This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Friday 23 September 2022
Department for Education

Live Running Services for the Apprenticeship

4 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 1 large

5 Completed applications

4 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Friday 9 September 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 16 September 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 23 September 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
We require Application & Performance Analyst (plus other associated live running roles as required) services supporting the development of GDS compliant digital services, continuous improvement and live running. The service is live therefore we require a comprehensive handover from incumbent suppliers and ongoing knowledge transfer to permanent staff in DFE.
Latest start date
Thursday 1 December 2022
Expected contract length
West Midlands
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
These capability services are to be delivered over a contract period of 2 years and with an indicative contract value of approximately £2,500,000 (inc VAT) for the full 2-year service delivery.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The Government has committed to increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England. The apprenticeship services we operate are central in supporting the delivery of this ambition. We will continue to ensure our services are scalable, cloud-based and meet Government Digital Service standards; so that they meet user needs and ensure a great apprenticeship experience. High quality analysis to holistically understand and respond to policy challenges and user needs are core to successfully meeting this ambition.
Problem to be solved
Transforming the way in which the English apprenticeship system works - a significant ambition with multiple policy, operational and delivery challenges. Ensuring the significant and multi-faceted needs of users in the apprenticeship marketplace are met, including support, with the aims of raising the quality and quantity of successful apprenticeships, and promoting social mobility, thereby adding to the country's economic performance. Outcomes delivered through building and live running of existing services, with new features and capabilities to be added into the multi-dimensional delivery model to meet ambitious programme objectives. In a large-scale government programme and a complex environment this involves, co-design with policy across government, clear understanding of various user and stakeholder needs and an evidence-based direction to drive value in response to these.
Who the users are and what they need to do
Our users are both external (employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and apprentices) and government, for example:
As a student I need to easily access impartial information to understand and access apprenticeships, and to receive timely information on how I progress with my apprenticeship.
As a small employer that does not pay the apprenticeship levy, I need to understand the funding for hiring an apprentice, find and recruit the right apprentice
As a large employer I need to have secure access to levy funds to plan and manage an apprenticeship programme for my staff, and to consider transferring funds to other employers where required.
As a training provider I need to understand how I receive funding for apprenticeships from government
As an end-point assessment organisation I need to understand the registration process for operating in the marketplace
As DfE I need to
- support our customer facing services and their users,
- oversee effective delivery of Apprenticeships, including sharing information with stakeholders,
- manage payments to providers of over £2bn per year
- issue apprenticeship certificates to apprentices
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
MVS was introduced in 2017, we continually develop capability as we move towards the agreed vision; all employers take greater control of apprenticeship funding to increase quality.

We have continued to add new services/capabilities building towards a great end to end experience for our users. These capabilities are connected through a personalised user-outcome, AI based, real time data model.

We operate an agile delivery model and adopt ITIL service management principles in the operation and support of our services. We use an embedded delivery model of new feature development alongside BAU operation, enhancement and incident resolution, including problem management.
Existing team
Live operation uses a consolidated support model including self-serve technology platform and outsourced front-line support. Technical support delivered internally with standard processes (tier 2), and more complex support delivered by application support analysts (focus of this procurement) and delivery teams for service enhancement and fix. Model is further supported by performance analytics (focus of this procurement) to ensure data is used to inform live running, development priorities and investigation where required. We may require additional access to other supporting roles to augment the core requirement for analysis.

• Teams co-located in Coventry comprising of managed service suppliers and permanent staff.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Cheylesmore House, Quinton Road, Coventry, CV1 2WT and remote working / supplier site working
Occasional travel to other locations for user research as required.

Primary location will be detailed in each Statement of Work (SoW), expenses will not form part of the cost unless working from a secondary location during the execution of the work is requested e.g., SoW primary base is Coventry, then no expenses will be paid for Coventry. Hybrid working will be a requirement of this contract, DfE attendance policy is currently 60% office based working, agreement with supplier will be made upon contract award.
Working arrangements
5 day per week (Monday-Friday) commitment, detailed working arrangements, e.g., team location, size etc will be detailed within SOW. Day-to-day delivery will be governed by standard agile delivery techniques e.g. Kanban or Scrum but the standard agile ceremonies appropriate to those will be undertaken. These will be monitored by the Head of Operations ; responsible for prioritising backlogs.

