Awarded to e3 media ltd t/a Great State

Start date: Monday 26 July 2021
Value: £8,333,333
Company size: SME
Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence (RN, MOD)

Digital Service Programme Partner: People and Public

12 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 3 large

12 Completed applications

7 SME, 5 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 April 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 6 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 13 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
To provide multi-skilled resources to conduct agile, UCD product development through Discovery, Alpha, Beta and into Live for People and Public user needs. Support migration and enhancement of existing Public & People capabilities. Resourcing available to be dynamic and flexible to new and changing needs to achieve digital outcomes.
Latest start date
Monday 21 June 2021
Expected contract length
24 months with the option to extend for up to 6 months
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence (RN, MOD)
Budget range
£8.333m (exc VAT)

About the work

Why the work is being done
Due to increasing demand for digital transformation across the Royal Navy, Navy Digital is procuring a range of Digital Services Programme Partners that can provide digital skills and teams to bolster our permanent staff, and dynamically scale to meet emerging user needs. This DSPP is for a supplier with specific digital skills to meet the demand from our users in the People and Public facing communities.
Problem to be solved
"To provide multi-skilled teams at all stages of the agile life-cycle to develop solutions to meet the needs of our People and Public users. This community works at sea and ashore (deployed and fixed), on a range of systems, and require integrated solutions that evolve based on user feedback. The chosen supplier will support evolution of these existing capabilities and provide rapidly scalable options for:
1. My Navy digital service, ongoing support and development of capability
2. Public facing web services, ongoing support and development including recruiting campaign digital media, creative and social requirements
3. Additional specialised support as required to business areas"
Who the users are and what they need to do
"As a Royal Navy People and Public user, I need enhanced capabilities to engage with the public and our workforce, empower them and support a digitally literate culture. This DSPP will support maturity of digital services for all 30,000 Royal Navy personnel and associated Civil Servants.

As a Navy Digital representative, I need digital services that are modern, sustainable and improve through life, so that the British public and my users get the best experience."
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
"There is a fully compliant public facing web service in place; this will become the responsibility of the successful supplier to support and develop to our needs including recruitment activities and campaigns and supporting digital media creative and social products. The MyNavy PWA has significantly increased engagement and empowerment of our workforce but requires significant further development in People and Public facing capabilities.

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 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
"Flexible according to specific tasking. The Web services can be delivered remotely. Other elements of the delivery we anticipate being integrated into the Navy Digital team. There will be a mixture of on-site interaction and remote working using our collaborative tooling and the various hosting services currently in use. Delivery teams working on projects may need to travel to conduct activities.
Security clearance
Personnel delivering to this contract will need appropriate clearance according to task and access. A SAL will be provided.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The following DEFCONS (latest editions) shall apply: 703 and 531

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 recent experience (last 2 years) of designing enterprise websites that are intuitive and easy to use on all devices and which meet the Digital Service Standard.
  • Supplier has recent (last 2 years) technical knowledge of website hosting environments and experience of mitigating security and cyber threats to websites.
  • Supplier has capability to develop digital services using a range of open source technologies (including React.JS, Kubernetes, Gatsby, UMBRACO, Sitecore).
  • Supplier has experience (last 2 years) of delivering services in an agile user centred way in the public sector.
  • Supplier has recent (last 2 years) demonstrable experience of implementing website metric software such as Google Analytics and generating appropriate Management Information/User Insights.
  • Supplier has proven experience of rapidly providing User Research, Design, Technical Architecture, Business Analyst, Data Engineer and Front End Development skills.
  • Demonstrable experience of effective recording of discovery outputs, Alpha developments, and handovers of User Centred Design work across teams.
  • Demonstrable recent experience (within last 2 years) of working with crown servants to provide knowledge transfer opportunities and respond to requests for upskilling in specific areas aligned to agreed outputs.
  • Hold ISO9001 and ISTQB certification
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 of cloud hosting and migration
  • Demonstrable recent experience (within last 2 years) of assessing: benefits, drawbacks and implications of different technology strategies (e.g. re-use solutions, COTS, build and development of other open-source/bespoke solutions).
  • Demonstrable recent experience (within last 2 years) of managing changing priorities when delivering outputs.
  • Experience building application services suitable for being hosted on government official security domains.
  • Experience of delivering Microsoft Dynamics within a secure environment with multiple API connections
  • Experience of providing application and infrastructure support services within a secure environment, including monitoring and support.
  • Experience of deploying large scale Sitecore solutions onto Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure .

