Awarded to Made Tech Ltd

Start date: Monday 1 November 2021
Value: £500,000
Company size: SME
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)

Strategic Information Technology Delivery Partner

12 Incomplete applications

9 SME, 3 large

6 Completed applications

5 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 1 September 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 8 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 15 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Ofqual’s DDaT team are seeking to appoint a highly engaging and collaborative strategic Information Technology delivery partner who, periodically, are able to supplement an existing, (permanent), agile delivery team with technical development and design capabilities in order to improve velocity and business outcomes.
Latest start date
Friday 1 October 2021
Expected contract length
Initial engagement 12 weeks. Strategic partnering is planned for up to 24 months.
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
Ofqual’s Digital, Data and Technology (DDAT) team continuously deliver a programme of strategic improvements in order to meet the organisations evolving needs as it continues to meet its Regulatory and Compliance responsibilities across Education in England.
Last year, Ofqual’s DDaT Programme Board agreed three key software development programmes for 2021 and 2022. These pieces of work are of significant strategic importance for Ofqual; their implementation will help deliver process efficiencies, improve cross-team communication, enable better case management and improve public accessibility and confidence in our services.
The in-house team have started work to establish the business processes, pain points and to define a set of minimum viable product (MVP) requirements for the prioritised outcomes, with the highest priorities to be delivered by April 2022.
Our key priority is to establish a highly collaborative, culturally aligned and value driven working relationship with an experienced strategic partner who is able that can immediately contribute as part of our existing Agile SCRUM delivery team.
Required expertise ranges from software development, test automation, data, design/analysis, and user experience research; but with potential for other disciplines as outcomes require. Desired mobilisation is anticipated to be no more than 4 weeks on each occasion; ideally faster.
Problem to be solved
Ofqual are seeking to engage with a strategic partner to deliver the following benefits:
• Tactically increase velocity and business outcomes for priority DDaT activities
• Supplement existing DDaT technical skills and experience to constructively challenge and enrich the design and implementation of solutions
• Augment DDaT working and cultural routines with industry tried and tested, best practice methodologies.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Users of our Portal system include internal Ofqual staff, regulated Awarding Organisations and the Northern Ireland regulator (CCEA Regulation). Data and statistic links are shared with a range of stakeholders, including the Welsh Regulator (Qualification Wales) and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Regulated Awarding Organisations use the Portal to create and maintain their qualifications and units, submit event notifications and data to Ofqual, or to contact Ofqual or CCEA Regulator with queries.
The general public can access some of our public facing services including Complaints, Whistle-blowing and Malpractice (CWM) via our .gov webpage. Similar to other governmental organisations these public-facing services are developed in line with GDS standards. The public-facing CWM system integrates with our internal-facing Portal allowing Ofqual staff to manage cases and interactions with citizens in one place.
Prospective Awarding Organisations and prospective experts can respectively apply to Ofqual for recognition as an awarding organisation or an approved subject matter expert for Ofqual. They do this via our public-facing Gateway system also accessed via the .gov web page as well as being integrated into the Portal.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The DDAT team sits within the Regulatory & Corporate Services Directorate, managing several software products supporting business critical functions.

Ofqual’s regulatory IT system, the Portal, was first developed in-house in 2015. It manages interactions with regulated awarding organisations, enabling them to manage qualifications and units data; also to notify Ofqual of any events that may cause adverse effects to learners.

