Fully Open Source Government Licensing System for Public Access
8 Incomplete applications
6 SME, 2 large
14 Completed applications
9 SME, 5 large
- Wednesday 3 May 2017
- Deadline for asking questions
- Wednesday 10 May 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
- Closing date for applications
- Wednesday 17 May 2017 at 11:59pm GMT
- Summary of the work
Run the project in an Agile methodology with a discovery phase followed by Alpha, Beta Private, Beta Public and Live phases.
All team members will require SC security clearance.
Follow both the Home Office and GDS guidelines.
Link any systems with dependencies.
- Latest start date
- Monday 12 June 2017
- Expected contract length
- GDS guidelines recommend a 2 year contract term
- East Midlands
- Organisation the work is for
- Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)
- Budget range
About the work
- Why the work is being done
Deadline for implementation (go-live) is the end of December 2017.
GDS guidelines state it must use "fully open source" code.
Our current licensing system (LAWS) is legacy, bespoke and cannot be upgraded. It will also be out of support from Defra IBM by 31st January 2018 hence our current deadline. We are transferring our IT infrastructure from Defra IBM to the Home Office as a separate project but the licensing system will need to be hosted by the new supplier.
We will also require support and maintenance for the period of a contract.
- Problem to be solved
Our current system is due to be transferred away from it's current infrastructure and it is also a bespoke legacy system that cannot be upgraded.
We need a new licensing system for potential labour providers and employees/users to access.
It needs to be user friendly with less information to complete so users only need to complete what is necessary for their circumstances.
It also needs to be "fully open source" so it can grow/change with requirements and we are not locked into any contracts.
It also needs to be a Public Register to display the published list of licenses.
- Who the users are and what they need to do
As a potential employer of labour workers I need to be able to apply for a licence that shows any labour workers I am appropriately registered.
As a potential labourer/user I need to be able to see if a potential employer is registered correctly and I will be safe working for them.
- Early market engagement
Specific users were asked to complete a survey.
The main feedback was the following:
The system needs to be more user friendly
There needs to be a separation of pages so users only need to complete what is relevant to them and their circumstances
The search engine needs to be user friendly and work correctly
The terminology needs to be far more easily understood to allow people with English as a second language to complete the required fields
There needs to be information provided by hovering over certain fields showing a "?" or "info" to help users more effectively
The users internally to the organisation need to be able to amend any templates/letters easily
The users internally need to be able to automate or email the letters
The licensing system needs to link to other government websites so they can complete all requirements in one session or find relevant information
- Any work that’s already been done
The user research/user stories/product backlog have already been researched and documented.
The project plan has already been written with open dates to be added once a supplier has been appointed.
The "key" team members have been identified.
- Existing team
There is a Delivery Manager who is a contractor specifically hired to implement this project. This person has a great deal of experience and works to Agile methodologies as per the GDS guidelines.
The Delivery Manager will serve as the main contact but be able to bring people in such as the "Product Owner", "User", Exec Team etc. as and when is required without disrupting the small team unnecessarily.
We will all need to work to the Home Office and particularly GDS guidelines.
- Current phase
- Address where the work will take place
The office is located in Nottingham centre very near the main train station where rooms accommodating several people offering white boards, conference equipment, projectors etc. are available.
Travel to the suppliers site by the project team will also be possible for specific requirements as and when necessary.
Meetings can take place at either our offices or the suppliers offices depending on meeting room and attendee availability.
- Working arrangements
Initial face-to-face team meetings are key for the success of the project.
The project must work to Agile methodologies as per GDS guidelines.
Internal executives require a Prince2 project plan, which has already been written by the Delivery Manager so both that and the Agile plan will be updated as the project progresses.
Sprints can be a mixture of both face-to-face meetings and video conference calls depending on requirements at any given time.
- Security clearance
The level of security clearance required is at SC level.
We are not able to organise security clearance for any suppliers staff so it is mandatory that any team members supplied already have or can obtain SC clearance.
