This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Tuesday 21 June 2022
DEFRA and its Arms Length Bodies

Smart Environmental Regulation Programme (SERP)

5 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 1 large

22 Completed applications

5 SME, 17 large

Important dates

Published
Tuesday 7 June 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Tuesday 14 June 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Tuesday 21 June 2022 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
The Smart Environmental Regulation Programme (SERP) will transform digital and IT capabilities for regulatory activities within Defra and its ALBs. The programme combines 3 programmes:
Regulatory Services Programme - Environment Agency
Waste Tracking - DEFRA Programme
Collection & Packaging Reforms - DEFRA Programme
Latest start date
Friday 30 September 2022
Expected contract length
2 years with the option to extend for a further 6 months if required.
Location
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
DEFRA and its Arms Length Bodies
Budget range
It is estimated that the budget range for the first year of this contract is approximately £6-10m up to a maximum of £50m throughout the total contract term. This is not a commitment to spend up to this value and the Authority reserves the right to consume at its discretion.

About the work

Why the work is being done
To improve the way that those who need to engage with Defra and it’s ALBs in regulation, tracking and monitoring and planning activities interact with Government by delivering GDS compliant digital services based on stable, flexible and inter-operable platforms to store and manage workflow activities.
This contract shall initially support at least 3 key programmes including:
· Regulatory Services
A programme to digitally modernise the way the Environment Agency regulates and protects the environment.
· Digital Waste Tracking Digital waste tracking service - GOV.UK
( www.gov.uk )
A programme to enable government, regulators across the UK, and businesses to track what happens to waste generated in the UK. This is likely to require some bespoke application development
· Collection and Packaging Reforms Waste not, want not: How Digital is playing a key role in waste reforms - Defra digital, data and technology ( www.blog.gov.uk )
Three related projects, each with digital requirements which are part of the Government’s Major Projects Portfolio. Some of the digital requirements for this programme are similar to those required for existing regulatory services
There are several key statutory requirements which have deadlines the first of which is in January 2023.
Problem to be solved
Across the group there are many legacy systems that underpin these activities that need replacing, as well as new statutory requirements, as outlined in the Environment Act 2021, that need implementing. Historically, there has been a disparate approach to Service and Platform development. However, across the digital programmes, there is an opportunity to develop generic digital capabilities that can be re-used to enable a more consistent technical architecture, efficient and quicker means of delivery.
Generic platforms can include the determination and management of permit and registrations, charging, compliance, enforcement, data storage and analytics, as well as externally facing digital services for the ability to manage online accounts, to apply, submit returns and tracking data online.
As different programmes are at different stages of development, with some in Beta/Live, others in Discovery, Defra is keen to work collaboratively with a provider to shape Statements of Work to implement capabilities.
Defra is seeking to partner with a Microsoft Gold build partner to configure Power Platform & Azure technologies with experience in the delivery of:
o Power platform & Azure based developments, integrations & migrations
o Power Portal implementations with GDS approvals in place
o Azure Data Services including AI based analytics.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Due to the broad scope of the agreement sought across Defra and it’s ALBs, the definition of users will depend on the specific nature of the statement of work and service or platform to be developed.
For example, in Regulation for the Environment Agency, external regulated customers who have to apply for licenses and permits which are regulated under legislation. These include small organisations to large scale businesses with varying levels of technical capabilities.
The other programmes in this procurement are likely to take a Microsoft based approach including the Defra Waste Tracking service. Users of this service are those that are involved in through the waste management lifecycle, and this service is likely to be used by approx. 100k users daily.

Example users:

Citizens and businesses: apply for and receive permission to conduct regulated activities.

Operational staff: efficiently and administer government legislation through regulatory activity.

Policy staff: improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory activity to better achieve policy objectives.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
A procurement activity was undertaken by the Environment Agency in early 2021 for it’s Regulatory Services programme, and progress has been made in 21/22 alongside a build partner to develop core regulatory platforms. This includes using Microsoft technologies to build out platforms for determining and issuing permits, enforcement and a data service.
However with a revised Spending Review settlement, the creation of 2 new Defra regulatory programmes and increased architectural alignment across ALBs and digital programmes. The remit and scope has changed requiring a fresh procurement activity
Existing team
The supplier will be working with blended teams consisting of internal staff, contractors and other suppliers including the incumbent. Every statement of work will have a mix of business and technical resource to support delivery.
Current phase
Not applicable

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
DEFRA/ ALB's offices in London, Birmingham, York and Bristol are all an advantage for workshops where required. Work is expected to be undertaken at the suppliers office or remotely, with colocation where required.
Working arrangements
Suppliers will work core hours of 9-5 Monday to Friday UK time. Where colocation is required, expenses will be paid for travel to venues outside of the M25 or Bristol.

