This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 26 July 2021
HMRC Chief Digital & Information Office - Enterprise Integration Services (CDIO-EIS)

HMRC Enterprise Integration Service - CDS: Single Customs Platform Delivery

3 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 1 large

19 Completed applications

12 SME, 7 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 12 July 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 19 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 26 July 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
EIS are seeking a supplier partner to support the delivery of integration components for the CDS:Single Customs Platform.
Latest start date
Monday 30 August 2021
Expected contract length
2 Years with an optional 6 months extension
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
HMRC Chief Digital & Information Office - Enterprise Integration Services (CDIO-EIS)
Budget range
Estimated spend up to £30 million over 2 years

About the work

Why the work is being done
CDIO leads the HMRC IT and security function and is responsible for all of the technology powering one of the biggest digitally enabled transformations anywhere in Europe.
CDIO leads HMRC’s digital and data strategies and has significant involvement in the cross-government agenda. The CDIO is also responsible for running one of the biggest and most complex IT estates in the UK and implementing HMRC’s pioneering IT sourcing strategy.
We have several key business transformations ongoing including programmes such as Securing our Technical Future, Making Tax Digital, Customer Experience transformation and Borders & Trade.
EIS manage HMRC’s core integration/middleware services, dealing with over a billion transactions every year and connecting hundreds of HMRC services.
We provide fundamental platforms for delivering Application Programming Interface (API) access to HMRC systems – we enable the HMRC digital agenda, API strategy and the wholesale transformation programme.
EIS is also responsible for on-boarding and managing relationships with third party software providers, utilising HMRC's external facing APIs to integrate with HMRC.
Problem to be solved
EIS are seeking a supplier that will partner us to deliver the integration components for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS): Single Customs Platform.
CDS: Single Customs Platform is a strategically important programme for HMRC and is driven by the principal need to first dual run with, then replace and decommission the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import/Export Freight) system. It is key component in HM Gov's delivery of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The full technology stack is extensive (all Java based) but the core middleware product is spread across:
a. WSO2 (currently being replaced);
b. Camel;
c. Rancher;
d. Swarm;
e. Nginx, Nginx+ with Mod_Security;
f. Kong;

The peak load and lean period load for Billion transactions spread over the year is approximately 2000 max; 1100 average; and min 500.

The partnership will assist with responding to user’s integration needs identified across HMRC.

The desired outcome is for the awarded supplier to bring industry best practices and high performing teams to work alongside our delivery teams.
Who the users are and what they need to do
EIS manage HMRC’s internal and external Integration Platforms, dealing with over a billion transactions every year and connecting hundreds of HMRC services.

EIS is also responsible for on-boarding and managing relationships with third party software providers, utilising HMRC's external facing APIs to integrate with HMRC.
Early market engagement
No Early Market Engagement has taken place.
Any work that’s already been done
A significant amount of CDS functionality has already been delivered. The service is live but future releases are in progess.
Existing team
EIS has a mixed team including in-house staff, existing Service Providers plus contingent labour contractors. As incumbents are operating in this area some transition will be required.

The successful supplier teams will work in collaboration with existing capabilities both in blended teams and independently to deliver products. Supplier development teams will report to the EIS Head of Products and / or Head of Delivery.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The supplier will be expected to work off-site with occasional visits in to an HMRC office. EIS locations: Leeds, Telford, Southend/Stratford and Bristol.
Working arrangements
The supplier will be expected to work off-site using their own devices or, where business reasons require, HMRC equipment.

Use of supplier provided devices is contingent on this adhering to HMRC's security policies.

Occasionally, the supplier may be required to provide an on-site presence/attendance.
Security clearance
The supplier will ensure all staff are as a minimum BPSS checked.

Dependent on the nature of the work, some staff may require higher level clearance i.e. SC clearance.

No offshoring will be permitted for both resource and data, and work must be delivered in line with HMRC’s Offshoring Policy.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All expenses must be pre-agreed between the parties and must comply with the HMRC Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy.

HMRC Mandatory Terms will apply to the contract.

