Awarded to IBM United Kingdom Ltd

Start date: Monday 8 November 2021
Value: £25,000,000
Company size: large
Genomics England Ltd

Clinical and Research Platforms Engineering Partner

9 Incomplete applications

7 SME, 2 large

9 Completed applications

7 SME, 2 large

Important dates

Monday 16 August 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 23 August 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 30 August 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Supply of resource: the off-payroll rules will apply to any workers engaged through a qualifying intermediary, such as their own limited company
Summary of the work
GEL primarily operates services within AWS but also retains a hybrid model with 60PB of Object Storage, a Weka layer, an HPC cluster, 70 Dragen boxes and some NVIDIA DGxs. A partner is required to support platform operations and to enable devOps in AWS for product development.
Latest start date
Sunday 14 November 2021
Expected contract length
18 months
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Genomics England Ltd
Budget range
Anticipated spend under this contract is £2.5m. This is will not be committed but will be called off, as required, under SOW arrangements during the period

About the work

Why the work is being done
Complex platform services underpin all of GEL's products. GEL is undergoing a transformation to cloud-first and is expanding the scope of its operations. Additional specialist and short-term resource is needed to enable this transition.
Problem to be solved
Example areas of improvement include:
i. Design of a strategy and implementation of processes to effectively provision and expand environments in AWS for testing and scaling
ii. Implementation of platform changes to enable a decoupled approach to release management with continuous deployment
iii. Provide experienced devOps engineers to support product squads through technical delivery
iv. Improve the maturity, tooling and processes within GEL for deployments, containerisation and infrastructure as code
v. Support the hybrid model of AWS and on-premise to ensure effective continuity of service
vi. Support GEL in its future data storage strategy, on-premise upgrades and/or migration to cloud
vii. Support GEL's networking, firewall and security teams in the context of a 24*7 operating model
viii. Support DR and service resilience design & exercises
ix. Address technical debt and provide support and guidance to refactor for scalability and quality
x. Support GEL’s current and future high performance compute strategy.
xi. Improve monitoring services and overall operational integrity of systems
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users are a combination of clinical, informatics and data entry staff at Genomics Laboratory Hubs or internal staff within Genomics England working in logistics and software delivery.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
GEL manages live services operating within the NHS and the Research Community. GEL manages on-premise HPC and data at scale, has existing services operating in private cloud and is moving to AWS as a primarly cloud service. GEL has been modernising its approach to software delivery to follow an agile and devOps model. All services are moving to infrastucture as code using Terraform.
Existing team
Genomics England has internal multi-disciplinary Digital / Technology / Bioinformatics teams with embedded Service Owners, Product Managers, Engineers and Bioinformaticians. The successful strategic supplier will be required to work alongside these extisting teams, to take responsibility for specific improvements and to deliver these according to GEL's architctual and engineering standard, in line with NHSx controls and the GDS code of practice. They may work alongside a broader supply chain offering digital design, platform engineering and architectural support.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Genomics England, Queen Mary University of London, Dawson Hall, London, EC1M 6BQ but remote delivery as required.
Working arrangements
Suppliers will deploy resources into squads to work under the direction of GEL's Product Managers and Architects to deliver outcomes against specific statements of work. Progress against outcomes will be managed through transparent agile ceremonies with clear KPI reporting built into GEL's standards weekly MI. Given the sensitive nature of GEL's business, all development will be conducted within GEL's technical infrastructure and environments. All work will be compliant with GEL's architectural and engineering standards and will be peer reviewed across teams.
Security clearance
Not required

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
  • Provide evidence and experience of supplying engineering squad-based services to an enterprise sized environment including blended customer/supplier implementations.
  • Provide evidence and experience of working in a successful agile delivery environment enforcing best practice delivery and support processes in line with customers coding standards using case studies.
  • Provide evidence and experience working within an enterprise AWS Organisation framework using an AWS Serverless first approach for delivery (e.g RDS over EC2).
  • Provide evidence and experience working with GitLab CI/CD and Infrastructure and Configuration as Code languages specifically Terraform (must), Saltstack (working knowledge) and Ansible (must).
  • Provide evidence and experience of building HPC clusters for large-scale compute and data intensive workloads (LSF/Slurm/HTCondor/AWS Batch for scheduling, Weka/Lustre/FSx/BeeGFS for parallel file-system).
  • Provide evidence and experience of managing Fortigate NGFW, and securing AWS Organisation accounts using AWS Config.
  • Provide evidence and experience of working in a hybrid AWS and OnPrem Networking environment.
  • Provide evidence of developing monitoring and alerting tools using AWS Config, AWS CloudWatch, DataDog, OpsGenie and associated tooling
  • Provide evidence and experience of a working knowledge of python
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide demonstrable evidence and experience of Atlassian toolset (with a focus on Jira) and GitLab
  • Provide demonstrable evidence and experience of working with OAuth2 frameworks and Okta
  • Provide demonstrable evidence and experience of working with Darktrace
  • Provide demonstrable evidence and experience of using AWS Cost Optimisation in deployments
  • Provide demonstrable evidence of working with large scale data using PostGres and MongoDB

