Awarded to Rainmaker Solutions

Start date: Tuesday 15 June 2021
Value: £286,850
Company size: SME
Cabinet Office

WP1961 Discovery/Alpha - Controls Platform Tool

13 Incomplete applications

12 SME, 1 large

40 Completed applications

36 SME, 4 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
Departments submit spend controls requests, including pipelines of proposed spend, and analysts in Cabinet Office analyse these requests, submit advice internally, to the minister, and monitor conditions. This is a discovery/alpha into how best to manage this information and how and solution could work with e.g. IPA reviews, HMT approvals.
Latest start date
Tuesday 1 June 2021
Expected contract length
6 months
Organisation the work is for
Cabinet Office
Budget range
£358,333 (excluding VAT)

About the work

Why the work is being done
Spend Controls (including, for example, controls Digital and technology, commercial, property, consultancy spend - more info here: ) are being reformed. There is a large expansion with scope being changed from 1 April 2021. We're not expecting to meet this date, but will require a solution to manage this process as soon as we can after this point.
Problem to be solved
There are a large number of spend controls submissions across government. Government Departments need an easy online way of submitting these requests, including complete pipelines of proposed spend, and analysts in Cabinet Office need the ability to analyse these requests, submit advice to internal boards and the minister, and monitor agreed conditions. Departments then need to monitor their own status on specific cases and across the department as a whole. The controls teams, Infrastructure & Projects Authority and Treasury need to track, monitor and report progress on spend requests against delivery which includes key documentation, artefacts and benefits.
Who the users are and what they need to do
-As a person requesting approval to spend in a department I need to be able to share data about my request, or complete pipelines of spend, including documents so that I can receive approval.
-As a manager of spend approvals in a department I need to be able to see the status of requests, and any outstanding conditions so that I can monitor and ensure they are met.
-As an analyst of spend controls cases, I need to receive requests assigned to me from departments, analyse the data, ask questions of departments, and submit cases to internal approvers or ministers so I can receive the confirmation that they agree or disagree with my conclusions
-As an analyst of spend controls cases I need to be able to monitor conditions, know how many cases I have outstanding and how long I have left in the 28 day SLA so I can ensure that conditions are met
-As a manager of spend controls, I need to be able to access data about spend controls, identify savings and team pressure so I can report data to senior stakeholders and ensure peaks of work are managed across the team and improving standards
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The commercial spend controls team have created a tool on Mendix at low cost to manage the above needs in the short term. Some user research was done for this, but this tool is unlikely to meet a service assessment. There is no requirement to use this platform, but some data from the project may be useful for this discovery/alpha
Existing team
There is no team in place to deliver this work currently, but the supplier will work with spend controls teams across government to deliver, and will liaise with the creators of the previous tool to access any learning from that approach.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
London (remote working is fine)
Working arrangements
Likely remote, with regular meetings, 2-3 a week as required.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All expenses must be pre-agreed with between the parties and must comply with the Cabinet Office (CO) Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy.

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
  • Experience designing digital services in a user-centred way
  • Experience of running discovery and alpha phases
  • Experience working in a complex multi stakeholder project
  • Ability to communicate with stakeholders clearly and regularly, and advocate for user needs and content design principles.
  • Ability to conduct user research, including end users and stakeholders, understand needs and motivations for each group.
  • Experience of using fully agile working practices
  • Experience of prototyping different solutions to check assumptions
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Knowledge of the government Service Standard
  • Experience designing user-centred case management systems
  • Experience with the spend controls process in government
  • Keeping the client informed of progress and key decisions, whilst having the ability to work without constant supervision

