Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra Cloud Infrastructure Engineering Services

21 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 10 large

0 Completed applications

Important dates

Tuesday 8 June 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 15 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 22 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Cloud Engineering- To deliver, enhance and support Defra's public cloud hosting platforms, to enable Defra's internal customer programmes to succeed. To contribute to the development and growth of Defra's own internal Public Cloud team capabilities.
Latest start date
Monday 11 October 2021
Expected contract length
12 months with options to extend for two period of upto 6 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
To support Defra's Cloud Centre of Excellence in enabling Defra Group to continue to transform its support for Digital public service delivery. Defra is looking to enhance its Cloud Engineering capabilities in order to support growth in the use of public cloud tools.

This is part of Defra's 'Cloud First' strategy for digital delivery. This work will seek to align a number of existing contracts within Cloud Centre of Excellence to a single supplier to support our deliverables.

We require a supplier to be ready for onboarding no later that 11/10/21

Please read the Instructions to Suppliers Document for further information on timelines and evaluation methodology-
Problem to be solved
Defra has developed hosting and infrastructure as code solutions and services to underpin its enterprise transformation programme activities. This work requires a supplier to further develop and iterate these capabilities.

Defra needs a supplier to work with internal customer teams to support and enhance the use of Public Cloud tools across IaaS, PaaS and SaaS products. This must be achieved in a way which integrates with, and develops, Defra's Service Management Operating Model.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a service delivery team (internal customer within Defra) we need cloud engineering service support in line with Defra's operating guidance and strategy. So that we can reduce risk, improve the speed and lower costs of releases with new and enhanced products.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Existing team
The successful supplier will be working with internal customer teams and service delivery teams some of which contain suppliers.

Defra is seeking a business partner to work as part of an extensive network of suppliers as part of a collaborative team.

Defra has also commenced on a programme to increase the number of permanent civil servants within the Cloud Centre of Excellence. The successful supplier will also be expected to work with and develop those internal staff members to enhance the internal capability.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Multiple Locations
Work from home (Covid) / Bristol / Reading / Warrington / York / London
Working arrangements
Primarily working from home.

Working onsite in Defra offices as required on a project basis (approx 2 days per fortnight) once Covid restrictions are lifted.

Occasional travel to other Defra sites may be required.

More extensive remote working may be required in the short term due to COVID restrictions.

Core hours (08:00 - 18:00 Mon-Fri)
Extended Hours (07:00 - 19:00 Mon-Fri)
Out Of Hours (24/7) support for incident management and response and release activity for high priority services.

Expenses will be reimbursed inline with Defra policy
Security clearance
All staff will be required to have BPSS clearance is minimum. Most staff will be required to be SC cleared, if not already in place, this will be sponsored by Defra.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
We will include the following optional schedules
• Schedule 8 (Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery)
• Schedule 14 (Service Levels and Balance Scorecard)
• Schedule 18 (Background Checks)
• Schedule 25 (Ethical Walls Agreement)
• Schedule 26 (Cyber Essentials Scheme)

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
  • Provide an example demonstrating capabilities; maintain, develop, define delivery patterns for cloud environment (Development through to Production) and full managed support of Pre-Production+Production environments across Azure/AWS large scale.
  • Provide an example of hosting and cloud platform management services, supported by MI systems and dashboards. Demonstrate continuous improvement, Describe and evidence this showing where/how they’ve been used.
  • Describe and provide evidence where and when you have developed, iterated and supported Cloud Platform products and services, for example; AWS, Microsoft, Octopus Deploy, Azure DevOps.
  • Provide an example of configuration, administration and operation of Microsoft Azure and AWS Cloud IaaS and PaaS services.
  • Can you provide the following Cloud Platform support services: Core hours (08:00 - 18:00 Mon-Fri), Extended (07:00 - 19:00 Mon-Fri) Out Of Hours (24/7) for incident management, response, release activity
  • Detail how you scale up engineering skilled resources to meet customer demand at pace. Minimum 80% of resources being employees rather than contractors. include numbers, type of resources, assignment time?
  • How will you integrate with our in-house engineering resources seamlessly, share knowledge, provide skills transfer and develop our resource's capability? Include tools/best practice/past examples
  • Demonstrate how you'll provide an integrated agile specialist managing daily delivery of teams, allocating resource to agile ceremonies, respond to requirements for incident, problem resolution, service monitoring, technical requirements reviews?
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Describe and evidence your ability to work with Cloud service providers ( Microsoft and AWS) to manage and maintain infrastructure and platform services, working collaboratively to resolve platform incidents?
  • Provide an example of your experience of delivering within large scale deliveries with multi-faceted workstreams in the public sector?
  • Describe and evidence your ability to demonstrate keeping your workforce upto date with current and emerging technologies and toolsets?

