This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Thursday 10 June 2021
Navy Digital Services, Ministry of Defence (NDS, MOD)

RE-LISTED 701555473 Digital Service Programme Partner: Data Science

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

27 Completed applications

12 SME, 15 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 27 May 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 3 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 10 June 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Summary of the work
The data science DSPP will provide a flexible and scalable data science capability to supplement the in-government expertise provided by DSTL, providing the RN with the capacity and skills required to deliver data science projects sustainably and at scale.
Latest start date
Thursday 22 July 2021
Expected contract length
24 months, with the option to increase by up-to 20% extra if required.
Location
South East England
Organisation the work is for
Navy Digital Services, Ministry of Defence (NDS, MOD)
Budget range
£8.333m (exc VAT) with the option to increase by up-to 20% extra if required.

About the work

Why the work is being done
"In order to achieve required operational advantage, and transition to a digital organisation by 2023, the Royal Navy need to be able to rapidly and effectively employ a range of data science and analytical techniques to exploit value and insight from data.

The data science DSPP will provide a flexible and scalable data science capability to supplement the in-government expertise provided by DSTL, providing the Royal Navy with the capacity and skills required to deliver data science projects sustainably and at scale."
Problem to be solved
"There is a need to place data at the core of the enterprise to support better informed decision making and establish a 'Digital' culture in the Royal Navy.

Whilst the partnership with DSTL provides the core data science capability to NDS, DSTL also supports a broad range of other users across Defence and Security and has limited capacity, and therefore cannot meet all necessary requests for support from the RN.

The RN needs to develop organic DDAT expertise in order to self-sustain and deliver effective solutions to future opportunities and threats. Collaboration with DSPP is required to achieve this."
Who the users are and what they need to do
"As a Navy user, I need better ways to access, understand and use my data, so that I can do my job better.

As military personnel, civil servants, and other suppliers working collaboratively across NDS, we need assistance and guidance on managing and scaling the programme, so that we can expand rapidly, while delivering reliably and managing increasing interest and expectations for application delivery. "
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
"NDS is the Royal Navy’s trusted authority for digital transformation; we design, develop and support Maritime applications and services. Our Data Science capability is provided through a partnership with DSTL.

The digital foundry (NELSON) develops, delivers and sustains digital services, from discovery to live. NELSON is the core of the digital foundry, supporting teams across the Royal Navy to develop and incubate their AI capability and accelerate the delivery of digital services.

The digital backbone (Data and Cloud) provides common services, coherent accessible data and secure, resilient and effective cloud hosting that are essential to the delivery of digital services."
Existing team
Leadership (Executive) comprising 6 roles:
Head of Navy Digital Services
Head of Product
Head of Delivery
Head of Data
Head of Cloud
Head of Data Science
34 Civil Servants – primarily DDaT professionals
13 Military – 6 Transformation Lines of Development Service Owners & 7 Data Integration experts
Dedicated team of Dstl Scientists
Industry partners and contracted support
Current phase
Discovery

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
HMNB Portsmouth, with regular travel to users, and remote working opportunities.
Working arrangements
We would like the supplier to become a DSPP integrated into the NELSON team.
This requires a minimum presence of 3 days a week in the office. On other days working from home is permissible but a general presence is encouraged. (Some roles, e.g. management will require more in office time).

Staff working on projects may have need to travel to conduct user research activities.
Security clearance
Security Check level of clearance is required.
Information processed may be up to 'SECRET' requiring work in accordance with a Security Aspects Letter
Cyber Risk is Very Low - the winning supplier will be directed to raise a Cyber Risk Supplier Assurance Questionnaire.

