This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 25 October 2021
The Cabinet Office

Alpha and (optional) Beta phases of the ‘Voter Card’ service for EIP programme

3 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 0 large

9 Completed applications

6 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Published
Monday 11 October 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 18 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 25 October 2021 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

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
Procurement for a team to deliver the Alpha-Beta phases of the ‘Voter Card’ service, this will allow electors without an existing form of photo identification to obtain a free VC. Note that Beta phase will be confirmed on completion of successful Alpha.
Latest start date
Monday 15 November 2021
Expected contract length
Until 31 August 2023 (including 6 months of early life support public beta (live))
Location
London
Organisation the work is for
The Cabinet Office
Budget range
Alpha budget range (£250,000 - £400,000)
Beta and 6 months public beta support budget range (£1.200,000 - £1,900,000)

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Electoral Integrity Programme (EIP) will deliver key Government manifesto and ministerial commitments including the national roll out of voter identification; making it easier for overseas electors to vote; improving the transparency of political campaigning; measures to secure our democratic processes, improving the security of postal and proxy voting; and making polling stations more accessible. To deliver this transformational work, primary legislation has been introduced to Parliament. The Programme will run change projects concurrently to deliver substantial supporting secondary legislation, and digital innovation plus the infrastructure across the United Kingdom to support the successful delivery of the Government’s vision.
Problem to be solved
Alpha phase objectives include:
Iterative to final service blueprints and designs (including key use cases, edge cases, journeys and service service entry points)
Iterative user research of prototypes (including paper-based routes and non-disposable prototype built using the .Gov Nunjucks prototyping tool kit)
Detailed technical architecture designs including high level functional decomposition diagrams and non-functional requirements, key object models and key sequence diagrams, and security features
Threat modelling where the key threats are: security risk, fraud risks, service accessibility and service availability
Definition of KPIs and data measurement processes
Proposal for Beta including roadmap and epics
Alpha service assessment
Definition target operating model (TOM), including support systems and processes e.g. helpdesk

Beta phase objectives:
Build of service according to agreed technical design from alpha
Continued iterative user-centered design of service throughout, including 4 weeks of private beta
Appropriate service testing including load testing, spike testing and functional testing.
Setup of cyber monitoring and logging, support of pen testing and remediation of any vulnerability prior to launch
Launch of service to Beta live according to TOM; provision of support and service iteration for until May 2023
Beta and live service assessments
Who the users are and what they need to do
Electors without existing forms of photo identification - need to use the Voter Card service (in digital or non-digital formats) to apply for a free voter card

Electoral administrators at local authorities - need to process applications and authorise and print voter cards
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Discovery already completed.
High level service designs and blueprints created
User research conducted with target user groups to refine understanding of core user needs in service design
outputs will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
Existing team
Cabinet Office will provide a Product Manager to lead this project and technical, service design and user research leads to assure the quality of deliverables.

Proposed minimum resource requirements from potential suppliers;
Delivery/Product Manager
Service/UX Designer
Business Analyst
Content Designer
User Researcher
Technical/Data Architect
Developer(s)
Senior Developer/Tech Lead
Security Expert
Tester.
These resources will be at sfia levels 4-6
Current phase
Discovery

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The majority of work will be done remotely, but the supplier may need to attend meetings in London.
Working arrangements
The Supplier is expected to support the EIP Team during normal opening hours (Monday to Friday 08:00 to 18:00).

The work will be mainly remote but the London office will be a focal point for the EIP Project and CO may expect supplier staff to spend part of their time at any location designated by the buyer as required, including for workshops, meetings, collaboration, and team building.
Security clearance
BPSS for analysts , designers and user researchers
SC for technical roles including tech leads and developers

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
All supplier resources must fall under IR35.
Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to the "home" office which will be London and specified in the Statement of Work.
Beta award will be subject to getting appropriate spend approvals
Beta award will be dependent on suppliers alpha performance and submission of value for money beta proposals.
The Cabinet Office reserves the right to return to the market after Alpha delivery.

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
  • Detail one recent experience of delivering a product or service successfully through Discovery to Public Beta phases including the agile tools, frameworks and techniques that were used and why.
  • Demonstrate an example of your experience in using user research with users with accessibility needs to inform user-centred design of a service through iterative improvement.
  • Detail recent experience of working with multidisciplinary, mixed civil servants and 3rd party teams of specialists working to common service outcomes.
  • Experience designing technical architecture using AWS ecosystem and managed services
  • Experience implementing AWS Lambda-based frontend, API gateway services and Infrastructure as Code
  • Experience supporting service operations in public beta phase
  • Experience of distributed service delivery and design (with national and local components)
  • Experience of delivering alpha and beta of the same product, including how beta time-line and quote were provided and managed..
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience delivering identity products
  • Experience working with local authorities (as users) and delivering cloud-based software/services for their workflows
  • Experience in producing infrastructure as code templates in Terraform / CloudFormation
  • Experience of relevant technology stacks including Serverless architectures (NodeJS, Java) and Ruby

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical solution
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • Risks and dependencies
  • Team Structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • challenge the status quo
  • Transparent and collaborative decision making
  • Take responsibility for their work
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
Officials from the EIP Programme and other expert officials will be evaluating and shortlisting the suppliers, including the Product Lead and Head of Digital
2. Could you please advise who conducted the Discovery work?
The Discovery was completed by Cabinet Office and research was supported by Thoughtworks, a supplier who has now rolled off the program.
3. 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?
Supplier shortlisting WC 25th October 2021.
5 suppliers will be shortlisted and have the opportunity to present.