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • How the team will understand the user needs of the tool to lead to the creation of an accessible reporting mechanism for spend controls
  • How the team will approach the discovery and alpha to explore the problem space and test assumptions
  • Team structure and organisational make up
  • Estimated timeframes for the Discovery and Alpha stages of delivery
  • How the team will investigate the business needs of tool including measurements and automation of data between departments
  • How the team will investigate the technical viability of the existing tools and/or shadow systems
  • How the team will approach meet HMG reporting requirements for the tool
  • How the team will demonstrate the scalability of the suggested solution in alpha and how it could be implemented across different departments
  • How the team will approach the any training requirements for teams using the tool beyond alpha
  • How the team will understand the involvement of stakeholder participation required for the beta stage
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Work openly putting users at the centre of the approach
  • Work as a team with the GDS organisation, in a self-starting fashion: not over-reliant on the spend controls team.
  • The discovery and alpha phases should be carried out along GDS service design guidelines
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Please confirm whether this opportunity falls inside or outside IR35.
This opportunity will fall outside IR35.
2. Will Cabinet Office sponsor supplier team members to gain SC clearance if this is not achieved at contract start?
Cabinet Office will sponsor supplier team members for SC Clearance. The cost to be borne by the supplier.

To gain Security Check clearance, for example, you will normally need to have been a UK resident for a minimum of 5 years, and will need to successfully complete all stages of the vetting process which includes:

-Baseline Personnel Security Standard
-Departmental/Company Records Check
-Security Questionnaire
-Criminal Record Check
-Credit Reference Check
-Security Service Check
3. Would all members of the team require current and valid Security Clearance or would the Cabinet Office support sponsoring individuals through the clearance process?
We would like the team member to be SC Cleared already or be able to met SC Clearance. Cabinet Office will sponsor supplier team members to obtain SC Clearance. Cost of SC Clearance to be met by supplier.
4. Is there a day rate cap?
There is no day cap rate.
5. What roles are you expecting suppliers to provide? In addition, are you expecting all roles to have the ability to be full time for the duration of the project?
The roles we envisage for this project are:
-Data Architect
-Back End Developer
-User Researcher
-Service Designer
-Delivery Manager
-Stakeholder Manager
-Portfolio Officer
-Product Owner/ Senior Responsibility Officer

Please note, these roles are not defined roles we expect to be fulfilled. We will leave the supplier to decide which roles are required for the project. The duration of each role is also for the supplier to decide however we envisage some roles will be required full-time for the duration of the project.
6. At the proposal stage, in order to compare suppliers like for like, how will price be evaluated: will you be evaluating by the total price, rate card or both? How do you ensure that you are completing a genuine value for money comparison rather than just a rate card comparison?
Price will be evaluated based on Total Price for Discovery and Alpha. We will not be evaluating suppliers based on rate card.
7. Will the scores from the evidencing round be taken through to final evaluation? Or will they only be used for the purposes of shortlisting suppliers?
Scores from shortlisting of suppliers will be taken through to final evaluation, as per Digital Outcomes and Specialist guidance:
8. Will your Product Owner be allocated full time to this project?
A product owner is not going to be fully dedicated to this project, but a Product Owner/ Manager will be available to you throughout the working week.
9. Are you able to recruit and provide access to users for the purpose of user research?
We are able to recruit and provide access to relevant user groups for the purpose of user research.
10. For the first evaluation round (evidence), what would you expect to see from an answer for it to be deemed ‘exceeding’ and score 3 marks?
Scoring system for WP1961 will be:
0 - Not met or no evidence
1 - Partially Met
2 - Met
3 - Exceed
Please see scoring guidance we will be using to score suppliers:"
11. Do you have any preference between public sector or private sector examples? Or will both be treated equally as long as they are relevant to the question?
Any examples used, public or private will be treated equally.
12. Is it permissible to provide more than one example where required to fully address the question?
You can provide more than one example to fully address the question.
13. To what extent (if at all) will the delivery of this engagement be aligned to the Service Manual and associated GDS assessments?
The intent is that the solution will meet a service assessment at Alpha, and will continue to meet the service standard beyond that point with assessments before Public Beta and Live.
14. Please can you share a procurement timetable outlining steps from receipt of initial submissions by midnight 12th Apr to work commencement on 1st Jun (typically including evidence response evaluation, shortlisting/informing suppliers, preparation of supplier proposals, evaluation of supplier proposals, announcement of successful supplier, contract completion, contract signatures, commence work)?
The provisional timeline for WP1961 are:
- 13 April 2021 - 19 April 2021: To score supplier submissions by 3 evaluators
- 20 April 2021: Aim to have a consensus meeting to enable us to take through 3 suppliers to the next stage
- 21 April 2021 - 30 April 2021: 4 selected suppliers to provide Written Proposal, Work History and conduct supplier presentation
- 04 May 2021: Aim to conduct consensus meeting to select winning supplier