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 experience of managing the development of digital services through discovery, alpha and beta stages.
  • Supplier has experience of delivering services in an agile, user centred way in the public sector, utilising GDS standards.
  • Supplier has demonstrable experience in the past 2 years of successfully applying advanced analytical techniques to heterogenous data sources to deliver insights to users
  • Supplier has demonstrable experience in the past 2 years of the use of open source data science and machine learning technologies, including Python and R
  • Supplier has demonstrable experience in the past 2 years of using big data technologies for data science, including Hadoop and Spark
  • Supplier can provide evidence of providing quality assurance of data science products
  • Demonstrable experience applying good practice+ standards to generate reproducible work,+ effectively recording project artefacts, including: Discovery outputs, Alpha developments+ handovers of User Centred Design activity across evolving delivery teams.
  • Demonstrable experience and can provide evidence of managing multiple multidisciplinary teams, at scale.
  • Demonstrable experience of creating an agile environment within a learning organisation in which groups are nurtured and upskilled to become high performing teams.
  • Supplier can demonstrate experience of Knowledge Transfer to up-skill key non digitally native team members.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable experience in the past 2 years of machine learning operations (MLOps) or similar approaches to deliver live ML-enabled services.
  • Supplier has demonstrable experience of military environments and working with uniformed personnel.
  • Supplier has demonstrable experience and can provide evidence in communicating value of digital and technical projects to a non-technical audience.
  • Experience in the following general toolsets: Linux, Atlassian, Google Suite, O365.
  • Recent experience and evidence of applying data ethics frameworks in data science projects

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
3
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence services that have been developed, the approaches adopted and the issues encountered/resolved.
  • Evidence of working collaboratively in a multi-supplier environment or 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
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this the same requirement previously listed under: 701555473 Digital Service Programme Partner: Data Science
Yes. The weightings for evaluation have been adjusted to:
Technical : 60%
Cultural: 20%
Price: 20%
All other Statement of Requirement contents remain the same.
Questions Close 3 Jun 21.
Tender Closes 10 Jun 21.
2. You mention “learning organisation” what do you mean by that?
The Digital Partner will be expected to contribute to a learning and constantly improving organisation that aspires to be an exemplar digital team.  Key to this will be the facilitation of knowledge transfer from leading industry experience into the Authority and its permanent staff.
3. When you mention teams at scale, what scale are you looking for?
The intention is to secure 6 Digital Service Partners (DSPPs) so that we can gain access to partners that can deliver specialist skillsets rather than generalist.  We want to both leverage that best practice, and have the ability to respond faster in our ability to meet user needs.  This will be facilitated by having 6 DSPPs
4. How closely will this Digital Service Programme Partner work with the Nelson Data Platform supplier ?
It is expected that a high proportion of digital services delivered by NDS will be hosted on the Navy Data Platform.  As such engagement will be required with this team/supplier.
5. There is a requirement to ‘manage multiple multidisciplinary teams’. Please could you clarify your definition of ‘multidisciplinary’ ?
"This focusses on the use of Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) roles, alongside Civil Servants, Military personnel and Industry Partners who collectively consistute teams that are created to support the development/delivery of digital services. 

Government Digital Services guidance on team membership during different phases of delivery will provide a guide on roles and responsibilities for service delivery."
6. What’s the highest security classification for work carried out under this programme, please?
Up to Secret
7. There’s mention of regular travel to user sites. Where are the users located ?
Primarily in the Portsmouth area, but also broader SE.
8. Can the Authority please elaborate on the type of development activities they see being conducted through the Command & Support DSPP as opposed to the other DSPPs?
The skills are more relevant than the type of development activities themselves. In this DSPP, the skills should be more related to bespoke applications using the common technology stack prevalent across the Navy at this time
9. We have understood that three bidders will be down selected on the basis of their answers to the published question set. Will scores from these answers be incorporated into the evaluation process thereafter? If so, how will they be considered alongside Case Studies and presentations?
The initial scores from the 1st round of answers will be modified subsequent to the written proposal and Presentations.
10. Can the Authority give an indication of the numbers and frequency of the multi-discipline teams required throughout the contract duration?
The successful partner will be required to flex / contract to support delivery demand. The intention is to have a well planned, predictable pipeline of work that links to the annual budget cycle.
11. 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.
12. 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."
13. Would you accept a consortium bid for this programme
Yes
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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
This is a challenge. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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
21. 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.
22. 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
23. 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
24. 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
25. 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.
26. 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
27. 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.
28. "When you refer to Linux in the final Nice-to-have,
do you mean Linux as a server, Linux desktop as a local
development environment, Linux bash as a coding language,
or all of them?"
General use of Linux desktop environments and servers
29. "When you refer to Atlassian in the penultimate nice-to-have
– what specifically do they mean, as Atlassian is a company?
Do you mean Jira / Trello, BitBucket or Confluence, or all of
them together?"
This nice-to-have refers to the Atlassian suite of tools, and suppliers should demonstrate experience in all those that they have experience using.
30. "Can you please clarify if the Royal Navy/ MoD will sponsor security clearances for this requirement? "
Due to this requirements urgent need to process classified information up to ‘SECRET’ immediately upon contract commencement, Suppliers personnel need to attain the relevant clearances by Service commencement.
31. Please can you advise the anticipated timelines for this tender competition?
The below timings are anticipated and may be subject to change:

Publish to DM: 27 May - 10 Jun 2021
Initial Questions Close: 3 Jun 2021
Down Select: 11 - 16 Jun 2021
Issue supplier Doc: 17 Jun 2021
Q&A Close: 1 Jul 2021
Written Proposal: 8 Jul 2021
Presentation: 15 Jul 2021
Discuss and Notify: 16 Jul 2021- 21 Jul 2021
Contract Award: 22 Jul 2021
Onboard begins: 26 Jul 2021"
32. "What types of heterogeneous data sources are of most
interest to the Authority?"
The authority requires capability for multiple and varied structured and unstructured data sources
33. "Please name any incumbent suppliers delivering or supporting
the Royal Navy with this work to date? "
A partnership with DSTL provides the core data science capability to Navy Digital Services, with individual specialists also provided by partners BAE AI and Digi2al.
34. Are there any specific elements of “quality assurance”
(of data science products) that you would like demonstrated
in our response?
We would like evidence of how bidders have ensured quality assurance of data science products, appropriate to the usage of the products.
35. "In terms of the following question: “Demonstrable experience
applying good practice+ standards to generate reproducible
work,+ effectively recording project artefacts, including:
Discovery outputs, Alpha developments+ handovers of User
Centred Design activity across evolving delivery teams.
Can you clarify the meaning of:
1. “reproducible work”?
2. “recording project artefacts”?
Can you clarify the meaning of:
1. “reproducible work”?
a. Suppliers should demonstrate experience in ensuring that results can be reproduced, methods replicated and results checked.
2. “recording project artefacts”?
a. Suppliers should demonstrate that they have experience recording project artefacts using appropriate methods to enable knowledge transfer across teams, sharing of insights and evidence of the processes followed when gaining insights or making decisions.
36. "In terms of the following question: “Demonstrable experience
applying good practice+ standards to generate reproducible
work,+ effectively recording project artefacts, including:
Discovery outputs, Alpha developments+ handovers of User
Centred Design activity across evolving delivery teams.
Can you clarify the meaning of:
3. “Handovers of User Centre Design activity
across evolving delivery teams” – is this referring to handing
over from one UCD team to multiple UCD teams or from
UCD teams into delivery teams?"
Both. It is expected that delivery teams will evolve throughout the project lifecycle and as such that knowledge and insights gathered during UCD activity will need to be shared throughout this using appropriate methods and tools. A successful supplier would also be expected to contribute to sharing these insights with the wider NDS team of teams in order that these can be leveraged by other projects where appropriate.
37. Will security clearance be required prior to the start of the
engagement?
Yes. Due to this requirements urgent need to process classified information up to ‘SECRET’ immediately upon contract commencement, Suppliers personnel need to attain the relevant clearances by Service commencement.
38. It is stated in an answer that you require 6 partners,
but only seek to down select 3 suppliers from this exercise,
does this mean you already have other partners or may run an
additional exercise again, later?
The intent is to run 6 DSPP competitions to secure 6 digital partners.  Within each competition we will initially down-select 3 or 4 bidders for follow-on assessment, with each competition having a single winner. In this competition 3 suppliers will be down-selected.
39. Please confirm if the questions identical as per the initial
opportunity listing?
The requirement is identical, only the evaluation weightings have been altered, as detailed in question 1.
40. Please note that we did not seem to have received a notification
on the withdrawal of the initial tender. Could you please confirm
if a notification sent out to interested suppliers or not ?
There were no additional notifications sent. The only notifications sent would have been automatically generated by the Digital Marketplace Withdraw action.
41. Can you please clarify if it is technically feasible to edit and
resubmit a proposal once it has been uploaded (as long as it is
prior to the submission deadline)?
Please kindly refer to the Digital Marketplace ‘help and support’ service available by emailing: cloud_digital@crowncommercial.gov.uk.