Any travel and subsistence related to delivering the contract will be subject to prior approval from the Authority. Expense claims will be in line with DEFRA’S expense policy. A flexible approach is required to meet the needs of each individual project and programme on a 'Statement of Work' (SoW) basis.
Security clearance
The Supplier must ensure that all staff with access to Authority information, data or systems are vetted to appropriate standards (minimum BPSS or national equivalent with elevated clearance levels for certain role types to be agreed with the Authority).

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

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 of delivering Government Digital Services and Platforms from Discovery to Public Beta including passing internal assurance and GDS service assessment
  • Delivered major transformation programmes working with Azure, Azure DevOps, Dynamics 365, Dataverse Power Platform services, SharePoint Online data migration, cleansing and Azure Modern Data Platform
  • Experience of establishing DevOps practices with integrated CI/CD pipeline, from code repo through to deploy
  • Experience of of Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) methodology to coding standards validated via a test strategy with automation as a foundation
  • Experience of end-to-end-design and architecture accommodating multi-channel user experience including data ingestion and integration and large datasets with Change Data Capture mechanisms, as well as delivery of payments processing capability
  • Examples of your experience of delivering large transformation programmes simultaneously, with the ability to increase/ decrease experienced and skilled resources, dependent upon programme priorities
  • Experience of developing bespoke applications (for example using Node.JS) and integrating them with Azure applications to deliver digital services
  • Experience implementing advanced analytical/data science techniques to derive predictive insight and enable AI (Artificial Intelligence) driven outcomes to support business decisions.
  • Experience Implementation of Business Intelligence (BI) tools, specifically PowerBi, to summarise and present data
  • Hold certification of: Microsoft Gold Partner ISO27001: Cyber Essentials Plus: and ITIL - YES/NO
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Provide evidence in previous engagements where they have delivered regulatory processes
  • Demonstrate increased contract growth, i.e. a customer doing more work with the supplier after the initial award
  • Evidence of industry and tech vendor awards demonstrating excellence in delivery and innovation
  • Offers innovation funding to help demonstrate how to deliver outcomes differently providing a level of added value from the engagement
  • Experience of proactive contribution to software development communities, demonstrating the delivery of effective guidance and best practice
  • Experience analysing technical risks, and identifying mitigations to risks when migrating from legacy platforms to new target architectures
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies
  • Experience incorporating latest technologies to enhance product specifications, resulting in increased functionality and improved user experience
  • Examples of delivering services using agile teams, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments
  • Experience migrating data from legacy databases to Azure data repositories.
  • Experience designing PowerBI reports that interface with multiple different data sources
  • Experience mentoring and developing the technical skillset of the internal team and to handover activities as required

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
4
Proposal criteria
  • Proposed methodology and approach to taking forward the programmes of work, including project/programme/delivery management, user research, service design, architecture, SDLC and service assessments
  • Proposed team structure, including details of resource, positions and responsibilities throughout Beta. (including CVs of key members)
  • Ability and approach to scaling up and down project resource quickly
  • Proposed methodology and approach to service support and transition to internal teams
  • Proposed approach to delivering process and organisational change
  • How you have identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
Cultural fit criteria
  • Have a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes
  • Have a culture of sharing and learning
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Be comfortable challenging non-technical and technical decisions where they see value in an alternative approach
  • Take responsibility for their work Works as an interdependent team rather than individuals
  • Identify, mitigate, manage and reduce and report on modern slavery risks - including supply chain in delivering services
  • Identify, mitigate, manage, reduce and report any sustainability impacts inc. supply chain in delivering services
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

