Awarded to The Dextrous Web (trading as dxw)

Start date: Monday 4 April 2022
Value: £8,500,000
Company size: SME
Department for Education

Schools Services Delivery Portfolio

6 Incomplete applications

5 SME, 1 large

19 Completed applications

13 SME, 6 large

Important dates

Published
Thursday 13 January 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 20 January 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 27 January 2022 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
DfE requires a supplier to design and build digital services that make a genuine difference to people and which meet the government service standard. The supplier will work in blended teams to build and deliver high quality, user-centred, sustainable services from Inception through to Live within the portfolio.
Latest start date
Monday 7 March 2022
Expected contract length
2 years
Location
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
These capabilities are to be delivered over a contract period of 2 years and with an indicative contract value of £8.5M 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, deliver and run digital first services for schools.

This involves working as part of multi-disciplinary agile teams to build and iterate services that support users to achieve their goals.

Our mission is to ensure services for school leaders and
business professionals are simple, easy and quick to interact
with.
We will reduce inefficiencies in these interactions, and
support better local decision making through our services.

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 who will work with blended teams to deliver outcomes to government digital service standards, from discovery to live within this portfolio. They will design, test, and iterate products to deliver journeys that are coherent, provide a consistent offer for users and deliver policy intent.

Services should meet the technology code of practice, use common components and integrate with a common data approach in the department.

The objectives of the Get Help Buying for Schools Service:

• supports schools to enter better value commercial deals, saving money
• makes schools better equipped to deliver future procurements
• meets School Business Professionals’ changing needs ensuring they are satisfied with the service they receive

SDD’s mission is to transform the way we deliver services to schools so that:

• Internal and external user satisfaction increases
• They are quicker and cost less
• Data quality increases

User facing websites are built via Ruby on Rails and, .NET and deployed to the DfE Azure platform and GOV.UK PaaS. Code is hosted in the DfE Digital GitHub.

We work with and around legacy technology stacks, including Microsoft Dynamics, and data stores.

Further information can be found here: 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:

• Colleges
• Schools
• Academy trusts
• EYFS Sector
• Teachers
• School Leadership Teams
• People that deliver services for children and families
• DfE Staff

As a supplier you will work with digital delivery teams and policy areas in developing and building digital services and products in line with the DfE’s digital transformation journey, within the context of this portfolio.

Examples of this include:

As a school leader, I need to be able to convert my maintained school into an academy in a quick, easy and accessible way so that we can provide high quality education to children and young people

As a DfE staff member, I need to find accurate and up-to-date data on trusts so that I can make informed decisions about intervening to improve education standards in schools and trusts

As a school business manager I need to be able to find the best deal when buying services or goods for my school

As a school business manager without commercial specialisms, i need support to get a good outcome from a complex procurement.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The department has already started its digital transformation journey and a number of products are in beta, such as:

- the Apply to Become an Academy service for external users is in public beta (https://apply-convert-academy.service.gov.uk).

- Our Trust and Academy Management Service, which provides a single view of a trust for internal users, is also in public beta..

- Find a framework

- Start a procurement
Existing team
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.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remote working.

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 or Sheffield, St Paul’s Place

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.
Working arrangements
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.
Security clearance
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 information

