Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UK SBS IT17038 BEIS Small Business Commissioner and Payment Practice Reporting

Incomplete applications

9
Incomplete applications
8 SME, 1 large

Completed applications

10
Completed applications
8 SME, 2 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Friday 24 February 2017
Deadline for asking questions Friday 3 March 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Friday 10 March 2017 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work BEIS is seeking a partner to complement their existing multidisciplinary team in designing and delivering two new digital services to improve behaviour and performance of large businesses payment and promote improving the culture of payment practice. PPR is at the late stages of Alpha. The SBC service is in pre-discovery.
Latest start date 12/04/2017
Expected contract length 12 months
Location London
Organisation the work is for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Budget range £1 million maximum

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done There are two different projects, described here:

(i) Payment Practice Reporting (PPR): Iteratively design, build and implement a digital service to support businesses to report and search payment practices. This has reached the late stages of Alpha.
(ii) Small Business Commissioner (SBC): Provide information, advice, and complaints handling services for small business suppliers who have payment issues with larger customers. This is currently in pre-Discovery.
Problem to be solved BEIS has two policies which require digital services to support the Government’s objective to improve the culture of payment practice in the UK. The first policy requires larger businesses to report their payment performance and enables small businesses to search this data to support contracting decisions. The second is the creation of the Small Business Commissioner, a new service which will support small businesses in their disputes with larger businesses. It will provide advice and information, direct small businesses to existing support and handle complaints about payment issues between small businesses and their larger customers.
Who the users are and what they need to do (i) PPR: Large businesses with a legal duty to report payment performance. Small businesses and journalists searching and downloading data.

(ii) SBC: Small businesses who want advice on handling late payment from large businesses and information on how to escalate and resolve late payment. Raising the capability of small businesses to better negotiate contracts to avoid disputes with larger businesses. Provide a mechanism for small businesses to complain about payment issues with larger businesses.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done PPR has reached Alpha with support of independently recruited contractors and internal resource. Discovery was completed by an external agency. An additional contract is in place for procuring research subjects.
Existing team Existing team includes service managers, product owners, user research, and delivery manager. Additional roles are needed to supplement the team alongside a commercial vehicle to build greater resilience for spikes of work or contingency. These include Business Analysis, Design (service and interaction), user research and content design.
Current phase Alpha

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET

There will be a need to travel to locations within and outside London, for example, to work with stakeholders and to participate in user research during the development of the service.
Working arrangements Suppliers will be expected to integrate with the existing Agile team members at Victoria Street, London, currently 4 days per week with Fridays offsite. Research and other tasks could be carried out across the UK in business premises, remotely some flexibility will be needed by exception.
Security clearance All supplier staff, including sub-contractors, undertaking any work related to the contract must be subject to Baseline Personnel Security Standards (BPSS) or equivalent as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
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.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to...
  • assess Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live phase outputs and iteratively develop and improve them using agile methods and practices and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • configure and manage secure cloud-based hosting environments and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • successfully integrate systems via APIs, including on-premise and other cloud-based services in relation to this requirement and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • work with other suppliers/third parties/other partners in the delivery of the requirement and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you will...
  • successfully and collaboratively work, coach and share knowledge with public sector client teams, particularly those with limited agile development expertise in order to ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • apply your skills and expertise to successfully integrate digital solutions with government platforms such as Companies House and Notify and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 3
Proposal criteria
  • The proposed approach, methodology and programme
  • Team structure and leadership
  • How the supplier has identified risks and dependencies and offered approaches to manage them
  • How the team will approach working with policy teams in government and meeting GDS Service Standards
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you will work as part of an agile team with our organisation and other suppliers throughout the project.
  • Demonstrate how, when making decisions, you will work transparently and collaboratively with the government department and other project stakeholders throughout the project.
  • Demonstrate how you will implement a no-blame culture and encourage people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Demonstrate how you will respect and embrace Government Digital Service Design principles and service standards (https://www.gov.uk/design-principles) & (https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/service-standard).
Payment approach Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. The skills and experience section seems to suggest that a technical team is needed to help with the delivery of PPR & SBC (hosting, APIs, government platforms), however the skills mentioned in the team section are: Business Analysis, Design (service and interaction), user research and content design. Could you clarify the number of people you are looking for within these roles? And if a technical team (Technical Architect & Developers) is also required? PPR will be hosted by BEIS digital, but may require some input from a technical team.
SBC is going into discovery, and as part of that discovery we will need to arrive at the best technical solution/approach for the SBC service. Therefore some technical input will be needed to suggest potential technical solutions for the SBC service.
2. Within the 12 months contract and 1 million max budget, could you clarify if that is to get PPR & SBC though to the live assessments and to host/maintain both services for the 12 months? PPR will be hosted by BEIS digital. Once in public beta PPR will require some further changes to the service dependent upon user feedback gathered.

