Awarded to CGI

Start date: Tuesday 19 April 2022
Value: £3,800,000
Company size: large
Office for National Statistics

Business Statistical Register Transformation

2 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 0 large

7 Completed applications

4 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Monday 17 January 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 24 January 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 31 January 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
The design and development of a new Statistical Business Register service for ONS, utilising cloud services and using agile development techniques.
Latest start date
Monday 28 March 2022
Expected contract length
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Office for National Statistics
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Office for National Statistics is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and is recognised as a national statistical institute (NSI). It is responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population, and society at national, regional, and local levels.

In order to collect data for the above purposes, surveys are carried out throughout the year and maintaining an accurate database of participants, such as the Statistical Business Register (SBR), is key to doing that successfully

Currently the business register is an ageing legacy solution (IDBR - Inter-Departmental Business Register), which acts as a constraint to:
• Reducing the reliance on manual activities carried out by IT support teams
• Increasing the business population of the register
• Supporting additional data relating to the financial services sector
• Providing a more flexible, end user self-service
• Retaining a history of all business structure changes.

The main objective of this tender exercise is to engage a supplier to develop and deliver a new Statistical Business Register by March 2023.

The Full statement of requirements can be found on the ONS e-tendering solution
Problem to be solved
The IDBR, is an in-house application developed over two decades ago on a legacy platform, which has evolved over the years. The technology does not lend itself to any great level of flexibility in adding new datasets or analysis.

The proposed SBR will initially be created via a migration from the existing IDBR and then will receive data feeds from the Business Index, which will trigger updates to the SBR. The Business Index is an existing service managed by the Contracting Authority.

Additional data feeds will also provide updates to the SBR, based on information from administrative data sources and business survey responses.

The SBR will provide an index of all businesses, which will be used to identify which businesses will be requested to participate in surveys. As part of this process the SBR creates frames (which equates to the total population of businesses which meet the criteria to be sampled e.g. all financial service businesses in the UK) and from this a sample is created which details the subset of businesses to be contacted for a specific survey instance.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Business Register Administrator, I need to be able to allocate read / write permissions to specific users / user roles / systems, which may be a determined at data attribute level.

As a Business Register Operator, I need to carry out all maintenance functions on the statistical business register including adding, updating, and deleting business unit level information. I need the ability to resolve errors via manual / clerical resolution / update.

As Business Register user, I need to be able to view all business information relating to selected businesses held on the SBR and be able to view original source data on the Business Index.

As a Survey Manager, I need to be able to create a frame and sample to carry out my survey.

As an External Government user, I need to be able to request an extract of business information from the SBR.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
To date the Office for National Statistics (Contracting Authority) has undertaken a Discovery phase which completed in November 2021. The information gathered as part of this exercise, included making use of other previous analysis of the IDBR and potential requirements for the SBR.

The outputs from the Discovery include:
• A set of user stories
• A description of the SBR E2E processing flows
• A description of the business capabilities for the SBR
• A logical data model for SBR
• Initial description of Transition approach
• Initial view of SBR’s potential integration points.
Existing team
The Contracting Authority has an existing project team which consists of mixture of business and technical roles including:
• Project / Delivery Manager
• Project Sponsor
• Business Product Owner & Subject Matter Experts
• Business Analysts
• Enterprise / Business Architects
• Solution / Data Architect
• Service Designer
• ONS Cloud Environment Architects
• ONS Information Assurance

There is a requirement to work with the supplier who currently provides operational support for the existing IDBR service (which is a legacy INGRES based solution).
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The primary site for the Contracting Authority for this project is:
Office for National Statistics, Newport

However taking into account, COVID restrictions, the location of the supplier’s development team is subject to agreement. The supplier must be available to visit the Contracting Authority’s offices to undertake user research & testing with users and for face-to-face meetings when required.
Working arrangements
The Contracting Authority, requires that the project be run as a joint project team, working closely together and the project is based at the Newport offices.

The Contracting Authority would expect the supplier’s team to be based for up to 3 days a week at the Newport offices.

Any additional expenses must be agreed in advance on a case-by-case basis and adhering to ONS Travel & Subsistence policy.
Security clearance
The Supplier must provide evidence of their personnel security controls, including pre-employment checks and vetting. In some cases, Supplier staff may be required to undergo Security Clearance (SC), if their role requires access to protectively marked information.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
The full statement of requirements can be found on the ONS e-tendering system -

The supplier will require to register on the portal where they will find the project which they must register an interest in to review the full SOR.

