Awarded to Hippo Digital Limited

Start date: Saturday 18 June 2022
Value: £6,498,000
Company size: SME
Standards and Testing Agency

Digital Assessment Service

5 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 3 large

5 Completed applications

5 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Friday 4 March 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 11 March 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 18 March 2022 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
Beta phase: Co-located agile team required to build digital services to support the development and delivery of digital assessments to GDS service standards.

IR35 status is under review and will be confirmed at the point of award.
Latest start date
Wednesday 1 June 2022
Expected contract length
22 months
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
STA are continuing to design, develop and deliver digital capabilities for the Digital Assessment Service. This supports the development, trialling and live delivery of National Curriculum Assessments. The initial priority will be supporting the Reception Baseline Assessment through a trials in 2022 and early 2023 and into live delivery in September 2023.
Problem to be solved
Schools will administer the assessment shortly after pupils enter their Reception year, at the start of their primary education. It will be an online assessment. The assessment will last approximately 20 minutes. We need to design and develop an end state digital assessment service so that we can offer valid, adaptive and secure digitised assessments. The aim is for the solution to secure value for money and deliver a positive user experience achieved through design and processes; creating schools and STA efficiencies.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Head Teacher I need to feel confident that my staff have appropriate training and support so they can conduct the assessment correctly

As a Pupil I need to be able to move through the assessment so that
using the technology does not affect my ability to indicate my response

As a Teacher/practitioner I need to be confident in administering assessments using a digital platform so I can support pupils moving through the assessment

As a School Admin I need data input and checking to be as quick and easy as possible so that I can efficiently set up the assessment

As a Test developer I need to create, find, view, edit, and archive test material so that I can develop a valid, reliable and fair assessment

As a Psychometrician I need to be analyse data from assessments so I can ensure assessments are valid, reliable and fair.

As a reviewer I need to be able to feedback comments on the materials so that evidence can be collected and amends be made.

As a Service manager I need to create, find, view, edit, delete and archive assessments so I can manage trialling and live delivery
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The project is in the beta phase with a digital assessment having been created and trialled. The digital assessment service platform is established with some capability to support the development and delivery of the assessment developed. This is in an MVP state.
Existing team
You will be required to work alongside the STA digital team consisting of product owners, delivery managers, user researchers, business analysts, performance analysts, content designers and UX designers. You will also be required to work with our Test Development partners including Test Development Researchers, Project Managers and Psychometricians. You will also need to work with Operational Delivery staff who will be responsible for live delivery of the assessment.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Coventry and Manchester
Working arrangements
Aim is to be co-located with the team in Coventry or Manchester to maximise opportunity for engagement with DfE users and stakeholders. Blended/hybrid working patterns are standard with 2 days a week on site. Travel to other DfE sites and schools to meet users is expected. Expenses must be included in the quoted contract sum (to note: there will be no separate budget for expenses). We will operate using agile methodology including daily stand ups, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives and show and tells. There is some flexibility for remote arrangements.
Security clearance
The supplier will need to pass DfE’s security and assurance process and the procured team will need BPSS clearance as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DfE shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 28 days written notice to the Supplier, and DfE's liability there to shall be limited to costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date only. Suppliers must confirm acceptance of this term.

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
  • Have experience in delivering similar solutions in cloud -based environments and understand the security and management of cloud components.
  • Have a proven track record of delivering projects at speed with clearly identified deliverables and timescales.
  • Demonstrate evidence of incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience.
  • Demonstrate experience of developing digital assessments.
  • Provide examples of delivering services using agile teams, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging internal stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation
  • Demonstrate experience of developing solutions using C# and Javascript using Azure hosting
  • Demonstrate experience of building digital capability within organisations
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the schools sector
  • Demonstrate experience of developing digital assessments and assessment services.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcomes (10%)
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education and educational technology policy landscape and that the proposal is relevant to that context (10%)
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents value for money. (5%)
  • Demonstration of ability to work with STA in-house teams with limited technical expertise. (10%)
  • Evidence of the required technical capabilities to provide immediate impact and working software. (15%)
  • Evidence that your proposed approach and methodology for delivery will successfully deliver working software to meet user needs and meet specified acceptance criteria. (15%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Provide evidence of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over reliance on the client team
  • Provide evidence of your approach to actively promote diversity and inclusion encouraging increased representation of under-represented groups within the workforce and how you monitor/measure this
  • Provide evidence of how your organisation supports a no-blame culture and how it encourages people to learn from their mistakes
  • Provide evidence of supporting mental and physical health and wellbeing in the workplace
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Can you please elaborate on “Demonstrate experience of building digital capability within organisations"
We would like suppliers to demonstrate evidence of supporting organisations to build the digital capability of staff and internal stakeholders.
2. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The evaluation panel will be the Head of Digital, the Lead Product Owner and the Lead Delivery Manager.
3. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
The incumbent supplier is Hippo Digital. The previous contract was for 1 year.
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
"Indicative procurement timeline
1. Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2 - 28 March 22
2. Proposal Submission Deadline - 04 April 22
3. Presentation - Not Applicable
4. Evaluation Period - 12-22 April 22
5. Award Notification - 04 May 22
Please note - All the above dates are indicative and are subject to change.
5. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
There will be no presentation. The scoring will be done on the supplier proposal.
6. Has any external supplier been involved in the initial scoping work? If so, who?
As the service is in beta the incumbent supplier has been involved in the development of the service to date.
7. Could you give an indication of the budget, please?
The budget is approximately £7.5m
8. who is the current incumbent?
The incumbent supplier is Hippo Digital
9. ‘Demonstrate evidence of incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience.’ – Are you looking for open-source technologies and, if not, is there a specific type of technology you are looking for?
We are not looking for specific technologies - we are asking suppliers to demonstrate how they have used the latest technologies to maximise the outcomes for the users and the business.
10. On these essential criteria: ‘Demonstrate experience of developing digital assessments.’ – are you looking for bidders to have created the assessments, or the platform on which the assessments are held?
We are looking for suppliers to demonstrate their experience of working with digital assessments and understanding the context we are working in.
11. ‘Demonstrate experience of developing digital assessments.’ is listed in both the essential criteria and nice-to-have criteria. Please can you confirm whether it’s essential or nice-to-have?
This is an essential criterion.