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
  • Extensive experience developing large scale & complex integration services using APIs and API Platforms including REST, SOAP, XML, JSON, Java 8+.
  • Experience with large scale & complex integration platforms using File Transfer technologies such as FTPS, SFTP, S3, Job Scheduler etc.
  • Extensive experience of developing with microservices architecture.
  • At least 3 years experience in architecting, transforming and maintaining applications deployed in multiple public cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
  • Proven experience in Project management and software lifecycle methodologies including Agile.
  • Experience of developing large scale, complex integration services with high availability and transaction throughput (i.e. 1,800 transactions/second).
  • Deliver to common integration design standards, demonstrating capability in standard concepts including Synchronous and Asynchronous integrations, as well as Patterns and Anti-Patterns for software development.
  • Have demonstrable experience of test-driven development and modern software development lifecycle techniques.
  • Have demonstrable experience of accessibility testing, performance and volume testing, and security testing.
  • Capability to mobilise resource with the required levels of skills and expertise; at scale within 4 weeks of a request. (Current team size 10+ teams).
  • Experience of successful service transition from incumbent suppliers and management of exit handover activities.
  • Please provide evidence that supports your financial capability to deliver a contract of this size.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Security architecture - in particular, convincing example(s) of implementing a ‘DevSecOps’ way of working within teams.
  • Proven track record of working with large organisations to implement digital transformation.
  • Strong experience of developing Scala based services.
  • Experience developing within the Play framework.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Provide details of how you would mobilise resource with the required levels of skills/expertise and how you would increase capacity in areas of skill shortages to meet urgent demand.
  • Describe your internal governance procedures to ensure HMRC receive a quality service, including performance reviews.
  • Describe how you will engage with EIS; at SLT level, Delivery & Product Manager Level; with other supplier teams engaged by EIS or other delivery teams.
  • Describe the project, product and delivery capability you propose to bring to the engagement.
  • Describe your experience of working in large scale, highly complex, multi-supplier projects.
  • Describe how you would work with EIS / incumbent suppliers to transition a complex live service/platform; the transition process and artefacts/documentation you would expect to be provided.
  • Explain your Technical capability including your engineering, performance and scaling expertise plus awareness of our preferred technology and tooling.
  • Explain how you ensure best practice in security and Security by Design.
  • Explain how will you work to ensure you meet the strategic goals of the client organisation?
  • Describe how will you conduct knowledge sharing to ensure EIS retain central control of knowledge and have the skills necessary to continue to work on services you have provided?
  • Describe your experience in contract exit plans and handovers to incoming suppliers and/or internal resource in previous engagements.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Describe how you will collaborate and partner with HMRC staff and other suppliers, potentially in the same team.
  • Describe how you will demonstrate proactivity in sharing knowledge and experiences with members of the team, especially with junior HMRC staff.
  • Describe how you will promote ideas and demonstrate innovative ideas and value-added initiatives.
  • Describe how you will respond when your members of staff make mistakes.
  • Describe how you will work with other suppliers present in HMRC.
  • Describe how you will create employment, re-training and other return to work opportunities for those left unemployed by COVID-19, eg:workplace schemes and opportunities for Digital apprenticeships, traineeships and higher apprenticeships.
  • Describe how your organisation will create employment opportunities particularly for those who face barriers to employment and/or who are located in deprived areas.
  • Describe how you have improved workplace conditions that support the COVID-19 recovery effort including effective social distancing, remote working, and sustainable travel solutions.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier for this assignment and – if so – who is the supplier?
The bulk of the EIS Integration components have been been delivered by People Source.
2. Which roles (position only without straying into GDPR) from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity?
The applications will be scored by a panel with the appropriate skills and knowledge of the subject matter.
3. Are you intending to carry forward the stage 1 scoring for the final evaluation? if yes what scoring % will be carried forward?
Yes, the stage 1 scoring will be carried over to the final evaluation. The stage 1 scoring will equate to a 10% slot of the 50% allocated for technical (eg: 10% Stage 1, 40% Stage 2).
4. Are the cultural fit criteria to be evaluated at this stage of procurement and – if so – how are they to be assessed?
No. Cultural fit will not be evaluated at stage 1 applications.
5. Can you please advise the timelines of this procurement (e.g. shortlisted companies notified, anticipated contract award)? Also, can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
Following the deadline for applications (26/07/2021), evaluations will take place and it is anticipated that all suppliers who submitted applications will be contacted W/C 16th August with further details. Anticipated Contract Start date is early October. The intention is for shortlisted suppliers to provide a presentation.
6. Is this an initial evaluation of our 100 word responses to the list of ‘Essential skills and experience’ and ‘Nice-to-have skills and experience’ only at this stage to help you select 5 suppliers to take to a subsequent phase of evaluation where a written proposal will be required that covers aspects of Technical Competence’, ‘Cultural Fit’ and ‘Price’?
Suppliers are expected to provide details against the Essential skills and experience and Nice-to-have skills and experience at this first stage of applications and within the word limit allocated. Shortlisted suppliers will then be invited to provide a written proposal which will cover 'Technical Competence' building on the evidence provided for essential skills and experience plus 'Cultural Fit' and 'Price'.
7. What steps is the Authority taking to run a balanced competitive procurement that does not unduly favour the incumbent supplier?
HMRC does not have visibility of potential bidders until after the deadline for applications. If it is identified that a bidder is an incumbent supplier, HMRC will consider if an Ethical Walls agreement is appropriate.
8. What are the specific technologies/tools used in HMRC CDS with which bidders should be proficient?
The full technology stack is extensive (all Java based) but the core middleware product is spread across:
a. WSO2 (currently being replaced);
b. Apache Camel;
c. Rancher;
d. Swarm;
e. Nginx, Nginx+ with Mod_Security;
. Kong;
9. Which roles (position only without straying into GDPR) from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity?
The applications will be scored by a panel with the appropriate skills and knowledge of the subject matter.
10. You state that CDS is live and that HMRC is seeking a supplier that will partner with you to deliver the integration components. Are you able to state what those integration components are; or share the target environments with which CDS is to integrate that we may better understand the scope to be delivered?
Integration components are APIs and File transfers.

