The National Archives

First iterations of the Beta for TNA’s Pan-Archival Catalogue

4 Incomplete applications

4 SME, 0 large

0 Completed applications

Important dates

Friday 23 September 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Friday 30 September 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Friday 7 October 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
With the existing team, contribute to the implementation of the first iterations of a new linked data catalogue utilising the GOV UK Design System toolkit, Scala and Play framework.
Latest start date
Monday 24 October 2022
Expected contract length
3 months with an option for a 1 month extension
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The National Archives
Budget range
Up to £99,600
Remote working is the main arrangement for this project, with monthly team work sessions in person (2-3 consecutive days, occasionally up to 5 days) conducted at The National Archives, Bessant Drive, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.
Although this has been advertised as a resource, we have checked the role requirements (to the best of our knowledge) using the assessment tool found at and, in our opinion, for the role(s) as advertised the intermediaries legislation does not apply to this engagement (outside IR35).

About the work

Why the work is being done
The National Archive’s catalogue contains the descriptions of about 32 million records. Its current hardware, software and UI are outdated. To replace these we are building a new catalogue: the Pan-Archival Catalogue (PAC). This is a new catalogue which will bring together all of the information relating to The National Archives’s records created in a sustainable and extensible data model using graph data to offer users new ways of working with the data (see the data model: Project Omega - The National Archives). A new editorial interface which incorporates automation, validation and revised workflows will make editorial activity easier and more efficient. We need to build the first iteration of this system based on existing business analysis of current processes, user research, UX wireframes and interactive mockups and carrying out further testing to ensure that our users will be able to perform their work with our new catalogue [Project Omega - The National Archives].

TNA follow an Agile approach to product delivery and any products must be developed in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard.
Problem to be solved
Some of the existing business processes reflect the practices developed many years ago and are constrained by the current system which does not meet the needs of existing staff, or the wider range of new users across The National Archives. Staff need to upload, create, read, update, delete, track, search and export information both individually and in bulk relating to the records described in our online catalogue. Most of the time will be spent on implementation but we also need some UI development/design expertise to work on the screens (based on feedback gathered by User Research) for the second iteration.

- Build the first iterations of the catalogue in Scala using recent business analysis of existing processes, user research, UX wireframes and interactive mockups

- Contribute to the deployment the software on the chosen environment

- Contribute to the development of the user interface using the GOV.UK toolkit to ensure that the first iterations meet GDS service standards and level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)

- Contribute to the production documentation around the decisions and process in preparation for a GDS style assessment
Who the users are and what they need to do
Around 114 members of staff and volunteers currently use the existing catalogue management interface and this number is set to grow as the new catalogue incorporates more data used by additional teams.

The first iterations will comprise slices of the full system, enabling staff to edit a few fields of data and save their changes back to the data store.

Ultimately, the full release of the catalogue management system needs to have full CRUD support combined with role-based access control. Users frequently work with bulk selections of data to which they may need to make substantial changes, as well as needing to edit individual records. While experts in their areas, they are not experts in linked data – nor are they expected to become so – therefore the interface will eventually need to support rich search/browse options and the ongoing editorial workflows. Staff at TNA will primarily use the service but some volunteers working on cataloguing projects will also be regular users.
Early market engagement
User research and service design was carried out by an external supplier between November 2021 and May 2022 which built on some internal user research.
Any work that’s already been done
So far, a selection of data has been converted to RDF and a proof of concept business services API has been developed but not deployed. Some user research has been carried out by a previous supplier and includes documentation of existing processes, new process designs, an interactive mock-up and wireframes although further designs will be needed. These form the basis of the designs for the first iterations.

The underlying data model for the new system was developed during the first stage of the project (see but is under ongoing review and revision as the project develops.
Existing team
The supplier’s team will work full-time in close collaboration with the existing team of Scala developers to build the data services, API services, editorial web application services and editorial web application user interface. The National Archives staff will include a Product Manager, Service Owner, Delivery Manager, the Lead Architect, Lead Developer and two Senior Developers as well as members of the core teams of users. A User Researcher should be joining us soon.
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Mostly remote but some onsite meetings will take place onsite at The National Archives, Kew, Surrey TW9 4AD. For example, attendance onsite with the rest of the team for between 1 and 5 days may be required roughly every 4 to 6 weeks.
Working arrangements
The supplier will work with the existing team in accordance with Agile methodologies to scope, plan, and deliver the work incrementally, joining our daily stand-ups, and actively communicating. They will take part in our regular ‘show and tell’ sessions to demonstrate progress. Online meetings will take place via Microsoft Teams and Google Meet with Slack available for quick communication.

The National Archives’ staff will be available from 8am to 4.30pm (GMT) each working day. The supplier will provide their own equipment and technology but will have access to JIRA, Slack resources, Linux virtual developer machines and test environments as appropriate
Security clearance
Baseline clearance will be required (BPSS). Contractors will need to confirm that their hard drive(s) are encrypted and that up-to-date antivirus software is installed on any machine used for TNA work.

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
  • Demonstrable track record of building web frontends with the GOV UK Design System toolkit, and creating custom extensions and components with the GOV UK Design System toolkit
  • Demonstrable track record of building web applications and business services using Scala and Play framework
  • Experience of working with an iterative, Agile approach to delivery
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively and integrate with an existing team
  • Ability to produce clear documentation
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence of delivering web applications and business services using Scala and Play framework
  • Evidence of delivering web frontends with the GOV UK Design System toolkit
  • Outline of resource breakdown, including the relevance of the team members' skills and experience
  • Evidence of integrating with an existing team structure
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work in an open and transparent way, sharing work in progress and involving others as you g
  • Explain what methods you propose to use to engage; communicate, constructively challenge and work effectively with our team
  • Describe how you propose to support positive working relationships throughout the life of the contract
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Could you kindly confirm how payment would be made please?
I.E- in monthly increments upon milestones or at the end of the project?
A payment schedule will be agreed with the appointed supplier. Our assumption is that the Specialist will sign monthly timesheets, leading to monthly invoices from the appointed supplier and therefore monthly payments from us, but this arrangement can be flexed to satisfy all parties.
2. Could you kindly confirm how payment would be made please?
I.E- in monthly increments upon milestones or at the end of the project?
CORRECTION: The answer above should read that the supplier, not the Specialist, will invoice on a monthly basis. However the point around flexibility stands.

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