SBC will need to go through alpha and beta assessments. Whatever the service for SBC is, it will need hosting and this will depend upon the solution arrived at. (i.e. it may be hosted by BEIS or it my be hosted by a/the vendor, depending upon the service technology.
3. It is mentioned that SBC is in pre-discovery. Are there any findings from that you can share e.g. the number user groups? The SBC service will be supporting new legislation /policy. This is described in the Enterprise Act 2016 (Part 1) (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/12/contents/enacted/data.htm). We need to do a discovery to understand the best digital service for the SBC
4. Can you confirm if the existing team will be on these two projects PPR & SBC full time and exact number of people involved from BEIS (service managers, product owners, user research, and delivery manager) 1 Service manager for PPR,
1 Service manager for SBC
(both of the above are also policy leads i.e. permanent civil servants),
1 BEIS delivery manager - working for the above.

The current team consists of two BEIS service managers, a delivery manager, a developer and a user researcher. Completing PPR up to beta (expected end of March).
5. The guidance mentions that a PPR web service will be live from April 2017, is this the Alpha that BEIS has developed, or will this be the Beta? The technology choices that have been made in the Alpha and are these set in stone, or can we propose a different technology stack for the Beta (e.g. it looks like the current tool was built in scala/play, we're experts in Ruby on Rails, would that be a blocker). PPR will be in public beta from April 2017.
The technology choices for PPR are complete and it has been finished as production code (scala).

However, the main focus of the work is on SBC so we do not see this an issue. As the SBC is about to enter discovery, no technical choices have been made.
6. The current PPR Alpha does not seem to handle the reporting aspect, it notifies companies if they need to report based on their financial year, and what information they will need to report. Will the current development team be in place to finish the reporting part in the Alpha, or is that part of the scope of the Beta and therefore this tender? The PPR beta build will be finished by the current development team.

This tender will need to allow some further changes to be made to the production version of PPR, (as required by user feedback/testing in live beta of PPR).
7. It is mentioned when applying that the supplier needs to start before 12/04/2017, could you confirm the process and expected timelines for this tender after the 10/03/2017 closing date (pitching/proposal)? The presentation and deadline for the written proposal are scheduled to take place on the week commencing the 27th March. Specific dates and times will be confirmed with the shortlisted suppliers. Following this the evaluation process will take place with the award scheduled for the week commencing the 3rd April.
8. It looks like this tender is asking for two separate things, would BEIS digital be open to splitting this into two projects one for technical support for the PPR service from Beta into Live and another for the SBC Discovery to Live? Given that BEIS has set the tech for PPR, having reviewed the code on Github, we would not support it in the current state, it is not production ready. The test fail with little test coverage and there is no project documentation. It would take us more time to support it than to rebuild. You are correct, the project is in two separate parts, PPR & SBC, although these interlink.

We need support for PPR for the beta phase and will require Scala programming expertise. This will provide changes / iteration to PPR based on user feedback.

SBC is a separate digital service and will need the supplier to provide specialist expertise to complete discovery and then move to alpha.