The full technology stack is extensive (all Java based) but the core middleware product is spread across:
a. WSO2 (currently being replaced);
b. Camel;
c. Rancher;
d. Swarm;
e. Nginx, Nginx+ with Mod_Security;
f. Kong;
11. You state that ‘the partnership will extend our technical resource capacity and capability’. Does the Authority have a fixed view on the quantity and skills of typical resources required for this CDS assignment?
EIS will be looking for up to 10 scrums teams eg: 60-80 resources across a number of DDaT roles including Developers; QAs; Business Analysts.
12. You state that ‘the service is live but future releases are in progress’. Can the Authority share a roadmap of future releases in order that Suppliers may more accurately gauge the nature and scale of the CDS integration activities?
We are unable to share a roadmap of future releases. However monthly Releases of functionality plus performance uplift are already scheduled. Further Policy changes are likely in this space and will impact the future roadmap.
13. What test tools are currently in use and does the Authority have sufficient licences, or is the Supplier expected to bring their own?
A number of different test tools are currently in use depending on the tests needed, for example Cucumber, JMeter, SoapUI, Groovy, Postman.
14. What common integration design standards are current in use by the Authority that the incoming supplier will be expected to adopt and use?
The Authority holds a number of agreed design patterns that will be expected to be adopted and used, aligned to file transfer, synchronous and asynchronous messaging.
15. You state that ‘EIS has a mixed team including in-house staff, existing Service Providers plus contingent labour contractors. As incumbents are operating in this area some transition will be required. Can the Authority please share details of the skills/professions in the existing team so that gaps may be identified and addressed in any resulting resourcing plan?
The existing team is composed of approx 80 resources (10 scrum teams) across a number of DDaT roles including Scum Masters, Developers; QAs; Business Analysts., Platform Engineers.
16. You request that Suppliers, “Provide evidence that supports your financial capability to deliver a contract of this size.” Can the Authority please elaborate on the evidence required and how the Authority is ensuring that SMEs are not unduly disadvantaged and that HMG’s ‘Centralised guidance for SMEs and departments’ on government’s commitment to support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement is being applied?
Answer Part 1 of 2.

