Awarded to Kainos Software Ltd

Start date: Monday 21 February 2022
Value: £423,510
Company size: large
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Drivers Services Platform Discovery

8 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 4 large

10 Completed applications

3 SME, 7 large

Important dates

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


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
This DVSA requirement is for a suitably skilled team to deliver Discovery and Alpha stage projects to modernise the system that supports delivery of driver services.

The supplier will provide the outcomes and deliverables outlined below.

Please email to obtain a copy of the Requirements document.
Latest start date
Monday 28 February 2022
Expected contract length
Up to 8 months for both stages (Discovery and Alpha).
East Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Budget range
This will be a fixed price contract with:
Up to £460,000 for Discovery
Up to £750,00 for Alpha

Total £1,210,000 for both stages

DVSA reserves the right to vary the contract and add scope with suitable compensation as agreed with the supplier

About the work

Why the work is being done
TARS (Testing and Registration System) modernisation forms part of the Driver Services Transformation. There is a growing need across the business to be able to respond to issues such as those resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic and changing customer needs and expectations. DVSA needs to establish if we can implement a Driver deployment model that provides for more effective capacity management and in turn create improved flexibility in the provision of Driver test slots.

Alongside the software constraints identified above, the system functionality is constrained as there is a dependency on a significant amount of manual intervention and built-in business processes that can restrict our ability to be completely flexible.

DVSA seeks to transform TARS from a large monolithic platform in a way that minimises the risks to the business.

The approach proposed is to develop a modern, flexible platform using modern technologies. This will enable DVSA to implement changes to the system more quickly and more cost effectively than at present.

The strategic approach to achieve this will be to break the existing monolithic system into smaller parts and to explore opportunities to re-use components and platforms across the enterprise.
Problem to be solved
We are seeking a discovery and potentially an Alpha to explore options to separate the booking, collection of fees and scheduling (deployment of examiners) of practical driving tests from the existing system and to create a “Driver Services Platform”; as well as to understand outline options for the remaining TARS components and services.

Further detailed work to explore options for delivery of the remaining TARS service would be carried out during the alpha stage.
Who the users are and what they need to do
The users of the TARS services are DVSA staff, members of the public, vocational drivers, business customers such as Approved Driving Instructors, Approved Training Bodies and their motorcycle instructors, vocational driver trainers, Driver CPC training bodies, DVA(NI) anddelegated examiners.

Secondary users include DVLA and DfT.

DVSA users include frontline and back-office staff. The system provides Management Information used for forecasting demand and scheduling testing activities, and to monitor performance of candidates.

Their primary uses are:
• Booking, scheduling and payment for driving tests
• Capturing data relating to driving test results
• Registration of instructors and training courses
• Recording evidence of compliance with requirements for vocational drivers

User requirements include:
• Creating, reading, editing, and deleting driving test information
• Financial payment processing, reconciliation, and data management
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The system that supports provision of these services is the Testing and Registration System (TARS). TARS last went through a complete upgrade in 2006.

Other significant work has been carried out since a discovery in 2016: examiners now capture data relating to driving test assessment and results on mobile devices (iPad) and the system transitioned to a cloud based platform (AWS).
Existing team
The DVSA team will include:
• Senior Responsible Owner
• Project Manager
• Project Support
• Business analyst
• Enterprise Architect
• Service Owners
• Subject Matter Experts
• Commercial/procurement
• Change Manager
• External Communications
• DVSA business partner
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The DVSA is working on a ‘hybrid’ model with staff working at a combination of office locations and from other suitable locations.

Supplier staff may be able to carry out some collaborative work remotely but would be expected to spend significant time working at DVSA locations.

The DVSA key business location for this work is:
The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP.
Travel to other locations, for example Newcastle upon Tyne may be required
Working arrangements
The Supplier is required to support the DVSA during normal opening hours (Monday to Friday 07:00 to 19:00

The DVSA project management team will work collaboratively with the supplier delivery management on delivery performance, problem resolution, timescales.

DVSA will retain ownership and responsibility for maintaining its strategies and policies for:
• Architecture
• Technology
• Security
• Data Protection
Security clearance
All individuals must have Baseline Personal Security Standard (BPSS)/ equivalent for individuals based offshore.