Bidders conference call will be undertaken on 20th January 2022 - joining instructions can be found on In-Tend

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 building solutions that support retrieving and displaying data from multiple systems and locations (eg cloud and private data centres) simultaneously
  • Evidence of experience of developing on-line transaction systems, allowing real time clerical amendment (creation/update/deletion) of data records
  • Evidence of experience of system integration between cloud and private data centre systems
  • Evidence of experience of delivering user configurable rule-based solutions
  • Evidence of building solutions that scale to meet increases in concurrent usage and data volumes
  • Evidence of experience of building cloud native solutions in public, private or hybrid cloud environments
  • Evidence of experience of applying the best practice principles of the Government Service Standard on government or other comparable projects
  • Evidence of experience of user centred design in creating solutions that meet user needs.
  • Evidence of experience of incremental design, build and delivery of production-ready solutions using agile methods
  • Evidence of experience of logging, auditing and monitoring system performance and user activity, in accordance with agreed metrics
  • Evidence of developing/configuring/optimising user interfaces for displaying data records in accordance with level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)
  • Evidence of experience of developing and transitioning a solution handover to a contracting body for ongoing operational maintenance, support and continuous improvement
  • Evidence of experience of designing solutions suitable for holding and processing data comparable with the level of Official - Sensitive UK Government data.
  • Evidence of certification/alignment to recognised information security standards (e.g. ISO27001, Cyber Essentials, NCSC guidance/principles etc.)
  • Evidence of organisational and personnel security measures to keep the Contracting Authority’s data safe from unauthorised access or use, loss, theft, destruction, corruption, or disclosure.
  • Evidence of an Information Security Management System (ISMS) and governance processes covering all security areas relevant and appropriate to the contracted services (e.g. security policies, access control, incident management, etc.).
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience of ETL solutions consuming data sources in a variety of formats (e.g. CSV, JSON)
  • Knowledge of working with geographic location data
  • Experience of implementing deterministic and/or probabilistic data matching processes and algorithms in solutions
  • Experience of developing and applying statistical methods and algorithms
  • Experience of data migration from on-premise data centre to Cloud
  • Experience and evidence of building solutions that maintain accessible and usable versions of master or reference data time series.
  • Experience of working with data virtualisation tools.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Describe what tools and techniques you will use to identify the user needs of the project
  • Describe the artifacts you will use to capture and iterate the overall system design
  • Describe your approach to the SDLC in a cloud based environment
  • Describe your initial thoughts on the potential options for the required solution
  • Describe how you will use user centered design to determine current and future user needs and how this will be reflected in the solution
  • Describe your approach to the quality assurance of the implemented data matching processes
  • Describe the key considerations in relation to the management of reference and master data
Cultural fit criteria
  • Outline a proposed engagement strategy with the contracting authority during the delivery phases of the project
  • Describe the approach you will utilise to involve the stakeholders within the contracting authority in a transparent and collaborative decision making process
  • Describe how you will approach knowledge transfer of the solution to the contracting authority
  • Describe the principles that will guide the iterative and incremental delivery of the required solution
  • Describe your approach to challenging assumptions and influencing change
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you give an indication of budget please?
As per framework rules, ONS have decided to refrain from proving the budget for this tender
2. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The evaluation panel includes representation from a number of ONS communities with subject matter expertise relevant to the Statistical Business Register. This includes Business Registers SME, Architecture (inc. Enterprise, Solution Technical), Product Management, Delivery Management and Information Assurance. All evaluation panel members are ONS employees
3. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
There is no incumbent
4. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement that includes dates for: 1) Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2 2) Submission Deadline for Stage 2 3) Presentation 4) Evaluation period 5) Award Notification
"The current timetable;
08/02/22 - Shortlisting notification/issue ITT stage 2
15/02/22 - Deadline for Stage 2 tender docs
wc 28/02/22 - Presentations
24/03/22 - Award
5. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
As indicated within the Advert there will be an opportunity to provide a presentation.
6. Could you please advise who conducted the Discovery work?
The Discovery was conducted internally by ONS business area representatives, and the ONS digital and technology team.
7. Can you please advise the preferred tech stack for this opportunity?
We expect the stack to be as cloud native as possible. i.e. using services rather than writing code.  Builds and deployments should be automated.  We are non-prescriptive on our frameworks. We have existing solutions for protective logging/monitoring and alerting which we would expect the supplier to link in to. ONS operates a multi-cloud approach, as referenced in the statement of requirements our preference for the Statistical Business Register is to utilise AWS.
8. Has any external supplier been involved in the initial scoping work? If so, who?
No the initial scoping work has been carried out by ONS internally.
9. Can we evidence the Security certification at the time of final supplier approval ?
For the first stage of the tender it is expected that the supplier gives confirmation of security certification and provide rationale to evidence. Copies of certification as evidence can be provided in the second stage of the tender process.
