HMRC Customer Compliance Group

BDEC (Bulk Data Exploitation Capability) Platform Development and Support 2021-23

7 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 2 large

1 Completed application

0 SME, 1 large

Important dates

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

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Ongoing maintenance, development and support for BDEC, a secure data exploitation platform running in AWS that is cleared to hold sensitive HMRC data.
Latest start date
Wednesday 15 December 2021
Expected contract length
2 years with optional 6 month extension
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
HMRC Customer Compliance Group
Budget range
Up to £1,725,000.00

About the work

Why the work is being done
HMRC is a data driven organisation, and the Customer Compliance Group is responsible for ensuring that HMRC can identify and respond to compliance risk in a huge range of data. Some of this data may be unstructured, and the size and format of some of the unstructured data HMRC deals with presents a unique challenge. BDEC was developed specifically to enable Customer Compliance process and analyse bulk unstructured data of any size and format. BDEC has evolved as a secure cloud based data science platform and the work is required to continue developing the platform as it takes on more use cases and responds to evolving business requirements for bulk data exploitation.
Problem to be solved
HMRC Data Scientists, Analysts and case workers need a secure platform to access, analyse and exploit bulk data that can't be processed on the main IT system for a variety of reasons. These reasons include data security, size and complexity of data and lack of appropriate tools and processing power on main IT network. HMRC staff need continued access to existing tools, an analytical environment where they can use tools like RStudio and Jupyter on large unstructured data sets, and access to new AWS services as they become available. New data needs to be processed quickly and securely with the most appropriate technology and made available to authorised analysts and investigators.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Around 200 users who need to access and exploit the data on a secure cloud platform, and require day to day support around onboarding, upskilling and trouble-shooting. They need to be able to access, develop and use the tools and services available on the BDEC platform.
Early market engagement
None
Any work that’s already been done
Over the last 3 years HMRC has created and developed the BDEC platform into a live service, and is using it to support a number of live / active investigations and projects. It has already been rolled out to around 200 users and supports a wide range of tools and AWS services and functionality.
Existing team
The existing BDEC team consists of 1 HMRC lead and a 'virtual team' made up of the different business areas that utilise BDEC, supported by up to 6 contractors depending on workload. BDEC is part of the larger Risk and Intelligence Service Data Analytics Team, that is responsible for delivering a range of compliance risking solutions for HMRC.
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 HMRC offices, mainly in London and Manchester.
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.
Standard working hours are 8am to 6pm. Out of Hours support i.e. 24/7, 365 will generally not be required.
Security clearance
All team members must be vetted to the level of Security Check (SC), or willing to undergo the vetting process. No Offshoring of data or resource is permitted.

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's Mandatory Terms will also apply.

