Awarded to PDMS Limited (Professional Data Management Services Limited)

Start date: Sunday 1 August 2021
Value: £75,000
Company size: SME
Nottinghamshire County Council

Nottinghamshire digital employment and skills brokerage platform

7 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 1 large

3 Completed applications

3 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 5 May 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 12 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 19 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) is seeking a partner to work collaboratively with on the development of a digital employment and skills brokerage platform. The platform will be a trusted and accessible solution focused to support Nottinghamshire residents, improving their access to training and employment opportunities.
Latest start date
Monday 28 June 2021
Expected contract length
1 year with option to extend for 1 year (phased approach)
Location
East Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Nottinghamshire County Council
Budget range
We require a fixed price for the work and a detailed breakdown of costs including:
•hosting
•cost of ongoing support & training in addition to initial build or license purchase
•training
•reporting / analytics
•ongoing maintenance/development as required
•Initial system development costs should include a breakdown for testing, implementation and technical support
•License costs should include any additional costs for updates, add-ons and for on-going support/ amendments
•If new design build - the platform would need to be easily updated by NCC staff and initial training support is required along with ongoing support for updated to keep the portal relevant.

About the work

Why the work is being done
As part of NCC’s Covid-19 Crisis Economic Recovery Strategy, and in preparation for the end of Government’s furlough scheme on 30th September 2021 which could result in mass unemployment, we aim to deliver a flexible digital platform (compliant with the WCAG 2.1 AA Government Digital Service Standard) to help businesses recruit local talent, support local residents to access employment, matching their skills and training with job opportunities.
Externally funded provision is available in Nottinghamshire to help eligible residents on a one to one basis in their employment journey. Whilst there is access to generic job sites these do not offer the level of support we require from this platform including, useful and engaging content designed around the needs of an individual entering or retuning to work, meeting their career aspirations and finding job opportunities / training and support to access the vacancy such as CV writing and interview training.
It should provide vacancy data from recruitment websites, display data on jobs in our area, employment trends, annual openings, salary expectations, and jobs that use similar skills.
We are seeking a development partner to work with us on building and hosting our own digital employment and skills brokerage platform.
Problem to be solved
The platform will be the go-to-place for Nottinghamshire job seekers, returners, those looking to increase their skills and for employers looking to recruit.

The solution shall consolidate and complement existing activity simplifying the users’ journey/experience. It will engage and support these groups:
Unemployed / underemployed / those looking to change careers
Employers

The deliverables are an end-to-end digital service that:
• Individuals can create a log-in and profile to manage
job seeking activities
completing applications online
Skills/training development
employment journeys
• Signposts users to opportunities
• Tracks users’ journey/alerts them of any changes
• Provides personalised information, advice and guidance
• Publishes information and live job vacancy data
• Provide individual help with CVs, job applications and interviews
• Details and search function of available job opportunities with employers, including apprenticeships, traineeships
• Provides localised vacancy information
• Access to training
• Information about job trends and skills demanded by employers
• Access careers advice- links to webinars, short videos, employability workshops and careers information e.g.https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/
• Video / podcasts of what employers are looking for
• Offer employers a free localised, bespoke recruitment service, which provides suitably qualified local people to meet the workforce, planning needs of their business
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a resident, I want to quickly, easily and fairly access jobs to bring out the best in me and where necessary, receive help and find services to increase my employability.

As a job seeker I want to view my personal account(s) create a CV, search for employment opportunities and link to vacancies to apply for jobs, so I can earn money and have a fulfilled career.

I need to search for skills/training opportunities to meet my career aspirations through personalised learning journeys, e-learning and assessments.

As a job seeker I want to access employment related events to understand what is available. I would like to hear success stories, podcasts which I can relate to.

As an employer, I want to attract quality talent, assess transferable skills, knowledge-based skills and personal traits so I end up offering the job to the best person.

