Tuesday 23 November 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 30 November 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 7 December 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
DfE are looking for a supplier who can deliver the design and build of digital services that make a genuine difference to people’s lives. Working in blended teams to deliver high quality, user-centred and sustainable digital products and services from Inception through to Live within the Setting Leadership portfolio.
Latest start date
Monday 11 January 2021
Expected contract length
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
These capabilities are to be delivered over a contract period of 2 years and with an indicative contract value of £9.4M for the full 2-year contract.
Budget approval is subject to Cabinet Office spending controls, service assessments and DfE governance.
Each SOW will outline the work required, associated budget and payment approach, CTM, T&M etc. Suppliers will need to provide clear costs to enable tracking.
DfE does not commit to any minimum or maximum spend at this point.
A pricing template will be provided to shortlisted suppliers at proposal stage
About the work
Why the work is being done
DfE are looking for a supplier who can provide capabilities and expertise to deliver outcomes, working in blended teams across the department to design, build and deliver high quality, user-centred and sustainable digital products, and services within the Setting Leadership portfolio. This involves building and iterating products to provide a consistent offer for users and deliver policy intent.
The mission of the portfolio is to provide leaders of the
Education Sector with quality information, tools and digital
resources, which meets their needs so they can create the
environment that provides a high-quality education for
young people and adults
Capabilities across the all the Digital, Data and Technology Profession Capability Framework are required.
This requirement is primarily within scope of IR35.
Problem to be solved
D&T are looking for a supplier to work with blended teams to deliver outcomes to GDS standards, from discovery through to live. Designing and iterating products to enable journeys that fit together as a coherent, consistent offer for users and deliver policy intent and using good CI/CD pipelines, automated testing and disaster recovery best practices are used to achieve the below:
• Providing schools and colleges impartial guidance so they can develop a good understanding and awareness of their digital environment and what ‘good technology’ looks like.
• Creating a single place for the early years sector to find accurate information, free learning resources and trusted advice about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sector.
• providing classroom teachers and SLT with well sequenced, knowledge rich curriculum plans and lesson resources
DfE’s current digital stack and approach consists of the following elements:
Microservices architecture, with internal and public facing HTTP and JSON REST based APIs for business logic and data access.
User facing websites are built via Ruby on Rails and deployed to the DfE Azure platform and GOV.UK PaaS. Code is hosted in the DfE Digital GitHub.
Further information can be found at DfE Digital Technical Guidance https://dfe-digital.github.io/technical-guidance/
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our users are both external and internal to Department for Education. Users include, but are not limited to:
• EYFS Sector
• School Leadership Teams
• People that deliver services for children and families
• DfE Staff
As a supplier you will work with our digital delivery teams and policy areas in developing and building new digital services and products in line with the DfE’s digital transformation journey, within the context of the Setting Leadership Portfolio. Examples of this include:
• As a Senior Leader in the education sector, I need to access quality information, tools and digital resources, including, well sequenced, knowledge rich curriculum plans and lesson resources, so that i can provide a high-quality education for young people and adults.
• As a Senior Responsible Officer for a project, I need agile capability to provide delivery management, remove blockers to progress and monitor teams.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The department has already started its digital transformation journey. As a result digital techniques are being used to deliver services such as Help for Early years providers in Beta build (https://help-for-early-years-providers.education.gov.uk/) which provides resources for childminders, nursery leaders and pre-school practitioners and Get Help with Technology (https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/) which provides laptops, tablets and routers for disadvantaged children and young people to help with remote education.
The successful supplier for this contract will deliver outcomes in relation to all the job families in alignment with the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Profession Capability Framework.
Where necessary you will work with internal DfE staff from a range of disciplines including architecture, security, policy, user experience, service design, software development, finance and commercial colleagues to deliver the programmes/projects within this portfolio.
Where necessary in delivery of outcomes you will also be expected to collaborate or work with other suppliers who are delivering in areas such as service design, technical architecture, software development and user research.
Address where the work will take place
All agreements for in-office working will comply with the relevant and prevailing Government guidance on restrictions to movement. When in-office working takes place, the location will be Manchester Piccadilly.
The primary location will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW) and expenses will not form part of the cost unless the supplier is asked to work from a secondary location during the execution of the work e.g. If SoW primary base is in Manchester, then no expenses will be paid for Manchester.
Detailed working arrangements will be contained within each Statement of Work.
Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques, with appropriate ceremonies to be undertaken.