- Additional terms and conditions
Suppliers must offer "fully open source" code as per GDS guidelines.
This is to ensure that we are not "locked-in" to any supplier or product.
The solution must be a Public Register to display the published list of licenses.
The system needs to link into other Government sites (e.g. GOV.UK Pay, GOV.UK Notify, GOV.UK Verify etc.)
If "fully open source" code is already available to be re-used for any part of this project then that will help.
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
- Have security cleared team members
- Work to Agile methodologies
- Offer a "Fully Open Source" Solution
- Be willing to travel to customer site in Nottingham
- Skills in developing Government licensing systems with dependencies linked
- Provide similar government organisations references
- Must provide support and maintenance on a contract basis
- Nice-to-have skills and experience
- Provide evidence of meeting deadlines for implementation
How suppliers will be evaluated
- How many suppliers to evaluate
- Proposal criteria
- "Fully Open Source" Solution
- Agile Approach and Methodology
- Agile Approach to Meet Users Needs
- Agile Approach to Meet Our Organisations Requirements
- Timeframe is to have a fully working solution in place by the end of December 2017
- How Risks and Dependencies are Identified and What Approaches are Offered to Manage Them
- What is the Team Structure
- Value for Money
- Security Cleared Team Members
- Data Can Only Reside in the UK
- Must Provide Support and Maintenance on a Contract Basis
- Cultural fit criteria
- Work as a Team with our Organisation and Other Government Departments
- Be Transparent and Collaborative When Making Decisions
- Have a "No-Blame" Culture and Encourage People to Learn from their Mistakes
- Take Responsibility for Their Work
- Share Knowledge and Experience with other Team Members
- Be Comfortable Standing Up for The Chosen Methodology
- Can Work with Clients with Low Technical Expertise
- Be Comfortable with Open Conversations
- Payment approach
- Capped time and materials
- Assessment methods
- Written proposal
- Case study
- Work history
- Evaluation weighting
Questions asked by suppliers
- 1. Could you please confirm the time and date details for the Question and Answer conference call, please?
Conference Call to cover questions and answers:
Wednesday the 8th of May 2018 at 10:00hrs until 12:00hrs Conference Call Dial-In Details
United Kingdom: 08000 730694 (please note the 3 “zeros” after the 8) Local dial-in: +44 (0)3306 068753
Conference Code: 3227483280
All questions and answers will be posted on the Digital Marketplace for all suppliers to view.
- 2. Please confirm the correct day and date of the conference call as it seems an error has been made. Is it Monday 6th or Wednesday 8th May 2017?
My apologies, you are completely correct, I have made an error.
It is Monday the 8th and NOT Wednesday.
I had originally put Wednesday the 10th but then saw on the application that the date had to be before the 10th so changed it to the 8th and forgot to change the day.
So sorry for the confusion and thank you for asking the question to clarify.
- 3. Correction to previous clarification question: Please confirm the correct day and date of the conference call as it seems an error has been made. Is it Monday 8th or Wednesday 10th May 2017?
Yes, definitely Monday the 8th and NOT Wednesday.
My apologies again for the error and thank you for asking the question to clarify it.
- 4. Would you please provide the link to existing app, details of existing setup and tools which your are using, current challenges and drivers for transition? Are you looking for any cloud-first or mobile-first strategies?
The link is: http://laws/
Existing set up is across 19 servers split into "development", Production" and "Live" and on a mixture of old, out of warranty hardware and some blades. This is all currently provided by Defra but their support ends on the 31st Jan 2018 hence our need for a Dec 2017 deadline.
Current challenge is the time line and requirements from GDS as they don't go hand-in-hand. There are also dependencies to other department links, which are mandatory.
Cloud-First, Mobile-First does need to be a consideration as the new system needs to be as future proof as possible.
- 5. Do the GLAA have any other Open Source systems in use, if so can you let us know some of the key technologies that are being used, e.g. Language(s), Database(s), Frameworks/Applications, etc.
