Awarded to Mercator IT Solutions

Start date: Monday 28 February 2022
Value: £30,000
Company size: SME
The National Archives

Senior Java Developer

3 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 0 large

13 Completed applications

12 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Monday 6 December 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 13 December 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 20 December 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Specialist role
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
An experienced Java developer is required to design, implement and test improvements to the performance and features of the DROID file identification tool, starting with enabling DROID to be integrated with cloud-based workflows.
Latest start date
Tuesday 11 January 2022
Expected contract length
To 31 March 2022 with the possibility of extension for a further 3 months.
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Maximum day rate
Up to £700 per day. Standard 8 hour working day. Rate includes all expenses e.g. for occasional travel to Kew.

About the work

Early market engagement
DROID is an open-source tool created, managed and developed by The National Archives. A well-established and highly engaged external community contribute to its development. TNA value and respect this community, their buy in and continued support is essential.

DROID was first released in 2005 and has been continuously developed since to improve performance and add functionality. The latest release was May 2020.
Who the specialist will work with
The specialist will be the only developer actively working on DROID. The wider team is a Product manager, Technical Architect, Lead and Senior Developers (available for discussion of technical options, code review, acceptance).

The specialist will have access to users: Digital Archivists (users of the current tool, available to contribute to testing and acceptance). Developers (internal and external) wishing to use DROID as part of a cloud-based workflow.
What the specialist will work on
DROID ( is an open source tool ( created and managed by The National Archives and used by institutions around the world.

The supplier will explore technical options, design, document, implement and test a series of incremental improvements to DROID, in line with TNA’s priorities and will transfer knowledge to The National Archives’ staff.

The prioritised roadmap includes: enabling integration of DROID into cloud-based workflows and service infrastructures; unifying the underlying code base for CLI and GUI, improving performance; reducing installation issues and enabling integration with other TNA systems.

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU

Specialist to work remotely. Occasional on-site meetings or presentations will be required.
Working arrangements
The specialist will work remotely, occasional on-site meetings or presentations will be required. The specialist is expected to work Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and maintain regular active communication with TNA. Some flexibility in working hours may be possible with mutual agreement.

The specialist will provide their own equipment and technology. TNA will provide access to GitHub and Slack. Additional communication will be via Teams and email.

The specialist will scope, plan, implement, test and deliver work incrementally following an Agile approach. The specialist will arrange frequent ‘review’ sessions to demonstrate progress and seek feedback from users and stakeholders.
Security clearance
Baseline security clearance will be required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The National Archives will hold copies of and rights to all source code developed and accompanying intellectual property rights to the code to use, develop further or make changes as it sees fit.

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
  • Excellent java development skills and a strong track record of designing, developing, delivering, testing and optimising java applications for public use
  • Experience of developing applications and/or software libraries for specific use within public cloud services
  • Experience of working with an iterative, Agile approach to service delivery and being able to apply the Agile philosophy to your day-to-day work
  • Experience delivering fully unit/integration tested code as part of a continuous build and delivery pipeline
  • Ability to produce clear technical documentation and ensure appropriate and timely knowledge transfer
  • Evidence of the ability to plan, manage and take responsibility for your own work
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of relevant cloud technologies, such as AWS, Terraform, Docker
  • Familiarity with the Government Service Standard
  • A familiarity with DROID and PRONOM and their use to support digital preservation activities

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a work history.

How many specialists to evaluate
Cultural fit criteria
  • Excellent communication skills and an open and transparent approach
  • Demonstrate a collaborative and flexible working approach
  • Able to work with our Subject Matter Experts to ensure the service meets the needs of its users
  • Examples of delivering transition, knowledge transfer and handover of code
  • A clear appreciation of the importance of technical documentation as a means of ensuring ongoing maintainability of systems
Additional assessment methods
  • Reference
  • Interview
  • Scenario or test
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is this inside or outside IR35?
We have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and the determination for the role(s) as advertised is that the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement (out of scope).
2. Does it fall under IR35? Please confirm if this is an Outside IR35 opportunity?
We have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and the determination for the role(s) as advertised is that the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement (outside IR35).
3. Is there an incumbent?
4. What other cloud native technologies will be used aside from Docker and Terraform?
Our long standing application is purely built in Java and uses some aspects of spring, this is NOT a web application. DROID acts as a desktop application with a Swing GUI.
We are looking to extract some of the DROID codebase into a module of its own which can be deployed as AWS microservice. Terraform and Docker seem the obvious technologies to use. Some of our web applications are built using Scala and play framework, however that should not be a constraint for a choice of framework for DROID.
5. Are there any specific scripting languages apart from Java?
6. Is there a preferred supplier?
7. How often is an occasional trip to site?
We would like to meet the chosen supplier, possibly once a month, but understand this may not be possible with the changing Covid guidance.
8. Would you consider a fully remote candidate?
We would prefer candidates who are willing and able to attend Kew on occasion. See question/answer above.