Awarded to Equal Experts UK Limited

Start date: Friday 16 July 2021
Value: £9,950,000
Company size: large
HMRC

Professional Services for the Customer Insight Platform

9 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 4 large

9 Completed applications

5 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 19 May 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 26 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 2 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
Build and maintain HMRC Customer Insight Platform live service. Operating a Continuous Integration-Continuous Delivery (CI-CD) capability in public cloud, currently AWS, using open source technologies.

Run and Maintain Live service high availability Transaction Monitoring infrastructure (Splunk, Scala Apps, Postgres, Mongo, Apache Spark, AWS S3, Kafka, Jupyter Notebooks).
Latest start date
Thursday 1 July 2021
Expected contract length
2 years (with the option of extending by 6 months)
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
HMRC
Budget range
£9,950,000

About the work

Why the work is being done
We are looking for a partner with expertise in building and operating a Continuous Integration-Continuous Delivery (CI-CD) capability in public cloud. CIP is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) currently hosted in AWS (London Region) and integrated with all of HMRC's modern, customer-facing digital services.

CIP went live in February 2014 and is always evolving to meet changing user needs. The platform vision and roadmap set out the future direction, centred on building a comprehensive portrait of customer's interactions with HMRC. This will be done by continually improving the quality, comprehensiveness, usability, operability and security of our data and tooling as well as simplifying the path to Production. Further we need to facilitate wider use of our customer insight platform for machine learning based production features across HMRC.
Problem to be solved
Maintaining and enhancing HMRC's CIP platform capability to serve up audit content and services to internal customers, while ensuring an optimal user experience. Without a performant, secure and highly available CIP platform, HMRC's customers will not be able to access MDTP's constituent services or may suffer a degraded user experience or be exposed to risk.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a user of services on tax.service.gov.uk:
I need HMRC to protect my personal identifiable information, and the public revenue from unauthorised access and/or attack
So that I can safely conduct my tax obligations with confidence
So that I can accurately and simply provide authentication and attribute information.

As an Officer of HMRC
I need accurate, reliable and true information about the activity of customers using our customer facing services.
So that
I can detect, prevent, and pursue unauthorised and/or criminal activity
I can assist customers with their interactions with HMRC services
I can analyse customer activity and behaviours
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
CIP went live in February 2014 and is now in its third major iteration:
2014 - 1 x SME cloud provider
2016 - 2 x SME cloud providers (active-active)
2017 - 1 x hyperscale cloud provider
The platform roadmap envisages CIP's continued evolution as a cutting edge PaaS, so there is plenty of transformative feature work in addition to the live running aspects.
Existing team
HMRC expect the Service Providers to work alongside other suppliers and internal staff, including apprentices, as part of blended teams.
There are 7 teams, typically comprising a subset of the following roles:
- Data Engineer
- Infrastructure engineer
- Software developer
- QA/tester
- Delivery Lead
- Product Owner
- Business Analyst
- Service Designer
- User Researcher
- Data Scientist
- Data Analyst
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
"Primary location: 14 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London, E20 1HZ

Primary Location: 7 and 8 Wellington Place, Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 4AP"
Working arrangements
The supplier will be required to be able to perform a mixture of remote working with co-locating alongside existing teams - mixed teams comprising both internal staff and other contractors, 5 days per week.

Occasional travel may be required to other HMRC Delivery Centres. Expenses will be paid as per agreed contract rates.

We expect the successful supplier to provide upskilling to permanent staff to increase internal capability.
Security clearance
All supplier contractors must hold or be able to achieve Security Clearance (SC). These posts are NOT reserved to UK Nationals. To be suitable for security clearance contractors MUST have been continuously resident in the UK, without significant breaks, for 5 years. Further details of eligibility for clearance arefound:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-security-vetting-advice-for-people-who-are-being-vetted

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All personnel engaged in the provision of this service must have a minimum of three years experience in their designated role/skill specialism, with an expectation of five years minimum experience for lead roles.

Additional HMRC specific terms in relation tax compliance among other things will be added to the call off contract

Mandatory Terms include Tax Compliance, Data Protection, Offshoring and using MyBuy, an electronic transaction system chosen by the Authority to facilitate payments.

More details will be provided to suppliers which have been shortlisted.

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
  • Providing additional and/or value added activities when acting in the role of a partner supplier to an organisation - 1.08%
  • Translating business problems and user needs into technical designs using agile methodologies - 1.62%
  • Deep understanding of Agile delivery methodologies including Lean, Kanban and Scrum - 1.62%
  • Proficient at writing code (scala, python, ruby) to solve problems, automating wherever it adds value and incorporating security best practices at all times - 1.62%
  • Hands on experience of various AWS services like Cloudformation, S3, ECS, EC2, RDS, Lambda, SQS, SNS, ElastiCache, ECR, VPC and IAM - 1.62%
  • Experience of Infrastructure as Code and deployment technologies including Terraform, Packer, Ansible and Docker - 1.62%
  • Proponents of test-driven development (TDD) practices, writing top quality unit tests and code - 1.62%
  • Devising and implementing unit/component, integration, system and acceptance tests to meet functional and non-functional requirements - 1.62%
  • Deep understanding of distributed Source Control, preferably git/GitHub - 1.08%
  • Deep understanding of application deployment strategies, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment - 1.62%
  • Deep understanding of inter-application communication protocols - 0.54%
  • Developing and utilising data analysis environments and tooling including Jupyter Notebooks, Apache Spark, Hudi, Presto and R studio - 1.08%
  • Developing and productionising Machine Learning models - 1.08%
  • Deep understanding of stream based data ingestion pipelines, including a range of software based collection methods - 1.08%
  • Deep understanding of complex multi source audit event management including, normalisation, ontology development, summarisation, and criminal justice standard confidentiality and data integrity. - 1.08%
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Significant, similar Agile Delivery contract with a public sector body
  • Experience of developing using Kubernetes, ELK, Sensu, Clickhouse, MongoDB
  • Splunk cluster administration
  • Previous experience of operating sensitive protected environment at Official Sensitive or higher