As the funder, I need meaningful labour market Information to understand the local economy to make more informed decisions about training, skills, sector support and inward investment. I need to know that the way the site is presented is reaching as many people as possible addressing their needs and provides data related to hiring, retention and advancement.
Early market engagement
We have investigated solutions that have been commissioned by other local authorities and considered some off-the-shelf solutions and wish to build on these.
The platform will only be as good as the information within, for this reason we need it to be pre-populated with;
• Vacancies (eg from indeed to other recruitment websites)
• Learning and training opportunities
• data on jobs in our area,
o employment trends,
o annual openings,
o salary expectations, and
o jobs that use similar skills.
• An ability to apply for the vacancies online through linking to the employer

This should form part of your costings and will enable us to launch quickly and ensure there is always content on the site.
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery work is underway. In order to respond to the needs of our residents, due to the pandemic the COVID 19 Resilience, Recovery and Renewal Committee approved the procurement of a digital employment and skills brokerage platform that:
• Promotes and realigns employment and skills support for Nottinghamshire citizens to address employability barriers, provide access to better and more rewarding jobs and labour market demands
Existing team
• Sonja Smith, Economic Development Officer
• Tracy Hill, Lead Technology Partner
• Rob Davies, Senior Communications and Marketing Business Partner (Digital)
• Jan Punter, Chief Technology Officer
• Chris Grocock, Head of Engagement and Partnerships (Futures our jointly owned skills and employment social enterprise).
• Jo Sheppard, Senior Communications and Marketing Business Partner
This platform forms part of a wider programme of work aligned to our Covid-19 recovery:
Addressing employability barriers - work-readiness, accessibility of work and training
Attract/retain skilled jobs– redeployment, retraining support to facilitate displaced workers and young people into local skills shortage and growth sectors
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Initial meetings with the project team will take place remotely using appropriate online technology / collaborative tools [or at NCC at one of our offices within the County]
Working arrangements
The development of the platform will take place offsite.
As deemed necessary through the project plan, it is envisaged that weekly/fortnightly catch-ups by online collaborative tools following set up. These may be required more frequently before go-live. The supplier / delivery partner will also need to perform but not limited to:

• Knowledge Transfer
• Exit Planning
• Risk Management
• Software Development/Configuration
• Quality Assurance Testing
• User Experience (Design, Research)
• Focus Groups
• Delivery Management (Planning, rollout)
• Performance analysis (Web analytics)
• Technical Architecture
Security clearance
This will be arranged during project set-

