Awarded to Digi2al Limited

Start date: Wednesday 9 June 2021
Value: £8,333,000
Company size: SME
Navy Digital Services, Ministry of Defence (NDS, MOD)

Digital Service Programme Partner: Command and Support

17 Incomplete applications

12 SME, 5 large

21 Completed applications

12 SME, 9 large

Important dates

Monday 29 March 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 5 April 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 12 April 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
To provide a range of multi-disciplinary teams to conduct agile, UCD product development through Discovery, Alpha, Beta and into Live for Command & Support user needs. Resourcing available to be dynamic to new needs through flexible and rapid provision of additional teams to deliver digital outcomes.
Latest start date
Monday 31 May 2021
Expected contract length
24 Months
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Navy Digital Services, Ministry of Defence (NDS, MOD)
Budget range
£8,333,000.00m (exc VAT) with potential to use 20% extra if required.

About the work

Why the work is being done
Due to increasing demand for digital transformation across the Royal Navy, Navy Digital Services is procuring a range of Digital Services Partners that can provide digital skills and teams to bolster our permanent staff, and dynamically scale to meet emerging user needs. This DSP is for a supplier with specific digital skills to meet the demand from our users in the Command and Support community.
Problem to be solved
"To provide multi-disciplinary teams at various stages of the agile life-cycle to develop solutions to meet the needs of our Command and Support users. This community works at sea and ashore (deployed and fixed), on a range of classified networks, and need integrated solutions that regularly evolve based on user feedback.

This community has a variety of in-flight (alpha/beta) digital services, as well as new user needs being researched. Most of these services integrate with the Navy Data and Application Platforms."
Who the users are and what they need to do
"As a Royal Navy Command and Support user, I need better ways to access, understand and use my data, so that I can do my job better.

As a NDS permanent team member, I need digital services that I can sustain and improve through life, so that my users get the best experience."
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
"Navy Digital Services is a new sub-directorate in Navy Digital, and is the Royal Navy’s trusted authority for digital transformation.

As part of Defence's federated Digital Foundry, we design, develop and support Maritime digital services, from discovery to live, built on top of the Digital Backbone at sea and ashore."
Existing team
"Across Navy Digital Services we have a range of multi-disciplinary team consisting of:
Civil Servants – primarily DDaT professionals
Military service and product owners
Dedicated team of Dstl Scientists
Industry partners and contracted support "
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
HMNB Portsmouth, with regular travel to users, and remote working opportunities.
Working arrangements
"We would like the supplier to become a Digital Service Programme Partner integrated into the NELSON and Navy Digital Services team.

This requires a mixture of on-site interaction and remote working using our collaborative tooling.

Staff working on projects may have need to travel to conduct user research activities. "
Security clearance
Security Clearance.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DEFCON 76 - Contractors Personnel at Government Establishments
DEFCON 531 - Disclosure Of Information
DEFCON 703 - Intellectual Property Rights – Vesting In The Authority

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
  • Supplier has ability to develop digital services in discovery, alpha and beta.
  • Supplier has proven experience of evolving a delivery team ready for beta into live.
  • Supplier has capability to develop digital services using a range of open source technologies (including React.JS, Kubernetes).
  • Supplier has experience of delivering services in an agile user centred way in the public sector.
  • Supplier has proven experience of rapidly providing User Research, Design, Technical Architecture, Business Analyst, Data Engineer and Front End Development skills.
  • Demonstrable experience of User Research methodologies, and researching across a wide variety of contexts.
  • Demonstrable experience of effective recording of discovery outputs, Alpha developments, and handovers of User Centred Design work across teams.
  • Demonstrable experience of managing multiple multidisciplinary teams, at scale.
  • Demonstrable experience of creating an agile environment within a learning organisation in which groups are nurtured to become high performing teams.
  • Demonstrable experience of Knowledge Transfer to up-skill key non digitally native team members.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Have experience of using data to enable the delivery of digital services and of creating data products and services.
  • Experience of military environments.
  • Experience in communicating value of digital and technical projects to a non-technical audience.
  • Experience in the following general toolsets: Linux, Atlassian, Google Suite, O365.
  • Experience of carrying out user centred design in classified environments.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence services that have been developed based on Service Manual, the approaches adopted and the issues encountered/resolved.
  • Evidence of working collaboratively in a multi-supplier environment or strategies that will be used.
  • Approach and methodology, including experience of the essential and nice to have skills and experience.
  • Description of how you have been able to scale up development teams quickly to meet customer demand, with reference to previous work.
  • How the supplier's approach or solution meets our goal.
  • How the supplier has identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them.
  • Team structure and resourcing models, including experience of working alongside clients in co-located, integrated teams.
  • Ability to create effective supporting governance to nurture agile team working at scale.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers.
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions.
  • Value better use of data and user centred design best practises.
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Take responsibility and embrace accountability for their work.
  • Share knowledge and experience with other team members.
  • Sensitive and mentoring approach to Knowledge Transfer.
  • Challenge practices and behaviours that do not support Digital Transformation, working constructively to improve them.
  • Make a positive impact quickly and respond to feedback
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will this be assessed as inside IR35?
It is not expected that IR35 will apply
2. Is there a Cyber Risk Assessment?
The Cyber Risk Level is Very Low
3. Is there an incumbent supplier in the role?
There is an incumbent delivering this portfolio management activity.
4. Would you accept a DV cleared candidate?
Yes, we would accept a candidate with a DV for this role.
5. How crucial is it that a supplier needs experience in all of the essential fields?
This is a requirement for a service for one specialist supplier and we are therefore looking for a supplier with experience delivering services of this nature. Suppliers will need to provide one example outlining their experience in each essential area to be considered .
6. How will tenderers be assessed
Each tenderer will be evaluated and scored 0, 1,2 or 3 against the essential and nice to have criteria. Tenderers with the three highest total scores from this evaluation (provided no score of 0 for any of the essential criteria) will be down selected to stage two.