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 and 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
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will there be a question and answer session
There will be a telephone Q&A soon after down-select, expected to be 1000 on 20 May 21, during which suppliers will be able to ask questions of the client. Details for this will be sent along with more detail regarding the deliverables by email to the provided PoC with the down-select notification.
2. Will this be assessed as inside IR35?
It is not expected that IR35 will apply. An assessment will be made after the winning supplier has been selected and explained how the supplier proposes to provide the services. It is possible that the MoD will require a declaration of compliance from the Supplier.
3. Is there a Cyber Risk Assessment?
The Cyber Risk Level is very low. Suppliers that are down selected will be required to complete a SAQ via the online tool.
4. Is there an incumbent supplier in the role?
There is an incumbent delivering this digital outcome. It is not known whether the incumbent intends to apply through this opportunity too.
5. Would you accept a DV cleared candidate?
Yes, we would accept workers with a DV within the service delivery arrangement, but as this is an outcome, it will be for the supplier to manage security clearances for all those tasked with activities within this opportunity.
6. How crucial is it that this supplier needs experience in all the essential fields?
This is a requirement for an outcome and we are therefore looking for an exceptional digital services partner with a broad range of expertise to deliver the digital outcomes required. Suppliers will need to provide one example outlining their experience in each essential area – if a supplier cannot deliver an essential element then this is not the opportunity for them.
7. How will tenderers be assessed
Tenderers will be evaluated and scored 0-3 against responses to each criteria. Tenderers with the three highest total scores will be down-selected.

Down-selected tenderers will then provide written proposals for the provision of the digital services and attend a presentation to brief the proposal to evaluators. The entire proposal and initial submission will then be evaluated and scored 0-3. Tenderers will be provided with a percentage score for technical, cultural and financial criteria (relative to the maximum available score or the lowest offered price, and weighted per the criteria).

The contract will be awarded to the highest overall scoring supplier.
8. Will there be any performance indicators within the contract
If performance indicators are required, these will be advised following down-selection
9. Who is current DSPP- People and Public incumbent How long have they been on contract
This is currently covered off by two incumbents 'Public' services partner - Great State; 'People' partner Karmarama; both 2 years
10. Will current incumbent be available/supportive to a managed document/process/archive hand-over
Yes - there is a one week onboarding period commencing at contract start
11. What is the size of the current team support, e.g Core Staff and Surge/Augmentation
This is provided as a service so the exact composition is unknown to the authority. Broadly speaking there is a core of team of approximately 20 consisting of account and delivery managers, technical and creative staff with skills in the common digital principles, web support etc; the incumbents have access to specialist skills and project management resources for dealing with larger change activities.
12. Does this scaling requirement align and meet Royal Navy’s new DSPP- People and Public digital support needs
We think so, yes. But we recognise the need to manage resources and delivery throughout the contract period.
13. Indicatively, what number/proportion/posts are required to work permanently in HMNB Portsmouth
Task and solution based - this is not possible to predict at this stage. Currently all Public services are supported remotely.
14. Given the maturity of MyNavy, what specific areas of development/support are required
1. Support function to keep everything running smoothly.
2. Travel- the ability for a service person to request approval, booking and submit travel expenses.
3. Uniform- the ability for service personnel to view their uniform record and order replacement items.
4. MyRFA- integration with RFA personnel management solution.
5. Naval Life- Ability for service personnel to view content and book Adventurous Training, RN Sport and Personnel Development features whilst integrating with NavyFit (website on Defence Gateway).
6. Support the potential upgrade of MyNavy Progressive Web Application (PWA) to Native Application.
7. Migrate MyNavy PWA from current infrastructure to MoDCloud (Azure).
15. Please give an indication of likely ‘additional specialised support as required to business areas’.
The chosen DSPP will likely have a degree of ability to deliver from within their own internal resources and then act as an intermediary for additional digital resources needed to bring a proposal to implementation.