Individuals in Administrator roles, with access to bulk live data and/or access to key front facing systems must be confirmed as holding UK Security Clearance (SC).

Security clearances will be at the supplier’s cost and time.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Supplier travel and accommodation to the location where the work will take place (Nottingham) will be at the supplier’s expense. Travel, accommodation, and expenses to other sites, as required, must be pre-agreed between the parties and must be in line with the DVSA Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy.

Further, detailed information will be provided to shortlisted Suppliers at the relevant stage of the procurement process.

The full Statement of Requirements will be provided to shortlisted suppliers following the initial shortlisting stage and/or are available now on request via

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 your experience of delivering user needs analysis of similar type and scale
  • Detail your experience of delivering accessibility user needs analysis in a discovery (a)How did you discover these users’ needs (b)Show how you have met WCAG 2.1 standards/design principles
  • Detail your experience of transferring knowledge to a client team (a)What documentation/artefacts were produced (b)How was it shared (c)How did you assess knowledge had been successfully transferred
  • Please detail your experience of user-centred Service Design and the practices and techniques that support this.
  • Detail your experience of applying GDS design principles in a client organisation project (a)Show how the GDS principles are embedded in your organisation’s ways of working
  • Please detail your experience of completing discoveries to replace a monolithic legacy system.
  • Please provide experience of undertaking a discovery and alpha to build/modernise a large field service supporting system
  • Please detail your experience in planning to disaggregate large systems to smaller services supporting multiple customer types
  • Please detail your experience of integrating replacement products into an existing architecture model
  • Please provide an example of working with AWS technologies when supporting system modernisation
  • Please provide an example of working with Azure technologies when supporting system modernisation, with a focus on Dynamics and services supporting frontline staff
  • Please provide details of your experience in designing and delivering systems built through bespoke coding using Java
  • Please give us an example of working with an AWS RDS Oracle data based
  • Please provide an example of planning and delivering a large-scale data migration
  • Please demonstrate that you and any subcontractors hold the following security certifications? -ISO2700 and Cyber Essentials Plus
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Please detail your experience in mobilising a discovery team quickly
  • Please detail your experience of transitioning from a discovery into an alpha service development stage
  • Please detail your experience of forming remote working teams and describe remote working practices which support the team through the stages of group formation
  • Experience of dealing with high volume transactions

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • User Needs Analysis: How would you approach a discovery on a service of type and scale?
  • User Needs Analysis: How would you approach discovering accessibility needs analysis for a similar type of service to the driver test booking service?
  • User Needs Analysis: How would you apply the GDS design principles and service design standards
  • Technology: Explain how you would undertake a discovery and alpha work on closely coupled legacy systems that need to be modernised and disaggregated over a period of time?
  • Technology: Describe how you would work and develop with cloud services e.g. Amazon Web Services and Azure, bespoke Java based code and off the shelf products e.g Microsoft Dynamics
  • Capability and structure: What team structure, roles and skill-sets do you propose? Include profiles/CVs and experience for key role holders. Please provide a proposal for mobilisation, on-boarding into the project.
  • Security: Describe a previous similar discovery assignment that you have successfully undertaken that involves exploring solutions that need to process large amounts of PII?
  • Social Value:Evidence how you’ve worked with clients supporting development of scalable/ future-proofed new methods to modernise delivery/increase productivity and how you’ll create new jobs/new skills and/or increase supply chain resilience/capacity.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Collaboration: How would the supplier achieve a collaborative way of working as part of a wider project team, including client staff and suppliers. How does this create a partnership?
  • Knowledge transfer: How would you transfer knowledge to a client organisation team to continue work following the end of a project/project stage or contract
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The following role holders will be scoring applications:

SRO of the Project
SRO of Commercial Vehicle Services
Head of Digital Operations
Senior Business Analyst
Head of Deployment & Planning
Head of Business Systems
Technical Security Assurance Advisor
2. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement that includes dates for:

Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2
Submission Deadline for Stage 2
Evaluation period
Award Notification
The detailed procurement timeline is included within the Requirements document which is available on request via email

There will be no requirement for Suppliers to deliver a presentation as part of this opportunity.
3. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
Shortlisted Suppliers will not be asked to deliver a presentation as part of this opportunity.
4. We note there is technology listed on the Essential Skills, is there a preferred tech stack for this opportunity?
As this is a Discovery, we are open to the findings, however we do have some tools in use on other services that need considering for reuse (e.g. MS Dynamics).

