Open Regulation Platform - Alpha phase
11 Incomplete applications
9 SME, 2 large
21 Completed applications
18 SME, 3 large
- Wednesday 9 June 2021
- Deadline for asking questions
- Wednesday 16 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
- Closing date for applications
- Wednesday 23 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
- Off-payroll (IR35) determination
- Summary of the work
- We are seeking a partner supplier for the Alpha phase of a project to build an enriched, machine readable dataset of regulations and open API, in 2-3 key business sectors, and test this service with developers and businesses.
- Latest start date
- Monday 2 August 2021
- Expected contract length
- We expect the project to last 12-16 weeks. We aim to start in late-July and finish by 31st October.
- Organisation the work is for
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Better Regulation Executive (BRE)
- Budget range
- The maximum value of this contract for the core services shall not exceed £690,000 (inc. VAT). You should provide a full breakdown of the costs, including personnel day rates and any hosting and maintenance costs. We expect that the personnel costs should not exceed £650,000 (inc. VAT) of this total.
About the work
- Why the work is being done
The UK government is committed to delivering an innovative and world-leading regulatory system and the Better Regulation Executive aims to ensure that regulation is smarter, better targeted, and less costly to business.
We want to make it simpler for businesses to know which regulations apply to them and how they can comply with any requirements. The Open Regulation Platform project aims to achieve this goal by processing the UK’s statute book and other regulative data sources into an enriched machine-readable dataset of business regulations that is publicly accessible through an API.
By interfacing with this platform, government, businesses and third parties will be able to develop tools and applications which help businesses navigate and comply with regulatory obligations in smarter and less burdensome ways.
We have recently completed a Discovery phase which focused on assessing the scale and scope of potential demand for the Open Regulation Platform and outlining the key delivery requirements. The Alpha phase will look at experimental development and prototypes of the first two workstreams in a few key sectors to help test key concepts and assumptions. Building these technical prototypes will require active engagement with regulators, developer users, and businesses.
- Problem to be solved
Discovery indicated three capabilities for the Open Regulation Platform. This Alpha phase focuses on testing the first two of these in 2-3 relevant business sectors. We are in conversation with departments and regulators to identify these sectors and would welcome suggestions based on prior experience or existing relationships.
Workstream 1: A republishing platform for regulatory documents
• Develop a data ingestion process for regulatory documents from multiple sources and a wide range of formats, including PDFs and word documents
• Build a public API for the platform based on developer user needs, including a way to search documents and register for updates
For Alpha, we expect this scope to include 3-10 regulators or other authorities and thousands of documents.
Workstream 2: Additional metadata and editorial tools
• Design ORPML, a metadata wrapper/document mark-up, through work with data owners
• Expand ingestion to clean, categorise, and transform documents into this agreed standard
• Create an ontology of document categories and publishing authorities to link connected documents in the database
• Develop a document management tool for data owners to assist with ingestion and provide metadata
• Evaluate demand for a publishing tool to help data owners author new documents in ORPML
- Who the users are and what they need to do
The ORP is targeted primarily at third party software developers who can use the data provided to create bespoke services to users dealing with regulatory information. It is essential that any supplier can engage in user research with software developers.
Our discovery research indicated two primary developer personas we should focus on were Data Scrapers and RegTech Software Developers.
Data Scrapers collect, standardise and enrich libraries of regulatory data. They are looking for easier access to high-quality regulatory data enriched with useful authoritative metadata.
RegTech Software Developers create technology products to solve compliance needs using regulatory information. They need metadata and regulatory data further enriched and tagged at the paragraph level.
Other important users were:
• Insight generators, who build bespoke regulatory data feeds to support high-value specialist legal services,
• Legal advisors, who interpret sources of regulatory information to support provision of legal advice,
• Regulators, who use their own regulatory information to offer guidance and support enforcement.
In workshops, all of these users expressed that the highest priority request was to have a single datastore with a sophisticated API. After that, it will be important to standardise the publishing process and create improved metadata and links.
- Early market engagement
Prior to this tender we took part in an early-market engagement exercise. We shared our initial specification and invited suppliers to provide proposals on how they might deliver against it. We also encouraged suppliers to comment on aspects of our timeline, roadmap and approach as well as provide example costs and skill requirements.