Please note: the provisional timeline may be subject to change during the duration of procurement"
15. Which roles will be represented on the evaluation panel?
The evaluation panel is expected to include stakeholders from controls, and expert advice from a user researcher and service designer.
16. Please could you confirm whether the Authority would be willing to sponsor SC clearance if required?
Cabinet Office will sponsor SC Clearance.
17. Can you advise how you have arrived at the budget of £358,333 and whether there is any flexibility in this please?
We have scoped this based on previous, similar projects in Cabinet Office with similar team sizes. This is the upper limit on spend that has been approved and we cannot go beyond that.
18. Is the scope of the spending controls, predominantly those that include the controls managed by CCS?Does it include any of the functional approvals such as those managed by GDS or GBS?
It is all of the spend controls found on this page: The intent, as well, is to see how these can operate more effectively (perhaps including producing or consuming APIs) with IPA and HMT controls.
19. Is there an existing delivery team supporting the current solution that we would be feeding into?
There are number of subject matter experts available, but no existing delivery team.
20. Can you advise if you have a preference of technology provider please?
The is no preference of technology provider at the present moment. We would like this to be explored in discovery.
21. Can you advise us the number of anticipated users/stakeholders we would need to engage with as part of the contract?
There are 9 controls areas, with probably on average 4-5 stakeholders for each.
22. Can you tell us what challenges you are facing with your current system that initiated the need for this tender?
The current picture is disjointed with one tool for the commercial team, and others using a combination of spreadsheets and document storage. The aim is to create a single, unified approach.
23. Can you advise if we will be using the same application data source, or be required to create a new one?
The structure of applications can be adapted from existing requests, although reviewing this should be within the scope of the user research and engagement with stakeholders
24. Can you provide any details on the technical stack or languages preferred to build the app?
We have no particular preferences, but the tool will need to meet all elements of the service standard:
25. Will the winning supplier have access to tech arch expertise within the Cabinet Office – to help assure technical feasibility of any alpha proposals – or will they be expected to provide this expertise themselves?
There is some technical architect support the team could provide, but the majority should come from the supplier.
26. Should this move into a live service, where would this be hosted?
We expect this to be answered in the discovery / alpha.
27. What technologies would they expect to use in the live service?
We expect this to be answered in the discovery / alpha.
28. Are they willing to license some technology as part of the live service or do they expect that they will own and be able to maintain/onward develop the service themselves?
We are not against licensing the right technology, but we need to be able to continue to adapt and improve the tool to meet policy changes, or to meet new or clearer user needs.
29. Security clearance is set at SC level which seems a high bar for a project of this nature and will preclude otherwise good fit suppliers. Must all team members have SC clearance or will you sponsor team members to get SC clearance?
Due to the nature of project and speaking to various stakeholders and access to 'Official' systems, there is a requirement for all team members to be SC Cleared.

Cabinet Office will sponsor supplier team members for SC Clearance.

To gain Security Check clearance, for example, you will normally need to have been a UK resident for a minimum of 5 years, and will need to successfully complete all stages of the vetting process which includes:

-Baseline Personnel Security Standard
-Departmental/Company Records Check
-Security Questionnaire
-Criminal Record Check
-Credit Reference Check
-Security Service Check