10%

Price

40%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
The evaluation team will consists of the commercial lead, the Environment Agency Regulated Services Programme Programme Director and Programme Manager, Defra Waste Tracking & CPR Programme Manager, Project Manager, Technology Architect and Business Relationship Manager from Defra's Digital, Data and Technology Service Business Function.
2. Who is the incumbent and how long they have been the incumbent?
Hitachi Solutions Europe Ltd have been providing services for the Environment Agency's Regulated SP Beta/Live Programme from June 2021.
3. Can you confirm if shortlisted suppliers will have the opportunity to present?
Yes, we anticipate holding presentations with shortlisted suppliers.
4. Has any external supplier been involved in the initial scoping work? If so, who?
Yes, Hitachi Solutions Europe Ltd have been delivering services for the Environment Agency's Regulated Services Programme Beta/Live requirement.
5. Is there an incumbent for this opportunity? If so, please could you confirm who the incumbent is?
Hitachi Solutions Europe Ltd have been providing services for the Environment Agency's Regulated SP Beta/Live Programme.
6. “Demonstrate experience of delivering services for UK government departments or public bodies”, please can you confirm whether the use of the word “services” here relates to the supplier’s services (e.g. technical/ consulting services) or relates to delivering a ‘government service’ i.e. to the service standard?
The word "services" in this context relates to examples of 'digital services'.
7. Can you provide any further detail about which of the statutory requirements introduced by the Environment Act 2021 you expect to be covered by the SERP?”
For EA Regulatory Services, a number of statutory requirements will need to be delivered. This includes Waste Reform requirements (deadlines tbc) and the move of Water Resources into the Environmental Permitting Regimes (deadline tbc however expected to be due in 2023). Waste Tracking provisions are set out in Section 58 and 59 of the Environment Act 2021.
8. Can you indicate how the budget may be split across the programmes?
This is dependent upon how we shape and deliver the programmes. There is roughly equal funding across the EA and Defra programmes, however it’s also important to note that this contract may be used to support other regulatory, tracking and monitoring projects activities in Defra where there are similar capability needs and architectural approaches. Equally some IT elements of waste tracking and CPR Programmes may be delivered through other contracting routes where applicable.
9. Are you open to a consortia (with a lead contractor) bidding?
Yes, the contract will be with the lead contractor who will be the main point of contact for the Authority and responsible for the performance of the consortia and all contractual elements including invoicing.
10. You mention that a procurement activity was undertaken by the Environment Agency in early 2021 for it’s Regulatory Services programme.
Can you confirm if this new procurement replaces that award/contract or is an additional award / contract.
This is an additional contract for a much wider scope. The Existing contract will run alongside this while its scope is still being delivered. New requirements for the RSP programme will be delivered through the new contract.
11. You asked for ‘experience of developing bespoke applications (for example using Node.JS)’ in your essential skills and experience. Are you currently using Node.JS? Would providing examples of other bespoke applications (e.g. React) be a disadvantage, given you have used the words ‘for example’
Defra's preferred development language is Node JS for new online digital services and C# to extend commodity platforms. These are preferred because they are open source, cover front and back end, and build on existing Defra capability.
12. Please can you advise whether Stage 1 scores will be carried forward to Stage 2, and if so what percentage of the Stage 2 scores they will comprise?
Stage 1 scores will be added to Stage 2 results under the technical competence evaluation criterion.
13. “Provide evidence in previous engagements where they have delivered regulatory processes” are you looking for processes delivered for a Regulator to help them meet their regulatory responsibilities or processes within a regulated industry that helps the organisation comply with regulatory requirements imposed on them?
For a regulator.
14. Given most of Defra’s work is spatial in nature, will you be looking to integrate these new data systems and processes with your existing Esri geospatial platforms? Thank you.
Yes.
15. “Delivered major transformation programmes working with Azure, Azure DevOps, Dynamics 365, Dataverse Power Platform services, SharePoint Online data migration, cleansing and Azure Modern Data Platform”, can we confirm is this asking for “SharePoint Online data migration” or “SharePoint Online” and “data migration” as 2 separate skills?
We currently use SharePoint Online as part of our document management needs for the service, this will potentially need both SPOL development skill's to enhance the solution and also migration skills to move documents into the service as we start to decommission legacy applications.
16. Could the following be elaborate on ‘delivery of payments processing capability’. Is this direct interaction with users to obtain payments (credit cards), integration for BACS? Is PCI-DSS anticipated?
The payments platform is made up of a number of capabilities, a charge engine to calculate complex charge rules, a payments service to take online payments using World Pay and Gov.Pay and a billing service to create invoices and reconciliation data.
17. Corrected question - Which Dynamics 365 application is required by Essential Skills and Experience Question 2? Is it part of CRM suite (Customer service, Field service, Sales) or Finance and operations (Finance, commerce, supply chain management)?
We are using Power Apps, both model driven and canvas and at this stage not looking to use any of the Dynamics Apps such are Customer Engagement or Field Services. This does not rule them out and if requirements are such that these become a good fit then we would review the current thinking.