The documents involved in this early market engagement are available upon request (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and include:
• Discovery report
• Early-market specification
• Early-market specification slide pack
• Responses to the Q&A session
The results of specification have informed the requirements outlined in this invitation to tender. Key changes in approach include:
• Alpha is now focused on experimentation and prototyping instead of building an initial working service.
• Alpha is now shorter (3-4 months, rather than 6) and will be procured separately from Beta.
- Any work that’s already been done
During Discovery, qualitative user research was conducted with over 60 organisations, including 13 regulatory publishers, 25 regulatory support providers, 20 end-user businesses and 13 regulatory data providers. The Discovery research outlined the relevant data types, user personas and a delivery roadmap. Discovery report is available upon request (email: email@example.com)
A separate economic analysis was conducted alongside the Discovery and estimated economic benefits of the ORP of around £400m over the next 10 years.
This project is related to two other digital projects in BRE aimed at analysing UK regulations and making it easier for businesses to navigate and understand them.
- Existing team
Currently we have a small team of civil servants working on this project, who have progressed it to this stage. The successful bidder will be working with:
• A policy project lead
• A senior digital delivery manager
• The senior responsible owner (SRO) for the project
• An economist analytical lead
• A technical architect
We have relationships with regulators and other subject-matter specialists. We receive policy support from other government departments and public bodies which we can use for advice where necessary. We also have a network of external experts through which we can test ideas and approaches.
- Current phase
- Address where the work will take place
We expect the supplier will primarily conduct their work remotely or at their own offices.
Depending on the relevant COVID-19 restrictions at the time, we hope to conduct infrequent meetings at our central London office, 1 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET, as well as potentially members of the BEIS team co-locating with the supplier’s team for the kick-off process, and one day a week on an ongoing basis for face-to-face meetings such as show and tells, key decision points, and quality assurance.
- Working arrangements
The supplier should work in active collaboration with the BRE team and continuously share information, agreeing structures and processes at the start of the project. This could include daily stand-ups, sprint planning, show-and-tell presentations at key milestones, and retrospectives.
These plans should also consider the context of remote and hybrid working. The BRE team uses the Microsoft suite of digital tools, including Microsoft Teams for instant messaging and virtual meetings. The supplier must be able to attend Teams meetings and any additional meeting or collaboration tools that they would like to use should be accessible without requiring custom software.
- Security clearance
All personnel on a government contract must have a valid Baseline Personnel Security Standard (or ‘BPSS’) check by the intended start date.
The BPSS comprises verification of:
• Nationality and Immigration Status
• Employment history (past 3 years)
• Criminal record (unspent convictions only)
- Additional terms and conditions
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 experience building and hosting databases and ingestion platforms using data from different sources, in particular extracting text data from pdfs, word docs etc. (5 points)
- Demonstrate building related APIs for consumption that meet relevant API design practices and standards. (5 points)
- Demonstrate capability to recruit and carry out ongoing user research with software developers and other end-users of data platforms, making iterative design changes in response to user feedback. (4 points)
- Demonstrate experience designing data structures such as new data schemas or mark-up languages and methods to improve their uptake. (5 points)
- Demonstrate experience working to the GDS Service Standard and delivering in Alpha, including the Service Design Manual, Technology Code of Practice and wider industry standards. (3 points)
- Demonstrate experience of working with and influencing regulators and government departments to achieve a policy outcome. (4 points)
- Demonstrate experience of working within business regulation, RegTech, LegalTech, or legislation as data as a topic. (4 points)
- Nice-to-have skills and experience
- Demonstrate experience working in technical areas such as ontology curation, linked data, semantic web or graph databases. (3 points)
- Demonstrate experience working in public sector open data projects. (2 points)
- Demonstrate experience in natural language processing or other technical methods that can be used to derive insight from regulatory data. (3 points)
- Demonstrate experience in designing and building editorial and/or publishing tools for document and database management. (2 points)
How suppliers will be evaluated
All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.
