This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Monday 15 August 2022
NHS England

Redevelopment of the NHS England licensing system for independent providers

6 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 3 large

15 Completed applications

11 SME, 4 large

Important dates

Monday 1 August 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Monday 8 August 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Monday 15 August 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
"NHSEI require a service team with experience in delivering services in line with GDS standards. They will need have a comprehensive knowledge of using Ruby on rails, ASP.NET MVC, Azure and full stack to support the redevelopment of the independent licensing system.
Latest start date
Monday 3 October 2022
Expected contract length
22 months. An option to extend by up to 5.5months, however the system to be delivered asap
Organisation the work is for
NHS England
Budget range
It is estimated that the work can be delivered within the budget range of £500,000 to £650,000.

About the work

Why the work is being done
NHS England holds statutory responsibility for licensing and regulation of independent providers of NHS services. It uses a proprietary web-based Licensing System (""the System"") to enable providers to submit licence applications, keep details relating to their licence up to date, and submit compliance certificates. The System also allows the NHS England IP licensing team to review and process these licence applications, communicate with licensees, maintain a robust audit trail of its statutory duties being exercised and providers' compliance with licence requirements.

The System was developed in 2014 on the SharePoint Microsoft 2013 platform. It will run out of maintenance support in March 2023. Due to this and other technical challenges the System now requires redevelopment.

A replacement System is required by March 2023.
Problem to be solved
The replacement System must comprise the following components: a Licensing Gateway, a Licensing Management portal, a Monitoring Portal, and a Public Register of licensed independent providers of NHS services (these components are explained in other sections of this document).

The System needs to include the functionality for messaging and notification.

The System must have appropriate accompanying documentation to support ongoing maintenance, trouble shooting, and functional improvements.

The System's internal user interface should have an administration portal to enable the NHS England licensing team to perform simple BAU tasks e.g. password resets, modifications to message templates etc

The System's built-in processes and features for licensing providers should reflect the licensing team's current ways of working, supporting governance, and controls.

The System's external user interface must meet government design standards; the process for creating user accounts, starting licence applications, and manging accounts on an ongoing basis must be simple, intuitive and user friendly.

The System must have functionality which enables compliance with GDPR and NHS England corporate records management policies.

The system must have the appropriate security controls
Who the users are and what they need to do
1. External users from independent providers of NHS Services.
'As an external provider user I need to create a user account so that I can:
log into the licensing system make a request to start a new licence application complete and submit a licence application
manage existing licence details
keep user accounts up to date
Exchange messages with NHS England
Download documentation
submit licence compliance certificates

2. Internal users from NHSE i.e. The licensing manager views and approves users application and issues a licence
'As an internal NHS England user I need access and admin rights so that I can:
approve requests from external providers to start a new licence application
view the pipeline of applications
review completed applications
document queries and decisions taken e.g. decision to grant/ to refuse
issue and receive licence compliance documentation
Exchange messages with licence holders
revoke licences

3. External user - Any public user should be able to view the public register of licenses entities.
'As a public user I need to be able to view a public register of licensed entities so that I know which entities NHS England regulates, and I can raise concerns about possible breaches of licence conditions if required'
Early market engagement
Early market engagement has informed the user requirements which have been scoped. Initial wireframes have been developed to support the User journey based on the requirements. However external end- users outside of NHSE are yet to be engaged in the process
Any work that’s already been done
NHSE have established the high level use cases and scope of work to be undertaken. The work has identified that the System will require the following components:

Licensing Gateway: publicly available to register as a user, authenticate into the Gateway, activate themselves, and become an Applicant Submitter.

Licensing Management: for Licensing Managers to manage Applications and grant Licences.

Monitoring Portal: for Licencee Submitters, Monitoring Managers, Financial Monitoring Submitters, Financial Monitoring Managers, and Licencee Super Users - for the maintaining of Licences held.

Public Register of licensed independent providers: a publicly available list of licensed providers and links to their licence.
Existing team
The supplier will be working with NHS England Independent Provider (IP) Monitoring Team and the Corporate IT Smarter Working (CISW) Team (Product owner, Service Owner, Change manager, Project manager) based in Wellington House.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UG and remotely;
Working arrangements
The IP and CISW teams have worked remotely during the pandemic. While a 100% return to on-site working is not envisioned, in the medium term members of the supplier team may be required to attend our London office at Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UG for face to face meetings.
Security clearance
Suppliers are expected to have access to BPSS as a minimum for all requirements
Suppliers may be required to sign specific NHS England data sharing agreement T&Cs to protect data disclosure (NDAs, etc).
Suppliers may have access to commercially sensitive data; prior experience handling sensitive data would be desirable. "

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Standard contract Payments to be linked to clear milestone deliverables and paid monthly or quarterly

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
  • At least 3 years expertise in iteratively prototyping, designing, and building services which meets both user needs and the GOV.UK guidelines for service design, accessibility and content design (25points)
  • Demonstrate expertise and experience in application of Agile approaches to delivering complex systems (using Agile techniques that meet the GDS Service Standard and have passed GDS Service Assessments) (25points)
  • Experience in using Ruby on rails, ASP.NET MVC, Azure and full stack knowledge in the development of services/ systems (25 points)
  • Do you have experience in designing, developing and implementing complex solutions within the NHS, large UK public sector organisations or multi-national private organisations? (15 points)
  • Do you have user experience and accessibility guidance built within your product development process that influences product design? (15 points)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Do you have experience in developing business continuity or disaster recovery plans to ensure continuity of service? (15 points)