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Capacity and capability
  • Scalability
  • Organisational need
  • Technical
  • Case studies
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as part of an integrated, effective, and efficient delivery team, integrating into, and improving client culture and capability.
  • Have experience of outcome based delivery in an empowered multi-disciplinary environment sharing knowledge within and external to the team with clear processes for transferring knowledge to permanent staff
  • Communicate effectively to express freedom of thought and innovation, positively challenge and advocate positive change
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who is the current incumbent for this service?
There is no incumbent for this service.
2. Are you intending to carry forward the stage 1 scoring for the final evaluation? If yes, what scoring % will be carried forward?
No, stage 1 scoring will be used to shortlist only. We will not carry forward this scoring to the second round of evaluation.
3. Can Genomics provide a timeline to the stage 2 evaluation of 5 suppliers – is there a timeline for award?
"Shortlist by 8th September
Stage 2 proposals completed by 1st October
Presentations w/c 3rd October
Award w/c 10th October

Where possible we will accelerate this timetable
4. Are the cultural fit criteria (20%) to be evaluated at this stage of procurement and – if so – how are they to be assessed?
The Cultural Fit questions will be asked of the 5 suppliers who successfully move to the proposal stage. For this initial submission you are required to submit responses to the Essential Skills and Experience and the Nice to Have Skills and Experience.
5. Can suppliers include more than one example in the questions where there are multiple technologies listed?
Yes, provided your answer does not exceed the word count limit.
6. Re. the python question – please can you clarify whether you’d like a data centric ETL answer or is this focused around scripting and DevOps?
The primary focus would be scripting and DevOps
7. How many resources are expected to be sourced?
We estimate up to 15 engineers concurrently for periods within the contract.
8. Would a shared delivery model be acceptable (team serving multiple clients)?
No, at GEL we follow an agile delivery model and engineers are assigned to one squad full time.
9. Would partial FTEs be acceptable?
No, at GEL we follow an agile delivery model and engineers are assigned to one squad full time.
10. Is offshore/ nearshore delivery acceptable? need confirmation. What type of roles would need to be based in the UK?
All of Genomics England's systems and data are expressly resident only within the UK. It is possible for staff to work outside of the UK. However, all appropriate controls would need to be in place to ensure that access is granted only to non-sensitive systems. Teams would generally be expected to operate during UK core hours to ensure smooth communication. English is an essential language for smooth communication.
11. There is mention of 24*7 support, could you provide more clarity on expectations?
GEL has 24*7 first line support for services and second line for infrastructure. Where engineers support product squads, the squads themselves are responsible for third line support on a rota basis and we would want engineers through this procurement to join the relevant rota if applicable, given the work
12. Who are the incumbent suppliers (if any) for Platforms engineering/ infrastructure management?
GELs infrastructure is managed internally with third party support by Nephos (networking, storage and data centres) and Bios-IT (HPC)
13. Is the strategy for a hybrid AWS and on-premise infrastructure already developed? Will that be part of the scope of work?
No, our infrastructure strategy is not in scope.
14. Who would the immediate customers and end users be for Platforms engineering for both Clinical and Research services?
Platform engineers work within our product squads and deliver to research service or clinical service
15. Please can you clarify if suppliers are able to partner with other organisations, stating this at stage one?
A blended supply chain or consortium approach is welcomed, providing there is a clear primary contract holder responsible for overall sourcing and coordination.
16. What common integration design standards are current in use by Genomics that the incoming supplier will be expected to adopt and use?
API-first development with Open API Specification to define api schema and Data models to define and validate payloads. For interoperability we're moving towards FHIR / HL7
17. You mention the expectation of blended client and supplier teams, what type of roles are you expecting from Supplier teams?
Engineers covering all areas of our platforms including cloud, on-premise, networking, security, storage, compute and authentication as examples.