The down selected tenderers will be asked to provide a written proposal and a cultural response, which will be evaluated and scored 0, 1,2 or 3. A percentage score for the technical, cultural and financial criteria is then provided.

The tenderer with the combined technical, cultural and financial score will be the winner
7. Could the Authority share the name of the incumbent supplier?
The incumbent supplier is Digi2al Ltd.
8. You mention “learning organisation” what do you mean by that?
The Digital Partner will be expected to contribute to a learning and constantly improving organisation that aspires to be an exemplar digital team.  Key to this will be the facilitation of knowledge transfer from leading industry experience into the Authority and its permanent staff.
9. When you mention teams at scale, what scale are you looking for?
The intention is to secure 6 Digital Service Partners (DSPPs) so that we can gain access to partners that can deliver specialist skillsets rather than generalist.  We want to both leverage that best practice, and have the ability to respond faster in our ability to meet user needs.  This will be facilitated by having 6 DSPPs
10. How closely will this Digital Service Programme Partner work with the Nelson Data Platform supplier ?
It is expected that a high proportion of digital services delivered by NDS will be hosted on the Navy Data Platform.  As such engagement will be required with this team/supplier.
11. There is a requirement to research across a wide variety of contexts. Can you provide more details and examples please on the ‘variety of contexts’ ?
Requirement to conduct agile, User Centred Design product development through Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live.  Research areas are based on the RN Transformation pillars of: Forward Presence; Carrier Strike; Operational Advantage in the N Atlantic; Future Commando Force; Engineering Support; People & Training.
12. There is a requirement to ‘manage multiple multidisciplinary teams’. Please could you clarify your definition of ‘multidisciplinary’ ?
"This focusses on the use of Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) roles, alongside Civil Servants, Military personnel and Industry Partners who collectively consistute teams that are created to support the development/delivery of digital services. 

Government Digital Services guidance on team membership during different phases of delivery will provide a guide on roles and responsibilities for service delivery."
13. What’s the highest security classification for work carried out under this programme, please?
Up to Secret
14. There’s mention of regular travel to user sites. Where are the users located ?
Primarily in the Portsmouth area, but also broader SE/SW England, and Bristol.
15. Please could you provide a rough estimate of the number of days per week the work will be based at HMNB Portsmouth and remote working ?
"We would like the supplier to become a digital delivery partner integrated into the NDS team.  This requires a minimum presence of 3 days a week in the office. On other days working from home is permissible but a general presence is encouraged. (Some roles, e.g. management will require more in office time).

Staff working on projects may have need to travel to conduct user research activities."
16. Please could you provide examples of the type of applications your users require ?
The deliverables vary from simple planning tools using basic rules and a new data store, to more complicated people tools drawing on personal data from legacy systems. Future demand stems from funded user needs. Historic demand for the services is in no way an indication of what the future scope of our work looks like.
17. Can the Authority please elaborate on the type of development activities they see being conducted through the Command & Support DSPP as opposed to the other DSPPs?
The skills are more relevant than the type of development activities themselves. In this DSPP, the skills should be more related to bespoke applications using the common technology stack prevalent across the Navy at this time
18. We have understood that three bidders will be down selected on the basis of their answers to the published question set. Will scores from these answers be incorporated into the evaluation process thereafter? If so, how will they be considered alongside Case Studies and presentations?
The initial scores from the 1st round of answers will be modified subsequent to the Case Studies and Presentations.
19. Can the Authority give an indication of the current UCD Product development?
The delivery approach broadly follows the GDS standards for UCD of the technology that enables services. Please feel free to interrogate the Defence Digital blog posts on the subject matter
20. Can the Authority give an indication of the numbers and frequency of the multi-discipline teams required throughout the contract duration?
The successful partner will be required to flex / contract to support delivery demand. The intention is to have a well planned, predictable pipeline of work that links to the annual budget cycle.
21. Can the Authority please provide a short summary of the Discovery and Alpha work completed to date?
An example of the type of work addressed in Discovery and Alpha include the creation of a replacement scheduling tool for vessels, the specifics of which are classified.
22. What is the size, shape and breakdown of the team required on the start date of 31st May?
A number of in flight projects will carry forward under this contract, the typical construct outlined in the following response.
23. What is the size, shape, and technical breakdown on the current incumbent team?
"A typical product delivery team would include:
Delivery Manager - Full Time
Technical Architect - Full Time
User Researcher - 50%+
Front End Developer - Full Time (x2 or more as required)
Back End Developer - Full Time
Tester - Full Time
Service Design - 50%
BA / Data Specialist - As required by scope

Not all roles start and finish at the same time as you would expect"