- How many suppliers to evaluate
- Proposal criteria
- How the approach meets the design and delivery of the republishing platform capability (15 points)
- How the approach meets the design and delivery of the editorial tooling capability, including planned development of ORPML (15 points)
- How the approach shows awareness and planning around business engagement and stakeholder management challenges. (10 points)
- How the proposed deliverables will support future phases of the project (10 points)
- Project plan, including a detailed timeline with milestones for key deliverables, detailing the specific resources at each sprint (10 points)
- Team structure, including staff roles, experience and time commitment (dedicated working days) (15 points)
- How they have identified key risks and a plan for mitigating against them (5 points)
- Cultural fit criteria
- Pursue a transparent and collaborative way of working with our organisation and other suppliers (7 points)
- Throughout the project, ensure effective knowledge transfer to BRE staff, enabling BRE to set direction at key decision points and facilitating quality control of work and risk escalation (6 points)
- Have an agile and user-driven approach, using research and evidence to challenge underlying assumptions and making design changes based on evolving user and business needs. (7 points)
- [Social-Value] Describe how your organisation will use this contract to create opportunities for entrepreneurship and help new organisations to grow, supporting economic growth and business creation. (7 points)
- [Social-Value] Describe how you will identify and tackle inequality in employment, skills and pay in the contract. (7 points)
- [Social-Value] Describe how you will support in-work progression to help people, including those from disadvantaged groups, move into higher paid work by developing skills relevant to the contract. (6 points)
- Payment approach
- Fixed price
- Additional assessment methods
- Evaluation weighting
Questions asked by suppliers
- 1. Was the discovery undertaken internally or by a supplier? If by another supplier, who was it please?
- The Discovery was carried out by Public Group International Ltd. with oversight from the BRE team.
- 2. Is the Discovery report available to bidders?
- Yes. Please email "firstname.lastname@example.org" to receive a copy.
3. When will feedback on initial applications be available and when will short-listed suppliers be confirmed?
What are the expected dates & details for submission of written proposals for the 4 short-listed suppliers?
We will notify applications of our shortlisting decisions by Friday 25 June.
The deadline for written proposals from the shortlisted suppliers will be 11:59pm on Wednesday 7 July.
- 4. Could you clarify if there is a requirement for a user interface as well as a machine interface (API) as part of workstream one?
- We expect that in the course of building the database and API, the supplier should create a front-end to enable testing and demonstrations of functionality - however this will not be user-facing as the core users will be developers relying on the API, so we do not expect there to be any significant user experience work involved.
- 5. Can you clarify the requirements for the document management tool (set out in work stream 2) and if this is impacted by phase alphas requirements for a prototype rather than a fully working service?
- We expect the minimum output for the document management tool work will be a set of functional wireframes based on the metadata we need, enabling testing and research with data owners to refine the overall process for Beta.
- 6. How do data owners contribute to the data ingestion and meta data using the document management tool (work stream 2)? Is there an agreed process with those data owners?
- There is not yet an agreed process with data owners. In discussions so far we have indicated that their required involvement through Alpha will be limited to advising on the existing structure of their data, rather than investing significant resources into tagging or reformatting it. Part of the Alpha phase will involve working with the relevant regulators and other authorities to learn more about their existing data creation and management processes and making recommendations for feasible and sustainable processes that integrate the ORP for Beta and beyond.
- 7. Can we clarify if the budget figure of £690k is inclusive of the £650k services budget?
Yes - £690k is the maximum budget. This will be split between personnel and hosting costs (and ask suppliers to provide the breakdown).
We're expecting personnel costs to not exceed £650k although this is not a strict requirement.
- 8. Do you have any indication of the scale of the user base, for example the number of RegTech and the number of direct end users that might make use of the platform?
- We have some rough numbers from early economic analysis that suggest 20-180 developers (including RegTech) and 100-350k businesses.
9. What considerations or expectations are there on the ownership of intellectual property relating to the ORP by BEIS?
(Response part 1)
The full Intellectual Property conditions in this contract will be based on the standard DOS contract, including Call-Off Schedule 6 (ICT Services).
The long-term goal of the Open Regulation Platform is to facilitate an open and collaborative ecosystem around regulatory information. For this reason, we expect the software in this contract will be specially written software with the IP owned by us, or where necessary, relevant existing Open Source tools that could be re-used and customised in further phases of the project.
10. What considerations or expectations are there on the ownership of intellectual property relating to the ORP by BEIS?
(Answer part 2)
The department aims not to exclude any supplier with pre-existing intellectual property, however in order to facilitate future work we will require a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, assignable, royalty-free licence to use, sub-license and/or commercially exploit this existing intellectual property to the extent that it is necessary to enable the full benefits of the specially written software for this contract. The specific terms are detailed in Call-Off Schedule 6.