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
3
Proposal criteria
  • Earliest Start date - 1.43%
  • Suppliers will need to demonstrate that they will fit with our approaches to software delivery delighting the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software - 1.43%
  • Collaborative working day to day with other suppliers and in-house teams, including coaching, mentoring and knowledge sharing as part of all work delivered - 1.43%
  • Proponents of test-driven development (TDD) practices, writing top quality unit tests and code - 1.43%
  • Practising pair programming and understanding the value of peer review as part of maintaining focus on quality - 1.43%
  • Working in agile delivery teams, adhering to the 'Principles behind the Agile Manifesto' within a product-centric environment, and particularly comfortable with Kanban and Lean methodologies - 1.43%
  • Good communicators, having the soft skills to talk to the business as well as techs and expect to do both daily - 1.43%
  • Teams will have demonstrable DevOps experience, showing ability to release at least every sprint and ideally much more frequently - 1.43%
  • Continuous cost based analysis to drive efficiencies and reduce total cost of ownership in every aspect of design and development - 1.43%
  • Drive innovation to transform legacy services into modern customer centric solutions which delight the customer. Ideally demonstrating how they iteratively migrate legacy services in complex mixed ecosystem environments - 1.43%
  • Suppliers should demonstrate how they've identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them. This needs to focus both on: a.Information Security risk management b.Project risk management-1.43%
  • Suppliers need to demonstrate a good understanding of Transaction Monitoring capabilities and how they function in one or more industry sectors - 1.43%
  • Suppliers need to demonstrate a sound working knowledge of the General Data Protection regulation and any challenges this may provide in delivery of capabilities - 1.43%
  • Demonstrate they will work alongside HMRC permanent staff and other contractors. Suppliers must demonstrate how they have delivered within a.Multidisciplinary teams b.Mixed ecosystem teams c.Multi-site teams - 1.43%
  • SOCIAL VALUE (5%) - Tackling Economic Inequality MAC 3.5: Demonstrate action to identify and manage cyber security risks in the delivery of the contract. 5%
  • SOCIAL VALUE (5%) - Wellbeing MAC 7.1 - Demonstrate action to support health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health, in the contract workforce 5%
Cultural fit criteria
  • Will put the customer at the heart of delivery by delivering them value early and often - 2.73%
  • Regularly reflect on how to become more effective, and adjust and improve behaviours accordingly - 1.82%
  • Operates a no-blame culture, encouraging people to learn from their mistakes - 1.82%
  • Able to start work immediately - 1.82%
  • Have excellent communication skills with staff at all levels of the organisation - 1.82%
  • Will take responsibility for their work while also pairing/peer reviewing by default - 1.82%
  • Willing to collaborate and partner, including with other suppliers and HMRC staff at all levels - 1.82%
  • Proactively share knowledge and experiences with members of team, especially with HMRC staff 2.73%
  • Be innovative and promote ideas and suggestions as applicable - 1.82%
  • Focus on achieving value for money in all activities - 1.82%
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. The value of this contract is almost £10 million. While we have the capability to execute it, we are small with current turnover of around £1 million per annum. Would we be considered if we bid for this very interesting opportunity that is in our sweet spot?
All suppliers who are capable of delivering the contract are encouraged to apply and all will be considered. All suppliers will be evaluated against the criteria published, although will be subjected to financial and compliance checks to ensure they have the capacity to carry out the contract.
2. Please could the authority confirm whether there is an incumbent and if so, who?
There is an incumbent supplier. The incumbent supplier is Equal Experts.
3. Will there be a requirement for any onsite working, and if so, please could you tell us how much?
There will be a requirement for onsite working at both Locations; London and Leeds. We cannot specify the amount of work to be held onsite and remotely currently. We're likely to need to hold regular get-togethers with the teams in future and attend meetings.
4. Will the authority sponsor SC if required?
Yes if required, we do this currently as well.
5. Can the authority please confirm the level of Scala and Ruby experience that is required for this engagement.
We rely heavily on Scala and bidders should be able to provide Scala proficient engineers. Ruby is used more rarely.
6. Can you please confirm if Scala is used in the context for building data pipelines or Apps?
Scala is used in the context of both building our data pipelines and building applications
7. Could you please expand upon what is meant by software based collection methods.
We utilise a number of software components in our stream based auditing pipeline including Kafka, Traefik, RabbitMQ and SQS as well as custom Scala/Python apps and libraries
8. Are we allowed to form consortium/partnerships to respond to this opportunity?
Yes this is permissible. All members of a consortium/partnership will have to satisfy HMRC's compliance/financial checks and agree to contract/ mandatory terms if successful.
9. "Does HMRC expect a transfer of employees to take place?
If so, please can HMRC confirm
• when detailed TUPE data will be provided?
• and what level of data will provided?"
No, There is no transfer of employees to take place
10. Please can HMRC confirm expectations around transition and on-boarding timeframes; including the expected initial resource capacity.
"HMRC will expect up to a 3 month transition phase to facilitate a smoother transaction of key staff.
HMRC are expecting to onboard a supplier as soon as possible. The expected date to begin is 1st July 2021.
The resource required initially is likely to be 15-20 staff to begin the handover process and this will increase quickly as necessary."