Also, our existing systems sit with AWS. Further details are in the Requirements document.
5. We have ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials accreditation.

We are the process of getting Cyber Essentials Plus, will this prevent us from bidding?
No this would not necessarily prevent an organisation from bidding but the timescales for achieving Cyber Essentials Plus would have to be stated in your response and be considered by DVSA.

Cyber Essentials Plus needs to be successfully gained before the contract is signed and any work under the contract is carried out.

The timescales for this are set out in the Requirements document which is available on request via
6. Is it essential to hold both ISO27001 and CyberEssentials Plus, or would just one of those be acceptable?
Both certifications need to be held by the supplier to work on this Discovery.
7. Are there specific services in mind when mentioning “services supporting frontline staff”? i.e. O365, Power Platform?
In that bullet point (within the essential skills and experience section) we mention that the focus would be on (MS) Dynamics.
8. We can present you Cyber Essentials and ISO certification prior to Contract signing.

Will you accord any points if not available during Stage 1 or Stage 2 and eliminate with a score of 1 ?

Please elaborate your response so to consider for evidence during the process?
DVSA are content to accept, in good faith, suppliers’ confirmation of compliance against both certifications during the first and second stage; however, should the bidder be selected for award, attestation would be required prior to contracts being signed.

NB – Both certifications should be accompanied with the specific scope to which the certifications were granted.
9. Can you please elaborate on your response for ‘Both certifications should be accompanied with the specific scope to which the certifications were granted.’?
This usually takes to form of a Statement of applicability detailing the scope.
10. Please can you confirm if we are permitted to use multiple examples to illustrate our experience?
Suppliers can use more than one example to illustrate their experience, but should not exceed the number of words permitted for the response.
11. In the wording for Q7 in the Essential Skills and Experience section, please can you confirm if this is asking for our experience working on a large, field service-supporting system (i.e. a large system that supports users in the field/frontline) or a large-field service supporting system (i.e. a support service that covers a large area/user base but not necessarily field/frontline staff support?)
The experience we are looking for is on systems that support front line users.
Those frontline users work at a wide range of geographical locations within England, Scotland and Wales.
12. In the wording for Q11 of the Essential Skills and Experience section, please can you clarify what you mean by ‘frontline’ staff?
Frontline staff are the DVSA’s driving examiner staff who work at a wide range of geographical locations within England, Scotland and Wales.
13. Please provide your application architecture – integration touchpoints, protocol, mode of transfer, connectivity
A few additional details are provided as a part of the requirements however, these do not cover all of the points raised. Those details will be share when we appoint a supplier.
14. What is your cutover and migration strategy for running Driver Services Platform and TARS components & services(consumer migration, API migration, data migration)
Providing DVSA with a view of how we may cutover to the new services from the existing services is a part of the question for discovery.
15. Please provide your physical architecture – Cloud Vs on-prem application hosting, connectivity and security
The TARS family of systems are based on the cloud (AWS) and so we do not have a physical architecture. There is a view of the business systems interactions within the requirements document.
16. What are the end user consumer applications currently in use (Mobile, web etc)?
Public facing systems are all browser based, with some being responsive to the device being used.
17. Please provide existing monolith Integration catalogue(interfaces, complexity, volumers, throughput, payload sizes etc)
Details to be shared at this stage are included in the requirements document.
18. Can you please clarify if DVSA is committed for SME purchase and aligns with governments pledge for SME ?
DVSA are committed for SME purchase and align with the Department for Transport’s Action Plan for improving business opportunities for SME’s. The action plan can be accessed via the following link:
19. Please provide experience of undertaking a discovery and alpha to build/modernise a large field service supporting system’, please clarify exactly what is meant by ‘large field service supporting system.
DVSA has a frontline driving examiner workforce of 1500 – 2000. The existing system supports delivery of driving tests by those staff at about 400 centres in England, Scotland and Wales.

Examiners generally work in a geographical area but operational needs can sometimes require them to be deployed to centres in any area. The system needs to be able to support those business needs.