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • The ability to demonstrate how agile methodology approach in the development of the system to ensure that both the user needs and GDS guidelines are met. (25 points)
  • Demonstrate a logical approach to system development, ability to re-use code and a good understanding of GDS framework as a whole (25 points)
  • How would you use your expertise and resources to deliver the requirements outlined in the Specification? (15 points)
  • Provide details of the size and roles within your team that will deliver the contract and their alignment with GDS service (15 points)
  • Outline the risks and dependencies that you foresee in delivering this contract, and your proposed approach to preventing and mitigating these risks and challenges. (15 points)
  • Describe how you would provide quality assurance of your work. (15 points)
  • Please create project and resource plans, highlighting significant milestones, with supporting rationale. (15 points)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate flexible approach to changing/uncertain requirements (15 points)
  • Provide critical challenge whilst maintaining good relationships (15 points)
  • The ability to follow recommended working procedures, company's policies and regulations (15 points)
  • The ability to anticipate, identify and meet customer needs (15 points)
  • Describe how you will work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers (15 points)
  • Demonstrate an awareness of a broad range of issues that could impact the customer and service as a whole (15 points)
  • Detail how, through the delivery of the contract, you plan to reduce your carbon emissions (both in your supply chain and within products) (15 points)
  • Detail how, through the delivery of the contract, you plan to increase overall diversity and inclusion within the workforce (15 point)
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Work history
  • Reference
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is having experience in using Ruby on rails, essential?
Yes this experience is essential
2. What incumbent suppliers (if any) do you already have providing the required services, and how long have they been involved?
We are seeking bids for a completely new, replacement system, so not do not feel this information is relevant
3. What resources (roles, quantities, duration etc.) do you anticipate the successful supplier providing?
This is a digital project hence will require a service team that is aligned to the GDS framework. The duration is also subject to the deliverables at each of the different stages which is stated in the requirements document. Further information on roles and expected outcome of each of the phases can be found below
1. Set up a service team at each phase - Service Manual - GOV.UK (
2. How the discovery phase works - Service Manual - GOV.UK (
4. Was there a supplier who conducted the discovery? If so please could you disclose the name?
Discovery is part of the DOS requirements. So a successful supplier will be expected to carry out discovery as part of the project.
5. Which supplier supports the current licencing system?
One of the reasons for redeveloping the system is the knowledge gap and lack of documentation that currently exist for the current system which make it a challenge to be fully support by NHSEI application team. At the moment application is currently being supported on a best endeavour basis by the NHSEI inhouse application team. As this will be a brand new system we will expect a full transition in to service with technical design and other supporting documentation that will enable the management and maintenance of the product inhouse by NHSEI.
6. re you able to provide an approximate size for the internal and external user base and is this anticipated to change for the new system?
External: between 120-150 and this is most likely to increase.
Internal: 5-6 (excluding admin support). Admin support resource requirement will be subject to the service management design and support module which will be validated at both Alpha and public beta phases.
7. Can we use provide more than 1 evidence?
Yes, as long as it is relevant to the requirement and the question asked.
8. Who from your team will be scoring applications for this opportunity and what positions do they hold?
NHSEI IP licensing team - Senior licensing Manager x2
NHSEI IT team – Applications Manager and System Development Manager

The process and moderation of scores will be overseen by the NHSEI Procurement Team Senior Procurement Manager responsible for the project
9. What are the required Roles?
This is a digital project hence will require a service team that is aligned to the GDS framework. The duration is also subject to the deliverables at each of the different stages which is stated in the requirements document. Further information on roles and expected outcome of each of the phases can be found below Set up a service team at each phase - Service Manual - GOV.UK (
10. Is there any requirement for SC-clearance/SC-eligible or will BPSS cleared staff to suffice?
All vendors to the NHS should, at this point, be CE, CE+ or ISO certified in order for them to demonstrate their minimum cyber security capabilities. But j ISO certified is acceptable (preferred actually). This is also stated in the DOS documentation published- under the work set-up section
11. Do you have user experience and accessibility guidance built within your product development process that influences product design?
The expectation is that the entire process of product development will be driven by user research and accessibility requirements. The Government Digital Service standard framework will underpin this piece of work. Please refer to the links below for further information.

Learning about users and their needs - Service Manual - GOV.UK (
12. Can the Authority provide the exhaustive Tech-stack
The project is aligned to the GDS requirement, as such there is a requirement for the successful supplier to produce a technical design which will be aligned to the GDS framework whilst taking into consideration NHSE infrastructure. We expect that the technical stack will include Azure Microsoft cloud.
13. You require both Ruby on Rails and.NET expertise. How do you anticipate that this work would use both tech stacks?
We expect that the organisation awarded the contract will propose technical solutions within its technical design which will be aligned to the GDS framework whilst taking into consideration NHSE infrastructure, .NET and Ruby on rails are suggestions from the initial market engagement that was conducted
14. Could Authority confirms that the score for stage 1 will be carried forwarded in the evaluation of stage 2? If yes, then how much percentage (%)?
We will carry over the score from Stage 1 for the shortlisted suppliers weighting as 20% of the overall score
15. Is near-shoring or off-shoring allowed?
We would require more information regarding the elements of the bid this applies to, to be able to provide an accurate response to this
16. Could the Authority confirm that the delivery will not fall under IR-35?
The contract is to be awarded on a fixed price that will be based on deliverables.
17. Can you please provide an anticipated timeline for this procurement
1) Shortlisting Notification for Stage 2 – 24th of August 2022
2) Submission Deadline for Stage 2 – 7th of September 2022
3) Evaluation period Ends – 21st of September 2022
4) Internal Sign off of award - 21st - 30th September 2022
5) Award Notification – 30th of September 2022

Please note this is indicative only and subject to change
18. Is near-shoring or off-shoring allowed?
Depending on an assessment of the type of data used and stored by the system , nearshoring to what the UK GDPR defines as an adequate country (EU/EEA and certain others) may be acceptable, although UK is preferable.