We expect to see details relating to turnover, other income streams, the size and type of contracts previously delivered and any relationships that will form part of your stage 2 bid should you be shortlisted at stage 2. This opportunity is open to all suppliers on the DOS Framework. HMRC is committed to the Government's support of SME's and encourages participation in procurements and the delivery of goods and services wherever possible.
17. You request that Suppliers, “Provide evidence that supports your financial capability to deliver a contract of this size.” Can the Authority please elaborate on the evidence required and how the Authority is ensuring that SMEs are not unduly disadvantaged and that HMG’s ‘Centralised guidance for SMEs and departments’ on government’s commitment to support start-ups and small businesses via government procurement is being applied?
Answer Part 2 of 2.

This particular opportunity is part of a larger project which has been disaggregated to encourage participation from a wider market. HMRC are not looking to exclude suppliers purely due to turnover value as per Procurement Policy Note 8/16 which indicates that turnover is part of a wider assessment of financial suitability.
(https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/558531/PPN_8_16_StandardSQ_Template_v3.pdf)
18. Can HMRC provide a timeline to the stage 2 evaluation of 5 suppliers, is there a timeline for award and an expected start date for the winning bidder?
Timelines and indicative dates are subject to change. Indicative timelines for Stage 2 are below.

• Applicants contacted with either proposal information or unsuccessful notification w/c 16/08/2021
• If Shortlisted, Proposal drafting then occurs for submission w/c 30/08/2021 (date subject to change)
• Evaluation of Stage 2 responses begins w/c 30/08/2021
• Presentations (if applicable) w/c 06/09/2021
• Notification of results w/c 27/09/2021
• Anticipated Contract Start w/c 11/10/2021
19. Would the Authority please confirm the IR35 status of this assignment as it is not immediately clear from the requirement as to whether it sits inside or outside the scope.
The provider will be responsible for determination and must consider the EIS ways of working. A briefing on how the contract will be managed/operate will be offered shortly.
20. Will HMRC consider SMEs providing an outcomes/services-based solution outside IR35?
This opportunity is for a contracted-out service with determination the responsibility of the provider who must consider the EIS ways of working. A briefing on how the contract will be managed/operate will be offered shortly.
21. How does HMRC expect the contract to operate?
Shortly after the deadline, suppliers who have submitted an application will be invited to a briefing session via MS Teams at 14:00-14:30 on Wednesday 28 July. During the session, HMRC will explain EIS's ways of working and how they expect the contract to operate.
22. Is TUPE applicable to this opportunity?
The current contract was awarded under DOS3 which contained the clause:
28. Staff Transfer
28.1 The Parties agree that nothing in the Call-Off Contract or the provision of the Services is expected to give rise to a transfer of employment to which the Employment Regulations apply.
28.2 The Supplier will fully indemnify the Buyer against all Supplier Staff Liabilities which arise as a result of any claims brought against the Buyer due to any act or omission of the Supplier or any Supplier Staff.
28.3 The indemnity given in Clause 28.2 will be uncapped.
23. In an answer to a Supplier question about the timetable for this procurement, the Authority states, “Anticipated Contract Start date is early October.” However, the requirement as detailed on the Digital Marketplace portal has an, “Earliest Start Date of Monday 30 August 2021.
The earliest estimated date was 30th August. However, following review of availabilities, early October is a more realistic anticipated Start date.
24. Please can you tell us how long with the winning supplier have for transition of work from the incumbent’s teams to their teams and what level of knowledge transfer support can be expected ?
We are planning for a transition period of up to 3 months.
25. We are interested in bidding for this project which appears to align with our capabilities.
However, we have our own best-in-class middleware platform. This is an enterprise scale distributed systems integration platform, accompanied by a managed service wrapper to ensure that outcomes are delivered on time and on budget. We would use the capabilities of this platform to augment and support HMRC’s technology stack and build upon the key outcomes that have been achieved to date.
Please clarify if this approach would be suitable or if HMRC are only considering bids from integration consultants to support the existing middleware platforms?
We are looking for a supplier to build on our existing Platforms.