The PPR production code is currently being written in Scala (the alpha code was written in java.) The winning bidder will be required to support the Scala production code.
9. Although this appears to be looking for a supplier to provide additional resources to work on both SBC and PPR, would you be open to a supplier providing a team dedicated to just completing the Discovery and Alpha of SBC in the first instance, with a view to supporting Beta development of both SBC and PPR moving forward? (PART A): The primary workload upon contract start will be in completing the discovery and alpha phases for SBC.

However, we would prefer a supplier to also be able provide resource to allow changes to PPR once it is in public beta (expected from April 2017). Specifically we would be looking for Scala programming skills to be available at this time.
10. Although this appears to be looking for a supplier to provide additional resources to work on both SBC and PPR, would you be open to a supplier providing a team dedicated to just completing the Discovery and Alpha of SBC in the first instance, with a view to supporting Beta development of both SBC and PPR moving forward? (PART B): We cannot predict how much additional work this will represent, but we expect it to be more limited and therefore it makes sense in terms of practicality and value for money for PPR to be included in the same contract, In summary, we would consider the provision of a team solely dedicated to the Discovery and Alpha phase of SBC, if the proposal for these phases were sufficiently strong, but the ability to also provide Scala programing skills to support the Beta phase is preferred.
11. What shape of team are you expecting to need for the Payment Practice Reporting work? Will it be mostly research and design to iterate the service and make it work better for users? The shape of the team is up to the bidder to propose. As we expect PPR to be in beta by the time the supplier is engaged, the primary requirements should indeed be mostly for further user research and iteration of the service, with associated work for a Scala developer making changes to the service. We do not expect significant use of the service until October 2017, so the majority of activity would take place from this point.
12. Has the Payment Practice Reporting service been through any service standard assessments? Are you expecting a supplier to support the BEIS team to go through alpha and beta assessments? PPR has been through alpha assessment and has a Beta assessment at the end of March. We intend that the supplier will come in at the start of public beta phase in April. Therefore, we do not expect the supplier to support the Alpha and Beta assessments. However we expect the supplier to support the BEIS team to go through a potential Live assessment in due course.
13. Are you expecting the chosen supplier to do any recruitment of user research participants, or will a contracted agency do this on behalf of BEIS? No, we are not expecting the supplier to do any recruitment of user research participants. We have a current contract in place with an agency to supply research participants. BEIS will arrange for any future procurement of user research participants.
14. Would this be one continuous piece of work (with direction from yourselves) or on a "call off" basis? The SBC project will be effectively continuous, in order to complete discovery and alpha stages as quickly as possible. However there may be short gap between discovery and alpha, while BEIS assesses and then authorises the transition from discovery into alpha. During this gap the project delivery team could be on hold / stand by for a week or two.

The further development to the PPR would be on a "call-off" basis for Scala programming skills.
15. For skills and experience of various technical competencies, questions consistently ask, for "how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project". Could you explain what would help you here - do you wish us to explain whether this approach or skill is "suitable" for your project or to show we have experience of this skill? If neither - what sort of information would help you shortlist? The success of the project will depend both on the knowledge and expertise of the winning bidder and their ability to apply those skills and understandings to this project and this is what we are seeking to understand.
16. You have clarified that the "main focus of the work is on SBC". We note that this whole service is being developed from scratch. Is the help needed only for "technical" skills and related site design aspects of this build - or will this include help with Service design and "content" - either narrative or branding development? (the "Skills and Experience" seem to be mainly technical). Who will do this work if not the winner of this tender? It is likely that the SBC project would need service design and content design specialists, in addition to interaction design and technical design. The discovery phase will indicate the exact need for these skills.
17. The format of the answers do not appear to be structured properly. There is an answer box to the question "Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to" . Please could the answers be restructured, or please explain what you are expecting in response to this question. Please leave the first box blank.

Due to the word limit within the software when writing the criteria the question has been split into two parts. Each bullet point follows on from the "..." as per the example below:

“Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to assess Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live phase outputs and iteratively develop and improve them using agile methods and practices and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.”