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Provide upto 3 examples of relevant previous contracts worked on in the past 2 years. Examples must show the skills/experience of resources who’ll be working on this requirement.
  • Describe the approach/ methodology you’ll take to meet Defra’s requirements. How you’ll manage the work and maintain quality. Describe any innovations you would propose in the delivery of the requirements.
  • Describe the specific technical approach or solution you’re proposing. The capability should be demonstrated with an example showing where this has been delivered elsewhere previously.
  • Describe the team, how they’ll work together and with others. List the number of roles, responsibilities, any relevant qualifications. Demonstrate how quickly the team can be mobilised and ramped up.
  • Describe how your proposal will optimise costs and generate savings. Please give details of previous experience optimizing cost for a customer similar to Defra.
  • Describe how you will keep your team up to date with emerging industry trends and best practice and provide skills transfer and develop Defra permanent resources with this knowledge
  • Explain any risks and dependencies identified and your proposed approaches to manage them? Set out how you will identify and mange risks and dependences throughout the life of the contract.
Cultural fit criteria
Demonstrate how you can work as a team with our organisation, alongside other suppliers in a transparent and collaborative approach, share knowledge with wider teams and build capability in Defra?
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. What are the specific technologies/tools used in Defra which bidders should be proficient with?
Operating System:
Linux (mostly Ubuntu) Sysadmin
Windows (2012/2016) Sysadmin

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using ARM templates
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using Terraform

Configuration of Cloud IaaS&PaaS services, their administration/operation:
Azure Portal, CLI and PowerShell
AWS Console, CLI and Python
Azure Storage and Networking
AWS VPC Networking

Azure PaaS solutions, including Azure SQL, Logic Apps, App Services (Function Apps, Web Apps), Redis, Cosmos DB

AWS PaaS solution, PostgreSQL RDS, ECS, Elasticache, DynamoDB, S3

Azure monitoring and diagnostic functions
AWS CloudWatch monitoring

Configuration and operating developer tooling:
MS Virtual Studio
MS Azure DevOps
2. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Due to GDPR we are unable to provide you with names however, the evaluation team will be made up of the; Head of Cloud Business Office,
Head of Cloud Engineering (Infrastructure) and a Senior Service Owner (M365), supported by finance and commercial professionals.
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?
The timeline for the procurement can be found in the instructions to suppliers document, on page 2-
A presentation will not form part the assessments stage, therefore the suppliers will not have the opportunity to present.
4. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
The current contract was awarded to the incumbent in September 2020. The redacted contract is available and published on Contracts Finder
5. Regarding the requirement ‘Can you provide the following Cloud Platform support services: Core hours (08:00 – 18:00 Mon-Fri), Extended (07:00 – 19:00 Mon-Fri) Out Of Hours (24/7) for incident management, response, release activity’, please can you advise if you need suppliers to provide evidence of having done this elsewhere or if we can simply answer this question with Yes/No?
The word count on the question response is 100 words so we would encourage you to make use of this through evidence where possible to achieve the highest available mark.
6. Please could you provide a reference for the current contract which was awarded to the incumbent supplier in September 2020 as we cannot find it on Contracts Finder?
Here is the link to the Contract Finder notice-
7. Can you provide the following Cloud Platform support services: Core hours (08:00 – 18:00 Mon-Fri), Extended (07:00 – 19:00 Mon-Fri) Out Of Hours (24/7) for incident management, response, release activity”
Are you looking for a from supplier to confirm(Yes/No) or you are looking for examples for similar work?
As per the response to Q5 examples or evidence would be welcomed.
8. Has a third party been involved with the project so far? If yes could you name the supplier?
Please can you confirm what you mean by project? The requirements are for a supplier to support our in-house team across a number of projects. We do currently have a supplier supporting the Cloud Centre of Excellence, details of which can be found in our response to question 4 and 6.
9. Are there any restrictions on where (geographically) the resources will be based and their nationalities ?
We expect resources to be based in the UK to enable them to attend Defra offices as detailed in the working arrangement section of the requirements. With regards to nationalities, there are no restrictions providing they have the right to work in the UK and are able to obtain BPSS and, for the majority of roles, SC security clearance.
10. Are bidders permitted to use two examples within a question response?
Yes bidder are able to use as many examples as they like in their responses, providing they do not exceed the 100 word limit.
11. Please can you confirm if the Cultural Fit Criteria question is to be answered as part of Stage 1 of this tender?
Yes this will be assessed as part of Stage one.
12. Can more than 1 example be used in response to questions asking for “an example”?
Yes- please see response to question 10.

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