend – we need technology to adapt so that we can respond to our customer’s need’s efficiently and effectively and avoid satellite processes that create inefficiencies.
11. In Why the work is being done to say you wish to use technology and automation to support operational delivery. Can you please describe what operational delivery includes?
In Why the work is being done to say you wish to “develop greater diversity within our funding base and manage our network”. Can you please elaborate? What does diversity in the funding base mean and what is holding you back now? What does managing the network entail?
Operational delivery encompasses all practical, logistical aspects of delivering dialogue, keeping track of invited, attending, arriving/departing, accommodation and travel.
Managing and broadening network requirements, improved access to our existing network data and the ability to search/report on data. E.G. it's currently difficult finding people who contribute on specific policy, we must know specific names of someone to find them – we cannot bring other pieces of information together in a search to find them (year/subject of an event or role the person had at an event). We cannot get a search to display the information we need within the results.
12. In Problem to be Solved you say you want “advanced and sophisticated access to data”. Is this via improved reporting? What are the current pain points? In which phase must this be delivered?
In what format is the current data? What is the data and where (how many systems) does it reside?
What is the size of the current database?
Will all existing data be migrated to the new system? Do you foresee significant data cleansing action required?
Internal Users have to “deliver dialogues”. What does this mean?
A major pain point is an inflexible data structure that cannot adapt to our business as we evolve the data we need to hold and retrieve. We are looking for a solution that will not hinder us when we have a need to hold and retrieve more, different data and need to see that data in search results and reports.

Our data currently resides in an SQL database and multiple spreadsheets. We expect the SQL data to require some cleaning, but do not expect it migrate all data.

Internal users of the system will be those involved in delivering dialogues
13. If you need to keep track of budgets and costs does the new system need to be integrated with your finance system? What is that system? If no integration is required, how do users access this financial information?
What is the “event and participant network data” that internal users need to access?
What is your vision for a system that is able to meet the internal use requirement of flexing delivery?
We expect integration with our new finance system which is yet to be implemented.

The event and participant data relates to the dialogues we deliver and who attends them. The delivery of our dialogues needs to flex with our customers needs to ensure we can deliver our dialogues efficiently. This could mean storing and retrieving different data for a dialogue or setting up automated alerts or reminders that are unique to a dialogue.
14. Please can you advise on the timelines for the next stages following the skills and experience shortlisting (i.e. proposal and presentation)?
The shortlisting is currently due to start w/c 29 March with feedback to all suppliers around w/c 19 April (this may come forward a week)
final proposals / presentations would commence from the earliest of w/c 19 April
We would be looking to have chosen a supplier by the latest of 14 May
15. Do participants need to book flights via your system? Do they need to book accommodation via your system? In other words do you need a travel system as part of the solution?
What are the issues with the current system that require a quicker and easier way for participants to register for events and manage participation?
How many internal users are there? Of these how many require access to all features of the system, and how many only require limited access ie status reporting?
We do not expect participants to book flights or accommodation via our system.

Our participants manage their registration and attendance to a dialogue via email and information about the dialogue can get easily lost in a busy inbox. We would like to make attendance easier to manage by giving participants a place online to manage their registration and attendance, including updating their information and telling us about any changes.

We have approximately 90 internal users who will need to use the system. Very few internal users can work with limited access.
16. Who will administer and support the system once delivered? Is there any budget for ongoing system support?
How many participants do you envisage on an annual basis and how might this grow in coming years? How many of these just register for one or two events? How many register for many events and log in frequently?
Do you have an existing CRM system? If so, what is it? Will it be replaced as part of this project?
Do you have an existing CMS? If so, what is it? Will it be replaced as part of this project?
We expect to have internal admin users to deliver some basic system support, we expect there to be an ongoing support contract – for which there is no set budget.

We have approximately 3,000 participants a year. The data structure of our CRM does not allow us to easily report on how many participate at one or two events a year.

