Awarded to Kin and Carta UK Limited

Start date: Friday 8 October 2021
Value: £4,000,000
Company size: SME
The Planning Inspectorate

Software Engineering Partner

9 Incomplete applications

6 SME, 3 large

15 Completed applications

8 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 July 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 5 August 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 12 August 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
The Planning Inspectorate wants to partner with a supplier on an outcome-based service contract to provide the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to help meet demand for software engineering services, on a range of internal and public facing services from discovery to live
Latest start date
Friday 24 September 2021
Expected contract length
2 years, with an option to extend for an additional 6 months (25% of the initial contract period)
South West England
Organisation the work is for
The Planning Inspectorate
Budget range
There is no commitment to minimum spend over the term of the contract. The maximum spend will be £4 million over the duration of the contract, excluding VAT

Statements of work shall be agreed so that we can ensure we’re delivering discrete projects or activities that meet user needs and value for money

The payment approach will vary dependent on the statement of work. For example, fixed price or capped and time and materials etc

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Planning Inspectorate deals with planning appeals in England and Wales. The operational delivery transformation programme is transforming the Inspectorate’s end-to-end appeals, applications and examinations management to:

a) Make it easier and quicker for our customers to do business with us;
b) Support our staff to work as efficiently and effectively as possible;
c) Maximise the use of digital and data opportunities in line with both planning reform policy and the Inspectorate’s strategy and business plans;
d) Replace legacy systems and develop new platforms which will improve efficiency and better meet user needs
e) Improve data and performance through better information and decision support, improved insights from data, track performance and progress of the Inspectorate’s digital services, as well as improved data flows across the end to end planning process

This contract will allow time-critical work to be supported whilst the building of in-house capability and the transfer of skills and knowledge to civil servants

These services are also required to support the replacement of several aging legacy systems, and to support in-house digital and data delivery teams and address the backlog of projects
Problem to be solved
The current planning processes which involve the Planning Inspectorate take too long, can be confusing for users and are inefficient

The Planning Inspectorate needs access to software engineering services that can build and maintain the software element of our technology products, integrating with multi-disciplinary and (typically) agile product teams

Due to the variety of digital services and technologies a flexible approach is required to allow Statements of Work to be appropriate for any given project

Our software engineering needs are evolving as part of wider planning reforms and this service will support our journey of modernising our planning solutions to the cloud. This is also in the context of a move to a service oriented operating model for Digital and Data Services and the transformation of a number of the Inspectorate’s end-to-end services including appeals, applications and examinations management. Initial work packages include, but are not limited to building software engineering tooling and public facing services as part of the operational delivery transformation programme
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a citizen, I need to know my options when going through the different planning stages and processes, so that the process is fast, clear and efficient

As a Local Planning Authority, I am able to engage with the Inspectorate through the different planning stages and processes, so that the process is fast, clear and efficient

As an Inspector, I need to have the relevant information in order to make decisions quickly and efficiently, and in accordance with the regulations

As a Digital Services team, I need to design, build and run digital services, so that they meet user needs

As a Data and Performance team, I need to develop data services that provide information and decision support, discovery insights, share knowledge and track performance
Early market engagement
There has been no early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Appeal a Planning Decision service is in beta and the Planning Applications service is in alpha

There are other projects at various stages of development, as well as a range of existing services at various stages of their life cycle

The technology stack the successful Supplier will need to be proficient in is:

• Azure cloud platform (including Azure WebApps/Azure SQL/Azure DevOps/Azure Kubernetes)
• JavaScript
• Node.js with Express.js
• CosmosDB
• Nunjucks
• GitHub actions/Helm/Terraform/OpenFAAS used with some internal tools for SOAP to REST translation in Lua using KongAPI
Existing team
The Digital and Data teams have a number of permanent staff across most of the government’s DDaT capability framework, supplemented by contractors

Difrent are the supplier delivering the Appeal a planning decision service. They are also completing alpha for the Applications service

The discovery work for the Inspector scheduling system is being delivered by an in-house team

We expect flexibility in any proposed service and financial model to replace supplier resource with internal team members during the contract

Where required, collaboration with other suppliers may be necessary. This contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
In normal circumstances, the supplier would be required to work alongside the Digital Services and Data teams in Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adopted remote working for all team members with team communications made using Microsoft Team. This situation is likely to continue for a sustained period, but once restrictions are lifted co-location at Temple Quay House may resume, though a switch back to home-working may be required at short notice based on the latest government advice
Working arrangements
A flexible approach is required to meet the outcome-based needs of each individual project and programme

Individual statements of work (clearly defining working arrangements) will be agreed and aligned to discrete delivery phases, with robust onboarding and contract management practices in place. We anticipate a maximum of 3-5 concurrent Statements of Work

All resources must be on-shored
Security clearance
The Baseline Personnel Security Standard clearance will be required to access the Planning Inspectorate’s ICT systems and offices. In addition, a small number may be required to have SC clearance for some projects

The supplier will be expected to provide evidence for personnel allocated to the contract if requested

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
None expected at this point

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
  • Evidence of experience placing Principal Developer, Lead Engineers, Senior Developers and Developers (SFIA 3 to 5) into agile delivery teams in government and understanding how those roles work together
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of leading or supporting software delivery and working with developing software development processes (within the last 2-years)
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of leading technical delivery and delivering software development capability support in accordance with need (within the last 2-years)
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of supporting live services, operating in UK business hours and 24 x 7 out of hours support (within the last 2-years)
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of working in multidisciplinary/multi-organisation teams using Agile-methodology (in a product-centric manner), operating in sprints/aligning development activities with parallel work-streams, ensuring coding-standards are maintained (within the last 2-years)
  • Evidence demonstrating how you have ensured compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (including your ICO registration number if applicable), IR35 and other policies/procedures when delivering an outcome
  • Evidence demonstrating how you have delivered value-added contracts
  • Evidence demonstrating your approach to maintaining standards whilst delivering at pace
  • Evidence demonstrating how you have engaged with a client to understand outcomes and deliverables
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of managing portfolios of technical work in a multiple supplier environment
  • Evidence demonstrating experience of transitioning outcomes to another team (within the last 2-years)
  • Evidence demonstrating when you have transferred skills to a client
  • Evidence demonstrating one or more central government digital and data domains

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Understanding of the requirement
  • Implementation plan to mobilise the contract
  • Proposed onboarding process for resource allocated to the Inspectorate
  • Approach and ability to provide resource to meet our requirements
  • Proposed contract management methodology, including how the days worked by resource provided and then charged to us will be processed
  • Understanding of the Digital Service Standard and Government Design Principles
  • Approach to remote working
  • Identification of risks and plan to mitigate them
  • Dependencies on the Inspectorate to enable successful delivery
Cultural fit criteria
  • Approach to embedding a team or individuals quickly establishing working as a team with the Inspectorate
  • Approach to transparency and collaboration when making decisions
  • Approach to sharing knowledge and experience with team members and the wider Planning Inspectorate
  • Your social values and how they align with the Inspectorate’s and wider Government, including our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
  • Approach to working with other suppliers of the Planning Inspectorate
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

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