Contract award WC 3rd December 2021
4. is there an incumbent?
The Discovery was completed by Cabinet Office and research was supported by Thoughtworks, a supplier who has now rolled off the program. We have other suppliers conducting discoveries for other workstreams within the EIP Digital Program.
5. Will the Cabinet office sponsor lead development resources to undergo SC clearance?

Will SC clearance be required for Alpha phase or is this for potential Beta?
SC will be required for tech and engineering roles as the project progresses and likely in the latter part of Alpha phase.
6. Will the detailed discovery outputs be shared with suppliers at the proposal stage?
Yes, further information and key discovery outputs will be shared with shortlisted suppliers.
7. Please can you clarify who did the discovery?
The Discovery was completed by Cabinet Office and research was supported by Thoughtworks, a supplier who has now rolled off the program.
8. do you intend all roles to be inside IR35?
Yes
9. Can you please advise the preferred tech stack for this opportunity?
There is no required tech stack; however, there are complimentary services that exist using a NodeJS, Java and AWS cloud-native technologies. Skills in serverless architectures, AWS ecosystem and Terraform are key, and skills in stacks with other runtime options will be noteworthy for Cabinet Office.
10. In the Nice to have section, Cabinet Office has stated Ruby as a technology choice. Can you share your reasoning for opting to use Ruby and are you open to using an alternative?
Yes we would consider other runtimes. The Cabinet Office has no particular preference for runtimes and is open to alternatives - only that the supplier should propose stable, well-established technologies. Noteworthy technologies are defined in this digital marketplace document. Ruby was mentioned because there may be an opportunity for reuse of other Government services but is neither a priority nor a preference.
11. Setup of cyber monitoring and logging, support of pen testing and remediation of any vulnerability prior to launch

Qu: Can you confirm pen testing is owned and initiated by the Cabinet Office and no expectation is placed on the Beta awardee to source and run pen testing, but just to deal with remediation post pen test report production?
This is correct. Pen testing will be procured and initiated by the Cabinet Office separately to this contract. The supplier undertaking the VC Alpha/Beta contract would be responsible for remediating any vulnerabilities which were identified from such a test.
12. Content Designer