We do not use a CMS.
17. You refer in the document to the Portal. Please can we clarify whether this is part of the requirement or whether this has been built already? If built please can you clarify what the portal is built on?
The first phase of the portal has been custom built using open source code. Further details will be supplied to shortlisted suppliers
18. On p8 of the Requirements & Specifications KIM document you state Existing solutions relevant to this project. Do you mean that all of these require integration into the dialogue management replacement system? Will integration to the new accounts system be required?
Of the existing solutions listed in the specs document, it should be assumed that some integration will be needed. As far as O365 is concerned, we would be interested to learn about how we could link up the apps to a system as we use many O365 apps and SharePoint to manage our events.
19. On p30 of the Requirements & Specifications KIM document you state that The first phase of development for the Wilton Park Portal is about to go live (March 2021). Items delivered via this first phase are highlighted. In order to bid we need to fully understand the portal in order to interface to it. We need to understand more about the portal – how it is constructed, what API’s are available. Also, if technical changes are required, who would be responsible for this. Can this be covered in the supplier demo we have requested prior to DOS stage 2 commencing?
This information will be supplied to shortlisted suppliers.
20. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p28 you mention email tracking. Can emails be re-directed into the dialogue management replacement from your server?
This can be discussed with shortlisted suppliers, we do use O365 if this is helpful.
21. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p20 you mention event profiles and “alternate profiles”. What is the maximum number of alternate profiles?
No maximum is set, but we would not expect this to be more than 3.
22. What version of Smartsurveys is used?
Information about the plan we subscribe to will be available to shortlisted suppliers.
23. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p17 you mention the event programme. Is the programme likely to be needed as a PDF or online through the portal? If we can render the PDF through the portal would that be acceptable?
The portal already has a feature developed to build and display the programme in html and has a PDF downloadable option. To clarify further, we are looking for the programme to be managed on a system and for it to be published to the portal – so there is an interconnection between the programme and the portal.
24. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on pp17 and 19 you mention that users will be able to create extra questions. What is the maximum number of questions anticipated? Where do the responses go to/are the responses used?
We do not have set maximum set of questions – the objective it to ensure we can gather the information we need and do this in a way that is user friendly to us and our customers.
25. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p17 you mention Registration. Wil this be via the portal you may already be developing or will the partner who delivers the dialogue management replacement be required to develop the registration process and “portal”?
We expect the successful supplier to develop the portal to support registration
26. You state in additional terms that you require the supplier to “use open standards” and “open code”. In Essential skills and experience and Nice to have, the supplier is also required to be experts on COTS products. These appear to be contradictory statements. Can you please explain this? Is it the case that in fact you actually want a COTS low code system that can easily be supported by any supplier of choice?
Is there any requirement for multi-language or is English sufficient?
No mention has been made against regulatory requirements like PII/ GDPR etc. Can you state your requirements?
We are seeking a hybrid solution so expertise to support development and OTS is required.
27. In the Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p8 you mention the portal development (explained in more detail later on). Is this part of this project or delivered by another partner in parallel or is it subsequent work for the partner who delivers the dialogue management replacement?
We expect the successful supplier to continue development of the portal
28. Do you have a preference for a particular product? Have you reviewed possible products and can you say which ones please?
We are asking suppliers to propose products they think most suitable so that we can assess this.
29. Does not the preference for Azure go against the expertise on COTS products that you ask for? A COTS product may be hosted in a range of environments
We are seeking a hybrid solution, therefore other hosting arrangements will need to be in place.
30. In answer to Q1 you say “We prefer our solutions to be hosted in an Azure environment provided via the successful supplier.” Can you please be explicit as to why you prefer Azure? Is this for security reasons, or cost, or demand management or just policy?
We will provide more detail around this to shortlisted suppliers.
31. In answer to Q15 you say “We would like to make attendance easier to manage by giving participants a place online to manage their registration and attendance, including updating their information and telling us about any changes.”. Surely this will be managed via your new portal build which is separate to this requirement?
The portal will need to be developed to support making attendance easier. We expect this to be part of this project.
32. Is there any requirement for multi-language or is English sufficient?
English is sufficient
33. Can you please state which company completed the initial Discovery?
It is not out policy to disclose the name of the company who completed the discover, the output of which is available on request.
34. Can you please describe the early market engagement? Was this completed under the umbrella of a framework? What was the process and which companies were approached?
We approached suppliers at random and via recommendation (all from the list of suppliers on the framework) to establish interest in the project.
35. Does the budget include or exclude VAT?
See previous answers
36. Will the provider of the existing system be putting forward an alternative in this process and if so what will it be?
We do not have this information.
37. It is important that we have an understanding of how you currently work, and as potential suppliers we need this information before we bid, and to decide IF we bid, so can you please tell us more about the existing system? What is it? Is it off the shelf? Full custom developed or a hybrid?
Please see answers to earlier questions – our existing system is not indicative of how we want to work.
38. When in the project lifecycle is the time logging tool going to be implemented? What interfaces does it support?
The time logging tool detailed in the specifications will be implemented this spring. Further information about the tool can be found on the supplier’s website.
39. Is the dialogue management replacement expected to accept card payments and reimbursements? See Requirements & Specifications KIM document on p27
We are not planning to incorporate card payments or reimbursements into the system.
40. Does the final product need to pass a GDS assessment?
Is it possible to arrange a supplier briefing by Teams/Zoom during the DOS stage 2 process so that you can demonstrate the existing system, and permit potential suppliers to ask clarification questions?
We do not expect the product to pass a GDS assessment. The project focus is current business needs, and starting afresh with a new system. A demo of the old system will not be available.
41. You say that the new “full system” is required by end of 2021. Then you say the end of life system must be replaced “by the Autumn”. Are these the same things or just describing phases? If the current system is replaced, let’s say, by October, but the new full system is not delivered by end of year, does that imply additional functionality in the new system delivered in that last period? Can you be more specific about dates?
What are the pain points of the existing system?
Please see previous answers
42. Do you have an existing CRM system? If so, what is it? Will it be replaced as part of this project?
Currently SQL database, this will be replaced as end of life is due in the autumn
43. In answer to Q14 you mention presentations. Can you please give your vision of what those presentation may involve? Will a demonstration be required?
The final proposal will be a written document
44. What is the size of the current database?
We have approximately 90 internal users who will need to use the system

We have approximately 3,000 participants a year