Awarded to Softwire Technology Limited

Start date: Monday 25 July 2022
Value: £1,891,000
Company size: SME
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)

DLUHC CPD4124034 data collection as a service (public beta and migration)

4 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 0 large

10 Completed applications

9 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Tuesday 10 May 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 24 May 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
DLUHC requires a partner to bring "Submit social housing data service" to live and re-platform and re-engineer Delta, enabling the creation of a single civil-servant staffed data-collection team.
Latest start date
Friday 1 July 2022
Expected contract length
2 years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
Budget range
Initial work expected to be approximately £2.9m, covering two teams from July 2022 to March 2024. Further work has not been signed off but could be up to £9m over the 2 year contract term.

About the work

Why the work is being done
DLUHC wants to transform how we collect data by transforming the tools we use so that they better meet the needs of users and the department.

We’ve already begun this transformation with a new service on Case-Level data collection (CORE), which is about to enter public beta. CORE collects social housing and lettings data and is end-of-life technology. This contract covers bringing the replacement from private beta to live.

Most of our other data collection is done using the Delta platform Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) which provides a data collection and payments platform) and E-Claims. These tools sit under different teams and use technologies that are costly and don’t integrate well with the department’s other tools. In addition, hosting is expensive and change is difficult making them hard to improve.

We want to bring Delta and EClaims onto GOV.UK PaaS, re-architecting them to meet the standards of the new CORE service, use modern development practices, and over time develop a fully in-sourced data collection team.
Problem to be solved
Ultimately we aim to solve the problem: How might DLUHC acquire accurate and timely data to make policy decisions in ways that minimises the burden on data providers and maximises the value of data for analysts?The work included in this contract is a significant step towards doing that by giving us the technical infrastructure to integrate the services with the changing needs of users and the department in the future.
Primary outputs of this work:
• Submit social housing lettings and sales data service taken through public beta and into live
• The development of APIs for submitting data and integrating with other services especially for case level social housing and lettings data, but also for other forms of data submission
• Delta and E-Claims re-platformed onto GOV.UK PaaS
• Delta re-architected away from a monolithic MarkLogic based solution to a more flexible one which better meets the department’s needs(likely SQL based)with the grant payment and data collection functions separated into independent services
• Implementation of devops and continuous release practices across the services and teams
• Support and assist the introduction and upskilling of civil servants into team roles
• Datamart(MarkLogic based platform used by the three services)closed down
Who the users are and what they need to do
This work will support a range of different users within both the department and wider government system. Key examples include:
• Statisticians, data analysts and scientists, who need to be able to collect and interrogate data from local authorities and other sources
• Policy makers, who need to access data so that they can assess and inform their policy options
• Local government officials who are required to submit data to DLUHC in as simple a way as possible so that they can receive funding and meet other obligations
• DLUHC and others finance professionals who need to make and receive payments and access data

Broadly the department has a need to collect and analyse data and process payments. Over time the exact requirements for this will change, therefore we need flexible tools which make data collection as easy as possible for all parties and can be used flexibly by the department to inform decision making.
Early market engagement
There has not been any early market engagement undertaken for this specific opportunity, however it is building on other work undertaken by the department described below.
Any work that’s already been done
There are four relevant existing pieces of work:
• In 2021 a discovery was completed by MadeTech recommending substantial re-engineering of Delta. The key recommendations are available here: and is the foundation of the re-engineering work done in this contract
• Delta currently has a live contract with TSO through to April 2023 supporting the service.
CORE has an existing live contract with Softwire through to April 2023
• Case Level Data Submission(CORE) is currently in private beta being delivered by MadeTech, this will continue until around July when this proposed contract will take over the work
Existing team
The supplier will work with DLUHC staff from a range of disciplines, initially two product managers for two workstreams, a business analyst, and a user researcher. Our intention is eventually to wholly staff the data collection team with civil servants, so over time it will be expected that specific team roles(design,research,development)will be hired into the department, reducing the need for supplier resource over time.