18. Could the buyer please confirm if a proportion of the team could have working locations near-shore or offshore?
Yes, however we are expecting a blended approach.
19. For question 9: ‘Examples of delivering services using agile teams, meet the Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice and examples of passed GDS Beta Service assessments’ – The plural of the word ‘example’ is used here – can DEFRA confirm if they are looking for the same example to cover both scenarios or different examples for each part of the question, as word count will not afford a long answer.
Same example is fine.
20. Hi we have experience in building similar systems in other countries, but do not use MS Power Platform, SharePoint etc. – would the buyer consider suppliers offering a different technology stack but with more experience in implementing environment regulation programmes in other environment agencies?
We are currently well established with the technology stack and with delivery in the programme so we are not currently considering different technologies. The approach is about sustainability so ensuring we have the internal skills to maintain the service and continually deal with changing legislation is quite important to us.
21. Would the buyer allow a mixed team of onshore and offshore or nearshore resource?
Yes, however we are expecting a blended approach.
22. Could you please define what is understood by the ‘multi-channel user experience’?
The ability to engage with Defra and it's ALBs through traditional channels, such as paper/ phone etc. and digital channels, such as online.
23. Which Dynamics 365 application is required? Is it part of CRM suite ( Customer service, Field service, Sales) or Finance and operations (Finance, commerce, supply chain management)?
We are using Power Apps, both model driven and canvas and at this stage not looking to use any of the Dynamics Apps such are Customer Engagement or Field Services. This does not rule them out and if requirements are such that these become a good fit then we would review the current thinking.
24. Could the buyer please clarify if in the requirement ‘Examples of your experience of delivering large transformation programmes simultaneously, with the ability to increase/ decrease experienced and skilled resources, dependent upon programme priorities’ you would like our response to specify more than one client example.
One example is fine.
25. Regarding Clarification Question/Answer 6 relating to the term ‘services’, the response given was that this relates to examples of ‘digital services. Please can you clarify if this means ‘digital services’ as in a service product e.g. a government licensing service; OR whether this means ‘digital services’ as being the ICT people resources engaged in delivering any type of capabilities to government departments e.g. consultants, developers, architects, etc?
A service product.
26. Regarding Essential skill 2, please can you confirm whether this includes “SharePoint Online data migration” OR whether “SharePoint” and “data migration” are 2 separate elements?
We currently use SharePoint Online as part of our document management needs for the service, this will potentially need both SPOL development skills to enhance the solution and also migration skills to move documents into the service as we start to decommission legacy applications.
27. The question on “Experience of end-to-end-design and architecture accommodating multi-channel user experience including data ingestion and integration and large datasets with Change Data Capture mechanisms, as well as delivery of payments processing capability” covers three competencies and will be difficult to answer A) with a single example covering all three; B) in 100 words. Can you offer further guidance or will you consider revising the question?
A simple high level overview, specifically of work previously undertaken will suffice.
28. Would the authority kindly confirm what is classified as ‘innovation funding’ so that we can respond detailing our most relevant innovation initiatives and value add client offerings.
To bring to the table experience of work with other clients and to have the available funds to build 'proof of values' to demonstrate opportunities that we would benefit from. We have used this approach quite considerably to enable decision makers in the business to understand concepts which are quite difficult to explain on a power point.
29. Please clarify us on the ‘Offers innovation funding’.
To bring to the table experience of work with other clients and to have the available funds to build 'proof of values' to demonstrate opportunities that we would benefit from. We have used this approach quite considerably to enable decision makers in the business to understand concepts which are quite difficult to explain on a power point.
30. Please can DEFRA confirm the new procurement timelines in light of the extension
a) shortlisting Notification
b) Stage 2 Submission deadline
c) Presentation
d) Evaluation and selection
e) Award
The following dates are indicative and may be subject to change. Shortlisting Notification: 06/07/2022, Stage 2 Submission deadline: 25/07/2022, Stage 2 Evaluation: w/c 26/07/2022 - 03/08/2022, Award: September 2022.
31. Please can you provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement?
The following dates are indicative and may be subject to change. Shortlisting Notification: 06/07/2022, Stage 2 Submission deadline: 25/07/2022, Stage 2 Evaluation: w/c 26/07/2022 - 03/08/2022, Award: September 2022.
32. Please can advise how the 50% Technical Competence evaluation weighting will be split between Stage 1 and Stage 2 scoring (e.g., 5% Stage 1 and 45% Stage 2 etc.)
The total score for Stage 1 will be added to stage 2 and will scored out of the total 50% available for Technical Competence. Full details on evaluation criteria and weightings will be published with Stage 2.
33. Whether all of the stated certifications of Microsoft Gold Partner, ISO27001, Cyber Essential Plus, and ITIL are necessary, or one or more certifications from this list are essential/minimum requirement?
Microsoft Gold Partner, ISO27001, Cyber Essential Plus, and ITIL certification are all essential requirements prior to contract commencement.