Take an idea from a business area; Authority agree it's in scope; propose a solution with a cost; Authority agrees and then implement.

There may be a requirement to produce a film, for example in which case the DSPP would engage a production company.

Migrate to another cloud solution.

Support a digital services academy to assist Authority personnel in attaining DDaT levels of proficiency.
16. Would the authority welcome an application from a supplier which doesn’t have ISO9001 and ISTQB certifications, but can show adherence to the principles of quality management and software testing
The Authority would be content to review a proposal that did not have these certifications but the supplier will need to give an example in 100 words showing adherence to the principles of quality management and software testing in order to score in this section and remain in the competition.
17. Would you accept a consortium bid for this programme
18. With the Q&A session scheduled for 20th May is the Authority able to confirm the dates on which the following notifications will be received:
- Date for down select – Contract award date
We have estimated dates of 20 May and 18 June
19. ISTQB is typically a certification required on an individual basis rather than a company-wide certification. Please can you confirm your expectations on this – would you expect all project resources to hold this certification
We would expect access to ISTQB qualified personnel to be made available when needed during delivery. A statement that a supplier has X staff with this qualification would be appropriate, with an example of how this was used.
20. Upon downselect, please can the authority please confirm the scoring methodology, question weighting and a pricing scenario for each bidder and the evaluation that will be used
Scoring against requirements will be: 0 - Not met, 1 - Partially met, 2 - Met, 3 - Exceeded. For pricing we will provide a more detailed statement of requirements/work to supplier who are down selected to the next phase. Suppliers will be asked to provide a price for delivering those services for the 24 months, including a breakdown of rates used to calculate the total price. This will then be used to compare prices.
21. Could the Authority provide any more detail on the “Additional specialised support as required to business areas”
Already answered above.
22. Can you name the suppliers who supported the development of the MyNavy digital service
Karmarama (part of Accenture) / Great State (first 6 months of development)
23. What’s the highest security classification for work carried out under this programme, please
Official Sensitive
24. Have you identified any dependencies expected to be created by the People and Public DSPP, on the other DSPPs, if so could you please summarise
The projects within the DSPP will draw upon the core services provided by the C&S DSPP. The hammock tasks that overhang each workstream across the programme - for example, the design service or service assessment process - will be periodically drawn down on where required or mandated.
25. Can you provide the amount of development time in man-days that has been expended by suppliers, on the My Navy digital service to date
No. The project has been running as a mixture of fixed price and T&M contracts over the last 18 months and the true amount of man days spent on this is not visible to us, and our sunk financial commitment will not be shared as part of this response.
26. Can you explain how suppliers should create a fixed price element in order for the authority to evaluate
we will provide a more detailed statement of requirements/work to supplier who are down selected to the next phase. Suppliers will be asked to provide a price for delivering those services for the 24 months, including a breakdown of rates used to calculate the total price. This will then be used to compare prices.
27. Can you explain the evaluation method for price
we will provide a more detailed statement of requirements/work to supplier who are down selected to the next phase. Suppliers will be asked to provide a price for delivering those services for the 24 months, including a breakdown of rates used to calculate the total price. This will then be used to compare prices.
28. If evaluating by a rate card – can you please explain how the evaluation will be conducted
we will provide a more detailed statement of requirements/work to supplier who are down selected to the next phase. Suppliers will be asked to provide a price for delivering those services for the 24 months, including a breakdown of rates used to calculate the total price. This will then be used to compare prices.
29. Can you name the existing COTs applications deployed as part of the My Navy digital service
No COTs applications are employed as part of the MyNavy PWA. Software used in the development of the current PWA is Open Source - Gatsby, Umbraco, Lighthouse, Jenkins. MyNavy intrinsically links to existing Tri-Service applications hosted within the Defence Gateway which are maintained in house by Army Digital Services.
30. 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
We will provide a more detailed statement of requirements/work to the 3 suppliers who are down selected to the next phase. Suppliers will be asked to provide a price for delivering those services for the 24 months, including a breakdown of rates used to calculate the total price. This will then be used to compare prices.
31. 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
Initial scores will be adjusted by content in the submission/proposal and performance at the presentation.
32. 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
We dont expect exceeds expecation to be awarded during the initial sift. These scores are more likely to be factored in when the presentations take place.
33. Do you have any preference between public sector and private sector examples Or will both be treated equally as long as they are relevant to the question