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
  • Ability to provide a cross skilled team of individual software engineers (4 to 6) with each member competent to expert in all the AWS technologies and programming languages described below.
  • Expert in AWS infrastructure management and IaC (using AWS Java SDK and Terraform)
  • Expert practitioner in the following AWS Ec2 (and VPC), S3, Iam and expert in best AWS security practices.
  • Competent to expert with the following AWS services: ECS, ECR, RDS/Aurora, ASG, CloudTrail/CloudWatch, Glue, SQS, Lambda, CodeCommit, AWS Config, Postgres
  • Competent to expert with OCR technologies, Elasticsearch/Filebeat (and other Elasticsearch offerings), Docker, Telemetry (Prometheus and Grafana)
  • Scala and Java expertise for infrastructure management (infrastructure as code), shell scripting and writing big data processing tools and pipelines.
  • Scala and Java expertise should include functional programming, Fs2, cats/cats-effect, Play framework and http4s, Ammonite scripting, Tika and Stanford NLP library
  • Capability to offer engineers with a DevOps mindset and expertise in using Agile Methodology to deliver products and features quickly and iteratively.
  • DevOps and Agile expertise and experience should include Test Driven Development, “Validate Learning” and a Fail Fast approach to engineering.
  • Capability to offer Software engineers who are competent and comfortable with pair programming.
  • Ability to upskill staff in the use of cloud technology and BDEC tools and services
  • Awareness of handling sensitive customer data.
  • Please provide evidence that supports your financial capability to deliver a contract of this size. Evidence includes annual turnover and previous contract examples of a similar value.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning expertise, experience of working with large unstructured data sets and data mining techniques.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Technical and delivery capability as demonstrated in written proposal response (relating to the scenario requirement) and subsequent presentation. Criteria will relate to a selection of the following themes:
  • Technical solution/Technical Capability
  • Approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • How the approach or solution meets your organisation's policy or goal
  • Estimated timeframes for the work
  • How they've identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • Team structure
  • Value for money
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstration of Social Value initiatives relating to improving health and wellbeing in the workplace aligned with the MAC 7.1 and 7.2 Sub-Criteria.
  • SOCIAL VALUE-MAC 7.1 Support health and wellbeing in the workforce: Demonstrate action to support health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health, in the contract workforce.
  • SOCIAL VALUE-MAC 7.2: Influencing support for health and wellbeing: Influence staff, suppliers, customers and communities through the delivery of the contract to support health &wellbeing, including physical and mental health.
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The applications will be scored by a panel with the appropriate skills and knowledge of the subject matter.
2. 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 (26/10/2021), evaluations will take place and it is anticipated that all suppliers who submitted applications will be contacted w/c 01/11/2021 with further details. Anticipated Contract Start date is Mid-December. Dates are subject to change and any changes will be communicated at the earliest possibility. The intention is for shortlisted suppliers to provide a presentation.
3. Regarding "Please provide evidence that supports your financial capability to deliver a contract of this size. Evidence includes annual turnover and previous contract examples of a similar value’ – Does this discriminate SME with relevant expertise from bidding for this project ?
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. 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. 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.
4. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
Equal Experts are the incumbent and they have been working within the project since 2018.
5. Are you content for bidders to use private sector examples for the Essential and Nice to Have skills and experience providing the example provided is relevant to the question posed?
Yes private sector examples are accepted providing they are relevant to the nature of the criteria.
6. Who is incumbent supplier for BDEC and will they be reapplying for the procurement ?
Equal Experts are the incumbent. HMRC will not know the identity of the applicants until the opportunity has closed.
7. Could you confirm the anticipated team size and roles you would expect for this assignment?
Anticipated team sizes will be the responsibility of the successful provider, more detail around this will be provided in Stage 2 . Within Stage 1, responses are only required to the Essential and Nice to Have criteria. As an indication of the size, please refer to the essential criteria and anticipated value.
8. Could the Authority please confirm which suppliers provide the majority of contractors that are currently delivering the services.
Equal Experts.
9. Regarding :-“Evidence includes annual turnover and previous contract examples of a similar value.”. Micro-business or SME with no previous contract of a similar value will be unfairly competing with the incumbent supplier ?Please elaborate how does this requirement align with DOS5 discrimination guidelines for new SME supplier.
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. 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. 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.
10. Regarding :- ‘Ability to upskill staff in the use of cloud technology and BDEC tools and services'. BDEC expertise is currently available only to the incumbent suppliers and its unclear why this clause is added. Please elaborate how can an SME or micros business fairly bid in this proposal without getting rejected on the samples for BDEC tools and services ?
This criteria is regarding the ability of potential providers to upskill staff throughout the contract life in areas such as cloud technology, tools and services. We are not looking for BDEC specificity in this response, just the ability to upskill on these areas within the contract life and the possible approaches to be used. BDEC specifics will not be taken in to account when evaluating this response.
11. What levels of protective marking are likely to apply to the information residing on the data platform?
Official Sensitive
12. What delivery approaches, i.e. Agile, SAFe, etc is the Authority using that are likely to apply to this assignment?
Agile
13. Can you confirm whether or not the complete budget for this work also includes the optional extension period?
Not at present - budgets tend to be reviewed, agreed and allocated on a yearly basis.
14. Is it possible to share information about how the Authority plans to manage transition from the incumbent to a potential new provider? What arrangements has the Authority made to make neccessary information available top the incoming team, is there a transition period whereby the incoming provider can rapidly spin up from the incumbent through planned knowledge transfer with pre-prepared artefacts, etc?
We will ensure there is an adequate handover period to ensure continuity of departmental delivery. All previous work on BDEC is documented to departmental standards, with all infrastructure code saved in AWS Code Commit.
15. Is it possible for the Authority to share more information about the senior business user for the BDEC Platform and their objectives for the assignment?
BDEC supports a range of use-cases in HMRC around exploiting sensitive bulk data in the cloud.
16. Regarding ’Scala and Java expertise for infrastructure management’, can you please confirm if you use Terraform, AWS cloud-formation or ‘Scala/Java’ as Infrastructure as code(IaC) ? Its uncommon to use Scala/Java as IaC
The project is moving towards using Terraform for most aspects of IaC on the platform. There are to be a small number of use-cases for which Terraform is not suitable though and these will continue to be implemented in Scala.

The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Tuesday 19 October 2021.