10. Is this project open for Small business with prior private sector experience and aligned with the DOS5 guidelines ?
This opportunity is open to all suppliers on the DOS framework.
11. Will the new Statistical Business Register service be subject to CDDO/GDS service assessments (external or internal)?
Yes - appropriate compliance with the Government Service Standard will be assessed at the end of each delivery phase
as part of the delivery assurance model.
12. Will ONS sponsor SC applications?
ONS are willing to sponsor applications where necessary
13. Can you please confirm who the supplier providing support to the legacy Register is?
Diegesis limited
14. The DOS notice mentions 'Geographic Location Data'. Is this just addressing data (PAF/Experian for example) or actual mapping/geospatial representation of data?
This is just addressing data. Address information from source is validated and a set of geographies such as region, middle super output layer etc attached based on postcode.
15. Will a video recording of the bidders conference call on 20th January 2022, be available for anybody that is unable to attend the live conference? Also will any material presented be made available?
The Powerpoint presentation has been added to In-tend as a document. The video recording is unavailable to share externally from ONS.
16. How many suppliers will progress to the 2nd stage of the DOS process
Maximum of 3 suppliers will progress
17. Is an AWS solution preferred?
ONS operates a multi-cloud strategy, using both GCP and AWS for bespoke development, as well as Azure. Due to synergies with other ONS systems our preference for SBR is to utilise AWS. ONS is open to proposals from suppliers with strong rationale if another provider maybe more suited to the requirement.
18. Do you expect the suppliers in Stage 2 to quote the price ?
Suppliers will be asked to quote the price in the Stage 2 using the commercial document that will be provided.
19. Could you please advise what criteria are required to be met in each response to be awarded a level 3 mark.
In order to achieve a level 3 mark the supplier responses should prove that they have fully read and understood the criteria,providing a detailed and well structured response. Each criteria response should answer the full criteria, providing multiple examples from a previous contract that evidences that answer.
20. Any specific reason why you do not wish to be transparent about the pricing ?
Is it time and material or Fixed bid pricing ?
ONS have declined to publish the budget as allowed within the framework guidance. There are ongoing discussions within ONS regarding the budget so unfortunately the information isn't available at this time.
As per the DOS advert the pricing is based on Time and Materials
21. Could you expand further around the ‘Survey Processing System’? Is it intended that survey responses be automatically entered via an on-line form, for example, and what statistical analysis will the BSR be expected to perform (if any?)
The survey collection instrument will not be in scope of this work. Files of data from the survey reponses about sites (Local Units) belonging to each business and some variables, will be made available to the SBR and will need to be processed on the SBR. The new system will need to implement edit and validation rules and processes utilising this data to create any new sites (Local Units), or update any existing on the SBR. Any subsequent statistical analyses may be on an ad-hoc, user-driven basis. Local Unit information may be part of these analyses
22. Please specify all standards you abide by in relation to your question: “Evidence of experience of applying the best practice principles of the Government Service Standard on government or other comparable projects
This is the standard we abide by as per the SoR:
23. Please provide the architecture of your current IDBR
The current IDBR system uses Ingres RDBMS on Linux servers located in ONS' private data centre. It mainly utilises Ingres 4GL with C and embedded SQL processes.
24. Please provide details on the following:
• Location of your data?
• Management of your data?
• Volume of your data?
All IDBR data is held in the ONS private data centre.
The current IDBR data volume is circa 270 Gigabytes, but the data volume of SBR could be different depending upon the technology chosen for storage, and will likely increase when additional datasets are used to increase the statistical unit population in the SBR (see SoR for estimated future statistical unit volumes in 'Business Volumes')
25. Please provide details of any existing data transformation projects
SBR will be a key component in the statistical transformation programme looking to rationalise our survey and non-survey data in our statistical outputs.
26. Please provide details of any current external and internal customers of data
The SBR will be used by several government departments that have a legal gateway. Internally the system is used by data collection , survey processing and register maintenance teams.
27. Please provide details of how data is being digested currently.
The data is used by internal customers for producing sample files for survey data collection and providing data for analysis publications.
28. Please can you provide further background/clarification on this question: “Evidence of experience of delivering user configurable rule-based solutions”
In the current IDBR, if a new rule needs to be created then this is a technical development task. To make the SBR more self serve, we would like to place this functionality in the hands of our users as much as possible.
29. Please can you provide information on your scale of users:
• How many users?
• Any user stats?
• Details of user demand etc..
There are circa 400 users registered on the current IDBR.
There are nomally around 100 concurrent users currently, but this could potentially increase on SBR
30. In Overview > Location, the notice states “No specific location, for example they can work remotely”. However, under Work setup > Working arrangements it states “The Contracting Authority would expect the supplier’s team to be based for up to 3 days a week at the Newport offices.”
The supplier can primarily work from their own location but must be available to visit the Contracting Authority’s offices to undertake user research & testing with users and for face-to-face meetings when required. The primary site for the Contracting Authority for this project is:
Office for National Statistics
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
NP10 8XG