Qu: Please could we understand what is driving the need for this role. Secondly, is there any expectation for accessible rich content creation from the supplier?
Design of the front-end will need to include text written by a professional content designer, and this content will be particularly criterial to the overall service deign. The service and content must align with at least WCAG 2.1 AA (and AAA where possible) including any potential multimedia features (which are a possibility within the solution).
13. Experience of distributed service delivery and design (with national and local components) – Please can you clarify ‘distributed service design and delivery’ and what this refers to
Experience of having developed services that are supported and managed by distributed teams, whereby responsibility for different components of the end-to-end service might fall to different teams across central / local Government.
14. Will the contract be awarded for both Alpha and Beta phases, with the Beta being an option that the buyer may exercise at their discretion?
Yes. This is correct.
15. Is there any additional background material that you’d recommend to help bidders understand the wider context behind this initiative?
Further information about the Elections Bill can be found here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020. Further detailed information about this requirement will be made available to shortlisted suppliers at the evaluation stage.
16. Is your “proposed minimum resource requirements from potential suppliers” for Alpha, Beta or both? We would typically expect to see a larger team for Beta.
Suppliers will be expected to propose the team they think is necessary to achieve outcomes according to the project deadlines. The minimum resource requirements is to provide indication of what types of roles are expected for this work.
17. Are you content to sponsor SC clearance for suppliers to help ensure a level playing field for List X / non-List X suppliers?
Yes, SC clearance will be sponsored for those who do not already possess it. All proposed team members should be eligible to apply for SC.
18. Are you able to share any Discovery outputs at this stage of the procurement?
Further information about the Elections Bill can be found here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020. Further detailed information about this requirement will be made available to shortlisted suppliers at the evaluation stage.
19. Are you content for suppliers to cite private sector examples where the project in question is relevant to the question being posed?
Yes, please provide examples which are most relevant for the skills listed.
20. Are you content for suppliers to cite multiple examples where we believe multiple examples would best demonstrate the breadth of our experience? Or would you prefer a single example for each question?
Yes, please provide examples which are most relevant for the skills listed. It is your decision how many examples you think is necessary to best showcase experience.
Comment resolved
21. Here questions are asking for several things (e.g. “Experience implementing AWS Lambda-based frontend, API gateway services and Infrastructure as Code”) are you content that this experience may be from different projects, or are you seeking to see an example of a project that demonstrates all everything asked for in the question in once place?
Experience can be from across a range of projects / services
22. Please can you elaborate on what you are seeking with question “Experience delivering identity products”? For example, are you interested in digital and/or physical identity? And is experience working with common identity componts such as GOV.Verify considered relevant and valuable?
Digital ID solutions that provide assurance of the legitimacy of an application (i.e. ensures the applicant is who they claim to be).
GOV.UK Verify experience would be relevant, although we're unlikely to use Verify due to the nature of the target demographic.
23. For question “Detail recent experience of working with multidisciplinary, mixed civil servants and 3rd party teams of specialists working to common service outcomes” are you seeking an example of where the supplier has worked in a multidisciplinary team that included civil servants? Or are you also seeking an example where suppliers have worked with other 3rd parties as well as civil servants?
The winning supplier may need to work with both civil servants and other commercial partners/3rd parties who are working on other outcomes in the same programme of work.
24. Will the scores from the 1st round be taken forward as part of your overall assessment or will they only be used to shortlist suppliers for stage 2?
Scores are only for shortlisting purposes. Scoring at evaluation stage will be based on proposals.
25. Please can you clarify what you mean by “service operations” for question “Experience supporting service operations in public beta phase”
At launch of public beta the supplier would be expected to support service operations, including but not limited to: incident and problem response and resolution, event management and continuous improvement activities etc.
26. How will you be assessing price, for example, will you be seeking a price for Alpha or will you be assessing based on a rate card?
Ratecard and total price for alpha will both be taken into account.
27. For question “Experience designing technical architecture using AWS ecosystem and managed services” please can you clarify what you mean by “managed services” ?
In this context, services are cloud-native tools and technologies where the host provider (e.g. AWS) either shares operational responsibilities with the client or manages entire areas of the operation.
28. For question “Experience in producing infrastructure as code templates in Terraform / CloudFormation” are you seeking experience with either Terraform or CloudFormation, or both? If the latter are you content that two separate examples are cited?
Either. The preference is for Terraform, but would also consider templating in CloudFormation.
29. For question “Experience of relevant technology stacks including Serverless architectures (NodeJS, Java) and Ruby” please could you elaborate on what you mean by relevant technology stacks? What are you seeking to see experience of beyond Serverless architectures and Ruby (or, as per clarification question 10, a suitable alternative)?
The relevance here points to technology stacks appropriate to the service being developed. E.G. public-access web frameworks delivered using a combination of self-managed and cloud-native tool sets. The runtimes listed are simply examples of languages that have suitable frameworks. See Q9 for a qualification of 'Ruby' as an non-essential requirement.
30. For question “Experience of distributed service delivery and design (with national and local components)”, are you seeking experience where suppliers have designed and built a new service/solution in a distributed service delivery environment? Or are you also seeking experience of delivering a live service, i.e. support activities, post launch?
The former - where suppliers have designed and built a new service/solution in a distributed service delivery environment.
31. How will the electors have to identify themselves ?
Further details of requirements will be provided to suppliers at evaluation stage.
32. Is the minimum requirement that they need to verify their passport when being abroad, in other words a passport electors will always have to use?
Further details of requirements will be provided to suppliers at evaluation stage.
33. Can a solution be mobile app based ?
The service needs to be usable from mobile platforms (but should not be native to those platforms) in keeping with the GOV.UK Service Standard: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/working-with-mobile-technology
34. Are you looking for a single vendor or is a consortium an option?
We are looking for suppliers that can demonstrate the capabilities and competencies required to deliver our requirements. Suppliers can decide to form partnerships or consortiums if desired.
35. Are you looking for a best-of-breed approach?
The approach should be in keeping with the GOV.UK Service Standard: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/technology/working-with-mobile-technology
36. Is there a preference in identity verification technology, since fraud prevention is so crucial?
Further details of requirements will be provided to suppliers at evaluation stage.
37. For question “Experience of distributed service delivery and design (with national and local components)”, are you seeking experience where suppliers have designed and built a new service/solution in a distributed service delivery environment? Or are you also seeking experience of delivering a live service, i.e. support activities, post launch?
Yes to both of these questions
38. In order to assist us with our responses, can we please get a copy of any outputs / documents from Discovery.
We can provide a limited set of these next week.
39. Are the incumbent supplier that assisted on Discovery allowed to participate in the alpha/beta or is this a conflict?
Yes, they are allowed to participate but there are provisions within the requirement that ensures they don't have an advantage over other suppliers. Level playing field for all suppliers.
40. Could Cabinet Office please explain how they are ensuring incumbent suppliers do not have an unfair advantage during the bid stage.
At the ITT stage, all discovery outputs and other artefacts will be made available to supplier. We are transparent and objective in out procurement process. The same level of information available to the discovery provided will also be made available to other bidders.
41. Can you please clarify what they mean by “Public” beta.
Please see - https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/agile-delivery/how-the-beta-phase-works
42. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement that includes dates for:
• Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2
• Submission Deadline for Stage 2
• Presentation
• Evaluation period
• Award Notification
These are the tentative dates;
• Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2- (26-27 Oct)
• Submission Deadline for Stage 2 (19 Nov)
• Presentation - 30th Nov
• Evaluation period - 2 Dec
• Award Notification 3 Dec