Examples should be relevant to the delivery challenge - both technical and the unique challenges of delivering into a military environment
34. Is it permissible to provide more than one example where required to fully address the question
Yes, but you need to keep to the word count without the use of the underscore.
35. Please can you share a procurement timetable outlining steps from receipt of initial submissions by midnight 13th May to work commencement on 21st June (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 current expected timetable is (subject to change):
Publish Opportunity on DOS-5 29-Apr-21 Thu
Opp Closes - evaluate to 3 suppliers 14-May-21 Fri
Complete evaluation, send to Commercial 19-May-21 Wed
Inform suppliers; send detailed requirements, request proposal and invite to presentations 20-May-21 Thu
Formal Q&A - telephone 21-May-21 Fri
Receive Written Proposals 06-Jun-21 Sun
Presentations 09-Jun-21 Wed
Decide, inform Commercial 10-Jun-21 Thu
Notify successful supplier, standstill (7 days) 11-Jun-21 Fri
Award 18-Jun-21 Fri
Onboard 21-Jun-21 Mon
Offboard 28-Jun-21 Mon
36. Which roles will be represented on the evaluation panel
The evaluation panel will be made up of a number of the Navy Digital Services Executive, in addition to SMEs within this space from across the organisation
37. Will Royal Navy/MoD sponsor security clearance where appropriately skilled staff do not yet have it
Suppliers are responsible for providing candidates with clearances.
38. Are you expecting the listed roles to be provided full time, or will some deployments be part time
There will need to be a mix of Full and Part time resources to flex with demand
39. Are the requested roles expected to be a variety of seniorities or are you focusing at one level more than others If so, which level will dominate
The suppliers should provide suitable qualified personnel to deliver outcomes. That will involve people of all seniorities, although the majority of the work should be considered as deliverable by the roles typically found in an Agile delivery team
40. As per DOS guidelines ‘You should only provide one example for each essential or nice-to-have requirement’, are you only requesting one example per skills and experience question to cover depth of experience or multiple ranging examples to cover breadth of experience
Yes. For an outcome like this, the statement made should reflect the Suppliers knowledge, skills and experience in meeting the criteria/requirement.
41. Are you able to organise access to users for the purpose of user research
Users are essential to the successful delivery of the initatives and access to them will be possible
42. Would you prefer a supplier to co-locate with you when circumstances allow or is remote working expected throughout the contract
A mixture - When not driven by any mandated COVID-19 protocols, the working location will be determined by the tasks and the audience
43. Is there a roadmap already defined to be delivered under this contract or will the successful supplier be supporting the creation of a roadmap
There is an initial backlog of tasks and a set of regular activities which will be validated with the successful partner upon contract award. Regular activities include:
ModCloud - further support work on RNWeb, CRM, TFS, UKMTO, Forums
Software for Shorthand
Forum software
Application Performance Management Implementation
Software for Application Performance Management
Elmah/Exception Handling
Software for Exception Handling
Sitecore upgrades (1 per year)
Penetration testing (2 per year)
Accessibility reviews and technical enhancements programmes
Environment upgrades
MODNet support
Other licensing (Navy News eCommerce/OneTrust/font subscription etc)
Disaster Recovery
Defence Gateway Integration / updates
44. You mention the agile lifecycle and Digital Service Standard as part of the requirements, is this how work is mainly delivered currently or are you looking for a supplier to help instill these approaches successfully
There is a team delivering a service standard appropriate for the work being undertaken in this environment. This package of work does not explicitly require a supplier to help develop this standard, but as an experienced supplier and partner of NDS, any successful partner would be expected to contribute to the organic improvement of our processes, without being explicitly asked to.
45. Are you expecting to undertake GDS Service Assessments for new projects being delivered
Yes, but note that the GDS Service Assessment process is being developed into one more appropriate for the Navy. That process will guide delivery activities
46. Some of the nice-to-have skills are very niche and may remove the chance for some very capable suppliers to be shortlisted. Will the nice-to-have skills be scored as part of the overall assessment or only if a shortlist can’t be made with the essential skills
nice to have is scored as part of the overall scoring. The three highest scores will be called to present
47. Can you advise of your biggest challenges with the current service delivery
Managing the number of initiatives and pace of delivery against the prioritised backlog. DSPP support here will assist in our ability to scale outputs.
48. Outside your deployment there may not be many deployments of Gatsby + Umbraco + Kubernetes + Sitecore. Would you accept a less specific technology stack that references a number of these technologies
MyNavy currently deploys on Gatsby and Umbraco fortnightly as a minimum.
Public is Sitecore
49. Is the Authority able to confirm the expected number of resources and skills mix to be made available on the start date of 21st June, and expectations regarding security clearance levels at that point.
MyNavy - min SC due to access requirements of the servers. 1xFE, 1xBE (API) and Umbraco or an individual(s) who can cover all aspects for S&M tasking only. QA will be required dependent on hosting of new UAT/Dev environments / RN access. Full handover of MyNavy will also be required inc designs, UX/UI, Component libraries, code base, deployment requirements etc