The GLAA do not currently have any other "fully open source" systems.
Drupal or Laravel or a mixture of the two would be our expectation.
The framework will be governed by GDS and the Home Office.
- 6. Would it be possible to share any of the work that has been undertaken during the Discovery phase of the project?
Unfortunately there is no "upload" option on this Digital Marketplace to attach any files.
Essentially we have a Business Analyst and a Content Designer onsite who have worked with specific users to gather very detailed requirements broken down into "must haves" and "could haves".
A lot of it is very generic so the detail would be drilled down into when required.
The requirements, in my experience, are very minimal in regards to user expectations in relation to what people are used to in their day-to-day life experiences of using web based sites.
The complication only comes with the dependencies.
- 7. Are you able to provide a budget for this work?
We are not providing a budget for this project in advance as we want to allow open competition.
As we are a government agency we do not have large budgets available.
- 8. Is SC clearance required in advance of the supplier starting or will BPSS be sufficient with you putting the people through SC clearance once they join? (As an SME the latter is the way in which we typically work as requiring SC in advance tends to favour larger suppliers who are able to apply for SC themselves.)
Full SC Security Clearance is required from the start and needs to be supplied by you.
We are unable to sponsor or put anyone through security clearance for a 3rd party so it is your responsibility as a supplier to be able to provide this from the outset.
If any of your current staff already have SC clearance from another source and it is still within 12 months (expires within 12 months unless they are still at the issuing organisation) then that can be accepted.
- 9. What is SC clearance required? In our experience, SC clearance is required if the person has access to data. If you are intending to develop using open source technology and make it open source, is SC clearance only required for those supplier staff, who will need to work with data? With development staff using only BPSS? If you are able to make the distinction, as an SME we can be very competitive in our offer.
- Yes, the SC clearance is only required to work with our "data" and all data must reside in the UK.
- 10. In relation to the previous question asked (number 5), are we only wanting Drupal or Laravel used or can other code be considered?
- Drupal and Laravel would be the code we'd expect to be used but any code can be considered providing it is kept up to date with any upgrades/changes/patches etc.
- 11. Can the user research documentation that has already been completed be uploaded to Google or an FTP site?
As our IT support is provided by Defra it will take too long to find a solution to do this as one is not readily available.
Our intention is that the research work that has been done will be shared with the 3 suppliers that we narrow the tender down to and allow us to go into more detail.
- 12. As long as the data remains in the UK, can developers and other team members be located remotely?
- Yes, it is only the data that needs to remain in the UK at all times. Developers or any other staff that work remotely in other countries can work on the requirements but not work on any data.
- 13. What is the scope of works relating to the requirements?
Essentially we require a user friendly web based system that has a fully working search engine to search for companies listed.
It also needs to have links to other gov depts. such as GOV.UK Verify and the Passport office etc.
"Info" boxes available to hover over for an overview of what is required on questions.
Separate tabs for completion of necessary ones only.
The legacy data also needs to be transferred and accessible from the new system.
The system needs to be hosted by the supplier and support Mon-Fri 9-5 will be required.
- 14. It appears that the current LAWS system is hosted on another site so what is the backend of that and the requirements?
Yes, it is currently part of the Defra infrastructure but moving forwards a supplier would need to host this new LAWS system themselves and provide support and maintenance for the 2 year contract term.
That then removes the need for the current backend system.
- 15. Timelines:- There is a deadline to submit tenders by the 17th of May but what are the timelines from then?
I believe from the GDS guidelines that it would be another 2 weeks from the 17th of May to review the potential suppliers to narrow them down to 3 if possible and submit our findings to GDS.
GDS then have a 28 day turnaround time but we have requested that they help us get this through more quickly if possible although they may not be able to.
At least at that 4 week point any supplier would know that they are in the running and we just need to wait for GDS approval.
- 16. Who are the main contacts and team members for the project?