Using Agile SCRUM methodologies, the DDAT team deliver against programme priorities set by the DDAT Programme Board. We are currently on a journey to improve our delivery cadence through the adoption of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery practices.
Existing team
The Ofqual Information Management team is supported by a broad mix of skills, which cover four key disciplines:
• Development (software development, design, testing, data, business information, reporting)
• Security
• Operations (hardware, infrastructure, technical support)
• Engagement (project and programme management, procurement, business analysis, user guidance, process improvement)
The existing team is around 20 permanent staff.
The DDaT team use the Agile SCRUM approach to delivery, with daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives ceremonies to facilitate fortnightly deliveries.
You can learn more about the wider Ofqual organisation here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual/about#:~:text=and%20A%20levels.-,Who%20we%20are,are%20based%20in%20central%20Coventry.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Earlsdon Park (7th Floor), 53-55 Butts Rd, Coventry CV1 3BH
Working arrangements
9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
• Engaging and participating in SCRUM ceremonies
• Engaging permanent Ofqual DDaT experts in all architecturally significant decisions
• Ensuring consistency in software design and development across Ofqual’s estate
• Adhering to Ofqual Software development practices, standards and guardrails
• Meet, conform to and highlight where necessary, any and all pertinent security standards, policies, risks or potential risks
• Clearly presenting delivered work back to Ofqual staff during SCRUM ceremonies and reviews.
As a partner of Ofqual, we expect high professional standards at all times, and strong, demonstrable values of corporate social responsibility.
Security clearance
No special security clearance is required.
Due to the nature of data Ofqual handle, on occasion we may require supplier personnel to submit to a Basic Disclosure DBS Check in advance, where we anticipate them working with sensitive data.

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
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Software Developer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/software-developer
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Content Designer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/content-designer
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of User Researcher: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/user-researcher
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Test Engineer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/test-engineer
  • Set out how you can reliably resource the above key partner personnel needs with a lead time of no more than 4 weeks on each occasion.
  • Demonstrate experience of successfully delivering technology and digital services for UK public sector organisations, adhering to all standards and governance.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering using agile SCRUM methodologies.
  • Demonstrate experience of working collaboratively as part of a blended team, alongside customers working in the digital, data and technology domain.
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge of Azure DevOps.
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge of Azure Cloud Services.
  • Demonstrate development experience in .Net Core 3.1, building and consuming REST APIs, React with Typescript, HTML, JS, CSS.
  • Demonstrate experience of automated testing; we use Cucumber Automated Testing.
  • Demonstrate experience of behaviour driven design (BDD).
  • Provide two public-sector focused case studies, covering what service capacity your organisation has acted in and showing where your organisation’s involvement has delivered a positive outcome.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of Education and/or Regulatory sectors.
  • Demonstrate experience of successfully working as a partner organisation to one or more UK public-sector clients, over an extended period of at least 2 years.
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering accessible software by design and implementation, ensuring that services promote equity, supporting disabled users, neurodiverse users and non-native-English speakers.
  • Demonstrate experience in conducting successful User Research, leading to successful outcomes.
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of DevOps Engineer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/development-operations-devops-engineer
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Technical Writer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/technical-writer
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Business Analyst: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/business-analyst--2
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Technical Architect: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/technical-architect
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Data Engineer: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/data-engineer
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Data Architect: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/data-architect
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Data Analyst: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/data-analyst
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of Delivery Manager: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/delivery-manager
  • Supply experienced UK-based professionals in further roles relating to software delivery, at the partner’s discretion.
  • Wider technical knowledge of Azure (Azure Analysis Server, Azure Databricks, Azure Data Factory, Azure Defender, Azure Sentinel, on-prem and Azure networking and firewalls - Cisco ASA/FirePower, Azure NSGs)
  • Technical knowledge of Hyper-V (Active Directory, File Sharing, RDS, Always-On VPN, Print Server).
  • Technical knowledge of Office 365 (SharePoint, Dynamics, Power BI, O365 Security).
  • Technical knowledge of Hybrid Mobile Device Management (MDM) with Intune.
  • Technical knowledge of ETL, data warehousing and data pipeline development
  • Technical knowledge of data storage, validation and cleansing.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
3
Proposal criteria
  • Provide evidence of being a successful, multi-disciplinary IT partner organisation. (25%)
  • Provide example CVs of supplier personnel suitable for the four essential roles. (25%)
  • Demonstrate a positive internal working culture within your own organisation. (10%)
  • Demonstrate your approach to corporate social responsibility. (5%)
  • Set out your governance approach for a long-term partner relationship with Ofqual. Explain how together we ensure partner expectations continue to be met. (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
Evidence of collaborative working on technical outcomes
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Where you ask ‘Supply experienced UK-based professionals in the role of...’ what evidence are you looking for, and what level of experience? Or is a simple ‘Yes, we have this capability available’ sufficient?
You will be required to demonstrate that you have the capabilities described and set out how you will deliver these. For example, is the availability of the skill sets listed based on current, available team members, or is this based on a pool of contractors you draw from? Give examples of how you have resourced similar engagements in the past.
2. Who are currently supplying Ofqual these skills and roles?