Close collaboration with the incumbent delivery partners(TSO,Softwire,Datavid)will be required as part of the re-platforming work. This contract will not prevent us from using other commercial arrangements, to pull together a team from a range of suppliers.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Remotely, but also 2 Marsham Street, London where conditions allow for a couple of days a week.
Working arrangements
We want the supplier to work in an agile way with us. Our teams are used to remote working practices, but we find it beneficial to co-locate with representatives of the successful supplier in London or other offices where possible around 2 days a week to have the opportunity for face-to-face meetings. This would be discussed and agreed before signing each Statement of Work.
Security clearance
System Administrators are expected to hold a minimum full SC clearance for this requirement. Other roles can be BPSS cleared. Supplier to state clearance level for each team member in their proposal.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
1. All outputs will be owned by DLUHC and published openly where appropriate using a suitable open license that supports reuse.

2. All materials/outputs derived from the contract shall be the property of DLUHC.

3. GDPR requirements will be discussed and agreed once the successful supplier has been notified (as part of discussions to agree the wording of the call-off contract).

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
  • Experience finishing developing a service, for example, from Private beta to live, including where GDS service assessments are applicable
  • Experience and knowledge of re-platforming services onto PaaS or equivalent cloud services
  • Experience and knowledge introducing and embedding devops practices to existing services
  • Experience applying user-centred design principles to data products and services including the development, communication and deployment of APIs
  • Experience of using Ruby on Rails to build a high volume, transactional, web-based service
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Experience with GDS Service Standards and GOV.UK design system
  • Describe your approach to building good technology that meets user needs whilst delivering at pace

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Your approach to the re-platforming of services onto PaaS and replacement of existing noSQL databases with a suitable alternative(10% weighting)
  • Experience and approach for introducing and maturing devops practices to existing live services including,development,testing,deployment,monitoring,security(10% weighting)
  • Approach and experience to bringing an in-development data service from beta to live (5% weighting)
  • Experience using a collaborative, open, transparent user-centred agile approach to deliver data services (5% weighting)
  • Approach and experience ensuring interoperability of data services with other departmental tools and software (5% weighting)
  • If shortlisted, suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal and pricing as detailed below.
  • Price Part1:Capped Time and Materials quote to bring “submit social housings and lettings data” service from public beta to live (10% weighting)
  • Price part2:Capped Time and Materials quote to re-platform delta on to PaaS and splitting Delta into flexible grant payment and data collection services.(10% weighting)
  • Price Part3:Assessment of Day Rates required over 100 days.We will assess the rates for:Developer/Delivery Manager/user researcher/devops engineer/UI designer/QA tester.Please provide SFIA level 4 rates(30% weighting)
  • Scoring as follows:
  • Score 0 = Failed to provide confidence that the proposal will meet the requirements. An unacceptable response with serious reservations.
  • Score 25 = A Poor response with reservations. The response lacks convincing detail with risk that the proposal will not be successful in meeting all the requirements.
  • Score 50 = Meets the requirements – the response generally meets the requirements, but lacks sufficient detail to warrant a higher mark.
  • Score 75= A Good response that meets the requirements with good supporting evidence. Demonstrates good understanding.
  • Score 100=An Excellent comprehensive response that meets the requirements. Indicates an excellent response with detailed supporting evidence and no weaknesses resulting in a high level of confidence.
  • In the event of a tie the highest score in the Technical Competence section will be used to award
  • Max 15 pages (excluding CVs)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Approach to team resilience, ensuring no single points of failure and responsive to the needs of team to ensure best fit (5%weighting)
  • SOCIAL VALUE - we would expect to see evidence against the following:
  • Theme 4 Equal Opportunity - Tackle workforce inequality - MAC 6.1 Tackling inequality in the contract workforce(5% weighting)
  • Theme 5 Wellbeing - Improve health and wellbeing - MAC 7.1 Support health and wellbeing in the workforce(5%weighting)
  • Scoring for Social Value see below
  • Score 0 = The response completely fails to meet the required social value standard or does not provide a response.
  • Score 25 = The response makes limited reference (naming only) to the social value policy outcome set out within the invitation.
  • Score 50 = The response addresses most of the social value policy outcome and also shows general market experience.
  • Score 75 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows good market experience.
  • Score 100 = The response addresses the social value policy outcome and also shows in-depth market experience.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Work history
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would it be possible to provide details of the procurement process after short listing? When do you expect to:
• Notify successfully short listed suppliers, how long will they have to respond to the written proposal
• Will you be offering all short listed suppliers a presentation?
We expect to notify shortlisted suppliers wc 13/06/22 and allow approximately 10 days for return of written proposals.