I am the main contact as the Delivery Manager here on contract.
There is no IT team within the GLAA so I will wear many hats.
There is a Product Owner who has all the historical information but he is at Director level so I will be the conduit for all requirements.
We have a BA/Scrum Master on contract but he will be leaving in 2-3 weeks. He worked with the users to gather all the requirements so far.
We have access to other people (Defra, GDS etc.) for questions and the users will make themselves available.
- 17. Will the meetings with Suppliers need to be at your premises in Nottingham?
It is flexible dependent on requirements at the time and meeting rooms and people availability.
I can travel to the suppliers site on some occasions but please also include travel expenses on your side to cover visits to our Nottingham office.
- 18. What are the expectations for a working solution and the date it is implemented in relation to the end of December deadline? Can a minimal viable product be made available by then and the remainder a little later as an example?
- If necessary yes, we can have a Beta Private version made available by the end of December to be sure we have a minimum viable product and then the full Beta Public and then "live" can be made available within the next couple of months after potentially.
- 19. As you are unable to provide an indicative budget at this stage, can you advise on potential man hours perhaps?
I am unable to provide "man hours" at this stage but essentially I can imagine anything between 10 and 16 Sprints (16 being worst case scenario) to implement a full solution.
This could take 8 months working to 4 week Sprints so hopefully some of the Sprints can either be removed or reduced in time boxes.
- 20. Is the intention for just you (the Delivery Manager) being at meetings with suppliers or will others be available?
The majority of the time it will just be me as the main point of contact and attending meetings.
Where necessary, depending on specific requirements at the time, I will organise for others to join. This would include but is not limited to the Product Owner, the Business Analyst/Scrum Master, the User Lead, etc.
Each of them are aware that when we come to start the planning and implementation that their time will be needed and they are completely on board with that as they would like a new system and the opportunity to have input into its functionality.
- 21. To what extent has the User Research reached? Is there still work left to do?
All user research work both internally and with external users has been completed and documented.
The main work left to do is to narrow down the requirements by honing in on some, more generic questions and answers to alleviate the concern that some of them may raise. As an example some mention requirements for security but they are worded very generically. On drilling down all it refers to is the requirements for anti-virus or encryption in areas that you would expect to have it.
Essentially it's more of a clarification exercise still remaining.
- 22. What security level is needed? Is it IL3, IL4 etc.?
- We require IL3 (Official) security level.
- 23. You've stated repeatedly that "fully open source" is required. Why is that and what has instigated that route?
Quite simply our contact within GDS is reading the "guidelines" where it states "giving equal consideration to free or open source software when you choose technology - taking account of the total cost of ownership of the service, including exit and transition costs" as being a "mandatory" requirement when clearly that's not what it states.
Unfortunately we need to at least submit some "fully open source" options in order to go any further, which is causing us a major problem re the deadline.
- 24. So why is SC level security clearance required?
As a government agency reporting into the Home Office we all require SC level Security Clearance to be able to work with any data for the GLAA.
In order to be able to work with our data it means that you as a supplier would need to have SC cleared team members that are dealing with any of our data.
- 25. Can you consider any other products like .Net or Microsoft as examples?
We originally went to tender last year 2016, on the G-Cloud 8 framework and narrowed down to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Power BI, which would work well for us long term.
Unfortunately we have been advised by GDS recently that we need to use the DOS framework for "fully open sourced" products as they do not want us to be locked into a supplier or licenses.
This will set us back a great deal in our deadline so the sooner I submit what GDS have requested, the better as otherwise it will not progress without their approval.
- 26. Have you already gone to tender and what was the product offering?
Yes, we originally used the G-Cloud 8 framework last year and chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Power BI, which would be a good fit for our needs.
We have recently been advised by GDS that we need to use the DOS framework and look at "fully open sourced" options as they do not want us to be locked into a supplier or licenses.
As we are a very small company this does not seem the best option for us in relation to cost and there is a concern that initial open source quotes will be low but they will increase.