Will there be a handover period, if yes how long?
There is no incumbent supplier. Your staff will be integrated alongside our established internal Ofqual team.

Ofqual have used a range of short-term suppliers in the past.

We are looking for a longer-term business partner for the first time.
3. Can you give us an idea of how many of each of the 8 “Nice to have” roles you’ll need in the initial 12 week contract please.
We do not expect to require any of the “nice to have” roles in the initial 12 week contract. All roles required for the initial engagement are considered “essential”.
4. Can you give us an idea of how many, of each of the 4 essential roles you’ll need, in the initial 12 week contract please.
This is dependent on factors such as commencement date, price, the individual’s specific skill set, etc. As an indication, we anticipate needing around 2 software developers, with 1 of each other role.
5. Can you provide an indicative budget?
Up to approximately £250,000 in the remaining 2021/22 financial year; though not all of this will be committed to the initial 12 weeks work.

A similar budget is also anticipated for the 2022/23 financial year.
6. “The existing team is around 20 permanent staff.” – how many non-permanent staff are there?
At present there are two non-permanent staff who are finishing a data transition project.
7. It states the latest start date is Friday 1 October 2021. Is this realistic given the Closing date for applications is Wednesday 15 September 2021 at 11:59pm GMT?
We agree. We would like to commence during October.
8. Are consortium bids welcome?
Evaluation will be carried on the basis of each suppliers individual merits
9. Is there a rate cap for each SFIA banding?
We will be benchmarking rates for value for money and pricing will be a key part of the bid evaluation.
10. Can you tell us if there is an incumbent for this opportunity?
A response to this question has already been published in the Q&A log (see response to question 2).
11. Is there a view on what outcomes are expected for the initial 12 weeks of work?
The successful supplier will be expected to work effectively alongside the existing team, augmenting their current skills and capabilities to accelerate the delivery of emerging opportunities within an agile delivery process.
Amongst other as yet not fully defined outcomes, Ofqual are currently working to:
a) improve alignment and communication across all public facing services
b) identify innovations/solutions to reduce unnecessary public contacts
c) make information more accessible to the public 
d) ensure all public facing services are public focussed 
e) provide timely and proportionate responses without detrimental impact
f) ensure Ofqual’s website meets the needs of its users.
12. Can you confirm if you are looking for the successful supplier to help deliver on specific outcomes over the next 24 months or looking for a supplier to supply resources with specific skills to augment the existing team during that period?
We are looking for a partner who can support us during peak times over the next 24 months by augmenting our delivery team with additional resources. This includes an immediate need for an initial engagement of perhaps 12 weeks.
13. It is not clear what your expectations are for budget/skill level of the resources to be engaged.

You have indicated that you are expecting the £250k budget to cover 4 x 12 week engagements AND the remaining period to the end of fy21/22.

Please can you be specific with how this budget has been calculated.
Yes, we expect the total indicative budget will more than cover up to 4 defined skills areas for 12 weeks at a good level.

However, we are looking for a long-term partnership arrangement with a supplier. We expect to further discuss the immediate needs with the successful supplier. We appreciate we can benefit from the expertise and experience of a multi-disciplinary IT supplier in agreeing the detail of each individual Statement of Work that will arise, both now and over the next two years.
14. Can you confirm whether Ofqual will require individuals to be deployed, or if it will always be a team-based deployment with defined outcomes, please? And, if it is embedding specialists into an existing Ofqual team, how does this align with being outside of IR35?
We will have a contractual relationship with the successful supplier to deliver specific outcomes. In order to fulfil those outcomes the supplier will be required to have specialist expertise that will enable them to achieve those outcomes within agreed timeframes. The supplier personnel involved in the delivery of the outcomes are likely to work in conjunction with Ofqual staff.