In the event of a P1 or P2 incident where required, and by exception, out of hours support to be provided up until 22.00 and at weekends up to midday where required, (not expected to be more than twice a year)
Security clearance
Enhanced DBS and BPSS checks required

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Expenses must be pre-agreed and comply with DfE Travel and Subsistence (T&S) Policy. Any expenses shall be submitted in line with DfE standard T&S policy. Primary work locations stated in SoW will not attract expenses. 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
  • Within past two years have successful experience delivering performance analysis and application support, resulting in cost efficient operation of live government services and effective management of customer requirements within SLAs
  • Evidence investigating complex issues; developing SQL queries and other techniques for cloud based services, analysing documentation and user feedback, delivering solutions to users or requirements to developers to restore services.
  • Ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner to technical and non-technical audience and experience of effective stakeholder engagement
  • Proven experience using agile tools and techniques, including: scrum, scrum of scrums, anban, stand ups, sprint reviews, sprint refinement, sprint planning. Use of tools such as Jira, Confluence, Github, Trello.
  • Experience of working within a data discipline or working with data, involving the querying of data using query languages
  • Proven experience of supporting and communicating to customers to build in-house capabilities and ensure effective knowledge management and transfer
  • Proven experience of adherence to ITIL principles including change and problem management.
  • Experience of conducting analysis and developing performance measurement frameworks – KPI’s, goals, user needs, and benefits, and able to analyse the performance of a service or product against these
  • SQL – An excellent, working understanding of how to query a relational database so that ad-hoc reports and investigations can be performed on a service application data
  • Knowledge and working experience of data visualisation software such as MS Power BI in addition to other presentational packages e.g powerpoint.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Within the last two years, experience of working in a government service supporting live services, working on complex, multi-stakeholder programmes (both internal and external)
  • Understanding and ability to support BI application stacks for Microsoft products for example Power BI also non-Microsoft tools such as: R, Python and R Shiny
  • Ability to use of programming\scripting languages. For example, PowerShell, C#, .NET and understanding Azure application technology.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Demonstrate delivering end to end management of incident and problem investigation and resolution ensuring work is delivered within the department’s SLAs: P4–5 days, P3–24hrs, P2-8hrs, P1-4hrs
  • Ability to design, seek approval and implement technical solutions to ensure service stability and customer ability to complete key objectives in the customers services.
  • Ability to implement technical operations as requested or scheduled to ensure continued safe operation of the customers services.
  • Demonstrate approach to knowledge and skills transfer to enable the transition of service delivery to the business
  • Ability to promptly mobilise expertise to scale up team and flex resource when needed and to respond to fluctuating requirements
  • Ability to demonstrate flexible use of resources across multiple streams of work to maximise efficiency
  • Demonstrate understanding of the challenges of implementing user centred design in a multi-stakeholder government environment
  • Ability to assist in the delivery of external support artefacts such as knowledge articles, how to guides and webinars in collaboration with other stakeholders
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you as a supplier have successfully adhered to a buyers’ code of practice or adopted their organisational behaviours to ensure cultural fit (1%)
  • Demonstrate successfully operating a no-blame culture, encouraging people to learn from their mistakes (2%)
  • Participate in community of practice and demonstrate knowledge sharing (1%)
  • Working with different suppliers and buyers' staff in a collaborative way to deliver common goals (1%)
  • How will your organisation support educational attainment relevant to the contract, including training schemes that address skills gaps and result in recognised qualifications (e.g., Apprenticeships, Industry placements, Traineeships) (5%)
  • Describe how your organisation encourages diverse representation of under-represented groups in the workforce, e.g., Women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, Disabled, LGBTQ+ and how you monitor and measure this (5%)
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. Who is the incumbent provider for this project/programme please?
Atos IT Services UK Limited
2. Can DfE please confirm the technology stacks which the applications under scope of this procurement are built with (and therefore the technologies that the Supplier must be able to support)?
We use a Microsoft technology stack for all our applications.

We predominantly use .NET 6 and .NET Core 3.1, with some legacy .NET Framework and earlier .NET Core applications to be upgraded in future.

We use SQL Server for data storage, with a small number of CosmosDB read stores for a few older applications.

NServisBus is used for messaging between applications.

We use App Insights for monitoring and logging, along with tools like Status Cake to alert us to possible outages.

We use Grafana and GA to measure usage and performance analytics
3. Can DfE please confirm the technology stacks which the applications under scope of this procurement are built with (and therefore the technologies that the Supplier must be able to support)?
Q2 continuation -
GitHub is used for our code repositories, almost all of which are publicly accessible.

SonarCloud is used to report on code quality.

All of our applications are hosted on Azure.

We use Azure Devops to manage our CI/CD pipelines.

We primarily build websites, APIs, hosted services and Azure function applications.
4. Can DfE please confirm which monitoring tools are in place already?
We use App Insights for monitoring and logging, along with tools like Status Cake to alert us to possible outages.

We use Grafana and GA to measure usage and performance analytics
5. Is there a current incumbent providing this service and if so could you tell us who they are?
Atos IT Services UK Limited