Public will require, Delivery Lead, Delivery Managerx2, Technical, Infrastructure, Creative and Strategy Lead's. Rapidly expanding to require Sitecore developers, MS Dynamics & TFS support, QA, Content and Copywriters, Researchers.
50. It is assumed that the incumbent supplier has an existing knowledge of what exactly is required to support the website and your expectations around maintenance, support and iterative development. Please can you share this information with all bidders, and clarify the SLA’s and technology required, so that we can assess how best to support your website and requirements.
MyNavy Progressive Web Application - Current tech stack software includes Gatsby, Umbraco, Lighthouse, Jenkins (UAT/Dev only) built on the current MoD environment for Prod and Pre Prod using Windows Server 2016 and incumbant supplier techstack for Dev and UAT. Atlassian suite currently used for PM tooling and code repository through Bitbucket. Current SLAs is that the PWA is supported during working hours i.e 0800-1700 Monday - Friday but due to the app becoming business critical with the release of Travel this will need to be readdressed. RN provide call out outside working hours for level .........
51. It is assumed that the incumbent supplier has an existing knowledge of what exactly is required to support the website and your expectations around maintenance, support and iterative development. Please can you share this information with all bidders, and clarify the SLA’s and technology required, so that we can assess how best to support your website and requirements.
.....1 and 2 support and operate in conjunction with Army / Rackspace (24 hr) to maintain hosting and data pipeline connections. Infrastructure upgrades are normally made outwith the core working day.

Public core support hours Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00, this expected to flex to meet campaign demands and deployments. 24x7 automated monitoring is required. Tech stack, Sitecore 9.x, SOLR, Windows Server 2016 as above on MoD environment with supplier Dev & UAT currently. Microsoft Team Foundation Server V15.x used for source control / repository, PM tooling and deployments. Microsoft Dynamics 365 (on Prem) CRM