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
  • Evidence of demonstrable ability to develop software in Ruby, C#, .NET and SQL using recent language and framework features, i.e. Ruby on Rails.
  • Demonstrable evidence of positive experience of working in agile teams, working to Test Driven Development, CI/CD and DevOps practices
  • Provide evidence and experience of Cloud first approach to delivering software using infrastructure-as-code, automation, PaaS and Microsoft Azure
  • Evidence of ability to write successful maintainable, shareable code RESTful API design
  • Provide evidence of service development experience of accessibility, iterative delivery, “working in the open” aka. Open-source
  • Successful evidence of designing, developing and delivering products and services across the whole lifecycle through iteration, research and testing
  • Provide effective evidence of designing end-to-end services across a range of on-line and off-line channels, considering the service and user needs holistically
  • Evidence of prioritising understanding needs and behaviour and using insight to underpin and drive design decisions when designing content, product and services. Effectively communicating/influencing those decisions with stakeholders/partners.
  • Demonstrate an ability to successfully deliver designs using the GOV.UK design system
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence of ability to successfully identify the right type of prototype for the situation and deliver low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes, including ability to prototype in code.
  • Evidence of positively integrating design with other disciplines such as user research, org design, business analysis, data science and policy intent, to deliver digital services in the face of challenges
  • Evidence of analysing failure within a service and identifying root causes which were resolved, highlighted and advocated for change through documentation, which was shared in a backlog to be prioritised.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
5
Proposal criteria
  • Provide demonstrable evidence Software Development experience in using libraries and frameworks to avoid duplication of work
  • Successful evidence of understanding and examples of passing the Government’s Service Standards Assessment or an equivalent standard within private sector (if applicable)
  • Positive evidence of designing and delivering a service that has passed accessibility audit WCAG 2.1 to AA standard and can demonstrate delivery beyond the standard e.g. designing for neurodivergence.
  • Demonstrate understanding and ability to successfully deliver digital products and services to government Digital Service standards
  • Provide evidence and examples of effective communication across organisational, technical and political boundaries, understanding the context
  • Evidence of successfully contributing to a department's software development community, guidance and best practice
  • Evidence and experience of ability to make and influence informed decisions based on user needs, available technology and value for money.
  • Explain and evidence your processes for on-boarding and retention of resources, which meet our requirements for both inside and outside IR35, in the North England.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence of experience of transferring knowledge to permanent staff and positively sharing tools and techniques with the wider team and community
  • Evidence of establishing and implementation of a strong User Experience and Design based culture of service and continuous improvement
  • Social Value (equal opportunity and wellbeing) - Provide evidence of your company's approach to diversity and inclusion and your ability to positively manage the wellbeing of your team
  • Provide evidence of experience of collaboration with multiple organisational stakeholders with the aim to successfully achieve a single objective and describe the outcomes
  • Demonstrable evidence of working with multidisciplinary, agile service teams, including multi-vendor teams across multiple projects
  • Evidence ability and approaches to successfully explain technical things to non-technical people, and non-technical things to technical people
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

