Awarded to Solirius Consulting

Start date: Monday 1 August 2022
Value: £4,482,984
Company size: SME
Department for Education

Project Titan: Enter Learning Data & Verified Credentials

3 Incomplete applications

2 SME, 1 large

12 Completed applications

9 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Wednesday 27 April 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 4 May 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 11 May 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
Digital Development outcomes to GDS compliant digital services to modernise the way data is collected and shared across all of the education sector. To deliver professional data collection services that reduce burden on users, go on to add value and ensure our services are user-centred.
Latest start date
Monday 20 June 2022
Expected contract length
2 years
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
These services are to be delivered over a contract period of 2 years with an indicative contract value of £4.5m for the full 2-year contract.

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
This is part of a wider programme of work to modernise the way that data is collected across all of the education sector, which is driven by the need to reduce the data collection burden & cost on providers and by the need to have better, more timely access to data / Business Intelligence within DfE and across the sector.

This requirement is for delivery management, development and testing services
Problem to be solved
We need to develop two digital services to support Learner Enrolment (e.g. learners enrolling onto FE courses or apprenticeships) and to give learners access to their own educational records.

We want all training providers to have access to a free application that offers a simple process for Learner enrolment so that sector costs are reduced.

We want all learners to have access to their education history so that have control over how and when this data is shared.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a provider I need to record my learner data so that I can create an ILR file to submit to the ESFA for payments to be calculated and made.

As a learner I need to view my ULN and education history so that I can use this when applying to college
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The discovery phase has started which includes user research, technology investigations and logical architecture designs. For the enrolment service we have iterated the design a number of times based on user research feedback, including navigation, data entry and how to display validation results.

For the service to share learner details with students we have been working with Microsoft using their verified credentials technology and Authenticator app.
Existing team
The existing team is comprised of multi-disciplinary agile delivery skills. This team is involved in service development for providing brand new digital services, going through the standard GDS phases. The current team size is approximately 20 with a skill mix of product owner, delivery managers, business analysts, user researchers, designers, developers, testers, devops engineers and architects.

The team is co-located in Coventry and comprises of digital service suppliers and permanent staff.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
The primary location is Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT or remote working arrangements subject to agreements for in-office working which will comply with the relevant and prevailing Government guidance on restrictions to movement.

Primary location will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW).
Working arrangements
This will be a 5 day per week (Monday to Friday) commitment and detailed working arrangements, including team location, size and make-up, will be contained within each statement of work.

Day to day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques. These could be either a Kanban or a scrum approach (depending on the work) but the standard agile ceremonies appropriate to those will be undertaken.

There is an expectation that individuals are on-site two days per week

This requirement is for services that will sit inside IR35.
Security clearance
DfE requires all supplier staff to have BPSS, additional security requirements will be detailed in the Statement of Work.

The successful supplier will be required to complete a supplier security assurance form.

DfE may require Security Clearance (SC) for roles with privileged access to the digital services

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 if appropriate.

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.

No parking is available on site.

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
  • Demonstrable experience of using C#, .NET, ASP.NET MVC/Razor, REST API, OIDC, Verified Credentials
  • Proven experience of successfully building front end web applications (HTML/CSS/JS/Blazer)
  • Evidence and proven experience of successfully supporting customers to build in-house capabilities, positively sharing tools and techniques and ensure effective knowledge management and transfer to permanent staff
  • Demonstrable experience of producing test approaches and sprint test plans, owning the documentation and managing its completion
  • Demonstrate evidence of successfully deploying strong communication skills with the ability to proactively manage stakeholders and tailor to the needs of audience by collaborating on decisions in complex environments
  • Evidence of experience of successfully meeting GDS service standards or appropriate similar standards within complex digital programmes
  • Provide demonstrable evidence of expertise developing software using modern engineering practices such as Test Driven Development and Continuous Integration & Deployment in an Azure DevOps environment
  • Provide experience of successfully testing automation in an agile development environment, with architecture, design and configuration of testing automation frameworks.
  • Experience in delivery management and project support services such as agile, scrum. Demonstrate evidence of successfully producing project documentation, e.g. roadmaps, board packs, reports, and managing agile ceremonies.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence of successfully delivering products/services within multi-strand digital programmes within a complex environment.
  • Provide evidence of experience and ability to effectively influence senior stakeholder decisions to successfully drive and deliver positive change or improvement of a service.
  • Experience of successfully identifying and delivering innovation to drive measurable improvements in digital programmes in a complex environment