All shortlisted suppliers (max 4) will be invited to present and we expect that to be wc 27/06/22.

Estimated award wc 04/07/22.
2. Price weighting is high at 50%, so the most economic bidder is most likely to win at the possible detriment to quality of technical/cultural competency. Can you confirm if there will be a minimum technical/cultural competency scoring/weightings that the successful supplier must meet in addition to the overall scoring to be successful?
The initial responses will be scored on the published essential and desirable skills and 4 suppliers shortlisted to submit a written proposal. Therefore only capable suppliers scoring well (all essential skills must score 2 “met” or above ) will be taken through to stage 2.
The weightings, including price, reflect the departments considered view as to what is most appropriate for this requirement. We are not expecting to include any further minimum scoring in stage 2.
3. Please could you provide the procurement timescales for this opportunity?
See Q1
4. What are the job roles of the evaluation panel?
The panel will consist of existing members of the relevant teams with knowledge of the requirement and will be overseen by the commercial lead. Further details will be provided to shortlisted suppliers prior to presentations.
5. You’re evaluating price based on SFIA level 4 rates – is there an opportunity to propose a team comprising a blended mix of levels, to ensure better value for money?
Evaluation at stage 2 will be completed based on SFIA4. Further detail may be provided after the shortlisting stage, as part of the stage 2 invites.
6. Could you give an indication of the transaction volume so that we can better shape our answer to the 5th essential criteria?

How many users are within each user group, what is the frequency of data submission and what is the size of the collection?
Delta has ~950,000 transactions per year. This is split across several hundred data collections, hundreds of thousands of data submissions and tens of thousands of financial transactions. Submit social housing and lettings data has ~300,000 transactions per year.
7. Could you outline your approach to transition from your existing supplier?
We would expect the successful supplier to work alongside the existing suppliers and draw on their knowledge of the services to deliver the required outcomes, probably for at least a year. DLUHC would look to facilitate and help ensure alignment of work as it progresses.
8. Will there be an opportunity to ask further questions at phase 2 of this procurement?
Yes we expect to have a further short clarification period for shortlisted suppliers as part of the stage 2 request for proposals.
9. Could you please clarify why the projects to 1. bring “Submit social housing data service” to live and 2. re-platform and re-engineer Delta, are being grouped together and run as a single procurement?
DLUHC wants to bring data collection into a single service team with the two product teams working closely together, potentially with people working across both in some instances. We view that a single procurement will help achieve that.
10. Could you please clarify why SC clearance is needed for System Administrators?

And will the Department sponsor clearance for the successful supplier, if needed?
This is a cyber security requirement. The successful supplier will need some SC capability for Submit Social Housing and Lettings data at the outset, however sponsorship may be provided for further team resource as required.
11. Why have you decided to use Ruby on Rails?
Ruby on Rails is used by the Submit Social Housing and Lettings data service and other DLUHC services, as well as being on the GDS way. Also see question 12.
12. Please can you help us understand how you envisage using Ruby on Rails in re-platforming and re-engineering Delta? Are you looking to rewrite the current web application using Ruby on Rails or to be used for any other middleware components?
Ruby on Rails is used as part of the by the Submit Social Housing and Lettings data service. Not all parts of Delta will be immediately rebuilt (for example, Orbeon form builder will initially remain - see service mapping deck link in the original advert ), but where it is re-built, we'd expect to either share components with CORE, or re-build in Ruby on Rails.
13. Please can you clarify what are the drives to re-engineer Delta, like to replace MarkLogic and Active Directory or is the scope beyond those 2 components?
As a department we need to align our services and tooling to ones which better meet the needs of our users and enable easy future change and improvement. See service mapping deck link in the original advert for more details.