- 27. How many users and concurrent users will be required to access the new system and what is the capacity requirement?
There are currently 1000 license holders with a change of 150 per year (150 new and 150 do not renew) so it stays relatively static.
There are currently a maximum of 7,000 changes (activity) per year.
We need concurrent user requirements to be 1000.
Also, please scope for this to potentially double within 5 years as we are rapidly expanding.
- 28. Does the system need to offer different languages?
- No. All users can speak, read and write in English although for many it is their second language so the system needs to be very user friendly.
- 29. As you mentioned you've done a Prince2 format project plan and GDS guidelines require Agile working, which you also work to. It is always a danger using Waterfall and Agile together. Do the execs expect "everything" on the list to be provided?
I do not believe the "granular" detail will be looked at by the Execs. The expectations are mainly from the users, primarily the ones using the system all the time so they will be the main ones we work with to expand on the development as we go through each Sprint.
They are aware that there are certain limitations to the end product as we have looked at "vanilla" options.
The current system is so clunky so we have fair expectations that the new one will at least provide a lot more even in it's first stages.
- 30. You mentioned dependencies. What are they?
The dependencies for this project other than a fully working system are that the links to other government sites (e.g. Passport Office, GOV.UK Verify etc.) are set up and working and that it is a Public Registered site.
The current data from the legacy LAWS system needs to be transferred. We don't know at this stage whether it will be as simple as using an SQL connector or an API or whether it will be more complicated.
Also, the site needs to be fully hosted by the supplier along with support and maintenance being provided.
- 31. Please can you confirm the document or memo from GDS which provides the guideline that new projects must use "fully open source" code. Thanks
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technology-code-of-practice/technology-code-of-practice, Under Point 3 – Making things Open. It states "giving equal consideration to free or open source software when you choose technology - taking account of the total cost of ownership of the service, including exit and transition costs”.
Our perspective is that it is a guideline for us to assess but our GDS contact seems to treat it as mandatory in at least having some options using open source to submit to them.
Our concern is that it will look cheaper initially but as Sprints take place it will ramp up in cost.
- 32. Thanks for your time on the clarifications call this morning. One further question I just thought of: you ask for us to provide similar government organisations references in the essential skills requirements. Could you elaborate on this requirement (what detail are you looking for within 100 word limit), and also how many references are you expecting?
If several case studies or references can be provided that are from companies of a similar size (75 employees) with a similar requirement and we can pick one or two to contact then that would be great. Just offering one may not be a true reflection.
The GDS guidelines can often be confusing and essentially nothing is equal. Comparisons looking at the same technology but for a different sized organisation will have different parameters from GDS.
We need some comparisons that are close to "like-for-like" if possible please?
We're looking to review a comparable solution within a comparable organisation.
- 33. The link you have mentioned above is not functional. Would it be correct to say that the scope of work is to re-develop this (http://laws.gla.gov.uk/) web-site?
No not at all. The link does work for those who are granted access but it is the legacy site and it is clunky to say the least!
The current LAWS system and therefore that link is currently hosted on the Defra site. There is a separate project running to transfer our infrastructure from Defra to the Home Office.
We need a supplier to fully host the new "Licensing System" hence moving the new system away from both Defra and the Home Office.
- 34. Within the section “Why this work is being done”, it mentions that “GDS guidelines state it must use “Fully Open Source” code. For clarity, are you able to provide the specific reference within the “Technology Code of Practice” that states this?
Yes, please follow the link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technology-code-of-practice/technology-code-of-practice, Under Point 3 – Making things Open where it states “giving equal consideration to free or open source software when you choose technology - taking account of the total cost of ownership of the service, including exit and transition costs”.
Essentially in order to satisfy GDS we need to submit some "open source" tenders as a comparison to other solutions. If you can provide other solutions that would meet our needs and be cheaper than open source and meet the deadline then that helps our case. We would need both quotes for comparison.