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Provide evidence of experience in successfully designing and delivering digital products/services and understanding the challenges of implementing user centred design in an agile environment
  • Demonstrate evidence of understanding and successfully delivering digital products/services to Government digital service standards, or equivalent
  • Provide evidence of positive experience in agile methodologies to project delivery using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Demonstrable experience of successful integration and effective communication with other disciplines co located or remote teams to deliver positive outcomes in a complex digital environment
  • Explain and evidence your approach to knowledge and skills transfer for both joining a new programme and for exiting the programme to ensure successful handover.
  • Proven evidence of technical competence in a wide range of relevant technologies
  • Evidence ability to successfully and promptly mobilise expertise to scale up teams and flex resource and to respond to fluctuating requirements in a complex environment to meet business need.
  • Provide evidence of ability to successfully make and influence informed decisions based on business and user needs to provide good value for money for the UK tax-payer
  • Provide evidence of experience and your approach to successfully identifying and delivering innovation to drive measurable improvements in digital programmes whilst also balancing risks.
Cultural fit criteria
  • Evidence experience of effectively working with multiple organisational stakeholders in a collaborative way to successfully deliver common outcomes and embed a culture of continuous improvement
  • Describe and evidence your approach and process to identify and tackle inequality in employment, skills and pay in the contract workforce for this contract (Social Value)
  • Describe and evidence your approach to support educational attainment relevant to the contract, including training schemes that address digital skills gaps and result in recognised qualifications.(Social Value)
  • Provide evidence of experience in how you actively and successfully manage and prioritise the wellbeing of yours and the clients teams whilst achieving outcomes at pace
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Why is the department mandating this technical stack when there are other technologies that would deliver better solutions, benefits and value for money?
During the discovery phase we have been looking at technologies which has shaped our decision, along with our intent to use technologies that are in line with DfE strategy. The Department is open to other options as we continue to better understand the landscape and user needs
2. Can you confirm which part of DfE this is working for please?
This requirement is for Data Science, within the Data Directorate
3. This bid was first released on the 19th April - what has changed that required a new release?
This is a new requirement for delivery management, development and testing services with capability that is inside scope of IR35 only
4. What technologies were looked at during the Discovery phase?
A range of technologies were looked at including; Azure, Microsoft Verified Credentials, Blazer, React, WPF and Flutter
5. What technologies are considered to be in line with the DfE strategy?
Azure and Microsoft products are typically used
6. Is the DfE's strategy still based on ISB
The Information Standards Board (ISB) has not been operational for 5 years
7. Question 1 asks for experience of “OIDC, Verified Credentials” suggesting Verified Credentials is to be treated as a separate technology. Is the comma an error and you mean “OIDC Verified Credentials”?
OIDC and Verified Credentials are separate technologies
8. You state that this requirement is for Data Science, within the Data Directorate. Please can you explain the working relationship between the Data Directorate and ESFA for this project?
This project is to support the work of the ESFA. The relationship between Data Directorate and ESFA is evolving.
9. Notwithstanding the fact that exact resources will be specified/requested by subsequent statements of work, please can you provide an indication of how many resources you expect to require overall and how that number is split across the three requested disciplines of Delivery Management, Development and Testing Services?
Details will be determined and agreed at an individual Statement of Work level but as an approximate forecast:
Delivery Management - 2
Development - 12
Testing Services - 8

Please note this is indicative and is subject to change.