Scope and prioritisation of work is decided by the product owner with input from the Senior Responsible Owner and wider DfE governance. SOWs will be reviewed by relevant Heads of Profession.
Separate SOWs may include services that fall inside and outside of IR35 - with an expectation that a high proportion will be inside of IR35. We will be looking for a supplier that has the capacity to meet both scenarios.
DfE requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS) – any enhanced security requirements will be detailed in the Statement of Work. Suppliers will be required to complete a supplier security assurance form to ensure they meet the required standard for DfE e.g., cyber essentials
Additional terms and conditions
Standard Framework and Call Off T&Cs apply. Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence policy.
Primary work location stated in the SoW will not attract expenses.
Contract and Vendor Management will form a key part of governance. Suppliers will be expected to co-operate in a manner that fosters healthy working relationships and quality delivery.
Suppliers must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) May 2018; Data Protection Act 2018; Law Enforcement Directive and any subsequent amendments to date including providing sufficient guarantees to meet GDPR requirements in line with Procurement Policy Note 02/18 May 2018.
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
- Demonstrate experience and responsibility of successfully moving and managing a product/service through different lifecycle phases from Discovery through to Public Beta/Live as well as decommissioning.
- Evidence of effectively using a range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies such as ethnographic techniques, usability testing, remote testing, and survey design to gather and communicate actionable insights and findings
- Evidence of successfully developing products and services that meet the robust standards such as accessibility audit WCAG 2.1 to AA standard and GDS service design standards
- Demonstrable experience of working collaboratively in a complex, multi-vendor environment to successfully design and deliver services using user-centred design methodologies
- Evidence of successfully applying agile development and delivery using Continuous Improvement/Continuous Development (CI/CD) techniques
- Proven evidence of implementing techniques and tools to successfully scale up and down concurrent projects at pace to meet business needs with both inside and outside IR35 working arrangements
- Demonstrable experience of successfully delivering business analysis on a complex digital programme with a wide range of stakeholder groups.
- Demonstrable experience of working in agile teams, working to Test Driven Development, CI/CD and DevOps practices
- Proven evidence of successfully adopting a Cloud first approach using infrastructure-as-code, automation, and PaaS
- Demonstrable ability to successfully develop software in Ruby, using recent language and framework features, i.e. Ruby on Rails
- Demonstrable ability to successfully develop software in C# using recent language and framework features and .NET packages
Nice-to-have skills and experience
- Evidence of effective collaboration with the education sector e.g early years providers, schools and colleges
- Evidence of establishing a strong User Experience and Design based culture of service and continuous improvement and successful experience in advocating for the importance of agile, iterative and user-focused delivery
- Provide evidence of successfully supporting customers to build in-house permanent capabilities, by providing insight, structure and guidance, and ensuring effective knowledge management and transfer to develop buyer’s permanent staff
- Proven evidence of service development experience of accessibility, iterative delivery, “working in the open” aka. Open-source
How suppliers will be evaluated
All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.
How many suppliers to evaluate
- Demonstrate capability to successfully deliver outcomes using agile methodology in environments where digital maturity varies
- Evidence of effectively involving a delivery team in user research planning, observation and analysis and helping teams to successfully adopt a wide range of analysis and synthesis techniques.
- Evidence of experience in leading investigative work into problems and opportunities in existing and new services, driving analysis and collecting information to create recommendations for service improvements in digital settings
- Provide evidence of successful approaches used to make complex and technical concepts and language simple and accessible for non-technical audiences
- Evidence of applying GDS standards to successfully pass the assessment and what the key challenges/requirements are/were and how they were overcome.
- Experience of effective collaboration with multiple stakeholders to achieve a single objective, including evidence of experience working in a multidisciplinary, agile service team through every stage of the product lifecycle.
- Explain how you will ensure effective onboarding/offboarding and knowledge transfer with minimal impact on velocity and quality of delivery
- Demonstrable experience of leading and supporting flexible, thriving, remote-first agile teams to successfully deliver outcomes.
- Software Development experience in using libraries and frameworks to avoid duplication of work
Cultural fit criteria
- Describe how your organisation encourages diverse representation in the workforce, and how you monitor and measure success
- Evidence of experience of working successfully with an organisation at the beginning of an agile culture change and what you did to create real, meaningful, and lasting impact
- Evidence of successfully establishing a strong User Experience and Design based culture of service and continuous improvement
- Experience of successfully collaborating with multi-vendor teams across multiple projects to deliver added value.
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
- Case study
- Work history