40%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. How is this related to https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/digital-outcomes-and-specialists/opportunities/16171 ? and can you provide reasoning as why this has been re-tendered?
This is a new requirement. The programmes and portfolio end users are similar and the contracts will be managed by the same Directorate. These will be separate contracts and is not re-tendered
2. Regarding Essential skills “deliver designs using the GOV.​UK design system”, are you excluding SME business with private sector delivery experience to bid for the project
No - but we will be looking for examples where SMEs have used design systems similar to GOV.UK
3. Regarding Essential skills(GOV.Uk design ) -can you please elaborate on the DOS 5 guidelines on discriminatory clause :
https://assets.crowncommercial.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/RM1043.7-DOS-5-Buyer-webinar-how-to-create-an-opportunity-with-notes.docx
Please can you confirm what you would like further information on?
4. Is the criteria regarding Essential skills “deliver designs using the GOV.​UK design system” correct?
The criteria should read "Demonstrate an ability to successfully deliver designs using the GOV.UK design system or similar"
5. Would you accept bid from small business with exposure in private sector and aligns with all the technology expertise ?
Yes
6. Is there an SME champion aligned with the governments vision in DFE ?
The Department does not have a specific SME champion, but we have worked with multiple SMEs in the past to achieve outcomes, this procurement is a continuation of that strategy
7. Who is the incumbent supplier for the project and what is the size of the supplier (small, medium or large)?
This is a new requirement. There is not an incumbent supplier.
8. It states “This requirement is primarily within scope of IR35” – how will you determine the status of each engagement/SOW?
This will be determined within the individual SOW and will be highlighted if its within scope of IR35.
9. Is there a capped rate card per SFIA banding?
Suppliers are expected to set their pricing across the levels as you see appropriate based on the roles set out in the GDS capability framework. A rate card template will be issued at Stage 2 of the process.
10. Will there be an option for different rates at stage 2 for both inside and outside IR35 engagements?
A rate card template will be issued at Stage 2 of the process for both inside and outside IR35.
11. Is there an incumbent? If yes, who?
This is a new requirement there is not an incumbent supplier.
12. Re “Successful evidence of designing, developing and delivering products and services across the whole lifecycle through iteration, research and testing” – are you referring to disco, alpha, beta etc when you say “delivering products and services across the whole lifecycle”?
We are referring to the 'whole product lifecycle'. This includes discovery to beta, but also includes sustaining and maintaining services in live and sunsetting services/products.
13. Could you please give an example of who the “stakeholders/partners” would be in this question: “Evidence of prioritising understanding needs and behaviour and using insight to underpin and drive design decisions when designing content, product and services. Effectively communicating/influencing those decisions with stakeholders/partners.”
Stakeholders and partners in this example might be programme directors, service owners, senior policy officials and ministers.
14. Is this requirement for outcome-driven delivery teams, or more of a resource augmentation with individual team members being added to teams to provide various specialist capabilities?
Yes, this requirement is to deliver outcomes, although often you will be working in mixed teams of civil servants and managed services.
15. What do you predict the split as between technical and UCD capability for this contract?
The contract will be using both technical and UCD capability and will be outlined within the individual Statement of Work
16. What do you predict of the split between inside IR35 and outside IR35 call-offs?
Where the requirement will be inside or outside of IR35 will be outlined within the individual Statement of Work
17. Will there be two different rate cards for inside IR35 and outside IR35 pieces of work?
A rate card template will be issued at Stage 2 of the process for both inside and outside IR35.
18. Can DfE indicate how many of the proposed team need to be SC cleared?
DfE requires all supplier staff to have baseline personnel security standard clearance (BPSS), any enhanced security requirements will be detailed within the individual Statement of Work
19. Can DfE indicate the supplier team’s split between inside and outside of IR35?
Where the requirement will be inside or outside of IR35 will be outlined within the individual Statement of Work
20. Can you confirm the planned procurement timelines beyond stage 1?
Whilst we are working towards a fixed timeframe in which to complete this procurement there may need to be some flexibility. Our indicative timelines are:
• Review and shortlist submissions by 07 February 2022
• Presentations expected w/c 14 February 2022
• Review and evaluate supplier proposals and presentations by 18
February 2022.
• Contract award w/c 14 March
21. Does lifecycle mean Discovery through to Beta? Or the full lifecycle of a feature from research to launch within a single phase (eg: Beta)?
We are referring to the 'whole product lifecycle'. This includes discovery to beta, but also includes sustaining and maintaining services in live and sunsetting services/products.
22. Could the Authority share the high-level procurement timelines? Including Shortlisting, ITT, Presentation and results
Whilst we are working towards a fixed timeframe in which to complete this procurement there may need to be some flexibility. Our indicative timeline is:
• Review and shortlist submissions by 07 February 2022
• Presentations expected w/c 14 February 2022
• Review and evaluate supplier proposals and presentations by 18
February 2022.
• Contract award expected w/c 14 March
23. Will your Statement of Work (SoW) and draw down approach be focussed primarily on individual or groups of roles please?
The SoW will be focussed on outcomes. It will be the responsibility of the Supplier to define how best the meet the outcome.
24. What is your expected lead time of initial role request to deployment? Will this time be specified as a contractual requirement?
This will be agreed within the contract and also agreed at SoW level.
25. Can DfE indicate how many of the proposed team provided by the supplier will need skills in each area
This will be discussed with the successful supplier and determined within the individual Statement of Work
26. Can DfE indicate if any of the products are already in Production and if supplier’s team would be working production support activities?
This will be discussed with the successful supplier and determined within the individual Statement of Work
27. For the first point in the essential skills section, is the supplier being asked to evidence those technologies collectively on a single engagement or can the supplier provide across multiple engagement?
The supplier can evidence across multiple engagements
28. Do you expect end-to-end to cover just the public facing service, or the internal/backend service too?
DfE do front-to-back, end-to-end service delivery, the supplier will need to evidence both
29. Are you expecting to hear about designs being delivered to live, or as prototypes?
Both - the supplier needs to show how designs have delivered value to users in live environments, as part of this, we expect the supplier to be expert in prototyping approaches
30. Can you clarify what you mean by ‘advocated for change through documentation’
The supplier must be able to create communication assets for stakeholders and team members, e.g. slide decks
31. And what are you expecting to see having been shared in the backlog?
This will be discussed with the successful supplier and determined within the individual Statement of Work