Additional information

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 of having worked on developing employment technologies/platforms, ideally for the Public Sector.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different users who would benefit from the development of employment technologies/platforms and how you would ensure that the platform would be accessible to all.
  • Demonstrate ways in which you have worked with clients to propose and develop innovative solutions from business requirements.
  • Demonstrate experience of clear/effective documentation and transition of products, skills/knowledge transfer to live services team, including resolving defects after launch such as service interaction maps/information about connectivity/web services.
  • Demonstrate successfully performing testing & quality assurance in delivering or developing a digital service
  • Demonstrate experience in successfully utilising and implementing web analytics
  • Demonstrate experience and knowledge of meeting the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • A focus on ensuring that the solution is personalisable and accessible to local people, gender inclusive and (where approriate) prioritise key groups, such as care leavers, those with disabilities.
  • Be prepared to share risk and/or reward with the Council if the service is deemed to be attractive to other authorities/public bodies.
  • Demonstrate experience of collaborative working and iterative development to achieve desired outcome
  • Demonstrate the experience of having successfully performed user-research to capture user needs and enhance a digital service from these.
  • Demonstrate successfully applying and utilising agile delivery skills in the course of delivering a digital service.
  • 6.1 For longer term support by NCC it is preferred to provide a system which is based on Umbraco Cloud MS. Specific development environments which NCC can support
  • 6.2 are based on Microsoft technologies using MS Azure, Visual Studio Net as well Javascript libraries such as React or JQuery. For integration purposes SOAP/JSON based web services are preferred.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Quality of the technical solution – 30%
  • Detail your approach and methodology applied to provide the solution – 10%
  • Demonstrate how the solution meets user needs/outcome focussed -10%
  • Detail estimated timeframes for the work – 15%
  • Detail your approach to identifying risks/dependencies and offer approaches to manage them, how you define and understand risks, how you resolve issues and how you take lessons learnt - 5%
  • Detail the team structure, including skills, experience and individual responsibilities -5%
  • Demonstrate value for money and detailed, transparent costs provided -10%
  • Detail robust monitoring/analytics as part of the functionality of the platform which (but is not limited to) charting the successful progression of the individuals helped. -5%
  • Identify how the approach or solution meets NCC’s goal/objectives - 10%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation - 20%
  • Demonstrate how you will successfully perform knowledge transfer and handover of completed pieces of work to the Contracting Authority during and at the end of Contract - 50%
  • Detail how you will be transparent and collaborative working when making decisions and working across multiple stakeholders - 15%
  • Detail how you will identify opportunities to continuously improve the product/service through on-going changes or innovative approaches - 15%
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier?
No
2. What is the budget range for this opportunity?
The budget is up to a maximum ceiling value of £75,000 ex VAT. This is not a commitment to spend up to this value and the Authority reserves the right to consume at its discretion. We will consider a phased approach costed with timescales for each phase.
3. Is there a reason for the Umbraco preference? Would the buyer be open to developing the platform using an alternative CMS?
There is a preference for the supplier to use Umbraco (ideally Umbraco Cloud) to be in line with the knowledge we have within the organisation and to streamline future support options. It is expected that not every potential partner has Umbraco skills and therefore we can only state a preference and won't exclude other content management platforms.
4. We understand you require a fixed price for the work detailed. Please could you quantify on anticipated budget range?
The budget is up to a maximum ceiling value of £75,000 ex VAT. This is not a commitment to spend up to this value and the Authority reserves the right to consume at its discretion. We will conisder a phased approach, costed with timescales for each phase.
5. Could you clarify/expand on the statement which appears in Nice-to-have skills and experience: ‘Be prepared to share risk and/or reward with the Council if the service is deemed to be attractive to other authorities/public bodies.’ What exactly does this mean please
With reference to 'be prepared to share risk and/reward' with the Council we would expect the chosen supplier to work in partnership with us to address and mitigate any identified project risks and be prepared to share rewards with other interested parties (Councils, External Partners), i.e., share learnings, marketing opportunities, etc.
6. Please can you confirm the budget for this opportunity?
The budget is up to a maximum ceiling value of £75,000 ex VAT. This is not a commitment to spend up to this value and the Authority reserves the right to consume at its discretion. We will conisder a phased approach, costed with timescales for each phase.
7. What is your preferred technology stack?
Our developer technology stack is Microsoft based with .Net and C# but please note that all applications are developed and hosted outside of the Content Management System. For hosting the Umbraco environment (for intranet and public website) we use Microsoft server technology including MS SQL for a back and will be migrating this to MS Azure during the Summer of 2021. Please note that for the delivery of the Employment and Skills Portal we would prefer delivery of this through Umbraco Cloud if possible.
8. Which off-the-shelf solution you have selected on which we should work?
We have not selected an off the shelf solution, we have looked at products that are readily available to inform our thinking.
9. Please share your hosting requirement (including number of server, server configuration, bandwidth, location etc.)
There is no intention to purchase a separate server infrastructure for the hosting of the Employment and Skills Portal. In order of preference, the following website hosting possibilities could be utilised: 1. Umbraco Cloud; 2. MS Azure (with Azure App Service) - with NCC's subscription; 3. External supplier based hosting.
10. Will you be evaluating responses to the Essential Skills & Experience and the Nice-to-Have Skills and Experience, before inviting a set number of agencies to submit a full proposal?
Yes, shortlist of 5 will be derived from evaluation Essential and Nice-to-Have skills evaluation
11. Is there a reason for preferring Umbraco Cloud, over a hosted implementation of Umbraco CMS?
The reason for preferring is Umbraco Cloud is that this service has been chosen for the Authority's micro sites. The main intranet and public website are delivered via the hosted version of Umbraco so knowledge of this is available at NCC. By utilising Umbraco Cloud allows us to keep the environments separate including the recharging element.
12. We have investigated solutions that have been commissioned by other local authorities and considered some off-the-shelf solutions and wish to build on these.’ Can you share which solutions look favourable, those you’re looking to build upon?
Examples are Croydon Works www.croydonworks.co.uk or Gateshead works ir Herftfordshire LEP www.hopinto.co.uk
13. We assume that resources can work from outside UK also. Please confirm.
Yes as long as the brief and contractual requirements can be met.